Toronto’s integrity commissioner says that there are “sufficient grounds” to launch an investigation into whether Mayor John Tory’s ties to Rogers amounted to a conflict of interest that should have prevented him from participating in a council debate regarding the fate of ActiveTO road closures last month.

In a letter to Adam Chaleff, who filed a complaint last week, Integrity Commissioner Jonathan Batty confirmed that he would launch an investigation into whether Tory breached portions of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA).

“Your application is within my jurisdiction and you have provided me sufficient grounds to inquire into whether Mayor Tory violated sections 5, 5.1 and/or 5.2 of the MCIA,” he wrote. “As a result, I have decided to investigate. This does not mean I have found Mayor Tory to have breached the MCIA or that an application to the court is appropriate.”

In his initial complaint, Chaleff alleged that Tory contravened sections of the MCIA by discussing and voting against extending the ActiveTO road closures along Lake Shore Boulevard West after the Blue Jays, who are owned by Rogers, publicly said ActiveTO was hurting their business.

In the complaint, Chaleff alleged that Tory, as a member of the Rogers Control Trust Advisory Committee, has an “indirect pecuniary interest in any matter that affects the finances, economic prospects, and/or property value of the Toronto Blue Jays,” and therefore should have declared a conflict on the matter.

But Tory has defended his actions, telling CP24 this week that he “follows the rules” when it comes to conflicts and has always done so in a “very deliberate manner.”

“We will deal with it, as we dealt with these kinds of things before, but I'm confident that I follow the rules and I continue to follow the rules and I will continue to follow the rules. I've been very transparent about this,” he said.

Chaleff had asked the integrity commissioner to expedite his investigations so that the public would know the outcome ahead of the October municipal election, however in his letter Batty refused to commit to a specific timeline.

The City of Toronto Act stipulates that all open inquiries must be terminated as of Aug. 19, which is the registration deadline for the municipal election. That would leave Batty with only three weeks to complete his investigation.

“I intend to commence my inquiry right away, however I cannot guarantee a completion date to the parties until I have an opportunity to review the evidence,” Batty’s letter states.

“To best serve the public interest, my inquiry must be fair and diligent as it may result in either me dismissing the application or commencing legal proceedings.”