Values and ethics code

Table of contents

About this document

All public servants are required to adhere to the Value and Ethics Code for the Public Sector (VECPS) and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment, which came into effect on April 2, 2012. In addition to these policies, each department is required to make additions that address the specific needs and risks affecting the department.

Indigenous and Northen Affairs Canada (INAC), has created a single document, in two chapters, that incorporates all of the above requirements. The INAC Values and Ethics Code (INAC Code) provides guidance to all INAC employees about their responsibilities and expected behaviours with regard to values and ethics in the workplace. Adherence to this Code is a condition of employment.

In the creation of the INAC Code, the VECPS and the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Policy have been used as the foundation. Specific INAC adaptations and additions have been made. These INAC-specific modifications are summarized below.

Chapter I: Values and ethics

Objectives

Text is adapted to INAC

Values and expected behaviours added

Family of values Bullets added
Respect for Democracy 1.4 and 1.5
Respect for People 2.5 to 2.9
Integrity 3.5 to 3.7
Stewardship 4.4 to 4.6
Excellence 5.4 to 5.7

Avenues for resolution

Added guidance, INAC contacts, resources and process information.

Chapter II: Applying our value – conflict of interest and post-employment

Introduction

Added

Conflict of Interest

  1. A public servant's general responsibilities include – added bullet 1. i)
  2. Requirements for preventing and dealing with situations of conflict of interest during employment:
    1. INAC's process for reporting conflicts of interest
    2. Additional guidance provided in:
      1. 2.2 Outside employment or activities: Boards of Directors, Social Activities, and Aboriginal governance activities
      2. 2.3 Gifts, hospitality and other benefits: Clarification of expected behaviours in the context of respecting the cultures of our stakeholders.
      3. 2.4 Solicitation: additional requirements related to workplace sales activities or fundraising outside of the sanctioned campaigns.
    3. Added areas of risk:
      1. 2.6 Personal and family relationships in the workplace
      2. 2.7 Exercise of authority
  3. Requirements for preventing post-employment conflict of interest situations before and after leaving office:
    1. Additional guidance provided in:
      1. 3.2 Post-employment limitation period for public servants in designated positions.
      2. 3.3 Waiver or reduction of limitation period

Conclusion, additional guidance and glossary

Added

Annex 2 – Examples of reportable and exempt assets and liabilities

Added

Message from the Deputy Minister

As public servants, we all have an obligation to serve the public interest and ensure the public trust. To do that, we must not only meet our job goals and produce the best possible results for Canadians; we must also consider how we achieve those goals. Acting with honour, integrity and respect toward our clients, partners and each other is as important as the results we get.

As members of the Indigenous and Northen Affairs Canada (INAC) team, we value the cultures, traditions and beliefs of those with whom we interact. Through honesty, transparency and commitment we build an environment of trust, where common goals can be realized. Working collaboratively, we strive to ensure that the people we serve – First Nations, Inuit, Métis and Northern Communities – are healthy, safe, self-sufficient and prosperous.

The INAC Code articulates the attitudes and behaviours we expect from each other and offers guidance on how we can – collectively and individually – incorporate these values into our day–to–day lives. It is only by living and integrating these shared values that we can ensure success.

Signature

 

Colleen Swords
Deputy Minister

Our mandate

Indigenous and Northen Affairs Canada (INAC) supports Aboriginal peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and Northerners in their efforts to:

Chapter I: Values and ethics

Role of federal public servants

Federal public servants have a fundamental role to play in serving Canadians, their communities and the public interest under the direction of the elected government and in accordance with the law. As professionals whose work is essential to Canada's well-being and the enduring strength of the Canadian democracy, public servants uphold the public trust.

The Constitution of Canada and the principles of responsible government provide the foundation for the role, responsibilities and values of the federal public sectorFootnote 1. Constitutional conventions of ministerial responsibility prescribe the appropriate relationships among ministers, parliamentarians, public servantsFootnote 2 and the public. A professional and non-partisan federal public sector is integral to our democracy.

Role of ministers

Ministers are also responsible for preserving public trust and confidence in the integrity of public sector organizations and for upholding the tradition and practice of a professional non-partisan federal public sector. Furthermore, ministers play a critical role in supporting public servants' responsibility to provide professional and frank advice.Footnote 3

Objectives

The Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service (VECPS) was revisited and renewed as a result of the passing of the Resources on the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA). In response to this review two separate documents were created: the VECPS and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment. In addition, departments and agencies were required to develop their own organizational codes of conduct to reflect their specific interests.

Even before these changes, Departmental employees, in 1990, developed a set of core values and expected behaviours to guide members of the INAC team in their day-to-day activities. During the consultation phase of the INAC Code, these core values were recognized by all (employees, partners and stakeholders) as still being important and as such requiring a place in the organizational code.

As established by the Treasury Board, this Code fulfils the requirement of section 5 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA). In keeping with the legislated requirement, a single document - the INAC Values and Ethics Code (INAC Code) - has been developed incorporating the VECPS, the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Policy, and adding some Department specific language. The INAC Code reflects the culture, traditions and goals of both the public sector and the Department and provides guidance on the expected behaviours and actions of its employees. By committing to these values and adhering to the expected behaviours, public servants strengthen the ethical culture of the public sector and contribute to the public confidence in the integrity of all public institutions.

The Core values are listed below, while in brackets, is the information on where the value has been incorporated into the Code:

Respect
I put people first, recognizing their dignity and knowing that individual and cultural difference strengthen INAC. (2. Respect for People)
Balance
I recognize that I am more productive when I lead a balanced life. I strive to achieve a balance between work, family and community responsibilities. (2.6 Respect for People)
Integrity
I do what I say I will do. When my actions match my words I fulfill my commitment. I am contributing to a more positive work environment. (3. Integrity)
Honesty
I tell the truth. I avoid giving mixed messages, or saying different things to different people. (2.4 Respect for People)
Fairness
I make decision objectively, without favouritism. My decisions lead to the just and equitable treatment of employees and stakeholders. (3.6 Integrity)
Transparency
I explain my decisions and actions clearly, hold them open to scrutiny and ensure that they reflect the best interest of the organization, its employees, its partners and its stakeholders. (2.4 Respect for People)
Commitment to learning
I seek opportunities to learn continuously. I do not blame myself or others for honest mistakes. (5.3 & 5.7 Excellence)
Mutual support
I am a contributing member of the INAC team. I look for ways to help and support others in the shared accomplishment of INAC's objectives. (2.4 Respect for People & 5.7 Excellence)

Statement of values

The values expressed in this document are a compass to guide INAC employees in everything they do and should not be considered in isolation from each other. Every INAC employee, regardless of rank or position, is responsible for promoting and integrating these values in their day-to-day activities. Organizations are expected to take steps to integrate these values into their decisions, actions, policies, processes and systems. Similarly, public servants can expect to be treated in accordance with these values by their organization.

Adherence to this Code is a condition of employment and contravention is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

All INAC employees whether indeterminate, term, part-time, casual, volunteer, or on assignment are expected to comply with and respect this Code.

All employees are expected to review this Code annually.

Values and expected behaviours

Federal public servants are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the values of the public sector, which are:

  1. Respect for Democracy
  2. Respect for People
  3. Integrity
  4. Stewardship
  5. Excellence

1. Respect for democracy

The system of Canadian parliamentary democracy and its institutions are fundamental to serving the public interest. Public servants recognize that elected officials are accountable to Parliament, and ultimately to the Canadian people and, that a non-partisan public sector is essential to our democratic system.

Public servants uphold the Canadian Parliamentary democracy and its institutions by:

  • 1.1 Respecting the rule of law and carrying out their duties in accordance with legislation, policies and directives in a non-partisan and impartial manner.
  • 1.2 Loyally carrying out the lawful decisions of their leaders and supporting ministers in their accountability to Parliament and Canadians.
  • 1.3 Providing decision makers with all the information, analysis and advice they need, always striving to be open, candid and impartial.
  • 1.4 Recognizing that our elected officials are accountable for introducing and implementing programs and services that will satisfy their obligations to Canadians.
  • 1.5 Refraining from public criticism of the Government of Canada, where it relates to their official duties or could impair or appear to impair the objectivity and impartiality of the public servant or the public service. (Duty of Loyalty)

2. Respect for people

Treating all people with respect, dignity and fairness is fundamental to our relationship with the Canadian public and contributes to a safe and healthy work environment that promotes engagement, openness and transparency. The diversity of people and the ideas they generate are the wellspring of our spirit of innovation.

Public servants respect human dignity and the value of every person by:

  • 2.1 Treating every person with respect and fairness.
  • 2.2 Valuing diversity in the workplace and in the communities we serve and recognizing the benefit of combining the unique qualities and strengths inherent in a diverse workforce.
  • 2.3 Helping to create and maintain safe and healthy workplaces that are free from harassment and discrimination.
  • 2.4 Working together in a spirit of openness, honesty and transparency that encourages engagement, collaboration and respectful communication.
  • 2.5 Respecting, accepting, and accommodating those with visible and invisible disabilities.
  • 2.6 Striving to achieve balance between work, family and community responsibilities.
  • 2.7 Resolving differences constructively in an environment free of reprisal.
  • 2.8 Being sensitive to the unique socio-cultural traditions, history and needs of our client populations.
  • 2.9 Avoiding language, gestures or displays that belittle, embarrass or intimidate individuals with whom we interact.

3. Integrity

Integrity is the cornerstone of good governance and democracy. By upholding the highest ethical standards, public servants conserve and enhance public confidence in the honesty, fairness and impartiality of the federal public sector.

Public servants serve the public interest by:

  • 3.1 Acting at all times with integrity, and in a manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny - an obligation that may not be fully satisfied by simply acting within the law
  • 3.2 Never using their official roles to inappropriately obtain an advantage for themselves or to advantage or disadvantage others.
  • 3.3 Taking all possible steps to prevent and resolve any real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest between their official responsibilities and their private affairs in favour of the public interest.
  • 3.4 Acting in such a way as to maintain their employer's trust as well as that of colleagues, and clients.
  • 3.5 Assuming and accepting responsibility for our actions.
  • 3.6 Making decisions objectively, without favouritism or prejudice.
  • 3.7 Seeking advice in situations where we foresee a possible conflict of interest, be it real, apparent or potential.

4. Stewardship

Federal public servants are entrusted to use and care for public resources responsibly, for both the short and long-term.

Public servants responsibly use resources by:

  • 4.1 Effectively and efficiently using the public money, property, equipment and resources managed by them.
  • 4.2 Considering the current and long-term effects that their actions have on people, cultures and the environment.
  • 4.3 Acquiring, preserving and openly sharing knowledge and information as appropriate.
  • 4.4 Managing sensitive information discreetly and with respect for the privacy of individuals.
  • 4.5 Acting respectfully toward the people, culture, environment and infrastructure of those we serve.
  • 4.6 Recognizing that sustainability goes beyond the preservation of the environment; it also applies to the development and maintenance of safe and healthy communities, people, infrastructure and culture.

5. Excellence

Excellence in the design and delivery of public sector policy, programs and services is beneficial to every aspect of Canadian public life. Engagement, collaboration, effective teamwork and professional development are all essential to a high-performing organization.

Public servants demonstrate professional excellence by:

  • 5.1 Providing fair, timely, efficient and effective services that respect Canada's official languages.
  • 5.2 Continually improving the quality of policies, programs and services they provide.
  • 5.3 Fostering a work environment that promotes teamwork, learning and innovation.
  • 5.4 Responding in a courteous and timely manner to requests from others.
  • 5.5 Ensuring timelines, workload and resources are consistent with the task.
  • 5.6 Ensuring due diligence in the performance of our duties.
  • 5.7 Taking responsibility for our actions and behaviours and seeking to constantly learn from our experiences, thus continuously improving our performance and our ability to positively affect the development and living conditions of our clients.

Application

Acceptance of these values and adherence to the expected behaviours is a condition of employment for every public servant in the federal public sector, regardless of their level or position. A breach of these values or behaviours may result in disciplinary measures being taken, up to and including termination of employment.

The PSDPA defines the "public sector" as: (a) the departments named in Schedule I to the Financial Administration Act and the other portions of the federal public administration named in Schedules I.1 to V to that Act; and (b) the Crown corporations and other public bodies set out in Schedule I of the PSDPA. However, "the public sector" does not include the Canadian Forces, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service or the Communications Security Establishment, which are subject to separate requirements under the Act.

The Indigenous and Northen Affairs Canada Values and Ethics Code - Our Values in Action (INAC Code) came into force on April 2, 2012.

Avenues for resolution

Values and ethics code

The expected behaviours are not intended to respond to every possible ethical issue that might arise in the course of a public servant's daily work. When ethical issues arise, public servants are encouraged to discuss and resolve these matters with their immediate supervisor. They may also seek insight and support from respected sources including, but not limited to, their bargaining agent, labour relations, Elders, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), colleagues, as appropriate. Confidentiality and discretion are expected in all such consultations.

At INAC, advice and support regarding values and ethics is provided by the Senior Advisor for Values and Ethics at the Centre for Integrity Values and Conflict Resolution.

As well, to ensure their actions conform to the behavioural expectations outlined in this Code, they are expected to consult with the Centre for Integrity, Values and Conflict Resolution (the Centre) before acting.

Public servants at all levels are expected to resolve issues in a fair and respectful manner and consider informal processes such as dialogue or mediation.

At INAC, a number of informal conflict resolution services (e.g. coaching, mediation, facilitated discussion and ombudsman services) are available to employees to assist them in addressing issues as quickly as possible and at the lowest level in the organization. The use of these services is strictly voluntary and confidential, and does not in any way preclude access to rights-based processes (e.g. grievances, harassment complaints or investigations). Individuals may initiate a formal process and place it in abeyance while pursuing an informal resolution process, and may switch should the need arise. More information on these services is available at the Centre's website.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA)

Individuals who become aware of a serious wrongdoing are encouraged to make a protected disclosure under the provisions of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA. If they are uncertain about the appropriateness of such a disclosure, they may seek advice from respected sources, such as: Centre for Integrity, Values and Conflict Resolution, their bargaining agent, labour relations, Elders, colleagues, etc. However, as provided by Sections 12 and 13 of the PSDPA, if a public servant determines that a disclosure is appropriate, they can bring the matter, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to the attention of their immediate supervisor, the INAC Senior Officer for Disclosure or the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada. Making a disclosure to anyone other than the three aforementioned individuals may jeopardize their protections as described in the Act.

At INAC, the role of Senior Officer for Disclosure is held by the Director of the Centre for Integrity, Values and Conflict Resolution who can provide advice in these areas. Additional guidance can be obtained by contacting the Centre for Integrity Values and Conflict Resolution.

Senior Officers for Disclosure are responsible for supporting the Deputy Minister, also called the Chief Executive in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA. They help promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoings, and deal with disclosures of wrongdoing made by employees of the organization.

Further information on duties and obligations related to the disclosure of wrongdoing can be found in Annex 1 - Duties and Obligations.

Members of the public who have a concern that a public servant has not acted in accordance with this Code can bring the matter to INAC's Senior Officer for Disclosure, or to the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada.

Chapter II: Applying our values

Conflict of interest and post-employment

The values identified in Chapter I speak to our goals, aspirations and obligations with regard to the ethical standards of the public sector. Public servants conserve and enhance public confidence in the honesty, fairness and integrity of the public service by taking special care when dealing with activities that may compromise or appear to compromise the integrity of the public service.

Chapter II identifies some areas of common concern and provides guidance on the required measures to be taken when presented with an ethical dilemma. Adherence to these requirements is a condition of employment. These measures also fulfill Canada's commitments as a signatory to international agreements on values and ethics.

Conflict of interest

A conflict of interest is a situation in which the public servant has private interests that could improperly influence the performance of his or her official duties and responsibilities or in which the public servant uses his or her office for personal gain. Conflicts of interest do not relate exclusively to financial transactions and the transfer of economic benefit. While financial activity is important, conflicts of interest in any area of activity can have a negative impact on the perceived objectivity of the public service. With the permanent and pervasive nature of information technology, public servants should be particularly sensitive to real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest that may arise from messages and information transmitted via the Internet and other media.

While it is impossible to foresee every situation that could give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, preventing, managing or resolving such conflicts is one of the principal means of maintaining public trust and confidence in the impartiality and integrity of the public service.

INAC employees may sometimes find themselves torn between their roles within the workplace, their communities or affiliate / professional organizations. In all instances, the conflict should be resolved in favour of the public interest.

When in doubt, public servants should be guided by the requirements articulated in this Code. They may also seek insight and support from respected sources including, but not limited to, their bargaining agent, labour relations, Elders, colleagues, etc., as appropriate. However, to ensure their actions conform to the behavioural expectations outlined in this Code, they are expected to consult with the Centre for Integrity, Values and Conflict Resolution (the Centre) before acting.

Conflicts of interest, whether real, apparent or potential, must be avoided. Where a possible conflict is identified, employees are required to submit a Confidential Report to their Director or INAC's Senior Officer for Integrity. In some instances, an approved mitigation strategy, developed in consultation with the Centre, may be required.

Public servants are also required to observe any specific conduct requirements contained in the statutes governing the Department and their profession, where applicable.

1. A public servant's general responsibilities and duties include:

  • Taking all possible steps to recognize, prevent, report, and resolve any real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest between their official responsibilities and any of their private affairs.
  • Unless otherwise permitted, refraining from having private interests, which would be unduly affected by government actions in which they participate.
  • Not knowingly taking advantage of, or benefiting from, information that is obtained in the course of their official duties that is protected due to security or personal information concerns or that is not readily available to the public.
  • Refraining from the direct or indirect use of, or allowing the direct or indirect use of government property of any kind, including property leased to the government, for anything other than officially approved activities.
  • Not assisting private entities or persons in their dealings with the government where this would result in preferential treatment of the entities or persons.
  • Not interfering in the dealings of private entities or persons with the government in order to inappropriately influence the outcome.
  • Maintaining the impartiality of the public service and not engaging in any outside or political activities that impair or could be seen to impair their ability to perform their duties in an objective manner.
  • Ensuring that any real, apparent or potential conflict that arises between their private activities and their official responsibilities as a public servant is resolved in the public interest.
  • Refraining from public criticism of the Government of Canada or its policies or any political activity that could impair or appear to impair the objectivity and impartiality of the public servant or the public service.

2. Requirements for preventing and dealing with situations of conflict of interest during employment:

When INAC employees are involved in outside activities or have assets and interests that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to their official duties, they are required to submit a Confidential Report to their Director. The Report is to be made within 60 days of their initial appointment or any subsequent appointment, transfer or deployment.

On an annual basis, and / or every time a major change occurs in their personal affairs or official duties, every public servant is required to review his or her obligations under the INAC Code. If a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists, he or she is to file a Confidential Report, in a timely manner.

When negotiating financial arrangements with outside parties, public servants are to comply with the requirements listed in this Code as well as other related legislation, regulations, directives or policies issued by the Treasury Board.

Even when dealing with outside entities, employees are required to adhere to the requirements of the Code. This would include avoiding business dealings with former employees who are subject to the post-employment measures. (For more information, see section 3.0)

When in doubt, public servants are to immediately report the situation to their managers to seek advice or direction on how to proceed.

2.1 Assets

Public servants are required to evaluate their assets, taking into consideration the nature of their official duties and the characteristics of their assets. If there is any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest between the carrying out of their official duties and their assets, they are to report this matter (in a Confidential Report to the Senior Integrity Officer in a timely manner.

Where the Senior Integrity Officer determines that any of these assets constitutes a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to their duties and responsibilities, public servants may be required to divest those assets, or take other measures as determined by the Department to resolve the conflict. Public servants may not sell or transfer assets to family members or anyone else for the purpose of circumventing the compliance requirements.

The types of assets that should be reported are listed in Annex 2 - Examples of Reportable and Exempt Assets and Liabilities. The procedures for reporting and managing such assets are set out in the Directive on Reporting and Managing Financial Conflicts of Interest.

2.2 Outside employment or activities

Public servants may engage in employment outside the public service and take part in outside activities unless the employment or activities are likely to give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest or would undermine the impartiality of the public service or the objectivity of the public servant.

Public servants are required to provide a Confidential Report to their Director when outside employment or activities might subject them to demands incompatible with their official duties, or cast doubt on their ability to perform their duties in a completely objective manner. INAC's Senior Integrity Officer may require that the outside activities be modified or terminated if it is determined that a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists.

Public servants who receive a benefit or income either directly or indirectly from a contract with the Government of Canada are required to report to their Deputy Minister on such contractual or other arrangements. The Deputy Minister will determine whether the arrangement presents a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, and may require that the contract be modified or terminated.

Special attention is required when the activity or outside employment:

  • is with an entity that has dealings with INAC;
  • is linked to the employee's official duties at INAC; or
  • involves an organization applying for or receiving funding from INAC or any other program administered by INAC

Any INAC employee who currently sits on or intends to join a Board of Directors of an organization, corporation or association outside of the government of Canada, must complete a Confidential Report. They must also refrain from:

  • representing that organization in dealings with the government of Canada; or
  • helping that organization obtain funding from the government of Canada
Social activities

Social behaviours and actions of employees outside of the workplace are, of course, a matter of personal choice. That said, as public servants, with a responsibility to maintain the public trust, we are expected to be discreet and appropriate with respect to our workplace activities. As such, privileged information, opinions, discussions and concerns must not be expressed in public settings. This may include conversations at social gatherings or on a bus or postings on a social network. As a general rule, employees need to avoid topics that may harm the reputation of their employer or that put into question the neutrality of the public service.

Given the popularity and easy accessibility of on-line social networks, it is important to consider how we use these networks and what we post on them. The Guideline on Acceptable Network and Device Use can provide guidance on appropriate use.

Political activities

Any public servant considering involvement in political activities should seek the advice of their manager, a human resources advisor, the INAC Designated Political Advisor, or the Public Service Commission (PSC) before acting.

Public servants are required to obtain permission from the PSC to seek nomination for or be a candidate in a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal election, in accordance with Part 7 of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA).

"Political activities" are defined in Part 7 of the PSEA as "any activity in support of, within or in opposition to a political party; carrying on any activity in support of or in opposition to a candidate before or during an election period; or, seeking nomination as or being a candidate in an election before or during the election period."

Any public servant who wishes to engage in a political activity not covered by Part 7 of the PSEA that could constitute a conflict of interest is required to report the proposed activity, in a Confidential Report, to their Director. This includes involvement in Band Councils or other Aboriginal governance activities.

Similarly, any public servant who is subject to this Policy but who is not subject to Part 7 of the PSEA, who wishes to engage in any political activity that could constitute a conflict of interest, is to report the proposed activity, in a Confidential Report, to their Director. This includes students appointed within Student Employment Programs, seasonal, casual and part-time workers.

2.3 Gifts, hospitality and other benefits

Public servants are expected to use their best judgment to avoid situations of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest by considering the following criteria on gifts, hospitality and other benefits while keeping in mind the full context of this Code.

Public servants are not to accept any gifts, hospitality or other benefits that may have a real, apparent or potential influence on their objectivity in carrying out their official duties or that may place them under obligation to the donor. This includes activities such as free or discounted admission to sporting and cultural events, travel or conferences. For additional information see the Criminal Code.

The acceptance of gifts, hospitality and other benefits is permissible if they are infrequent and of minimal value, within the normal standards of courtesy or protocol, arise out of activities or events related to the official duties of the public servant concerned, and do not compromise or appear to compromise the integrity of the public servant concerned or of his or her organization.

At INAC, we are mindful of the traditions and culture of many of our clients with regards to the giving and acceptance of gifts. While we respect and acknowledge this tradition, we must also consider the public service requirement to avoid this practice.

Public servants are to seek written direction, through the use of a Confidential Report, from the Department's Senior Integrity Officer, where it is impossible to decline gifts, hospitality or other benefits that do not meet the principles set out above, or where it is believed that there is sufficient benefit to the organization to warrant acceptance of certain types of hospitality. When INAC employees feel that it would be inappropriate to decline the gifts, benefit or hospitality, it is permissible to accept, noting that they are accepting on behalf of the Department. The employee is expected to submit a Confidential Report, after the fact, addressed to the Department's Senior Officer for Integrity and seeking direction for mitigating any conflict of interest, be it real, apparent or potential.

2.4 Solicitation for the purpose of fundraising

The federal government - including INAC - supports fundraising for three charitable organizations:

  • The Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC);
  • The Canadian Legion Poppy Fund; and
  • Canadian Blood Services / Héma Québec

With the exception of fundraising for these charitable organizations, public servants may not solicit gifts, hospitality, other benefits or transfers of economic value from a person, group or organization in the private sector who has dealings with the government. When fundraising for charitable organizations, public servants should ensure that they have prior written authorization from the Deputy Minister to solicit donations, prizes or contributions-in-kind from external organizations or individuals.

Similarly, if an outside individual or entity, with whom the organization has past, present or potential official dealings, offers a benefit to the organization, such as funding for an event or a donation of equipment, public servants are to consider whether any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists and obtain the consent in writing of the Deputy Minister prior to accepting any such benefit.

For a comprehensive summary of what is or is not allowed in relation to the GCWCC Campaign see the Campaign Management and Operations Manual.

The Deputy Minister may require that the activities be modified or terminated where it is determined that there is a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest or an obligation to the donor. These provisions are designed to ensure that this policy is consistent with paragraph 121(1) (c) of the Criminal Code.

Workplace sales activities or fundraising outside of the sanctioned campaigns

While employees are free to get involved in fundraising outside of the workplace, they must consider the following rules of common sense:

  • use of government resources to promote this activity is prohibited;
  • solicitation to persons or entities with whom the employee has INAC-related business dealings should be avoided;
  • when the charity in question is not one of the three listed above or if an individual wishes to sell cookies, chocolate bars, cosmetic products etc., information or catalogues may be left in common areas, but desk-to-desk or person-to-person campaigning is not allowed; and
  • raising money through the use of Games of Chance is not permitted.

2.5 Avoidance of preferential treatment

Public servants are responsible for demonstrating objectivity and impartiality in the exercise of their duties and in their decision-making, whether related to staffing, financial awards or penalties to internal or external parties, transfer payments, program operations or any other exercise of responsibility.

This means that they are prohibited from granting preferential treatment or advantages to colleagues, family, friends or any other person or entity. They are not to offer extraordinary assistance to any entity or persons already dealing with the government without the knowledge and support of their supervisor. They also are not to disadvantage any entity or persons dealing with the government because of personal antagonism or bias.

Providing information that is publicly accessible is not considered preferential treatment.

2.6 Personal and family relationships in the workplace

INAC programs and services are often delivered in small isolated communities and this can sometimes create difficult situations where people who are related or have close personal relationships (herein referred to as associates) have to work together. While such situations are not expressly prohibited, we must recognize that they can lead to conflicts of interest both real and apparent. Therefore, special care must be taken in such circumstances. For example, staffing processes must be conducted in strict accordance with appropriate directives and INAC's Guidelines - Employment of Relatives and Associates.

Members of a hiring board must declare any familial or associate relationships with prospective candidates and should recuse themselves from any decision-making responsibilities related to that competition.

Managers must ensure that they are not involved in:

  • the direct and regular supervision of a relative or associate;
  • the audit or review of work of a relative or associate;
  • the preparation of a response to a grievance submitted by a relative or associate;
  • the selection of a relative or associate for educational, training or development opportunities; and
  • making workforce adjustments involving a relative or associate.

Measures which can be taken to avoid these situations include, but are not limited to:

  • making alternative work arrangements
  • changing reporting relationships
  • adjusting the membership of the selection board

In all instances, individuals must ensure that decisions are transparent, clear and defensible.

All situations should be dealt with on a case by case basis; parties should consult with their managers or the Centre for advice.

2.7 Exercise of authority

In managing INAC financial, human and program resources, managers and employees exercise their duties fairly, diligently and efficiently. In doing so, they are expected to evaluate cost, value and operational requirements and ensure responsible and appropriate application of resources. As well, workload, leave, overtime, training opportunities and the reasonable application of flexible work arrangements ought to be distributed equitably.

Employees are expected to respect the appropriate chain-of-command and to provide expert and honest advice - without fear of reprisal - even when that advice may be unwelcome. Employees acknowledge and accept that resulting decisions, even when not in keeping with the advice given, are the purview of the delegated authority, who is ultimately accountable for those decisions.

Where a dispute or conflict arises, managers and employees are encouraged to deal with these issues informally and in good faith - at the lowest possible level and in a timely manner. Parties may discreetly seek insight and support from respected sources including, but not limited to, their bargaining agent, labour relations, Elders, EAP, or colleagues. Support and services related to informal conflict resolution are available from the Centre for Integrity, Values and Conflict Resolution.

If an informal resolution cannot be found, employees have the right to responsibly avail themselves of all approved processes and tools at their disposal (e.g. grievance, harassment complaint, etc). Reprisals against those who choose to exercise those rights cannot and will not be tolerated.

Decision-makers are expected to consider the facts and risks of any situation in a fair and open manner. Those with the appropriate delegated authority are responsible for making informed and timely decisions that will lead to the best possible results - even when those decisions may be unpopular. Decisions must be timely, appropriate, transparent and defensible.

3. Requirements for preventing post-employment conflict of interest situations before and after leaving office:

All public servants have a responsibility to minimize the possibility of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest between their most recent responsibilities within the federal public service and their subsequent employment outside the public service.

3.1 Before leaving employment

Before leaving their employment with the public service, all public servants are to disclose, in a Confidential Report, their intentions regarding any future outside employment or activities that may pose a risk of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest with their current responsibilities and discuss potential conflicts with their Director or INAC's Senior Integrity Officer.

3.2 Post-employment limitation period for public servants in designated positions

The Deputy Minister is responsible for designating positions of risk for post-employment conflict of interest situations as per sections 6.1.2.f) i. of the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Policy. At INAC, the designated positions are:

  • executive positions (EX or their equivalent);
  • EX minus one and EX minus two positions (and their equivalents - e.g. PM 06 or 05, IS 06 or 05, AS 07 or 06); and,
  • those who have decision-making authority, but do not meet the above criteria may also be affected

Public servants in these designated positions are subject to a one-year limitation period after leaving office. Before leaving office and during this one-year limitation period, these public servants are to report to their Director, through the use of a Confidential Report, all firm offers of employment or proposed activity outside the public service that could place them in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest with their public service employment.

As well, they are to disclose immediately, in a Confidential Report, the acceptance of any such offer. In addition, these public servants may not do the following during the one-year period, without the Deputy Minister's authorization:

  • Accept appointment to a board of directors of, or employment with, private entities with which they had significant official dealings during the one-year period immediately prior to the termination of their service. The official dealings in question may either be directly on the part of the public servant or through subordinates;
  • Make representations to any government organization on behalf of persons or entities outside of the public service with which they had significant official dealings during the period of one year immediately prior to the termination of their service.Footnote 4. The official dealings in question may either be directly on the part of the public servant or through subordinates; or
  • Give advice to their clients or employer using privileged information that is not publicly available concerning the programs or policies of the departments or organizations with which they were employed or with which they had a direct and substantial relationship.

Post-Employment measures apply specifically to employment with external entities. Individuals who have left the public sector, may be re-engaged within the public sector (contracts, casual, etc.), so long as the rules governing such employment are met. For additional information contact HR & Contracting.

3.3 Waiver or reduction of limitation period

A public servant or former public servant may apply to the Deputy Minister for a written waiver or reduction of the limitation period. The public servant is to provide sufficient information, in writing, to assist the Deputy Minister in making a determination as to whether to grant the waiver, taking into consideration the following criteria:

  • the circumstances under which the termination of their service occurred;
  • the general employment prospects of the public servant or former public servant;
  • the significance to the government of information possessed by the public servant or former public servant by virtue of that individual's position in the public service;
  • the desirability of a rapid transfer of the public servant's or former public servant's knowledge and skills from the government to private, other governmental or non-governmental sectors;
  • the degree to which the new employer might gain unfair commercial or private advantage by hiring the public servant or former public servant;
  • the authority and influence possessed by that individual while in the public service; and/or
  • any other consideration at the discretion of the Deputy Minister

As well, individuals who are in breach of the post-employment measures will be restricted in their access to departmental resources for the duration of the limitation period. INAC employees, to avoid conflict of interest, are required to avoid business dealings with any individuals who are subject to post-employment measures.

4. Resolution of conflict of interest and post-employment measures

With respect to the arrangements necessary to prevent real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, or to comply with the requirements set out above, it is expected that situations will be resolved through discussion and agreement between the public servant and the Deputy Minister or delegate. When a public servant and the Deputy Minister or his/her delegate disagree on the appropriate arrangements to resolve a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, the disagreement will be resolved through established resolution procedures.

5. Consequences

A public servant who does not comply with the requirements set out in this Code may be subject to disciplinary measures, up to and including termination of employment.

Conclusion

Every INAC employee is a valued contributor to the attainment of our common goals. And each of us has a responsibility to lead by example. This means "walking the talk", and taking actions in a way that upholds the values we embrace.

To do this, we must constantly and consistently act with integrity, respect and commitment toward our clients and colleagues.

Adhering to and demonstrating these principles is critical to ensuring a values-based environment where individuals work collaboratively to achieve our mandate. Managers and employees are expected to demonstrate these behaviours in all their day-to-day activities.

Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Associate
A person, other than a relative, with whom there exists a personal or business relationship which could lead to a reasonable perception of preferential or unfair treatment in making objective decisions.

B

Board of Directors
A body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization.

C

Confidential Report
A written declaration of assets, direct and contingent liabilities, outside activities or, in the case of post-employment, firm employment offers that might put a public servant in an apparent, potential or real conflict of interest situation. Public Servants are responsible for assessing their own personal circumstances on a regular basis to determine whether there is a risk of real, potential or apparent conflict of interest.
Conflict of Interest (COI)
A situation in which the public servant has private interests that could improperly influence the performance of his or her official duties and responsibilities or in which the public servant uses his or her office for personal gain. A real conflict of interest exists at the present time, an apparent conflict of interest could be perceived by a reasonable observer to exist, whether or not it is the case, and a potential conflict of interest could reasonably be foreseen to exist in the future.
Conflict of Duties
A conflict that arises, not because of a public servant's private interests, but as a result of one or more concurrent or competing official responsibilities. For example, these roles could include his or her primary public service employment and his or her responsibilities in an outside role that forms part of his or her official duties, such as an appointment to a board of directors, or other outside function.

E

Ethical Dilemma
A situation in which the right thing to do is not clear; two or more values may be in conflict; or harm may be caused no matter what action is taken.

G

Game of Chance
A game whose outcome is strongly influenced by some randomizing device, and upon which contestants may or may not wager money or anything of monetary value.

P

Privileged Information
Information obtained in the course of official duties that is not generally available to the public
Public Interest
The interest of Canadians as expressed through the democratic process of Elections.
Public Sector
  1. The departments named in Schedule I to the Financial Administration Act and the other portions of the federal public administration named in Schedules I.1 to V to that Act; and
  2. The Crown corporations and the other public bodies set out in Schedule I of the PSDPA.
However, the "public sector" does not include the Canadian Forces, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service or the Communications Security Establishment, which are subject to separate requirements under the Act.
Public Servant
A person employed in organizations defined in section 2 of the Policy. This includes indeterminate and term employees, employees on leave without pay, students participating in Student Employment Programs, casual, seasonal and part-time workers.
Although they are not public servants, individuals on incoming Interchange Canada assignments are expected to comply with, and volunteers are expected to respect, the requirements in Appendix B of this policy. Order-in-council appointees, such as deputy heads, are subject to the Conflict of Interest Act, and are not subject to this policy.
Public Trust
Ensuring the confidence of Canadians in the integrity of the public service.

R

Relative
The father, mother (or alternatively stepfather, stepmother, or foster parent), spouse (or common-law partner resident with the employee), child (including child of common-law partner), stepchild or ward of the employee, brother, sister, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, the employee's grandparents and any other relative permanently residing in the employee's household or with whom the employee permanently resides.

V

Values
Moral principles that guide our actions and decisions. They affect how we behave and how we expect others to behave.

Annex 1 - Duties and obligations

Public servants

Public servants are expected to abide by this Code and demonstrate the values of the public sector in their actions and behaviour. Furthermore, public servants must also adhere to the behavioural expectations set out in their respective organizational codes of conduct. If a public servant does not abide by these values and expectations, he or she may be subject to administrative or disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment.

Public servants who are also managers are in a position of influence and authority that gives them a particular responsibility to exemplify the values of the public sector.

As provided by Sections 12 and 13 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), if a public servant has information that could indicate a serious breach of this Code they can bring this matter, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to the attention of their immediate supervisor, their senior officer for disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

Chief executives

Chief executivesFootnote 5 of public sector organizations have specific responsibilities under the PSDPA, including establishing a code of conduct for their organization, and an overall responsibility for fostering a positive culture of values and ethics in their organization. They ensure that employees are aware of their obligations under this Code and their specific organizational code of conduct. They also ensure that employees can obtain appropriate advice within their organization on ethical issues, including possible conflicts of interest.

Chief executives ensure that the VECPS, their organizational code of conduct and their internal disclosure procedures are implemented effectively in their organization, and are regularly monitored and evaluated. Chief executives of Crown corporations may rely on their boards of directors for support in this duty.

Chief executives are responsible for ensuring the non-partisan provision of programs and services by their organizations.

Chief executives are subject to this Code and to the Conflict of Interest Act.

Senior officers for disclosure

The senior officer for disclosure helps promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing, and deals with disclosures of wrongdoing made by public servants of their organization. Senior officers are responsible for supporting the chief executive in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA.

The senior officer's duties and powers within his or her organization also include the following, in accordance with the internal disclosure procedures established under the PSDPA:

  1. Provide information, advice, and guidance to public servants regarding the organization's internal disclosure procedures, including the making of disclosures, the conduct of investigations into disclosures, and the handling of disclosures made to supervisors.
  2. Receive and record disclosures and review them to establish whether there are sufficient grounds for further action under the PSDPA.
  3. Manage investigations into disclosures, including determining whether to deal with a disclosure under the PSDPA, initiate an investigation, or cease an investigation.
  4. Coordinate handling of a disclosure with the senior officer of another federal public sector organization, if a disclosure or an investigation into a disclosure involves that other organization.
  5. Notify the person(s) who made a disclosure in writing of the outcome of any review and/or investigation into the disclosure, and on the status of actions taken on the disclosure, as appropriate.
  6. Report the findings of investigations, as well as any systemic problems that may give rise to wrongdoings, directly to his or her chief executive, with recommendations for corrective action, if any.

Treasury Board Secretariat – Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer

In support of the Treasury Board President's responsibilities under section 4 of the PSDPA, the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) is responsible for promoting ethical practices in the public sectorFootnote 6. The OCHRO will work with all relevant partner organizations to implement and promote this Code, and will provide advice to chief executives and designated departmental officials with respect to its interpretation.

The Chief Human Resources Officer may issue directives, standards and guidelines related to this Code.

OCHRO will monitor the implementation of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector with a view to assessing whether the stated objectives have been achieved.

Public Service Commission

The Public Service Commission is responsible for conducting staffing investigations and audits to safeguard the integrity of the public staffing system and administering certain provisions related to political activities to maintain the non-partisanship of the public service in accordance with the Public Service Employment Act.

Annex 2 - Examples of reportable and exempt assets and liabilities

1.0 Examples of reportable assets and liabilities

  1. Publicly traded securities of corporations and foreign governments, and self-administered or self-directed Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), and self-administered or self-directed Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) that are composed of these securities, where these securities are held directly and not through units in mutual funds;
  2. Interests in partnerships, proprietorships, joint ventures, private companies and family businesses, in particular those that own or control shares of public companies or that do business with the government;
  3. Commercially operated farm businesses;
  4. Real property that is not for the private use of public servants or their family members;
  5. Commodities, futures and foreign currencies held or traded for speculative purposes;
  6. Assets placed in trust or resulting from an estate of which the public servant is a beneficiary;
  7. Secured or unsecured loans granted to persons other than to members of the public servant's immediate family;
  8. Any other assets or liabilities that could give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest due to the particular nature of the public servant's official duties and responsibilities; and
  9. Direct and contingent liabilities in respect of any of the assets described in this section.

2.0 Examples of exempt assets and liabilities

The assets for the private use of public servants and of their family members, as well as assets that are not of a commercial character, are exempt assets that are not required to be disclosed in a report. For example, such assets would include the following:

  1. Residences, recreational properties and farms used or intended for use by public servants or their families;
  2. Household goods and personal effects;
  3. Works of art, antiques and collectibles;
  4. Automobiles and other personal means of transportation;
  5. Cash and deposits other than foreign currencies held for speculative purposes;
  6. Canada Saving Bonds and other similar investments in securities of fixed value issued or guaranteed by any level of government in Canada or agencies of those governments;
  7. Investments in limited partnerships that are not traded publicly and whose assets are exempt assets;
  8. Public sector debt financing not guaranteed by a level of government, such as university and hospital debt financing;
  9. Registered Retirement Savings Plans and Registered Education Saving
  10. Plans that are not self-administered or self-directed;
  11. Investments in open-ended mutual funds;
  12. Guaranteed investment certificates and similar financial instruments;
  13. Annuities and life insurance policies;
  14. Pension rights;
  15. Money owed by a previous employer, client or partnership; and
  16. Personal loans receivable from members of public servants' immediate families and small personal loans receivable from other persons where public servants have loaned the moneys receivable.
Date modified: