ISED Values and Ethics Code
Table of Contents
- Message from the Deputy Ministers
- Chapter I: Values
- The Role of Federal Public Servants at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
- Expected Behaviours
- Avenues of Resolution
- Duties and Obligations
- Chapter II: Conflict of Interest
- Requirements for Public Servants
- Prevention of Conflict of Interest
- General Responsibilities and Duties
- During Employment
- Outside Employment and Activities
- Political Activities
- Use of Social Media
- Serving on Board of Directors
- Gifts, Hospitality and other Benefits
- Avoidance of Preferential Treatment
- Prevention of Post-Employment Conflict of Interest Situations
- Appendix A: Other Resources
- Appendix B: Reference Documents
Message from the Deputy Ministers
We are pleased to present Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's departmental Values and Ethics Code. With its focus on ethical conduct, a respectful and professional workplace, and integrity, the Code epitomizes and defines Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's commitment to the highest standards of behaviour, as we foster a growing, competitive, knowledge-based Canadian economy.
The Code is a reflection of who we are as public servants, and as a Government of Canada department. The Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Code is a commitment to respecting the values and expected behaviours of the public sector and the department in all our business actions and decisions.
The Code is a guide for all staff at all levels of the organization. It is designed to help each and every one of us know what standard of conduct is expected, and it calls upon us to fulfill our responsibilities in an ethical manner. It will reinforce Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's commitment to serve the Canadian public and business responsively, while supporting a work environment in which people are respected.
By exemplifying the ethical behaviours and corporate values described in the Code, you will continue to uphold Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's tradition of integrity and professionalism in the service of Canada.
Associate Deputy Minister
At Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, our departmental mission is to foster a growing, competitive, knowledge-based Canadian economy. The department works with Canadians throughout the economy and in all parts of the country to improve conditions for investment, improve Canada's innovation performance, increase Canada's share of global trade and build a fair, efficient and competitive marketplace.
Our program areas include developing industry and technology capability, fostering scientific research, setting telecommunications policy, promoting investment and trade, promoting tourism and small business development, and setting rules and services that support the effective operation of the marketplace.
In our role as federal public servants, we all contribute to fulfilling Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's mission in all our professional activities. The Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Values and Ethics Code reflects our commitment and obligation to respect the values and expected behaviours of the public sector and the department in all our business actions and decisions. By being accountable for our values and their integration in our work, we lay the foundation for excellence and integrity at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
This Code outlines the values and expected behaviours that guide public servants at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada in all activities related to their professional duties. By committing to these values and adhering to the expected behaviours, public servants strengthen the ethical culture of the Department, contribute to public confidence in the integrity of all public institutions and contribute to maintaining a healthy and effective work environment.
This Code fulfills the requirement of section 6 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), which requires federal organizations to establish a code of conduct consistent with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector established by Treasury Board. It was developed in consultation with managers, employees and bargaining agents.
The foundation of the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Values and Ethics Code is the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Treasury Board Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post Employment. Both codes and the Treasury Board policy apply to all Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada employees.
Acceptance of these values and adherence to the expected behaviours is a condition of employment for every public servant at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, regardless of their level or position. A breach of this Code, these values or behaviours may result in disciplinary measures being taken, up to and including termination of employment.
The Departmental Code came into force on December 10, 2012.
Chapter I: Values
The Role of Federal Public Servants at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)
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 PSDPA defines "public servant"Footnote 1 as every person employed in the public sector (this includes the core public administration, Crown corporations and separate agencies). It includes every person employed at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada: indeterminate and term employees, individuals 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 of this Code.
The Constitution of Canada and the principles of responsible government provide the foundation for the role, responsibilities and values of the federal public sector.Footnote 2 Constitutional conventions of ministerial responsibility prescribe the appropriate relationships among ministers, parliamentarians, public servants and the public. A professional and non-partisan federal public sector is integral to our democracy.
The 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
Statement of Values
These values are a compass to guide public servants in everything they do. They cannot be considered in isolation from each other as they will often overlap. This Code is an important source of guidance for public servants at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. These values will guide our decisions, actions, policies, processes, and systems. Similarly, public servants at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada can expect to be treated in accordance with these values.
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.
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 our people and the ideas they generate are the source of our innovation.
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.
Federal public servants are entrusted to use and care for public resources responsibly, for both the short-term and long-term.
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.
Federal public servants at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the values of the public sector and these expected behaviours.
1. Respect for Democracy
Public servants shall 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.
2. Respect for People
Public servants shall respect human dignity and the value of every person by:
2.1 Treating every person with respect and fairness.
2.2 Valuing diversity and 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.
At Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Respect for people also means:
2.5 We carefully consider the impacts of our words and actions on others.
2.6 We adopt behaviour, appearance and language that promote pride in, and respect for, the Department and enhance its corporate image and reputation.
Public servants shall 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
At Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Integrity also means:
3.5 How we achieve results is as important as the achievements themselves.
3.6 Bringing any ethical concerns regarding departmental matters to our managers or through appropriate existing mechanisms.
Public servants shall use resources responsibly by:
4.1 Effectively and efficiently using the public money, property and resources managed by them.
4.2 Considering the present and long-term effects that their actions have on people and the environment.
4.3 Acquiring, preserving and sharing knowledge and information as appropriate.
At Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Stewardship also means:
4.4 Our transactions, including purchasing, contracting and travel, can withstand scrutiny at all times.
4.5 We safeguard protected, classified and personal information.
4.6 We follow safety and security rules and standards.
4.7 We use government assets only for official purposes, or as authorized.
Public servants shall 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.
Avenues of Resolution
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 can also seek advice and support from other appropriate sources within Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
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.
The Conflict Prevention and Early Resolution Office provides services to all Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada employees, such as consultation, facilitated dialogue, conflict coaching and mediation to help prevent, manage and resolve ethical issues and workplace conflict, including harassment, at the earliest possible opportunity.
As provided by Sections 12 and 13 of the PSDPA, if a public servant has information that could indicate a serious breach of this Code, they can bring the matter, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to the attention of their immediate supervisor, the Senior Officer for Disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
The Senior Officer for Disclosure is responsible for supporting the Deputy Minister in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA. The Senior Officer helps promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoings, and deals with disclosures of wrongdoing made by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada employees.
Members of the public who have reason to believe that a public servant at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada has not acted in accordance with this Code can bring the matter to the Senior Official for Values and Ethics or to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner to disclose a serious breach of this Code.
Duties and Obligations
All public servants at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada 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 this Code. 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.
As provided by Sections 12 and 13 of the 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, the Senior Officer for Disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
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. Managers are expected to uphold this Code, model appropriate behaviours, encourage dialogue on values and ethical issues, and promote a culture based on the public sector and departmental values.
Supervisors/managers demonstrate ethical leadership by:
- Acting with transparency, fairness and objectivity in all transactions and work activities, including staffing, contracting, etc.;
- Exemplifying our values included in this Code and integrating them into policies, programs and work practices;
- Fostering a climate of trust and respect, which expects and supports ethical behaviour and in which concerns may be raised without fear of reprisal through open dialogue;
- Recognizing and reconciling competing values;
- Making commitments that are reasonable and achievable;
- Following through on commitments;
- Foreseeing consequences of actions and decisions;
- Being alert and dealing with undesirable or inappropriate conduct properly and in a timely fashion;
- Holding themselves and their teams accountable;
- Promoting and recognizing excellence and ethical conduct, and encouraging personal and professional development in a learning environment;
- Promoting, exemplifying and recognizing best practices that contribute to a healthier workplace;
- Protecting from reprisal employees who disclose any serious breach of this Code in good faith.
The Deputy Minister
The Deputy Minister has specific responsibilities under the PSDPA, including establishing a code of conduct for Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and an overall responsibility for fostering a positive culture of values and ethics in the Department. Supported by the Director General, Human Resources Branch, as the designated Senior Official for Values and Ethics, the Deputy Minister must ensure that employees are aware of their obligations under this Code and that employees can obtain appropriate advice within the Department on ethical issues, including possible conflicts of interest.
The Deputy Minister must also ensure that this Code and internal disclosure procedures are implemented effectively and that they are regularly monitored and evaluated. The Deputy Minister is responsible for ensuring a non-partisan provision of programs and services by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
The Deputy Minister is subject to Chapter I of this Code and to the Conflict of Interest Act.
Senior Officer for Disclosure
The Director General of Audit and Evaluation Branch, as the Senior Officer for Disclosure, helps promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing, and deals with disclosures of wrongdoing made by public servants at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The Senior Officer is responsible for supporting the Deputy Minister in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA.
The Senior Officer's duties and powers also include the following, in accordance with the internal disclosure procedures established under the PSDPA:
- Provide information, advice, and guidance to public servants regarding Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's internal disclosure procedures, including the making of disclosures, the conduct of investigations into disclosures, and the handling of disclosures made to supervisors.
- Receive and record disclosures and review them to establish whether there are sufficient grounds for further action under the PSDPA.
- Manage investigations into disclosures, including determining whether to deal with a disclosure under the PSDPA, initiate an investigation, or cease an investigation.
- 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.
- 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.
- Report the findings of investigations, as well as any systemic problems that may give rise to wrongdoings, directly to the Deputy Minister, with recommendations for corrective action, if any.
Public servants at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada are encouraged to communicate with the Internal Disclosure Office to discuss possible avenues to address their concerns.
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 sector. OCHRO will work with all relevant partner organizations to implement and promote the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, and will provide advice to chief executives, deputy ministers 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 this Code 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 service 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.
Chapter II: Conflict of Interest
This chapter provides direction and measures to assist public servants at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) in effectively dealing with real, potential and apparent conflict of interest situations which may arise during and after employment in the public service. Preventing, managing or resolving conflict of interest situations is one of the principal means of maintaining public trust and confidence in the impartiality and integrity of the public service. This chapter is to be read in conjunction with chapter I of this Code.
Requirements for Public Servants
Following are the conflict of interest and post-employment requirements that are a condition of employment for public servantsFootnote 4 at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada as set out in the Treasury Board Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment. These requirements are grounded in and serve to uphold the values contained in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and in this Code. By upholding these ethical standards, public servants conserve and enhance public confidence in the honesty, fairness and integrity of the public service. These requirements also form part of Canada's commitments as a signatory to international agreements on values and ethics.
- Conflict of Interest:
- a situation in which a public servant has private interests that could improperly influence the performance of his or her official duties and responsibilities or in which a 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.
Prevention of Conflict of Interest
Public servants at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada maintain public confidence in the objectivity of the public service by preventing and avoiding situations that could give the appearance of a conflict of interest, result in a potential for a conflict of interest or result in an actual conflict of interest. Conflict of interest does not relate exclusively to matters concerning 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 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.
It is impossible to foresee every situation that could give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest. When in doubt, public servants should refer to the requirements found in this Code to guide appropriate action. Public servants can also seek guidance from their manager, their Human Resources Advisor, an advisor from the Labour Management Relations Office or the Senior Official for Values and Ethics.
In addition to the requirements outlined in this Code, public servants are also required to observe any specific conduct requirements contained in the statutes governing Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and their profession, where applicable. Employees must also comply with any specific guidelines applicable to their particular organization within the Department.
General Responsibilities and Duties
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 in this chapter, refraining from having private interests, which would be unduly affected by government actions in which they participate, or of which they have knowledge or information;
- Not knowingly taking advantage of, or benefiting from, information that is obtained in the course of their duties that is not 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 or impartial 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;
- Ensuring that benefits provided or offered to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada by outside entities or individuals with whom the organization has past, present or potential official dealings are managed appropriately and that any resulting organizational conflict of interest is resolved in the public interest; and
- Ensuring that concurrent outside appointments, such as to a board of directors, are managed appropriately and that any resulting conflicts of duties are resolved in the public interest.
This section contains requirements for preventing and dealing with situations of conflict of interest during employment.
Public servants are required to report in writing to the Deputy Minister (or delegated authority), all outside activities, assets and interests that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to their official duties. Such a report is to be made within 60 days of their initial appointment or any subsequent appointment, transfer or deployment. Reports should be made using the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Disclosure Reporting Form and submitted to the Labour Management Relations Division, Human Resources BranchFootnote 5.
On a regular basis thereafter, and 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 this Code, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Treasury Board Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment. If a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists, he or she is to file a report in a timely manner. In addition, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada may require public servants working in areas or with responsibilities identified to have a high risk of conflict of interest to attest regularly that they understand their obligations under this Code and indicate whether or not they need to submit a new or revised report.
When negotiating financial arrangements with outside parties, public servants are to comply with the requirements listed in this Code as well as other related directives or policies issued by the Treasury Board. When in doubt, public servants are to immediately report the situation to their managers in order to seek advice or direction on how to proceed.
Public servants are required to evaluate their personal 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 to the Deputy Minister (or delegated authority), in a timely manner.
Where the Deputy Minister (or delegated authority) determines that any of these assets results in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to their official duties, public servants may be required to divest those assets, or to take other measures 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 and the procedures for reporting and managing such assets are set out in the TBS Directive on Reporting and Managing Financial Conflicts of Interest.
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 report to the Deputy Minister (or delegated authority) when their outside employment or activities might subject them to demands incompatible with their official duties and obligations, or cast doubt on their ability to perform their duties or responsibilities in a completely objective manner. The Deputy Minister (or delegated authority) 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 (or delegated authority) on such contractual or other arrangements. The Deputy Minister (or delegated authority) will determine whether the arrangement presents a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, and may require that the contract be modified or terminated.
Any public servant considering involvement in political activity should seek the advice of their manager, their human resources advisor, the designated departmental official or the Public Service Commission (PSC) before acting.
Public servants are required to seek and 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 to the Deputy Minister (or delegated authority).
Similarly, any public servant who is subject to this Code but who is not subject to Part 7 of the PSEA, including casual and part-time workers who wish to engage in any political activity that could constitute a conflict of interest, is to report the proposed activity to the Deputy Minister (or delegated authority).
Use of Social Media
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada recognizes the importance of the use of social communication tools to reach and interact with the public and its employees. Use of social networks in an official capacity must comply with the Government of Canada legislative and policy requirements and the departmental policy on the use of the internet and electronic networks. Bearing in mind the highly public nature of social media and social networks, it is particularly important to be aware of the requirements of this Code such as respect for democracy, duty of loyalty, requirements for security of information, maintaining the professionalism and reputation of the department as well as respect for people. Employees using social media for personal or professional use are expected to use the same kind of judgement and criteria as would be applied to any other workplace decisions. Employees should comply with the Treasury Board Guideline for External Use of Web 2.0 and the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Guidance Document on the Use of Social Media.
Serving on Board of Directors
Participation by public servants on a board of directors can foster good relations with stakeholders and the public, whether membership arises from the public servant's private interests or from their official duties. However, the risks of conflict of interest or conflict of duties as well as any potential liability issues must be addressed. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada employees who currently sit on or are considering joining a board of directors where there is the potential for conflict of interest or conflict of duties are to report the matter to the Deputy Minister (or delegated authority) and complete the Board of Directors Assessment Tool.
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 and in keeping with this Code, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Treasury Board Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment.
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 and responsibilities 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.
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 Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
Public servants are to seek written direction from the Deputy Minister (or delegated authority), 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 or travel.
With the exception of fundraising for officially supported activities such as the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign, 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 supported official activities, public servants should ensure that they have prior written authorization from the Deputy Minister (or delegated authority) in order to solicit donations, prizes or contributions in kind from external organizations or individuals.
Similarly, if an outside individual or entity, with whom Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada 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 (or delegated authority) prior to accepting any such benefit.
The Deputy Minister (or delegated authority) 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 Code is consistent with paragraph 121(1)(c) of the Criminal Code.
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 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 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.
Prevention of Post-Employment Conflict of Interest Situations
This section contains 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.
Before Leaving Employment
Before leaving their employment with the public service, all public servants are to disclose 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 manager or the Deputy Minister (or delegated authority).
Post-employment Limitation Period for Public Servants in Designated Positions
The Deputy Minister (or delegated authority) is responsible for designating positions of risk for post-employment conflict of interest situations.
Certain positions at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada involve official duties that raise post-employment concerns. These positions include all those classified as executive (EX) positions, those classified as EX minus 1, EX minus 2 and their equivalents. The Deputy Minister (or delegated authority) may designate certain other positions as ones that raise post-employment concerns, based on an assessment of the conflict of interest or post-employment risk inherent to the positions.
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 the Deputy Minister (or delegated authority) 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. They are also to disclose immediately the acceptance of any such offer.
In addition, these public servants may not, during this one-year period, without the Deputy Minister's (or delegated authority's) authorization:
- accept appointment to a board of directors of, or employment with, private entities with which they had significant official dealings during the period of one year 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 their subordinates;
- make representations on behalf of persons or entities outside of the public service to any government organization with which they had significant official dealings, during the period of one year immediately prior to the termination of their service.Footnote 6 The official dealings in question may either be directly on the part of the public servant or through their subordinates; or
- give advice to their clients or employer using 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.
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 to assist the Deputy Minister (or delegated authority) 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.
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 delegated authority). When a public servant and the Deputy Minister (or delegated authority) disagree on the appropriate arrangements to resolve a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, the disagreement will be resolved through the existing departmental conflict resolution procedures.
Appendix A: Other Resources
The following is a list of resources available to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) employees:
- Values and Ethics Office
- Conflict Prevention and Early Resolution Office
- Internal Disclosure of Wrongdoing Office
- Human Resources Branch
- Labour Management Relations Division
- Employee Assistance Program
- Occupational Health and Safety Program
- Departmental Security Officer
- IT Security Office
- Public Sector Integrity Commissioner
- Public Service Commission
Appendix B: Reference Documents
The following is a list of relevant legislation, policies and guidelines which further detail expected behaviours described in this Code. Employees are encouraged to access other reference material and to seek the advice of their manager or subject-matter expert when questions or need for clarification arise.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Policies and Publications:
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Internet and Electronic Network Usage Policy
- ISED Departmental Security Policy
- ISED Guidelines for Workplace and Employment Accommodation
- Values and Ethics Disclosure Review Guidelines
- Guidance on the Use of Social Media
- Guide to Preventing Fraud in the Workplace
- Understanding Employment Equity and Diversity
Treasury Board Policies and Publications:
- Collective Agreements
- Communications Policy of the Government of Canada
- Duty of Loyalty
- Employment Equity Policy
- Framework for the Management of Compliance
- Guideline on Acceptable Network and Device Use
- Policy on Official Languages
- Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment
- Policy on Government Security
- Policy on Information Management
- Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution
- Policy on Privacy Protection
- Policy on Acceptable Network and Device Use
- Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector
- Justice Laws
- Access to Information Act
- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- Canadian Human Rights Act
- Canada Labour Code
- Conflict of Interest Act
- Copyright Act
- Criminal Code
- Crown Liability and Proceedings Act
- Employment Equity Act
- Financial Administration Act
- Lobbying Act
- Official Languages Act
- Non-smoker's Health Act
- Privacy Act
- Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act
- Public Servants Inventions Act
- Public Service Employment Act
- Public Service Labour Relations Act
The Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Values and Ethics Code is a "living" document.
If you have any comments or feedback you would like to share you are encouraged to submit them to:
Values and Ethics
- Date modified: