Values and Ethics Code – More than Words

April 2012

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©Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, (2012).
Cat. No.: CH4-158/2013E-PDF
978-1-100-22218-9

Preface

Everyone is a product of choices and circumstances. No one has power over circumstances, but each person has power over one’s choices.

Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

Every day we face situations that require us to make choices. Depending on our values, interests, understanding and analysis, we make decisions that affect us as individuals and that often affect other people: our families, our friends or the organization for which we work. Having a clear understanding of the choices before us and taking full responsibility for our decisions form an integral part of our daily lives.

Some decisions are more complex than others and can sometimes seriously test our values. At work, the values guiding our personal lives must also expand to include those values that help our organization work effectively. As such, a decision we may make for ourselves might not be the same if we were making it on behalf of an organization, and vice versa. One of the purposes of the Values and Ethics Code for Canadian Heritage is precisely to help us hone our judgment in this regard and to create a healthy and productive work environment that fosters innovation.

This is why the public service has established a set of values and ethical standards intended to guide employees in conducting professional and organizational affairs. These values complement our personal values and help us deal with the grey areas that can sometimes make decision-making difficult and have an impact on our behaviours.

Value Statement

Values and Ethics at Canadian Heritage More than Words

Values are a set of individual and collective principles that guide our way of thinking, our decision-making and our behaviours, as well as the emotional priority we attach to something. Ethics refers to the manner in which we behave. 

At Canadian Heritage, as throughout the public sector, our practices are based on the following values: 

  • respect for democracy
  • respect for people
  • integrity
  • sound resource management (stewardship), and
  • excellence

At Canadian Heritage, we also value official languages and diversity by taking concrete steps to use both official languages, and by being proud to represent Canada’s diversity. We also believe in responsibility, whether for our actions or for the role that we all play as public servants in addressing problems and finding solutions.

These organizational values allow us not only to successfully carry out the Department’s mandate for Canadians, but also to help us create a healthy and productive work environment that fosters innovation.

The Values and Ethics Code for Canadian Heritage illustrates our commitment to ensuring that these values are more than words and that they become a part of our daily reality and guide us in all aspects of our work.

Daniel Jean
Deputy Minister

Table of Contents

Part I – Values

A strong values-based approach to our work will make it easier to deal with complexity. It will also supportefforts to create a culture of innovation and intelligent risk taking in government.

Clerk of the Privy Council
18th Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada

Our Mandate

The Department of Canadian Heritage plays a vital role in the cultural, civic and economic life of Canadians. We work together to support culture, the arts, heritage, official languages, citizenship and participation, as well as Aboriginal, youth, and sport initiatives.

Our Responsibilities

The Department of Canadian Heritage is responsible for programs and policies that help all Canadians participate in their shared cultural and civic life. The Department’s legislative mandate is set out in the Department of Canadian Heritage Act and in other statutes for which the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages is responsible, and presents a wide-ranging list of responsibilities for the Minister under the heading of “Canadian identity and values, cultural development, and heritage.”

The Department oversees the administration of numerous statutes, notably: the Broadcasting Act, the Copyright Act and the Investment Canada Act (the latter two acts are shared with Industry Canada), the Official Languages Act (Part VII), the Museums Act, the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, the Status of the Artist Act, and the Physical Activity and Sport Act (shared with Health Canada).

The Department of Canadian Heritage is specifically responsible for formulating and implementing cultural policies related to copyright, foreign investment and broadcasting, as well as policies related to arts, culture, heritage, official languages, sport, state ceremonial and protocol, as well as Canadian symbols. The Department’s main program activities are delivered through funding of community and third-party organizations to promote the benefits of culture, identity, and sport for Canadians.

Our Organization

The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages is accountable to Parliament for the Department and the organizations1 that make up the Canadian Heritage Portfolio. The Deputy Minister, who reports to the Minister, is also responsible for the Department and relies on the Associate Deputy Minister, the Assistant Deputy Ministers and other senior executives reporting directly to him in performing his duties.

As public servants at Canadian Heritage, we all play a role in carrying out the Department’s mandate by embodying the public sector values, respect for both official languages and Canada’s diversity, and by being committed to fulfilling our responsibilities.

The 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 sector.2 Constitutional conventions of ministerial responsibility prescribe the appropriate relationships among ministers, parliamentarians, public servants3 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.4

Objectives

This code outlines the values and behaviours that all public servants at Canadian Heritage are expected to demonstrate in the execution of all activities related to the Department’s mandate and in the creation of a healthy and productive workplace. By committing to these values and adhering to the expected behaviours, we strengthen the ethical culture of the public sector and contribute to public confidence in the integrity of all public institutions.

This code is in conformity with section 6 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, which requires that all federal organizations establish a code of conduct. It was developed in consultation with public servants and bargaining agents, and it incorporates the principles and requirements of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service applicable to public-sector organizations.

Expected Values and Behaviours

The following values cannot be considered in isolation from each other as they will often overlap. They are a compass to guide us in everything we do as public servants at Canadian Heritage, whether it be in our words or decisions, our actions or in our day-to-day interactions with political representatives, our co-workers or our clients. Similarly, as public servants at Canadian Heritage, we can expect to be treated in accordance with these values.

At Canadian Heritage, values inspire and guide us as we carry out the Department’s mandate in an environment where each person acknowledges his or her personal responsibility to contribute to a healthy and productive workplace.

We conduct ourselves in accordance with the following values of the public sector and expected behaviours:

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 shall uphold the Canadian Parliamentary democracy and its institutions by:

  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.
  2. Loyally carrying out the lawful decisions of their leaders and supporting ministers in their accountability to Parliament and Canadians.
  3. Providing decision makers with all the information, analysis and advice they need, always striving to be open, candid and impartial.

At Canadian Heritage, we advance the public good with pride and passion. For example:

  1. we take actions in a manner that inspires and maintains public confidence;
  2. we draw upon a diversity of perspectives to understand and decide in favour of the public interest; and
  3. we establish and maintain efficient and impartial working relationships with our stakeholders. 

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 our people and the ideas they generate are the source of our innovation.

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

  1. Treating every person with respect and fairness.
  2. Valuing diversity and the benefit of combining the unique qualities and strengths inherent in a diverse workforce.
  3. Helping to create and maintain safe and healthy workplaces that are free from harassment and discrimination.
  4. Working together in a spirit of openness, honesty and transparency that encourages engagement, collaboration and respectful communication

At Canadian Heritage, we respect each other and create a healthy and productive environment. For example:  

  1. we encourage the use of both official languages;
  2. we encourage rich and diverse exchanges of ideas;
  3. we recognize our potential and celebrate our accomplishments  in fair and meaningful ways;
  4. we promote and support a healthy balance between work and personal life; and
  5. we resolve differences constructively in an environment free of reprisal.   

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 shall serve the public interest by:

  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.
  2. Never using their official roles to inappropriately obtain an advantage for themselves or to advantage or disadvantage others.
  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.
  4. Acting in such a way as to maintain their employer’s trust.

At Canadian Heritage, we are motivated and guided by personal and professional integrity. For example:

  1. we consider all applications for grants, contributions and services in a neutral, non-partisan manner in accordance with established eligibility criteria and procedures;
  2. we make or facilitate decisions based on sound evidence and knowledge; and
  3. we seek advice in situations when we foresee potential conflict of interest or the perception of a conflict of interest.

4. Sound Resource Management (Stewardship)

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

Public servants shall use resources responsibly by:

  1. Effectively and efficiently using the public money, property and resources managed by them.
  2. Considering the present and long-term effects that their actions have on people and the environment.
  3. Acquiring, preserving and sharing knowledge and information as appropriate.

At Canadian Heritage, we responsibly and wisely manage resources and information entrusted to us. For example:

  1. we use and allocate resources for grants, contributions, contracts and services in an open, fair and honest manner and in accordance with the established procedures, including travel, and other expense claims, gifts, the Internet, etc.;
  2. we identify and manage risk effectively; and
  3. we respect personal information and confidentiality.

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 shall demonstrate professional excellence by:

  1. Providing fair, timely, efficient and effective services that respect Canada’s official languages.
  2. Continually improving the quality of policies, programs and services they provide.
  3. Fostering a work environment that promotes teamwork, learning and innovation.

At Canadian Heritage, we are committed to serving Canadians by continuously improving the quality of service. For example:

  1. we offer reliable advice and quality services that are accessible and consistent across Canada;
  2. we plan, implement and evaluate our activities relying on evidence-based information;    
  3. we create an environment that promotes learning, innovation and initiative to continuously improve the way we do things; and
  4. whatever position we assume within the organization, we act as leaders in applying, for example, the key leadership and technical competencies identified for Canadian Heritage.

Application

Acceptance of these values and adherence to the expected behaviours is a condition of employment for every public servant at Canadian Heritage as an employee 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 Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA) defines “public sector” as:

  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 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 and the Communications Security Establishment, which are subject to separate requirements under the Act.

The Values and Ethics Code for Canadian Heritagecame into force on April 2, 2012

Avenues for 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 their organization.

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 Senior Officer for Disclosure is responsible for supporting the Deputy Minister in meeting the requirements of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. He helps to promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoings, and deal with disclosures of wrongdoing made by employees of the organization.

Members of the public who have reason to believe that a public servant has not acted in accordance with this code can bring the matter by e-mail to the Senior Officer for Disclosure or to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner to disclose a serious breach of this code.

At Canadian Heritage, a number of informal conflict resolution services (Office of Values and Ethics, Human Resources Branch, unions, etc.) are available for resolving issues or conflicts informally, as quickly as possible and at the lowest possible level in the  organization (discussion, facilitation, mediation, etc.). The use of these services is strictly voluntary and does not in any way preclude access to the more formal processes (grievances, investigations, etc.).

Duties and Obligations

Public Servants at Canadian Heritage

All public servants at Canadian Heritage are expected to abide by this code and demonstrate the values in their actions and behaviour. If public servants do not abide by these values and expectations, they 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, if public servants have 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 either their immediate supervisor, the Senior Officer for Disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage

The Deputy Minister has specific responsibilities under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, including establishing an organizational code of conduct and an overall responsibility for fostering a positive culture of values and ethics in the organization. He ensures that employees are aware of their obligations under this code and that employees can obtain appropriate advice within the organization on ethical issues, including possible conflicts of interest.

The Deputy Minister ensures that this code and all internal disclosure procedures are implemented effectively at Canadian Heritage and that they are regularly monitored and evaluated. The Deputy Minister is responsible for ensuring a non-partisan provision of programs and services by Canadian Heritage.

The Deputy Minister is subject to this code and to the Conflict of Interest Act.

Senior Officer for Disclosure

The Canadian Heritage Senior Officer for Disclosure helps promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing, and deals with disclosures of wrongdoing made by public servants of the Department. He is responsible for supporting the Deputy Minister in meeting the requirements of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.

His duties and powers also include the following, in accordance with the internal disclosure procedures established under the Act:

  1. provide information, advice and guidance to public servants of Canadian Heritage 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 Act;
  3. manage investigations into disclosures, including determining whether to deal with a disclosure under the Act, 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; and
  6. report the findings of investigations, as well as any systemic problems that may give rise to wrongdoing, directly to the Deputy Minister, with recommendations for corrective action, if any.

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat–Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer

In support of the Treasury Board President’s responsibilities under section 4 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) is responsible for promoting ethical practices in the public sector.5 The OCHRO works with all relevant partner organizations to implement and promote the Public Sector Code, which constitutes the basis of the Canadian Heritage Code, and provides advice to deputy ministers and designated departmental officials with respect to its interpretation.

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

The OCHRO monitors the implementation of the Public Sector Code with a view to assessing whether the stated objectives are 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.

Part II - Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Measures

We will have to change how we work and how we relate to one another, without losing sight of our traditional values and our vocation of service to Canada.

Clerk of the Privy Council
18th Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada

Part II of this code represents the Canadian Heritage Policy on conflict of interest and post-employment measures. It is based on the Treasury Board policy.

Requirements for Public Servants to Prevent and Deal with Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Situations

The requirements set out in the following chapter form part of the conditions of employment of public servants at Canadian Heritage, pursuant to the Treasury Board Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Policy. These measures are grounded in the values contained in Part I of this code, and are designed to support them. By upholding these ethical standards, public servants conserve and enhance public confidence in the honesty, fairness and integrity of the federal public sector. These measures also fulfill Canada’s commitments as a signatory to international agreements on values and ethics.

Definitions

Public Servant: A person employed in organizations defined in section 2 of the Treasury Board Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Policy. This includes indeterminate and term employees, persons on unpaid leave, students appointed within student employment programs, as well as casual, seasonal and part-time workers.

Although they are not public servants, individuals on an incoming Interchange Canada assignment, as well as volunteers, must meet the requirements of the following policy. Persons appointed through an Order in Council, such as deputy ministers, are subject to the Conflict of Interest Act, but not to the following policy.

Conflict of Interest: 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 refers to a situation that presently exists. An apparent conflict of interest is a situation where there could be a reasonable perception that a conflict of interest exists, whether or not it is the case. A potential conflict of interest is a situation which can 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 because he or she has one or more concomitant or concurrent official responsibilities. For example, these roles could include the public servant’s employment in the public service 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 Canadian Heritage maintain public confidence in the objectivity of the public service by avoiding and preventing situations that could give the appearance of conflict of interest or result in an actual or potential 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 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 conflict of interest. When in doubt, public servants at Canadian Heritage should refer to the requirements set out in this code. They may also seek guidance from their manager, the Office of Values and Ethics, or the Deputy Minister or his delegate.6  

Aside from the requirements set out in this code, public servants are required to meet the requirements of conduct contained in legislation governing Canadian Heritage and their profession, if applicable.

1. Public Servants’ Overall Responsibilities and Duties

Public servants’ overall responsibilities and duties are as follows: 

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. not knowingly taking advantage of, or benefiting from, information that is obtained in the course of their duties and that is not available to the public;
  4. 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;
  5. not assisting private entities or persons in their dealings with the Government where this would result in preferential treatment to the entities or persons;
  6. not interfering in dealings of private entities or persons with the Government in order to inappropriately influence outcome;
  7. 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; and
  8. ensuring that any real, apparent or potential conflict that arises between their private activities and their official responsibilities as public servants is resolved in the public interest.

2. Requirements for Preventing and Dealing with Situations of Conflict of Interest during Employment

In accordance with their organization’s procedures, public servants at Canadian Heritage must report in writing to the Deputy Minister or his delegate 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. The report must be made within 60 days of their initial appointment or any subsequent appointment, transfer or deployment.

The report must be made by completing the Confidential Declaration Form for Conflicts of Interest and submitting it to the Office of Values and Ethics, which is responsible for examining conflict of interest situations.

On a regular basis thereafter and every time a major change occurs in their personal affairs or official duties, public servants at Canadian Heritage are required to review their obligations under this code. If a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists, they must file a report in a timely manner.

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

When in doubt, they are to immediately report the situation to their manager in order to seek advice or direction on how to proceed.

2.1 Assets

Public servants are 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 between the carrying of their official duties and their assets, they are to report this matter to the Deputy Minister or his delegate in a timely manner by completing the Confidential Declaration Form for Conflicts of Interestand submitting it to the Office of Values and Ethics.

Where the Deputy Minister or his delegate determines that any of these assets results in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to their 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 Directive on Reporting and Managing Financial Conflicts of Interest (to come).

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 report to the Deputy Minister or his delegate when their outside employment or activities might subject them to demands incompatible with their official duties, or cast doubt on their ability to perform their duties or responsibilities in a completely objective manner. The Deputy Minister or his delegate 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 the Deputy Minister on such contractual or other arrangements. The Deputy Minister or his delegate 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 Canadian Heritage public servant who is involved or is contemplating to become involved in an outside activity or employment should seriously consider completing the Confidential Declaration Form for Conflicts of Interest and submitting it to the Office of Values and Ethics, when one of the following situations applies:   

  • the outside activity or employment involves an organization that has dealings with Canadian Heritage, in particular when this organization applies for, negotiate or receive contracts or financial benefits from Canadian Heritage; or
  • the outside activity or employment is linked to his or her official duties at Canadian Heritage.

2.2.1 Board of Directors

All public servants at Canadian Heritage who, due to an outside activity or employment, currently sit on or intend to join the board of directors of an organization that has dealings with the Department, in particular when this organization applies for, negotiate or receive contracts or financial benefits from the Department, should seriously consider completing the Confidential Declaration Form for Conflicts of Interestand submitting it to the Office of Values and Ethics.

2.2.2 Interchange Canada

Interchange Canada assignments are subject to this code and to the conflict of interest measures contained herein.

For more information, see the Intranet page on outside employment and activities or contact the Office of Values and Ethics.

2.3 Political Activities

Any public servant considering involvement in a political activity should seek the advice of their manager, the Office of Values and Ethics, or the Public Service Commission (PSC).

In accordance with the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), 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.

“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 subject to Part 7 of the PSEA, that could constitute a conflict of interest, is required to report the proposed activity to the Deputy Minister or his delegate by completing the Confidential Declaration Form for Conflicts of Interestand submitting it to the Office of Values and Ethics.

Similarly, any public servant at Canadian Heritage who is subject to this code but who is not subject to Part 7 of the PSEA−including casual and part-time workers−and who wishes to engage in any political activity that could constitute a conflict of interest, is to report the proposed activity to the Deputy Minister or his delegate.

To report the activity, the Confidential Declaration Form for Conflicts of Interest must be completed and submitted to the Office of Values and Ethics (OVE).

2.4 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 and hospitality.

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 his or her organization.

Public servants are to seek direction from the Deputy Minister or his delegate by sending a written request to the Office of Values and Ethics, 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.

2.4.1 Complimentary Tickets to Cultural and Sport Events

If a public servant at Canadian Heritage is offered a complimentary ticket to attend a cultural or sporting event that is not free (e.g., performance, gala or activity for a fundraising campaign), he or she shall consult the Guide on Accepting Complimentary Tickets to Cultural or Sport Events and/or seek the advice of the Office of Values and Ethics.

2.5 Solicitation

With the exception of fundraising for such officially supported activities 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 such official activities, public servants should ensure that they have prior written authorization from the Deputy Minister in order 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 a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists and obtain the consent in writing of the Deputy Minister or his delegate prior to accepting any such benefit. This request must be made in writing to the Office of Values and Ethics.

The Deputy Minister or his delegate 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. The above provisions are designed to ensure that this code is consistent with paragraph 121(1) (c) of the Criminal Code.

2.6 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 in relation 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.

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 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 his delegate.

3.2    Post-Employment Limitation Period for Public Servants in Designated Positions 

Some positions within Canadian Heritage include official duties that may carry post-employment risks. These are primarily positions in the executive group (EX), EX minus 1 positions, EX minus 2 positions and their equivalents.

The Deputy Minister is responsible for designating positions of risk for post-employment conflict of interest situations.

Public servants at Canadian Heritage in 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 in writing to the Deputy Minister 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 to the Office of Values and Ethics. In addition, during the one-year period, these public servants may not do the following without the Deputy Minister’s authorization:

  1. 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;
  2. make representations to any government organization on behalf of persons or entities outside of the public service with which they had had significant official dealings, during the period of one year immediately prior to the termination of their service.7 The official dealings in question may either be directly on the part of the public servant or through subordinates; or
  3. give advice to their clients or employer using information that is not publicly available concerning the programs or policies of the department or organization with which they were employed or with which they had a direct and substantial relationship.

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 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 his/her 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 while in the public service; and
  • any other consideration at the discretion of the Deputy Minister.

Resolution

With respect to the arrangements necessary to prevent real, apparent or potential conflicts 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 his delegate. When a public servant and the Deputy Minister or his delegate disagrees on the appropriate arrangements to resolve a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, the disagreement will be resolved through the resolution procedures established at Canadian Heritage.

For more information about these procedures, consult the Office of Values and Ethics.

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

You have just read the Values and Ethics Code for Canadian Heritage. This document is intended as a tool for dialogue and discussion among colleagues, an opportunity for all employees to learn about and better understand the values that guide us and on which we rely every day. As public servants, you have probably already assimilated these values into your work and into your relations with your colleagues, clients and the Department’s stakeholders.

Hopefully, this document has also shown you that resources and mechanisms exist to help you respond to various situations; they have not been put in place to limit your choices, but rather to clarify them and to help you better understand the ramifications.

Canadian Heritage can only benefit from its employees’ informed commitment to providing service focussed on respect for democracy, respect for people, integrity, sound resource management, excellence, official languages, diversity and responsibility, which begins with each of us and builds an excellent reputation for the Department in the minds and spirits of all Canadians.

Part III – Resources

The engagement, creativity and collaboration of all public servants are needed if we are to achieve our goal of excellence.

Clerk of the Privy Council
18th Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada

Contact-Persons:

References

Values and Ethics

Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment

Conflict Management

Harassment

Wrongdoing Disclosure Protection

Information and Finance Management

Other

1 These organizations are the following: Canada Council for the Arts, Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, Canadian Museum of Nature, National Arts Centre, National Gallery of Canada, Telefilm Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, National Battlefields Commission, National Film Board of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board, Public Service Commission, Public Service Labour Relations Board, Public Service Staffing Tribunal, and Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal.

2 This code is intended to clarify the role and expectations of public servants within the framework of Canadian parliamentary democracy as laid out in the Constitution Act, and the basic principle of responsible government, which holds that the powers of the Crown are exercised by ministers who are in turn accountable to Parliament.

3 The Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act defines “public servant” as every person employed in the public sector including every chief executive, i.e. the Deputy Minister. It therefore encompasses indeterminate and term employees, persons on leave without pay, students appointed under student employment programs, as well as casual, seasonal and part-time workers. Even though they are not public servants, persons who come to Canadian Heritage on an Interchange Canada assignment, and volunteers have to meet the requirements of this code.

4 This text reflects the duties and responsibilities set out in Accountable Government–A Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State,the Conflict of Interest Act, the Lobbying Act and the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.

5 Section 4 of the PSDPA assigns this responsibility to the Minister responsible for the Canada Public Service Agency (CPSA). With the creation of the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) within TBS on February 6, 2009, the functions of the CPSA were transferred to the OCHRO.

6 The delegate may be the Associate Deputy Minister, an Assistant Deputy Minister, or a Director General reporting directly to the Deputy Minister.

7 Assistant deputy ministers are subject to the Lobbying Act. Where there is conflict between this code and the Act, the latter shall prevail.

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