Conflict of interest

From: National Defence

The Conflict of Interest (COI) section reviews disclosures from Department of National Defence (DND) employees and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members to ensure that they don’t place themselves or the department in a conflict of interest. On this page you will find different situations where a conflict of interest may arise.

On this page


DND employees and CAF members must evaluate their assets to make sure they don’t conflict with the nature of their official duties. All non-exempt assets must be declared. See DAOD 7021-1 Conflict of Interest for more information about the disclosure of assets.

Non-exempt assets 

The following assets must be disclosed with a Confidential Report. These assets and liabilities include:

  • publicly traded securities of corporations and foreign governments, and self-administered or self-directed RRSPs, and self-administered or self-directed RESPs, that are composed of securities related to defence contractors if these securities are held directly and not through units in mutual funds
  • interests in partnerships, proprietorships, joint ventures, private companies and family businesses, in particular those that own or control shares of public companies or that do business with the government;
  • commercially-operated farm businesses
  • real property or an immovable that is not for the private use by you or your family members
  • commodities, futures and foreign currencies held or traded for speculative purposes;
  • assets placed in trust or resulting from an estate of which you are a beneficiary
  • secured or unsecured loans granted to persons other than to members of your immediate family
  • any other assets or liabilities that could create a COI due to the particular nature of your official duties and responsibilities
  • direct and contingent liabilities in respect of any of the assets described in this subparagraph
Exempt assets 

The following assets are exempt and don’t have to be disclosed. These include non-commercial assets and interests that are intended for your private use:

  • residences, recreational properties and farms used or intended for use by your or your family members
  • household goods and personal effects
  • works of art, antiques and collectibles
  • automobiles and other personal means of transportation
  • cash and deposits other than foreign currencies held for speculative purposes
  • Canada Saving Bonds and other similar investments in securities of fixed value issued or guaranteed by any level of government in Canada or agencies of those governments
  • investments in limited partnerships that are not traded publicly and whose assets are exempt assets
  • public sector debt financing not guaranteed by a level of government, such as university and hospital debt financing
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Registered Education Saving Plans (RESPs) that are not self-administered or self-directed
  • investments in open-ended mutual funds
  • guaranteed investment certificates and similar financial instruments
  • annuities and life insurance policies
  • pension rights
  • money owed by a previous employer, client or partnership
  • personal loans receivable from your immediate family and small personal loans receivable from other persons you have loaned the moneys receivable
  • direct and contingent liabilities in respect of any of the assets in this subparagraph


You cannot accept any gifts, advantages or hospitality for yourself or your organization as a DND employee or CAF member unless:

  • The gift is of minimal value (25$ or less)
  • It's infrequent in nature
  • There is no past, present or it's not reasonably expected that there will be any future business relationships
Gifts from lobbyists to DND employees and CAF members

Under the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics, DAOD 7021-4 Solicitations, Sponsorships and Donations and DOAD 7021-3 Acceptance of Gifts, Hospitality and Other Benefits, you cannot ask for or receive gifts, favours, hospitality or any other benefit from lobbyists or anyone else who the DND or the CAF has past, present or potential official dealings. This may create an appearance of a conflict of interest and could result in negative public perception.

If you’re offered a gift, favour or other benefit by a lobbyist, you’re encouraged to report it to your supervisor. CAF members must report it to their Chain of Command. If you’re lobbied, you should take notes about who approached you, when they approached, and what they wanted to discuss. This information is useful if you’re asked by the Commissioner of Lobbying for details about the interaction.

Lobbying is not the same as representing a company for normal business interactions and offering a gift, hospitality or other benefit. This is covered under DAOD 7021-3 Acceptance of Gifts, Hospitality and Other Benefits. When in doubt, corporations and their representatives should consult with the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada.

If you have questions concerning acceptation of gifts, contact us.


Lobbyists are individuals who are paid to communicate with the federal government. The action of lobbying is one of the activities described in the Lobbying Act.

Lobbyist must be registered under the Lobbyists Registration Regulations in order to engage with public office holders. Public office holders include:

  • Senators
  • Members of the House of Commons and their staff
  • Ministers and their staff
  • Officers and employees of federal departments and agencies
  • Governor in Council appointees
  • CAF members
  • RCMP members

A Designated Public Office Holder (DPOH) is a new category of public office holders who occupy ministers and senior public officials across the public service.

If you’re a designated public office holder there are prohibitions on lobbying activities for 5 years once you retire from the public service or release from the CAF. You must get the approval of the Commissioner of Lobbying’s for an exemption.

Contact the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada for any questions about lobbying.

For Lobbyists interacting with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces

The Commissioner of Lobbying issued its new Lobbyists' Code of Conduct on December 1, 2015.

DND employees and CAF members are encouraged to read this code to understand the lobbyists’ obligations to conduct lobbying ethically. As a public servant you have a duty to keep information safe and should only disclose it after proper approval.

Outside employment and volunteering

If you’re employed outside of the DND or volunteering in a position of responsibility (Board trustee, patron, spokesperson, etc.) you must disclose this to the COI office. They will assess if there is a conflict of interest.

If you’re planning on working after leaving DND, please see post-employment.

If your outside employment or volunteering is in relation with political parties or elections, see political activities.

You may have to send the COI office the following documents depending on your situation:

Civilian employees 

If you’re practicing or volunteering in a profession requires that you have insurance (lawyers, doctors, engineers, nurses), you must make sure that your insurances will cover you during your outside employment or volunteering.

Regular Force members and Class B or C Reservists

Outside employment:

  • a completed Confidential Report
  • the written authorization from your Commanding Officer, in accordance with QR&O 19.42

Outside volunteering:

If you’re participating in an endeavor (volunteer firefighter, snow patrol, paramedic, auxiliary police forces or similar activity), you must have the authorization of your Commanding Officer. Please note that you must satisfy the Minimum Operational Standards Related to Universality of Service at all times (DAOD 5023-1).

If you’re practising or volunteering in a profession that requires that you have insurance (lawyers, doctors, engineers, nurses), you must make sure that your insurances will cover you during your outside employment or volunteering.

Class A reservists 

You do not have to send a Confidential Report regarding outside employment or volunteering, unless it’s closely related to your service.

Where do I send the documents?

Once you have gathered all necessary documents, please send to or by mail to:

Defence Ethics Programme
101 Colonel By Dr
Ottawa ON  K1A 0K2

If you have any questions, contact us.

Political activities

Under the Public Service Employment Act, a political activity is carrying on in 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 an election period.

At all times, public service employees and members of the Canadian Armed Forces have a duty of loyalty towards the Government of Canada. You cannot publicly criticize the government while identifying yourself as a public servant or military member.

Given the nature of DND/CAF, not all members of the Defence Team are permitted to participate in political activities to the same extent. The employment status within DND/CAF dictates what is permitted, and at which level of government. Please consult the Political Activities diagram and/or contact DEP for further information.

DND employees

DND employees who would like to present themselves as candidates in federal, provincial/territorial or municipal elections must first request permission from the Public Service Commission (PSC) through the Assistant Deputy Minister (Human-Resources) (available only through the Defence Team’s intranet).

Once the PSC has granted permission, a Confidential Report must submitted by the employee to DEP to ensure that there is no real or perceived conflict of interest.

Employees who actively participate in political events outside of running as candidates, including supporting a candidate’s campaign, must submit a completed Confidential Report to DEP.

Military personnel

Regular Force members are not authorized to participate in provincial/territorial or federal elections other than to exercise their right vote. Regular Force members are permitted to participate in municipal elections with permission from the Chief of the Defence Staff, delegated to the Assistant Deputy Minister (Review Services) and approved via a Confidential Report submitted to DEP.

Reserve Force members are not prohibited from participating in federal, provincial/territorial or municipal elections but must first complete a Confidential Report and submit it to DEP.

See QR&O 19.44 for all regulations about political activities in the CAF.


If you’ve achieved a certain rank while serving in the CAF or while employed by DND, you’re required to follow certain restrictions in regards to your future employment after you leave DND/CAF.
The Treasury Board’s policy on Post-Employment applies to the Federal Public Sector. DND/CAF has published DAOD 7021-2, Post-Employment that outlines restrictions and deals with conflict of interest for situations specific to DND/CAF.
The restrictions in DAOD 7021-2 are effective for 12 months following your departure. Restrictions for Public Office Holders can last up to five years, including lobbyists.
If post-employment restrictions apply to you, you must declare any new employment or serious offer of employment, using a Post-Employment Declaration. The Conflict of Interest staff will assess whether there is a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest. The following table indicate which DND employee positions are required to comply with Post-employment restrictions. For CAF members, the Post-employment restrictions apply to the rank of lieutenant-colonel/commander and above.
CAF members can view a video from the Second Career Assistance Network (SCAN) for further information.

Table of positions classified as EX, EX minus 1, EX minus 2 and their equivalent

If you would like to have the post-employment restrictions waived because of your new employment, you must fill a Request for a Waiver or Reduction of Post–Employment Restrictions. You may want to fill out this form if your new position requires you to make contact with the DND, the CAF or any other Federal Department or Agency you had official dealings with before leaving the DND/CAF.

Table of positions classified as EX, EX minus 1, EX minus 2 and their equivalent
EX equivalent EX minus 1 equivalent EX minus 2 equivalent
ac-03 ag-05 ag-04
ai-nop-06, 07,08 ainop-04, 05; aiopr-04,05 ainop-02, 03; aiopr-03
aoetp-01, 02 aocai-05, aohps-03 aocai-04, aohps-02
ar-07 ar-06 ar-05
as-08 as-07 as-06
au-06 au-05 au-04
  bi-05 bi-04
  ca-02 ca-01
  ch-05 ch-04
co-04 co-03 co-02
cs-05   cs-04
de-03,04 de-02  
ds-05,06,07,08dsaaa07, dsbbb07 ds-04  
ededs-06 ededs-05 ededs-04, edlat-03
  eg-08 eg-07
  el-09 el-08
eneng-06, ensur-06 eneng-05, ensur-05 eneng-04, ensur-04
es-07, es-08 es-06 es-05
  fi-04 fi-03
  fo-04 fo-03
  gt-08 gt-07
  hr-05 hr-04
  is-06 is-05
laaaa02, 03; labbb02, 03, laccc03; lai 02, laii 02   la-01
  ls-06 ls-05
ma-06,07 ma-05 ma-04
mdmof-02, 03, 04, 05; mdmsp-01, 02, 03 mdmof-01  
mt-08 mt-07 mt-06
  ndadv03, ndhme05  
  nucon-01; nuhos-08; nuchn-08 nuchn-07, nuhos07
  om-06 om-05
  op-04 op-03
pc-05 pc-04 pc-03
  pe-06 pe-05
  pg-06 pg-05
  ph-04 ph-03
pm-07 pm-06; pm-05
  pr-05 pr-04
  ps-05 ps-04
  ro-07 ro-06
serem01, 02, 03; seres03, 04, 05 seres-02  
  sgpat-07; sgpat-08; sgsre-08 sgpat-06; sgsre-07
  si-07, 08 si-06
somao13 soins-02; somao-12 soins-01; somao-11
ti-09 ti-08 ti-07
  tr-05 tr-04
ut-04   ut-03
vm-05 vm-04 vm-03
wp-07 wp-06 wp-05


Guides and help

Contact us

Defence Ethics Programme
National Headquarters (Carling)
3500 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
K2H 8G2


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