Statement of Defence ethics

From: National Defence

The Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have a special responsibility for the defence of Canada, its people and its parliamentary democracy. Discharging this responsibility requires, among other things, a commitment by DND and its employees, and the CAF and its members, to apply the highest ethical standards in all decisions and actions, whether at home or abroad.

Ethical principles and expected behaviours 

2. Serve Canada before self

At all times and in all places, DND employees and CF members shall fulfil their commitments in a manner that best serves Canada, its people, its parliamentary democracy, DND and the CF by:

2.1   Making decisions and acting at all times in the public interest.

2.2   Performing their duty or their responsibilities to the highest ethical standards.

2.3   Avoiding or preventing situations that could give rise to personal or organizational conflicts of interests.

2.4   Providing decision-makers with all the information, analysis and advice they need, always striving to be open, candid and impartial.

3. Obey and support lawful authority

At all times and in all places, DND employees and CF members shall uphold Canada’s parliamentary democracy and its institutions by:

3.1  Respecting the rule of law.
3.2  Carrying out their duty and their duties in accordance with legislation, policies and directives in a non-partisan and objective manner. These three principles when properly internalized lead to the accompanying expected behaviors and maintain and promote a healthy organizational ethical climate.

Specific values and expected behaviours

1. Integrity

DND employees and CAF members shall serve the public interest by:

1.1  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.

1.2  Never using their official roles to inappropriately obtain an advantage for themselves or to advantage or disadvantage others.

1.3  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.

1.4  Acting in such a way as to maintain DND’s and the CAF’s trust, as well as that of their peers, supervisors and subordinates.

1.5  Adhering to the highest ethical standards, communicating and acting with honesty, and avoiding deception.

1.6  Being dedicated to fairness and justice, committed to the pursuit of truth regardless of personal consequences.

2. Loyalty

DND employees and CAF members shall always demonstrate respect for Canada, its people, its parliamentary democracy, DND and the CAF by:

2.1  Loyally carrying out the lawful decisions of their leaders and supporting Ministers in their accountability to Parliament and Canadians.

2.2  Appropriately safeguarding information and disclosing it only after proper approval and through officially authorised means.

2.3  Ensuring that all personnel are treated fairly and given opportunities for professional and skills development.

3. Courage 

DND employees and CAF members shall demonstrate courage by:

3.1  Facing challenges, whether physical or moral, with determination and strength of character.

3.2  Making the right choice amongst difficult alternatives.

3.3  Refusing to condone unethical conduct.

3.4  Discussing and resolving ethical issues with the appropriate authorities.

4. Stewardship

DND employees and CAF members shall responsibly use resources 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.

4.4  Providing purpose and direction to motivate personnel both individually and collectively to strive for the highest standards in performance.

4.5  Ensuring resources are in place to meet future challenges.

5. Excellence

DND employees and CAF members shall demonstrate professional excellence by:

5.1  Continually improving the quality of policies, programmes and services they provide to Canadians and other parts of the public sector.

5.2  Fostering or contributing to a work environment that promotes teamwork, learning and innovation.

5.3  Providing fair, timely, efficient and effective services that respect Canada’s official languages.

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