IRCC Code of Conduct
- 1. About Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
- 2. Public sector values and expected behaviours
- 3. IRCC responsibilities
- 4. Employees responsibilities
- 5. Conflict of Interest and Duties
- 6. Discrimination and harassment
- 7. Disclosure of misconduct and wrongdoing
- Appendix A – List of reportable assets and liabilities and exempt assets and liabilities
- Appendix B – List of Reference Documents
Notice to the reader: Please note that the IRCC Code of Conduct includes all elements of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.
The Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA) requires that chief executives establish a Code of Conduct that is applicable to the portion of the Public Sector for which he or she is responsible and that the Code be consistent with the Code of Conduct established by the Treasury Board. The IRCC Code of Conduct is built on the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. It also includes the principles set out in the policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment.
1. About Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
Every day, as IRCC employees, you work with people from diverse cultures and you strive to serve them fairly, efficiently and with integrity. IRCC clients can expect impartial, courteous and professional treatment, as well as clear and accountable decision making.
The IRCC Code of Conduct outlines the values and expected behaviours that you must adopt in all activities related to your professional duties. By committing to these values and adhering to the expected behaviours, you help:
- strengthen the ethical culture of the Department;
- facilitate ethical decision-making to resolve conflicts between private and public interests, contributing to public confidence in the integrity of all decisions;
- contribute to maintaining a healthy, respectful, and productive work environment where all employees can, and feel they can, raise issues with management and disclose breaches of this Code without fear of reprisal; and
- contribute to the protection of the Department and the Government of Canada against internal fraud, misconduct and wrongdoing.
The IRCC Code of Conduct applies to everyone working at IRCC, including public servants as defined under the PSDPA, namely, anyone who is employed by the public sector. Consultants, students, and people hired under contract must respect the spirit of the code. Please note that if you are working in the International Network, you are also subject to the Conduct Abroad Code from Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
Acceptance of the values and adherence to the expected behaviours outlined in the IRCC Code of Conduct is a condition of employment for everyone working at the Department, regardless of your level or position.
As an employee, a great deal of trust is placed in you in the performance of your duties. You are expected to adhere to the IRCC Code of Conduct and its related policies.
If you contravene this Code, either explicitly or implicitly, you may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. Any disciplinary action taken against you would be based on the seriousness of the breach of conduct.
Note: Although this Code prescribes rules and standards of conduct for all employees of IRCC, it is not all-inclusive. The absence of a specific rule or standard of conduct does not mean that an action is condoned. It may still be subject to disciplinary action.
2. Public sector values and expected behaviours
As an employee of IRCC, you are expected to conduct yourself in accordance with the following values and expected behaviours of the public sector. These values have been extracted directly from the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.
2.1 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:
- Respecting the rule of law and carrying out their duties in accordance with legislation, policies, and directives in a non-partisan and impartial manner.
- Loyally carrying out the lawful decisions of their leaders and supporting ministers in their accountability to Parliament and Canadians.
- Providing decision-makers with all the information, analysis and advice they need, always striving to be open, candid and impartial.
2.2 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:
- Treating every person with respect and fairness.
- Valuing diversity and the benefit of combining the unique qualities and strengths inherent in a diverse workforce.
- Helping to create and maintain safe and healthy workplaces that are free from harassment and discrimination or any act of intimidation or threat.
- Working together in a spirit of openness, honesty, and transparency that encourages engagement, collaboration, and respectful communication.
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:
- 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.
- Never using their official roles to inappropriately obtain an advantage for themselves or to advantage or disadvantage others.
- 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 favor of the public interest.
- Acting in such a way as to maintain their employer’s trust.
Federal public servants are entrusted to use and care for public resources responsibly, for both the short-term and long-term.
Public servants shall use resources responsibly by:
- Effectively and efficiently using the public money, property and resources managed by them.
- Considering the present and long-term effects that their actions have on people and the environment.
- Acquiring, preserving, and sharing knowledge and information as appropriate.
Excellence in the design and delivery of public sector policy, programs, and services is beneficial to every aspect of Canadian life. Engagement, collaboration, effective teamwork, and professional development are all essential factors to a high-performing organization.
Public servants shall demonstrate professional excellence by:
- Providing fair, timely, efficient, and effective services that respect Canada’s official languages.
- Continually improving the quality of policies, programs, and services they provide.
- Fostering a work environment that promotes teamwork, learning, and innovation.
- Focusing on achieving and measuring outcomes.
3. IRCC responsibilities
Values and Ethics is the responsibility of everyone at IRCC. As such, the Department guarantees certain rights, has certain responsibilities, and offers protection and assistance in specific circumstances.
3.1 Deputy Minister
The Deputy Minister has a responsibility to foster a positive culture in relation to values and ethics at IRCC while meeting the following obligations:
- Ensuring that you are aware and reminded of your obligations under the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, and can get appropriate advice on ethical issues.
- Putting in place a Code of Conduct for IRCC, reflecting the Department’s unique issues, risks, and challenges. This should be developed in consultation with the bargaining agents.
- Ensuring that this Code is implemented effectively and that progress is monitored and impact evaluated.
- Designating a Senior Officer for Internal Disclosure.
- Ensuring non-partisanship in the provision of programs and services by their organizations.
- Upholding this Code and the Conflict of Interest Act.
3.2 Leadership role of managers
As managers, you are in a position of influence and authority that gives you a particular responsibility to exemplify the values of the public sector. In your capacity, you are a visible role model for the employees you supervise and you are expected to demonstrate leadership in respecting the Code of Conduct and, in particular, to:
- provide effective, responsible, and fair service to all Canadians;
- keep open, positive communications and working relationships;
- respect equity and diversity in all their dimensions;
- ensure compliance with the Code and its related policies.
As a supervisor, you will ensure that all employees under your responsibility are provided with the link for the IRCC Code of Conduct. It is the Department’s responsibility to ensure public servants are made aware of the relevant policies and guidelines.
It is also your responsibility as a supervisor to uphold the values and ethics of the department by having regular discussions with your employees and to ensure that they have read and understood the Code.
3.3 Office of conflict resolution
Section 207 of the Public Service Labour Relations Act requires that every deputy head have in place an informal conflict management system and ensures that you are aware that this method of resolving workplace conflict is available to you. That requirement provides the mandate for the Office of Conflict Resolution at IRCC and underscores the importance of resolving workplace conflicts informally, at the lowest level, and at the earliest possible stage.
To contact the Office of Conflict Resolution, follow this link IRCC.ConflictResolution-ResolutiondesConflits.IRCC@cic.gc.ca.
3.4 Employee organizations
The Department has the responsibility to respect your right to belong to employee organizations (unions) and to take part in their legal activities. The Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act stipulates, among other things, the following prohibitions:
- intimidating public servants in the creation or administration of employee organizations;
- canvassing for members on the employer’s premises, without the consent of the employer, during the working hours of a public servant;
- preventing public servants from becoming a member of an employee organization;
- discriminating against a member of an employee organization in regard to employment or to any condition of employment.
4. Employees responsibilities
As an employee, at all levels, you have a responsibility to contribute to harmonious working relationships with other employees in the Department, and you share the obligation to create and maintain a professional, respectful work environment.
Your actions, comments, behaviour, and attitude must remain polite and courteous when dealing with others (colleagues, clients, stakeholders, etc.) to ensure that IRCC is a respectful workplace.
4.1 Contact with the public
As an employee of IRCC, you may have diverse and frequent contacts with the public both at home and abroad because of the Department’s mandate and the nature of the position that you hold. Regardless of your duties, you must always act in a manner which credits the Department and the federal government in accordance with the Values of the Public Sector. You should conduct all official functions professionally and cordially even during periods of stress. Your actions, comments, behaviour, and attitude must remain polite, courteous and respectful.
However, in situations where you are subject to verbal or physical aggression by clients, or intimidating behaviour, you may refuse to serve such clients and should inform your supervisor immediately.
4.2 Public comments and comments to the media
As a public servant working for the Department, you must not make adverse or inappropriate public comments, such as criticizing your employer. As employees you are bound by the Duty of Loyalty to the Employer therefore you should refrain from criticizing and making adverse comments.
You should also exercise restraint when making public comments to ensure that what you post is not injurious to others, is not discriminatory, and does not negatively reflect on you as an employee of the public service.
Furthermore, your comments should not impact your impartiality and neutrality.
“Public comments” include oral, written or e-mailed views in blogs, chat rooms, social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, opinions, statements, information given on or to radio, television, the press, in public notices, books or public speaking fora.
You are responsible and may be found liable for what you post on your own social media pages and on the social media sites of others. Also, you and/or the Government of Canada could be found liable for your activities that are work- related. Failure to abide could lead to disciplinary actions.
As an employee of the Department you should not answer questions by the media and you must refrain from commenting or speaking on behalf of the Department.
If you are not an official spokesperson and you are asked about the Department’s position on a subject, you must refer the inquiry to your supervisor and to Media Relations.
4.3 Appearance and dress
Your appearance and dress must reflect the professional image of the Department and be consistent with the duties that you perform. They must not affect your health and safety or that of other employees, nor interfere with the work performance of other public servants. As an employee, you should also observe proper hygiene when at work. If you have any questions, consult your supervisor or manager. If you are a manager or supervisor, you may seek assistance from your Labour Relations Advisor.
4.4 Hours of work
To perform your duties fairly and efficiently, you must be punctual, so that you can be relied upon by the people with whom you work. Whenever you need to change your regular work schedule, you must obtain your supervisor’s consent as soon as possible and in advance of the change.
Your supervisor must also be informed of any planned or unplanned absence from work as soon as reasonably possible and you must obtain the required authorization in advance if possible.
Sick leave benefits or credits can only be used for the purpose for which they are intended. For more information, you may consult the TBS Directive on Leave and Special Working Arrangements.
4.5 Intellectual property
Under the Copyright Act, anything that you have created, designed, developed, or produced while doing your job with the Department, such as software, a work method, or an evaluation system, becomes the full property of the Department. Therefore, you may not market the product of this work, even after improving or modifying it outside working hours. This would constitute a contravention of these standards and the Act, and could result in legal action. In addition, you must obtain permission before sharing your production outside the Department. If you have any questions, consult your supervisor or manager.
4.6 Appointment processes
As an employee of the Department, you are expected to reflect integrity and professionalism in your actions at all times, including during an appointment process.
Decisions and actions relating to appointment processes must reflect the core (merit, non-partisanship) and guiding values (fairness, access, transparency, and representativeness) of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA). By selecting candidates with objectivity and impartiality, on a merit basis, we avoid preferential treatment or the appearance of preferential treatment of family, friends or colleagues.
If you are a candidate in an appointment process, you are required to pass a series of assessments in order to ensure that you meet the qualifications listed on the statement of merit criteria to be appointed on a merit basis. When using others’ words, expressions or ideas and presenting them as your own, such as copying information from the internet, you jeopardize your reputation, integrity, and professionalism, and the appointment process results could be deemed invalid. This could lead to your elimination as a candidate. It could also lead to disciplinary measures and the termination of the process.
In addition, it is important to note that all information provided related to an assessment is confidential and should not be shared with others prior to, during, or after the assessment. This could lead to the termination of an appointment process and disciplinary measures.
4.7 Legal obligations and responsibilities
You must report to your manager as soon as possible if you are arrested, detained or charged with a violation in Canada or outside Canada of laws, regulations, a federal statute or the Criminal Code of Canada. You must also report a traffic violation or highway code ticket received during the use of a government-owned or leased vehicle as the Department may be liable.
As an employee, you should avoid activities that place you or the Department at risk by knowingly associating outside of your official duties with individuals or groups who are believed or suspected to be connected with criminal activities. You must report to your manager any contact or associations that you have with known or suspected criminals outside your official duties in order to protect yourself and the Department.
As an employee of the Department, as well as your relatives and friends returning to Canada from the United States of America or overseas, you are subject to the same customs and related regulations as all members of the public. You must not seek or attempt to obtain or receive any preferential treatment or concessions as a personal gain or benefit of your position with the Department.
4.8 Confidentiality and disclosure of personal information
The confidentiality of information about clients must be maintained. You must not disclose this information to anyone other than the client or an authorized representative, except in cases authorized by a statute.
You are not allowed to access this type of information, either personally or by asking others to access it for you or to access it for another person, unless your work requires you to do so.
In addition you should not use confidential information for gain or financial benefit for yourself, your relatives, or any other person.
You must immediately notify your supervisor or manager of any privacy breaches so that the necessary steps can be taken to remedy the situation.
As a public servant, you are bound to fulfill the requirements to protect confidential information when taking the Oath of Solemn Affirmation upon commencing employment in the Public Service.
By taking this oath, you swore or affirmed to refrain from disclosing any information that you might become aware of while doing your job. You must not disclose information about policies, programs, practices, procedures or cases of the Department to which the public does not have official access.
(Public Service Employment Act)
Part 4 - 54
I, (name) , swear (or solemnly affirm) that I will faithfully and honestly fulfil the duties that devolve on me by reason of my employment in the public service of Canada and that I will not, without due authority, disclose or make known any matter that comes to my knowledge by reason of such employment.
This includes refraining from disclosing information about policies, programs, practices, procedures or cases of the Department to which the public does not have official access.
Where doubt arises, you must consult the various specific Memoranda of Understanding which the Department has signed with other departments and agencies at several levels. Any questions should be referred to your manager.
4.9 Other responsibilities with respect to confidential information
As an employee of IRCC, you must arrange your private affairs in such a way as to avoid all suspicion that you have benefited from access to any information of a confidential nature.
You must be mindful of the minimum disclosure rule. The disclosure of personal information must be strictly limited to the minimum information required to perform your duties. Further disclosure is unauthorized by the Privacy Act.
It is equally important to avoid activities which may give the impression that you are benefiting from confidential information. You may not use, process or store any designated or classified information other than for purposes expressly stipulated by the Department. You should discuss particular situations with your supervisor or an Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator.
E-mail Address: ATIP-AIPRP@cic.gc.ca
Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
Access to Information and Privacy Division
360 Laurier Avenue West, 10th Floor
Ottawa ON K1A 1L1
4.10 Safety and security
As required under Part II of the Canada Labour Code 126(1) g, you must report immediately to your supervisor, of any miss, injury or accident suffered at work by you, any other employee, or a client.
For information on the right to refuse dangerous work, please go to the Employment, Social and Development Canada website. As an employee, it is suggested that you read and be aware of Security Policy and Procedures Manual Security Bulletins and other pertinent material.
4.11 Consumption of intoxicants and smoking
IRCC does not permit the consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs or other intoxicants while on duty or while on any premises where IRCC conducts its business, except under special circumstances when authorized by senior management.
Similarly, you must never report to work under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or other intoxicants. You are not to consume alcohol, illegal drugs or other intoxicants while operating an IRCC vehicle. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring adherence to this requirement.
If you believe that you have a substance abuse problem, you are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for assistance, seek medical attention or you could choose to speak to your manager. If deemed necessary, your supervisor may also refer you to the EAP.
IRCC supports a safe and healthy work environment and does not permit smoking (including electronic cigarettes) in any indoor or enclosed space, under the IRCC control, in which you as an employee perform your duties.
4.12 Use of Crown property
Unless you have received proper authorization, you must never use equipment, material, vehicles or facilities purchased, used or leased by the Crown for other than official purposes and for your own personal benefit or that of family members, friends or outside organizations.
This includes the use of Crown property such as computers, telephones, photocopiers, vehicles, taxi vouchers, fax machines, and data banks.
The Corporate Card/travel card is only to be used for expenses incurred while on authorized government travel status. The travel card is not to be used for personal expenses, at any other times. For more information please consult the Procedure on Travel Cards. Further, you must safeguard Crown property according to departmental requirements.
The acquisition card is a tool for procurement and payment of goods and services for Government needs only. For more information please consult the Procedure on Acquisition Cards.
You must use official identification, the Departmental Credit Card or any other card only for the purposes for which they were intended and in the best interests of the Department.
4.13 Use of electronic networks
The Policy on the Use of Electronic Networks was developed to clarify which behaviours are appropriate and which are not when accessing the internet and other network services. It also describes security restrictions and the requirement for prior managerial authority to send messages for general distribution.
Remember that electronic messages should be managed and viewed similarly to their paper equivalent and are considered records under the Access to Information and Privacy Acts. E-mail messages and other electronic messages containing offensive language or inappropriate comments may constitute harassment and may result in disciplinary action. Use of e-mail is restricted to government-related business.
As an employee, you must ensure that any password granted to you to access departmental computer systems is kept in strict confidence. It is suggested that you read and be aware of IT Security Fundamentals.
Although the electronic network is provided to you for work related functions, the Department does allow, under certain circumstances, some limited personal use. Subject to any technical direction provided by the Solutions and Information Management Branch, you may make responsible use of the network provided that it:
- is on personal time, i.e. breaks and unpaid lunch;
- is not for financial gain, such as running a personal business;
- does not add to IRCC’s costs;
- does not interfere with the conduct of IRCC business;
- does not constitute unauthorized, unlawful or inappropriate conduct; and
- conforms with the Policy on the Use of Electronic Networks.
The Department has a zero tolerance for persons who use the Department’s systems to access or attempt to access sites that contain illegal and/or inappropriate material such as sexually explicit or sexually suggestive material, and hate speech material either of a visual or written nature, at any time. If you are found to have engaged the departmental system for this purpose, you will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
You must not participate in, or provide information to any internet sites or web-based activities that could compromise your status as an IRCC employee or that of your colleagues, or that could compromise the reputation of the Department.
You are reminded that any e-mails or documents created on IRCC’s systems are the property of the Crown, regardless whether the e-mail is personal or IRCC business related. IRCC’s systems are constantly monitored and misuse of systems or the internet may result in disciplinary measures, up to and including termination of employment.
5. Conflict of Interest and Duties
For the purposes of conflicts of interest and post-employment in this part of the Code, a Public Servant includes 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 and volunteers are expected to comply with the Code. Order-in-council appointees, such as deputy heads and citizenship judges, are subject to the Conflict of Interest Act, and are not subject to this part of the Code.
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 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 official duties, such as an appointment to a board of directors, or outside function.
5.2 Prevention of 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.
It is impossible to foresee every situation that could give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict. When in doubt, you can ask for guidance from the Workplace Investigation & Ethics Unit at IRCC.
In addition to the requirements outlined in this Code, you are also required to observe any specific conduct requirements contained in the statutes governing IRCC and your profession, where applicable.
5.3 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 your official responsibilities and any of your private affairs;
- Unless otherwise permitted in this Code, refraining from having private interests, which would be unduly affected by government actions in which you participate, or of which you have knowledge or information;
- Not knowingly taking advantage of, or benefiting from, information that is obtained in the course of your official 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. This includes family, friends, consultants, legal representatives, service provider organizations, and clients;
- 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 impairs, or could be seen to impair, your ability to perform your duties in an objective and impartial manner;
- Refraining from either public criticism of the Government of Canada pursuant to the duty of loyalty, or any political activity that could impair or appear to impair your objectivity and impartiality, or that of the public service;
- Ensuring that any real, apparent or potential conflict that arises between your private activities and your official responsibilities as a public servant is resolved in the public interest;
- Refraining from using any government and employer property or resources for personal gain, including performing outside activities on employer’s time; and
- Accessing any information, files, or applications, nor should you work on files related to members of your family, friends, colleagues or any other person with whom you have a personal relationship.
5.4 Requirements for preventing and dealing with situations of conflict of interest during employment
You are required to report in writing to the deputy head delegate, all outside activities, assets, liabilities and interests that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to your official duties. These include actual and anticipated outside activities or employment, during employment at IRCC and after leaving the public service. Any contractual agreements with federal government organizations, immigration consulting firms, and IRCC service provider organizations. All gifts or other benefits offered and accepted, and personal relationships must also be disclosed by submitting a confidential report to the Values and Ethics Unit.
5.5 Mandatory confidential report
The Department has identified specific activities and/or situations as having a high risk for a conflict of interest situation occurring; therefore they trigger a mandatory requirement that you must submit a Confidential Report in these circumstances.
A Mandatory Confidential Report is required for the following situations:
- If you receive, or will receive, a benefit or income either directly or indirectly from a contract and/or other arrangement with the Government of Canada; and/or
- If you, and/or your family/household member, are seeking, engaged in, or have been offered outside employment, volunteer activities, and/or any other activities which might give rise to a conflict of interest with the following organizations and/or service providers:
- Immigration Consulting Firm;
- IRCC Service Provider Organization (SPO);
- IRCC Grants and Contributions Recipient;
- Organization which has/had any contractual relationship with the Department; and/or
- Any organization which has/had any official dealings with, or on behalf of, the Department.
Even if you don’t think that your specific situation constitutes a conflict of interest, you are required to submit a Confidential Report Form if you fall into one or more of the activities/situation described on the mandatory list.
5.6 Non-mandatory confidential report
There can be situations or circumstances, outside the mandatory list, that would, or could, potentially cause a conflict of interest for you as an employee of IRCC. You are required to submit a Confidential Report whenever a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest arises between your private activities and official responsibilities in order to resolve the conflict in the public interest.
If it is not clear to you whether you should submit a Confidential Report or not, you should provide IRCC with an opportunity to evaluate the situation and advise you, for your protection and the Department’s.
As an IRCC employee you should report any risk of conflict of interest within 60 days of your appointment or subsequent deployment or when requested by the employer.
As an IRCC employee you should report any risk of conflict of interest within 60 days of your appointment or subsequent deployment or when requested by the employer.
360 Laurier Avenue West, 5th Floor, Section A
Ottawa ON K1A 1L1
When negotiating financial arrangements with outside parties, you 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, you are to immediately report the situation to your manager in order to seek advice or direction on how to proceed.
As an employee, you are required to evaluate your assets taking into consideration the nature of your official duties and the characteristics of your assets. If there is any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest between the carrying out of your official duties and your assets, you are to report this matter to your deputy head delegate in a timely manner by submitting a confidential report as described above.
Where your deputy head delegate determines that any assets constitute a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to your duties and responsibilities, you must divest those assets, or take other measures to resolve the conflict. You may not sell or transfer assets to family members or others for purposes of circumventing the compliance measures.
Please refer to Appendix A for the complete list of Reportable Assets and Liabilities and Exempt Assets and Liabilities.
5.8 Outside employment or activities
You 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 objectivity or impartiality of the public service.
You must report to your deputy head delegate when your outside employment or activities might subject you to demands incompatible with your official duties, or cast doubt on your ability to perform your duties in a completely objective manner. The deputy head delegate may require that the outside activities be curtailed, modified or terminated if it is determined that real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists.
If you received a benefit or income either directly or indirectly from a contract with the Government of Canada, you are required to submit a confidential report on such contractual or other arrangements. The deputy head delegate will then determine whether the arrangement presents a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, and may require that the contract be modified or terminated.
5.9 Political activity
If you are considering involvement in political activity you should seek the advice of your manager, a designated departmental political representative or the Public Service Commission (PSC).
You 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.”
If you wish to engage in a political activity not covered by Part 7 of the PSEA that could constitute a conflict of interest, you are required to report the proposed activity to your deputy head delegate.
Similarly, if you are subject to this Policy but not subject to Part 7 of the PSEA, including casual and part-time workers, and wish to engage in any political activity that could constitute a conflict of interest, you are to report the proposed activity.
5.10 Gifts, hospitality and other benefits
You should use your best judgment to avoid situations of real, apparent or potential conflict in considering the following criteria on gifts, hospitality and other benefits, keeping in mind the full context of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and this Code.
You must not accept any gifts, hospitality or other benefits that may have a real, apparent or potential influence on your objectivity in carrying out your official duties or that may place you under obligation to the donor.
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, and do not compromise or appear to compromise your integrity or the integrity of the Department.
You must seek written direction from your deputy head delegate where it is impossible to decline gifts, 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. This is done by contacting an Ethics Officer at the address listed in section 2.0 or by sending an e-mail to the Workplace Investigation & Ethics Unit at IRCC.
For full details, you should consult the Policy on Acceptance of Gifts, Hospitality and Benefits.
You must declare to your manager all gifts even if they are permissible.
5.11 Fundraising and solicitation
With the exception of fundraising for such officially supported activities as the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC), you 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, you should ensure that you have prior written authorization from your deputy head delegate 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, you are to consider whether any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists, and obtain the consent in writing of the deputy head delegate prior to accepting any such benefit.
The deputy head delegate may require that the activities be modified or terminated if it is determined that there is a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest or an obligation to the donor exists. With the exception of fundraising for the GCWCC, any other fundraising activity must be evaluated and approved by contacting a Values and Ethics officer.
5.12 Avoidance of preferential treatment
You are responsible for demonstrating objectivity and impartiality in the exercise of your duties and in your decision-making.
This means that you must not grant preferential treatment or advantages to family, friends or any other person or entity. You should not offer assistance to any entity or persons already dealing with the government without the knowledge and support of your supervisor.
You must not disadvantage any entity or persons dealing with the government because of personal antagonism or bias.
You must use official channels available to the general members of the public when accessing government services for yourself, your family members or your friends, and should in no way use your position for preferential treatment.
If in doubt, advise your supervisor or manager immediately or contact Workplace Investigations and Ethics at IRCC.
5.13 Requirements for preventing post-employment conflict of interest situations before and after leaving office
At time of departure, you have a responsibility to minimize the possibility of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest between your most recent responsibilities within the federal public service and your subsequent employment outside the public service.
5.14 Before leaving employment
Before leaving your employment with the public service, you are to disclose your intentions regarding any future outside employment or activities that may pose a risk of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest with your current responsibilities and discuss potential conflicts with your manager or your deputy head or his/her delegate, by submitting a confidential report.
Furthermore, you are required to submit a confidential report outlining any decision to seek outside employment with, and/or any firm offer of employment from any immigration consulting firms or organizations with which you have now, or within the past year, had official dealings on behalf of the Department.
When a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest exists, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Corporate Services will inform you and your supervisor. While you are still an IRCC employee, you must be assigned to other duties to avoid official dealings or contact with the potential employer. To avoid any perception of unfair practice, you may also have your access to departmental operational systems and databases restricted.
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 you and the deputy head or the delegate. When you and the deputy head or the delegate disagree on the appropriate arrangements to resolve a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, the disagreement will be resolved through the resolution procedures established by the deputy head.
6. Discrimination and harassment
Discrimination means any act based on race, creed, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, a conviction for which a pardon has been granted, a physical or mental disability, membership in a union, or participating in union activity.
Harassment means any inappropriate or hurtful behaviour that affects you personally and that the originator knew or should have known was offensive. It may take the form of comments or actions by a colleague, superior, or subordinate which humiliate, demean, or embarrass you. Examples include the display of degrading or hurtful material, unsolicited physical contact, and improper remarks. Please find examples in the tool guide developed by TBS to help you better understand what constitutes harassment or not.
As an employee, you are entitled to work in an environment that is free of discrimination and harassment. The Department will not tolerate these in any form and acknowledges its responsibilities in these areas. Harassment and discrimination may result in corrective or disciplinary measures being taken, up to and including termination of employment.
Disciplinary or corrective measures may also be taken against the following:
- any manager who is aware of a harassment situation and who fails to take corrective action;
- anyone who interferes with the resolution of a complaint by threats, intimidation or retaliation; or
- anyone who files a complaint that is frivolous or in bad faith.
If you witness discrimination or harassment or if you are a victim, you may speak to your supervisor, your union representative, the Office of Conflict Resolution or the Values and Ethics Unit.
You can also consult the TBS Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution for further information.
7. Disclosure of misconduct and wrongdoing
The Department takes seriously any breach of rights and obligations and has no tolerance for any reprisal against employees who disclose potential misconduct or participate in investigations. The Department has also established that allegations or evidence of misconduct must be investigated with respect for due process to ensure that the professional reputation of our employees and the integrity of IRCC are protected, and as a result, appropriate measures are taken.
As described in the Policy for Reporting and Investigating Misconduct, misconduct on its own means; any action or inaction whereby an individual willfully contravenes an Act, a regulation, a rule, a departmental policy, an approved procedure, or the Code of Conduct and/or the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. Misconduct may include for example: absence from work without authorization, theft, assault, insubordination, inappropriate access to information, and violations of legislation for which criminal sanctions are applicable.
This Code, as well as the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, encourage you to exercise your moral duty and to report situations of misconduct as well as to cooperate in any investigation. When a disclosure is made, the people with authority in the Department have a duty to investigate and, if misconduct is found, then necessary corrective measures could be taken.
IRCC offers various internal reporting mechanisms for misconduct:
7.1 Workplace investigations
The Workplace Investigations and Ethics Unit, Human Resources Branch, is responsible for internal administrative investigations into misconduct by individuals performing duties on behalf of IRCC, including locally engaged staff and consultants.
Allegations or suspected misconduct of a criminal nature or a Breach of any other legislation or statute or those involving law enforcement interventions are investigated by Corporate Security at IRCC.
The Policy for Reporting and Investigating Misconduct sets out the reporting procedure.
You can also contact the Workplace Investigations and Ethics Unit to report incidents of malfeasance or misconduct at 613-437-8796, or by e-mail at CIC-Workplace-Investigations-Unit@cic.gc.ca.
No misconduct investigations shall be conducted by any internal groups apart from the Workplace Investigations Unit or Corporate Security.
7.2 Internal disclosure officer
The purpose of the PSDPA is to provide a secure and confidential process whereby you are encouraged to bring forward situations where wrongdoing may have taken place. Wrongdoing is defined in the PSDPA as serious violations that go against the public interest.
For such situations you can make a disclosure to the Senior Officer for Disclosure at the following address:
Internal Audit and Accountability
365 Laurier Avenue West, A1059
Ottawa ON K1A 1L1
7.3 Office of the public sector integrity commissioner
You can also make disclosures directly to the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner at the following address:
Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner
60 Queen Street, 7th floor
Ottawa ON K1P 5Y7
Appendix A – List of reportable assets and liabilities and exempt assets and liabilities
Please find bellow the list of assets and liabilities which must be reported if they present a risk of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, and those which are exempt from being reported.
Examples of reportable assets and liabilities
- publicly traded securities of corporations and foreign governments, and self-administered or self-directed Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), and self-administered or self-directed Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) that are composed of these securities, where these securities are held directly and not through units in mutual funds;
- 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;
- interests in organizations that receive funds from IRCC;
- commercially operated farm businesses;
- real property that is not for the private use of public servants or their family members;
- commodities, futures, and foreign currencies held or traded for speculative purposes;
- assets placed in trust or resulting from an estate of which the public servant is a beneficiary;
- secured or unsecured loans granted to persons other than to members of the public servant’s immediate family;
- any other assets or liabilities that could give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest due to the particular nature of the public servant’s official duties and responsibilities; and
- direct and contingent liabilities in respect of any of the assets described in this section.
Examples of exempt assets and liabilities
The assets for the private use of public servants and of their family members, as well as assets that are not of a commercial character, are exempt assets that are not required to be disclosed in a report. For example, such assets would include the following:
- residences, recreational properties, and farms used or intended for use by public servants or their families;
- 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 and Registered Education Saving Plans 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; and
- personal loans receivable from members of public servants' immediate families and small personal loans receivable from other persons where public servants have loaned the moneys receivable.
Appendix B – List of Reference Documents
This is a list of suggested additional reading pertaining to the content of this Code. It is by no means exhaustive but includes the most relevant material. Employees are encouraged to access other research material, if desired, and to seek the advice of a supervisor when questions or need for clarification arise. Most documents can be obtained from Human Resources Contacts through your Administration Officer.
- Access to Information Act
- Canada Labour Code, Part II (TBS)
- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Justice)
- Canadian Human Rights Act (Justice)
- Code of Conduct for Canadian Representatives Abroad (DFAIT)
- Collective Agreements (TBS)
- Conflict of Interest Act
- Copyright Act (Justice)
- Criminal Code (Justice)
- Directive on Leave and Special Working Arrangements (TBS)
- E-mail Policy (IRCC)
- Guideline for the Use of Social Media (IRCC)
- Guidelines for Managing a Harassment Complaint (IRCC)
- International Agreements on Values an Ethics (DFAIT)
- IT Security Fundamentals (IRCC)
- Occupational Health and Safety (IRCC)
- Policy for Reporting and Investigating of Misconduct (IRCC)
- Policy on Acceptance of Gifts, Hospitality and Benefits (IRCC)
- Policy on Acquisition Cards (IRCC)
- Policy on Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace (TBS)
- Policy on the Use of Electronic Networks (IRCC)
- Policy on IT Security
- Privacy Act (Justice)
- Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act
- Public Service Employment Act (Justice)
- Public Service Staff Relations Act (TBS)
- Security Policy and Procedures Manual (IRCC)
- Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector (TBS)
- Management Policy Framework (IRCC)
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