Board Members’ Code of Professional Conduct
Statement of Purpose
The Board Members' Code of Professional Conduct (the Code) sets out the standards of conduct of Board members appointed to the Parole Board of Canada (the Board or PBC).
The Code aims to have Board members act in accordance with the laws associated with their duties. While references to specific laws, regulations, guidelines and policies can be found in this document, Board members are encouraged to obtain further information on legislated obligations by consulting the Board members' tools and resources. The Professional Standards Section of the Board Member Secretariat may also provide assistance in the interpretation or application of the Board Members' Code.
Although the Code cannot anticipate every possible situation, Board members are expected to act honestly and in good faith, in a professional and ethical manner, and in a manner consistent with the PBC's Vision, Mission and Values.
The Code applies to all full-time and part-time Board members of the PBC. Board members are accountable for their conduct and Vice-Chairpersons are responsible to the Chairperson for the professional conduct of the Board members assigned to their division/region.
This code of conduct is effective from June 20, 2018 and replaces the previous versions of the Board Members' Code of Professional Conduct.
The Executive Vice-Chairperson, who oversees the Board Member Secretariat, is responsible for the administration of the Code, including any matters regarding its interpretation.
The Chairperson is responsible to promote the Board members' awareness of and compliance with the Code.
Each individual has a responsibility to read, understand, and comply with any revisions to this code of conduct. Mandatory training for all Board members will be delivered to familiarize them with their responsibilities under this code of conduct.
B. Board Members' Responsibilities to the PBC
In the discharge of their official duties and at all other times, Board members must conduct themselves in a manner that promotes respect for the law and public confidence in the fairness, impartiality and professionalism of the PBC, and reflects the high standards of behaviour and attitude required of those charged with the administration of justice.
In accordance with Conflict of Interest Act, Board members may not divulge or use information obtained in the performance of their duties, which is not already available to the public, for their own benefit or the benefit of others.
Board members respect the security protocols and procedures at any location where they may be conducting business on behalf of the PBC. Security measures must be respected for the safety of Board members, the workplace, PBC and Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) staff, and all other individuals, such as victims and observers.
Appropriate Use of PBC Resources and Assets*
Board members are accountable for the appropriate use of all tools and information provided by the PBC and used in the discharge of their duties, regardless of the location of their workplace.
Discussion of Cases
To preserve the integrity of the decision-making process, out of respect for the duty to act fairly and respect the privacy interests of those involved in any case, information is to be communicated on a “need to know” basis, in accordance with the Policy on Government Security. This provision is to be applied both during a Board member's appointment to the PBC, and post-employment (as set out in the Conflict of Interest Act).
Board members will only receive or consider information about a case that they must decide, through persons and agencies recognized in legislation and PBC policy, and in a manner that is consistent with the PBC's information sharing requirements and policies.
Media Relations and Public Engagements
Board members are not designated as spokespersons for the PBC. Board members who have been directly invited to speak about the PBC or its mandate must first seek authorization from the Public Affairs Division at the National Office, in accordance with the PBC's Media Relations Policy.
As private citizens, Board members may access or use various social media platforms. In accordance with the PBC's Policy on the Use of Web 2.0 social media platforms may not be used to make written or public comment regarding individual cases, the work of the PBC, or other topics related to the work of the PBC.
Continuing Professional Development
Board members identify learning and development interests and actively participate in activities designed to enhance their professional competence and knowledge throughout their mandate.
Board members participate in annual assessments, as outlined in the Board Member Evaluation Procedure and the Vice-Chairperson Evaluation Procedure (as applicable).
Administration of the PBC
Board members seek to contribute to the overall effective and efficient administration of the PBC as an administrative tribunal and as an active partner in the administration of corrections and criminal justice.
Board members act to promote and preserve the accountability and independence of the PBC.
C. Board Members' Responsibilities in their work environment
Board members encourage and support the collegial operation of the PBC, and foster a positive work environment that promotes equity and freedom from discrimination and harassment.
Board members assist their peers through the respectful exchange of views, information and opinions.
Board members render decisions in which the protection of society is the paramount consideration in accordance with s. 100.1 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA).
Board members shall render decisions in accordance with PBC policy and standards, as well as in compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the CCRA and Regulations, the Criminal Records Act and Regulations, other applicable statutes; and consistent with the principles of natural justice and the duty to act fairly.
Board members are to consider all relevant information they consider necessary to make a decision and demonstrate that the issues were assessed and weighed against the file.
Decisions are based on thorough preparation and are independent, impartial, objective, free of external influence, and made without regard to partisan or special interests, or fear of criticism or reprisal.
Board members are respectful of the processes in place to ensure quality decision-making including those to assess compliance with legislation, policies and all other applicable statutes.
Conduct during Proceedings*
Board members are responsible for the proper conduct of hearings. As such, Board members conduct themselves in a manner that is courteous, patient, fair and respectful of all participants in all proceedings. Board members require that all participants of the hearing also engage in similar, respectful conduct to others.
Board members are expected to approach each case with an open mind and, at all times, must be, and must be seen to be, impartial and objective.
Board members shall not communicate directly or indirectly with any party, counsel, assistant, victim, interpreter or other non-PBC participant appearing before them in a proceeding, except in the presence of all parties.
Opinions and views expressed by other Board members during deliberations are to remain confidential; they are not to be shared with outside parties.
Vice-Chairpersons are responsible for addressing any potential conflict with the Board Members' Code. Board members will provide information as to the circumstances of the conflict and will work with the appropriate individuals to take measures to resolve the situation.
Board members should encourage the ethical and professional conduct of their colleagues. Any concerns in relation to potential breaches of the Board Members' Code should be brought to the attention of the Vice-Chairperson, as soon as practicable.
D. Board Members' Responsibilities to the Participants
Conflict of Interest and Apprehension of Bias
- Board members will familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Conflict of Interest Act and take all reasonable measures to ensure their compliance.
- Board members recuse themselves from any review or decision-making process in which the Board member's participation may result in a reasonable apprehension of bias or conflict of interest.
- Board members avoid involvement in outside activities that are, or would appear to be, incompatible with their responsibilities and duties or that could call into question their independent exercise of judgment, integrity and impartiality.
- While recognizing that there will be circumstances where information or statements must be tested or challenged, Board members will avoid:
- words, phrases and actions that could be understood to manifest bias or prejudice based on race, age, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic status, or other personal abilities, characteristics or beliefs; and
- statements or questions that would be demeaning to any person, or that would manifest bias or prejudice for or against an individual or group.
Gifts and Advantages
In addition to the rules set out in the Conflict of Interest Act, Board members do not accept, directly or indirectly, any gifts, favors or benefits of any kind, which might reasonably appear to call into question their independent exercise of judgment, integrity or impartiality. Board members must immediately report any situation where a gift, favor, offer or benefit has been made to their Vice-Chairperson and/or the Professional Standards Section, as appropriate.
* Throughout this document, the asterisk designates provisions that may be the subject of a complaint as per the Parole Board of Canada Member Complaint Resolution Process.
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