Organizational code


1. Introduction

The Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector (VECPS) came into effect in April 2012 as an overarching guide for persons employed in the Federal Public Service, to help clarify the role and expected behaviours of public servants, and outlines the fundamental values of the public sector of Canada. The VECPS was developed in consultation with public servants, public sector organizations and bargaining agents. The Code applies to the entire public sector, including departments, crown corporations and separate agencies.

Based on the VECPS and in accordance with Section 6 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), Shared Services Canada (SSC) has developed its own Organizational Code (The Code) to provide guidance on ethical behaviour and decision-making in the context of day to day operations at SSC. The SSC Organizational Code was developed in consultation with management, employees and union members from across the Department. The SSC Code outlines the values and department specific information on expected behaviours that guide the persons employed at SSC in all activities related to their professional duties. In particular, the Code recognizes the unique role our Department plays in activities related to procurement, hospitality and gifts, and information security. Guidelines on more specific activities and mandated services will be developed on an ongoing basis to accompany the Code.

Adherence to both the VECPS and to the SSC Code is a condition of employment for all persons employed at SSC, including persons employed on secondment, assignment, internships, in part-time positions, consultants, contractors, as well as Interchange Canada participants.

The Code must be read in conjunction with the VECPS, the TBS Policy on People Managementand Directive on Conflicts of Interest, the SSC Directive on Conflict of Interest, Directive on Ethical Behaviour as well as any other applicable policy instruments. The respect of the VECPS, the Code, and all applicable policy instruments are an integral part of the conditions of employment of all persons employed at SSC. These policy instruments, including the Codes helps us integrate these values within our decision making process and our initiatives in order to provide the Canadian population, the best programs, best policies and best services.

2. 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 serviceFootnote 1 Constitutional conventions of ministerial responsibility prescribe the appropriate relationships among ministers, parliamentarians, public servantsFootnote 2 and the public. A professional and non-partisan federal public sector is integral to our democracy.

3. 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 adviceFootnote 3.

4. Shared Services Canada Vision, Mission and Values Statements

Vision (Our organization’s ultimate goal):
Powering world-class technology for Government

Mission (What we do to reach our goal):
To work with partners to provide secure and reliable networks, modern tools and client-centric digital services for Canadians

Values (The fundamental beliefs that guide our actions):
Pursue excellence
Our relationships are built on trust and respect
We act with integrity and accountability

These values serve as a compass to guide the persons employed SSC in everything they do. They cannot be considered in isolation, as they will often overlap. This Code is an important source of guidance for employees. Persons employed at SSC are expected to take steps to integrate these values to their decisions, behaviours, actions, policies and processes. In addition, all Federal public servants are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the values of the public sector. Persons employed at SSC can expect to be treated in accordance with these values by the organization.

The values are intended to promote ethical decision making and behaviour, and guide employees in carrying out their day to day duties. It is recognized that the manner in which we reach our goals is as important as the results we achieve. It is by carefully considering each of the values that employees will determine the right course of action in any given situation.

These values are expected of all persons employed at SSC and are to be demonstrated along with the five Public Sector values which are listed in Appendix A as followed:

  • Respect for Democracy
  • Respect for People
  • Integrity
  • Stewardship and Excellence

5. Shared Services Canada MandateFootnote 4

The Government of Canada wishes to standardize and consolidate, within a single shared services entity, certain administrative services that support government institutions in order to enable those services to be provided more effectively and support the efficient use of public money. SSC's current mandate is to simultaneously operate and transform the government's IT infrastructure.

Within this mandate, the protection and safeguarding of confidential material and personal information is paramount. This information is to be used only for the purposes for which it was originally collected or created. Proper management of procurement activities will be ensured through compliance with all applicable practices, controls and policies.

6. Application

Acceptance of these values and adherence to the expected behaviours is a condition of employment for every person employed at SSC, regardless of their level or position. A breach of these values or behaviours may result in administrative and/or disciplinary measures being taken, up to and including termination of employment.

The SSC Organizational Code is effective May 1 2021.

7. Avenues for Resolution

The expected behaviours are not intended to respond to every possible ethical issue that might arise in the course of an employee's daily work. When ethical issues arise, persons employed at SSC are encouraged to discuss and resolve these matters with their immediate supervisor. They can also seek advice and support from other appropriate sources within SSC including the values and ethics advisors.

Persons employed at SSC at all levels are expected to resolve issues in a fair and respectful manner and consider informal processes, such as dialogue or mediation.

As provided by Sections 12 and 13 of the PSDPA, if a person employed at SSC has information that could indicate a serious breach of this Code, they can bring the matter, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to the attention of their immediate supervisor, the Senior Officer for Internal Disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

The Senior Officer for Internal Disclosure is responsible for supporting the President in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA. At SSC, the Senior Officer for Internal Disclosure is the Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive (CAEE). The CAEE helps promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing and deals with disclosures of wrongdoingFootnote 5 made by the persons employed at SSC.

Members of the public who have reason to believe that an employee at SSC has not acted in accordance with this Code can bring the matter to an organizational point of contact designated for the handling of such concerns or to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

Reporting Inappropriate Conduct at Shared Services Canada

When SSC employees believe that there may be a serious breach of this Code or wrongdoing in the workplace, they should discuss and report the matter, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to at least one of the following persons:

  • Their immediate supervisor/manager
  • The Senior Officer for Internal Disclosure, or
  • The Public Sector Integrity Commissioner

Persons employed at SSC may make a disclosure in good faith to any of the above individuals and be protected from reprisal.
The PSDPA provides a few examples of what can constitute wrongdoing in the workplace, including:

  • A contravention of any Act of Parliament or of the legislature of a province
  • A misuse of public funds or public assets, and
  • A gross mismanagement in the public sector

When persons employed at SSC are faced with an ethical issue, they should discuss and report the matter, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to at least one of the following persons:

  • Their immediate supervisor/manager or delegated manager
  • The Senior Officer for Values and Ethics, or
  •  A values and ethics advisor

Persons employed at SSC are expected to resolve issues in a fair and respectful manner and to consider the use of informal conflict resolution mechanisms.

8. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) Directive on Conflict of Interest and Policy on People Management

SSC is subject to the Policy on People Management and Directive on Conflict of Interest issued by TBS which took effect April 1, 2020.

The TBS Policy on People Management deals with conflicts of interest in sections 4.1.29 to 4.1.32. Real, apparent or potential conflicts of interests or conflictual responsibilities must be dealt with in an ethical manner and in favour of the public interest.

The TBS Directive on Conflict of Interest provides direction and measures to assist organizations and persons employed to effectively deal with real, potential and apparent conflict of interest situations, which may arise during and after employment in the public service.

The SSC Directive on Conflict of Interest states the requirements relating to conflicts of interests and post-employment, which are conditions of employment of persons employed in all organizations subject to the Policy on People Management. By upholding these ethical standards, the persons employed conserve and enhance public confidence in the honesty, fairness and impartiality of the federal public sector. A person employed who doesn’t comply with the SSC Directive on Conflict of Interest requirements could be subject to administrative and/or disciplinary measures, up to and including termination of employment.

9. Roles and Responsibilities

Persons employed at SSC

All persons employed at SSC, no matter their group and level, are responsible to act in a manner to promote and maintain a values and ethics culture within SSC. As such they must:

  • help promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing, infractions as well as real, apparent or potential conflicts of interests
  • inform and remind themselves of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, as well as all other related policy instruments
  • register to all values and ethics appropriate training offered by the Canada School of Public Service, and
  • disclose in good faith, an inappropriate conduct, an infraction or a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest using the processes in place

Supervisors and Managers

Supervisors and managers are responsible for promoting a culture of values and ethics at SSC by:

  • Promoting a favorable environment for disclosing wrongdoing, breaches and/or real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest
  • Informing and reminding employees of this Code as well as other related policies, procedures and guidelines
  • Ensuring that employees have access to learning opportunities related to values and ethics
  • Advising and guiding employees who are thinking about reporting a wrongdoing, a breach and/or a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest
  • Ensuring that disclosures can be made confidentially
  • Protecting employees from reprisals that are or may be taken against them by other employees or managers, and
  • Upon receipt of a disclosure of wrongdoing, breach and/or conflict of interest situation, consulting with the appropriate person at SSC to determine the appropriate course of action to deal with the disclosure

Values and Ethics Team

Values and Ethics Advisors are responsible for supporting SSC by delivering services to employees and managers in the areas of values and ethics, including:

  • Advising employees on ethical matters that could give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in the performance of their duties, or after employment as a public servant ceases and, ethical matters or concerns of inappropriate conduct, and
  • Informing senior management of matters that come to their attention related to real, apparent or potential conflict of interest and inappropriate conduct

Designated Senior Official for Values and Ethics

The Designated Senior Official for Values and Ethics, also known as the Director General, Human Resources and Workplace, is responsible for supporting the President in the delivery of the SSC Values and Ethics Program. The Senior Officer for Values and Ethics is charged with assisting the President in ensuring employees take the appropriate actions to avoid, reduce or manage real, apparent or potential conflict of interest situations in an ethical manner and in accordance with this Code and the TBS Directive on Conflict of Interest. The Designated Senior Official for Values and Ethics is supported by the Director, Workplace Relations.

The Designated Senior Official for Values and Ethics must:

  • Provide an informal setting where employees can discuss concerns or perceptions of inappropriate conduct or ethical matters
  • Ensure that training in values and ethics is available to employees
  • Ensure that employees have access to informal conflict resolution mechanisms
  • Ensure that employees have access to employee assistance services
  • Ensure that disclosures of real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest can be made confidentially
  • Recommend to the President and employees measures for avoiding, reducing or managing real, apparent or potential conflict of interest situations, and
  • Provide advice to senior management with respect to workplace matters, including grievances and discipline related matters

Senior Officer for Internal Disclosure

The Senior Officer for Internal Disclosure is responsible for supporting the President in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA and in ensuring that disclosures of wrongdoing and/or a serious breach of this Code can be made without fear of reprisal.

The Senior Officer for Internal Disclosure:

  • Promotes a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing and/or serious breaches
  • Advises and guides employees who are thinking about reporting a wrongdoing and/or a serious breach
  • Responds to disclosures made by employees
  • Ensures that disclosures can be made confidentially and without fear of reprisal, and
  • Recommends measures to the President for correcting and/or preventing wrongdoing and/or serious breaches to the SSC Organizational Code of Conduct

For more information on the role and the authority of the Senior Officer for Internal Disclosure and SSC internal disclosure mechanisms, please visit the SSC Extranet.

10. Monitoring and Reporting

The SSC Organizational Code of Conduct will be monitored through the reporting mechanisms outlined below and reported to the President.

As the Designated Senior Official for Values and Ethics, the Director General of Human Resources and Workplace:

  • makes recommendations to improve the overall well-being and quality of the workplace for all persons employed at SSC
  • maintains a record of information related to ethical matters that could give rise to real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest, in accordance with this Code, the Values and Ethics Code of the Public Service and the Treasury Board Directive on Conflict of Interest

As the Senior Officer for Internal Disclosure, the CAEE will maintain a record of information related to disclosures and actions taken in response to disclosures, in accordance with sections 11 and 38 of the PSDPA.

Appendix A: Statement of Values from the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector

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

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, and
  • Working together in a spirit of openness, honesty and transparency that encourages engagement, collaboration and respectful communication

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 service.

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 favour of the public interest, and
  • Acting in such a way as to maintain their employer's trust

Stewardship

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, and
  • Acquiring, preserving and sharing knowledge and information, as appropriate

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:

  • 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

Appendix B: Reference Documents

The Code must be administered and implemented in conjunction with the following:

Legislation

Shared Services Canada Policy Instruments

TBS Policy Instruments

Other References


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