Guide on Ethical Behaviour for Procurement – Contracts and Contracting

1. Introduction

In Canada, the concepts of fairness, openness, and transparency in Government of Canada procurement activities are exhibited through compliance with the Financial Administration Act, the Government Contracts Regulations, as well as international and national trade agreements, where appropriate. The Government's procurement activities are also governed by comprehensive land claims agreements with Canada's Aboriginal peoples.

Public servants serve the Canadian public by acquiring goods and services to achieve the objectives approved by the Government of Canada. In performing these activities, including defining requirements and evaluating bids/offers/arrangements, they abide by the laws, regulations, and policy instruments (for example, Treasury Board of Canada policy instruments, SSC policy instruments, and so on) established by the government.

This guide must be read in conjunction with the Directive on Ethical Behaviour.

2. Preferential Treatment

When negotiating and/or awarding contracts, persons employed at SSC must not:

  • grant preferential treatment or assistance, or advantages to family, friends, or other person or entity, and
  • disadvantage entities or persons dealing with the Government of Canada (for example, due to personal antagonisms or bias)

3. Outside employment or activities, including contracting with the Government of Canada

Persons employed at SSC:

  • are allowed to 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 that would undermine the impartiality of the public service or the objectivity of the SSC employee
  • must complete a Conflict of Interest Disclosure E-Form if they become a consultant and/or do business with the Government of Canada, and
  • must report, to the President of SSC, benefits or incomes received, either directly or indirectly, from contracts or other arrangements with the Government of Canada

4. Post-employment measures for persons employed at SSC including persons employed in a position at risk

Persons employed at SSC are to disclose their intentions regarding any future outside employment or activities that may pose a risk of a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest with their current responsibilities and discuss potential conflicts by submitting a declaration via COIDS.

Persons employed in a position at risk (All EX and their equivalent, EX minus one (AS,08, AS-07, EC-07, ENG-06, ENG-05, PE-06, PM-06, CS-05, CS-04, FI-04, IS-06) and PG-01 to PG-06) are subject to a one-year limitation period after leaving office.  Before leaving office and during this one-year limitation period, these persons employed are to report to the Deputy Head, by submitting a declaration via COIDS, all firm offers of employment or proposed activity outside the public service that could place them in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest with their public service employment.  They are also to disclose immediately the acceptance of any such offer. 9 In addition, they may not, during this one-year period, without the authorization of the Deputy Head:

  • Accept appointment to a board of directors of, or employment with, private entities with which they had significant official dealings during the period of one year immediately prior to the termination of their service. The official dealings in question may either be directly on the part of the person employed at SSC or through their subordinates
  • Make representations to any government organization on behalf of persons or entities outside of the public service with which they had significant official dealings, during the period of one year immediately prior to the termination of their service Footnote 1  The official dealings in question may either be directly on the part of the person employed at SSC or through their subordinates, or
  • Give advice to their clients or employer using information that is not publicly available concerning the programs or policies of the department or organizations with which they had a direct and substantial relationship

The persons employed in a position at risk may apply for a waiver or reduction of the limitation period.  Refer to section Appendix C of the Directive on Conflict of Interest for the details.

5. Lobbying

In conducting procurement activities, concerned SSC employees must adhere to the Lobbying Act.

If a person employed at SSC meets a lobbyist or a specific company at a lobbyist's request, they must be available to meet all the other companies interested, including other suppliers or service providers

An employee must not, at a lobbyist's request, meet him or her if the employee is not willing to meet directly with the company represented by the lobbyist

NOTE: Processes are such as to offer every firm, organization, or corporation equal access to information, shared in an equitable fashion.

Persons employed at SSC must keep and maintain adequate records in their electronic calendar (that is, including the names of meeting attendees, the reason for the meeting, were it was held, what was discussed, and the duration of the meeting. For more information on lobbying activities, please contact the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada or contact your Values and Ethics team).

6. Contract provisions

SSC contracts must incorporate clauses:

  • prohibiting payment of a contingency fee to any individual for the solicitation, negotiation or obtaining of the contract if the payment of the fee would require the individual to file a return under section 5 of the Lobbying Act
  • requiring that any supplier, contracting for the performance of work, which includes the supply of goods or the rendering of services, make a declaration that they have not been convicted an offence, unless a pardon has been granted, under section 121 ("Frauds on the government"), section 124 (Selling or Purchasing Office), section 380 (Fraud committed against Her Majesty) or section 418 (Selling defective stores to Her Majesty) of the Criminal Code of Canada, or under paragraph 80(1)(d) (False entry, certificate or return) subsection 80(2) (Fraud against Her Majesty) or section 154.01 (Fraud against Her Majesty) of the Financial Administration Act
  • prohibiting corruption, collusion, bid-rigging, or any other anti-competitive activity in a procurement process
  • requiring contractor's consent to publicly disclose basic information about a procurement contract
  • in the event of a false declaration or failure to comply with the above will be a default under the contract. The contract may be terminated by the contracting authority and any advance payment must be returned.

7. References

This Standard is based on the authorities set out in the following:

This guide must be administered and implemented in conjunction with the following policy instruments:

Shared Services Canada policy instruments

  • Directive on Ethical Behaviour
  • Organizational Code

Treasury Board of Canada policy instruments

Public Works and Government Services Canada policy instruments

The following tools provide more information related to this guide:


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