FedDev Ontario Code of Conduct

Chapter 2: Expected Standards of Conduct

Public servants have an obligation to comply with the expected behaviours and values described in the Public Sector Code and this Code. Every day presents an opportunity for you to reflect these values in your work. It is also your responsibility to ask questions and seek guidance when these expectations seem unclear. You must inform yourself, by whatever means is most comfortable, so you can make professional decisions and choices that are in line with the Public Sector Code.

This chapter outlines expected standards of conduct that have evolved since the first Code was created in 2012. The inclusion of these standards is intended to strengthen the ethical culture of the Agency and support a healthy and productive workplace.

In relation to the values and expected behaviours identified in Chapter 1, these standards have cross-value linkages and as such have to be considered in the context of the statement of values.

Duty of Loyalty

As public servants we are expected to balance our right to freedom of expression, protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with our legal obligation to be impartial and politically neutral while performing official duties, demonstrating loyalty and effectively serving our employer, the Government of Canada. This duty of loyalty derives from the essential mission of the public service to help the duly elected government, under law, to serve the public interest. The duty of loyalty reflects the importance and necessity of an impartial and effective public service to achieve this mission.

Any public comments made by public servants, including on social networks, must be factual, objective and impartial. You are expected to refrain from expressing in public fora your personal differences with or concerns about the Government of Canada or FedDev Ontario's positions and decisions. In addition, you must ensure that any public comments, opinions or actions are conducted in a manner that preserves and enhances public confidence in your ability to effectively carry out your official duties impartially and in a manner that complies with this Code and the Public Sector Code.

Furthermore, in balancing your right to freely express yourself with your duty of loyalty to the Government of Canada, you should take into consideration the following:

  • The nature of your official duties; and
  • The visibility of your position within the Agency and the public service as a whole.

As an employee of this Agency, if you feel that the government, or specifically FedDev Ontario, is engaged in illegal acts or has implemented policies that jeopardize the life or health and safety of public servants or others, you should engage in the process for Disclosure of Wrongdoing, either through your manager, the Senior Officer for Disclosure (see Appendix A), or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

For more information on the duty of loyalty, visit the Human Resources web page.

Prevention of Harassment and Dealing with Conflict in the Workplace

The Treasury Board Secretariat Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution defines harassment this way:

Workplace Harassment is improper conduct by an individual that is directed at and offensive to another individual in the workplace, including at any event or any location related to work, and that the individual knew or ought reasonably to have known would cause offence or harm. It comprises objectionable act(s), comment(s) or display(s) that demean, belittle, or cause personal humiliation or embarrassment, and any act of intimidation or threat. It also includes harassment within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act (i.e., based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and pardoned conviction).

Harassment is normally a series of incidents but can be one severe incident which has a lasting impact on the individual [emphasis added].

It is important to note that the legitimate and proper exercise of management's authority or responsibility does not constitute harassment. This is true for the disciplinary process, the performance review process, directions for work, management of absenteeism, etc. However, these actions might qualify as harassment if they are carried out in a manner that is offensive, humiliating or embarrassing or when power and authority are used in a non-professional way, such as using threats, fear or intimidation.

As an employee of this Agency, if you believe that you have been harassed by someone in the workplace, you are encouraged to make it known to that person as soon as possible in an attempt to resolve the problem. The earlier the problem is addressed and discussed, the better the chance of it being resolved and the inappropriate behaviour stopped.

If the problem is not resolved, or if you feel you cannot speak directly to the other person, you should notify their supervisor or yours, or the manager at the next level.

To take the next steps to resolve a situation, you can also seek advice or support from

  • Your union representative;
  • The Employee Assistance Program;
  • The Informal Conflict Management System (via your manager or Human Resources);
  • The Human Resources Branch; and
  • The designated official responsible for the harassment complaint process.

For more information on the Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution, the Directive on the Harassment Complaint Process and related tools and guides, visit the Human Resources web page.

For information on who to contact for issues related to harassment, see Appendix C.

Use of Social Media

The Government of Canada recognizes the use of social networks as a communications tool to reach and interact with its employees, as well as the public.

Employees using social networks must exercise sound judgment and common sense to ensure that personal and professional use does not compromise the Agency's or Government of Canada's reputation; its protected information; or work relations with colleagues, stakeholders and clients.

It is important for us as public servants to be aware of our responsibilities under this Code when we make statements on social network sites (e.g., respect for democracy, duty of loyalty, respect for people, requirements for security of information).

When commenting in social networks, either personally or professionally, it is your responsibility to

  • Review and be mindful of your duty of loyalty and to remain non-partisan;
  • Refrain from disparaging the Agency, its employees (including management) and the Government of Canada;
  • Refrain from discussing work-related issues, problems or matters; and
  • Refrain from making any comments about FedDev Ontario's position on a given topic or subject, as only authorized spokesperson(s) may issue statements or make comments.

In addition, public servants must bear in mind that social network sites are public fora, and comments, documents, criticisms, pictures, videos and other information posted on these fora become a part of the public record. Therefore, if you are using social networks for personal or professional use, you are expected to use the same criteria and good judgment as would be applied to any other workplace decision. Also, you have to be aware of the different purposes of every site and ensure that the naming and identification of accounts do not identify the Agency as your employer.

Electronic Networks—Access and Uses

The Government of Canada's electronic networks and devices are essential to the way public servants work and serve Canadians. The use of electronic networks and devices is permitted for professional purposes only; however, limited personal use on personal time is permitted in compliance with related legislation, policies and guidelines. You must ensure that personal use does not affect your productivity or that of your colleagues or impose a storage or bandwidth burden on the Agency's computer systems. You are expected to limit usage to acceptable work-related and professional development activities.

Limited acceptable personal use of electronic networks and devices during personal times (i.e., breaks and lunch) must not add to the Agency's cost or interfere with your official responsibilities or the conduct of regular business operations.

Use of electronic networks and devices for personal purposes on personal time must not be for financial gain or profit, political activity, chain letters or abusive messages, or anything that contravenes law, policies or directives. In addition, the use of cellular devices is limited to work; these devices may not be used to replace personal cell phones or personal landline phones. Remember that access to electronic network(s) can always be traced back to the user and is subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Access to electronic networks carries with it responsibility. Maintaining a balance between empowerment and responsibility is not solely the role of the Agency; it is also the role of the user and creator of the information resources stored on the network. At FedDev Ontario, it is recognized that information must be managed as a critically valuable asset. All employees are accountable to ensure that reliable information resources of business value are available in a timely fashion and that information and records are well managed as a valuable asset to support program and service outcomes.

Employees are required to adhere to FedDev Ontario's Guidelines on the Interim Operating Standard on the Acceptable Use of Cellular Devices and comply with Shared Services Canada's Operating Standard on the Acceptable Use of Cellular Devices.

For more information on the use of social media, electronic network and devices, visit the Human Resources web page.

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