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FedDev Ontario Code of Conduct

The way we work. Professionalism in action.

Disclaimer

In this text, "we" and "you" refer to persons employed at FedDev Ontario (referred to as persons employed).

Table of contents


Introduction

The Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector (Public Sector Code) outlines expected values and behaviour to guide and support you in your daily activities and serves to maintain and enhance public confidence in the integrity of the Public Sector. The Public Sector Code also requires that each deputy head establish a Code of Conduct for their organization.  As such, The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) Code of Conduct (this Code) builds on these requirements and is intended to ensure your high standard of conduct  and to promote dialogue between managers, employees and representatives.

Your behaviour must, at all times, show the public that we are dedicated professionals whose work is essential to Canada's well-being and the enduring strength of Canadian democracy. This behaviour must uphold the public interest and trust in accordance with the law while complying with the highest ethical standards and practices.

The Constitution of Canada and the principles of responsible government provide the foundation for the roles, responsibilities and values of the federal public sector. Constitutional conventions of ministerial responsibility prescribe the appropriate relationships among ministers, parliamentarians, public servants and the public. A professional and non-partisan federal public sector is integral to our democracy.

This Code also reinforces the importance of building and sustaining a values-based operating culture in southern Ontario by upholding FedDev Ontario’s guiding principles of excellence in public service, professionalism, respect, integrity and leadership, which will enable us to work effectively together.

This Code further expands on the expectations of persons employed at all levels in relation to the duty of loyalty, harassment prevention and management of conflicts in the workplace, the use of social media, as well as the use of employer networks and devices.

Objectives

This Code outlines the values and expected behaviours that guide persons employed at FedDev Ontario in all activities related to your professional duties. By committing to these values and adhering to the expected behaviours, you will strengthen the ethical culture of the Agency and contribute to public confidence in the integrity of all public institutions.

Application

This Code came into force on June 1, 2012, was updated most recently in March 2021, and applies to persons employed at FedDev Ontario (the Agency). The foundation of this Code is the Public Sector Code and the Directive on Conflict of Interest.

Acceptance of these values and adherence to the expected behaviours are a condition of your employment and apply to every public servant in the federal public sector, regardless of level or positionFootnote 1. A breach of these values or behaviours may result in disciplinary measures being taken, up to and including termination of employment.

More specifically, compliance with this Code, the Public Sector Code, and the Directive on Conflict of Interest is part of your employment contract with FedDev Ontario, including for indeterminate and term employees (full-time and part-time), persons on secondment to the Agency, casual employees, students and staff on leave with or without pay. Incoming Interchange Canada assignments are also expected to comply with the requirements of this Code.

As a person employed at FedDev Ontario, it is your responsibility to become familiar with the contents of this Code and to abide by it. You must conduct yourself in a manner that reflects the overall spirit of this Code.

Chapter 1: Values and ethics

Values and expected behaviours

These values are a compass to guide you in everything you do. They cannot be considered in isolation from each other, as they will often overlap. This Code, the Public Sector Code and the Directive on Conflict of Interest are important sources of guidance for you on decisions, actions, policies, processes, and systems. Similarly, you can expect to be treated in accordance with these values by your organization.

You are expected to act in accordance with the values of the public sector and these expected behaviours.

The values for the public sector are as follows:

  • Respect for democracy
  • Respect for people
  • Integrity
  • Stewardship
  • Excellence

Respect for democracy

The system of Canadian parliamentary democracy and its institutions are fundamental to serving the public interest. As a public servant, you 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.

You shall uphold the Canadian parliamentary democracy and its institutions by:

  1. 1.1 Respecting the rule of law and carrying out your duties in accordance with legislation, policies and directives in a non-partisan and impartial manner.
  2. 1.2 Loyally carrying out the lawful decisions of your leaders and supporting ministers in their accountability to Parliament and Canadians.
  3. 1.3 Providing decision-makers with all the information, analysis and advice they need, always striving to be open, candid and impartial.
FedDev Ontario–specific expectations
  1. 1.4 Exercising due diligence in the assessment of project proposals for potential funding through evaluation that presents a complete and balanced view of any proposed opportunity, identifying both its strengths and weaknesses to enable Agency staff to make fully informed decisions.
  2. 1.5 Delivering programs and services by providing honest and impartial advice, as well as relevant information to support decision-making.

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 people and the ideas they generate are the source of our spirit of innovation.

You shall respect human dignity and the value of every person by:

  1. 2.1 Treating every person with respect and fairness.
  2. 2.2 Valuing diversity and the benefit of combining the unique qualities and strengths inherent in a diverse workforce.
  3. 2.3 Helping to create and maintain safe and healthy workplaces that are free from harassment and discrimination.
  4. 2.4 Working together in a spirit of openness, honesty and transparency that encourages engagement, collaboration and respectful communication.
FedDev Ontario–specific expectations
  1. 2.5 Valuing and respecting diversity in our workplace by promoting harmonious working relationships.
  2. 2.6 Integrating people values into the different facets of working life, such as in-house communications, health and safety, well-being and staffing, in a respectful environment free of harassment and discrimination.
  3. 2.7 Providing persons employed at FedDev Ontario the opportunity for growth by creating coaching and leadership development learning opportunities.
  4. 2.8 Refraining from any form of bullying (for example any acts of coercion, intimidation or aggressive behaviour whether emotional, verbal or physical).

Integrity

Integrity is the cornerstone of good governance and democracy. By upholding the highest ethical standards, you conserve and enhance public confidence in the honesty, fairness and objectivity of the federal public sector.

You shall serve the public interest by:

  1. 3.1 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.
  2. 3.2 Never using your official roles to inappropriately obtain an advantage for yourself or to advantage or disadvantage others.
  3. 3.3 Taking all possible steps to prevent and resolve any real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest between your official responsibilities and your private affairs in favour of the public interest.
  4. 3.4 Acting in such a way as to maintain your employer's trust.
FedDev Ontario–specific expectations
  1. 3.5 Acting in a way that is above reproach in order to maintain the public’s trust and confidence.
  2. 3.6 Bringing any ethical matters to the attention of managers.
  3. 3.7 Ensuring that behaviour, both on and off duty, reflects positively on FedDev Ontario and on the public sector as a whole. Also, reporting to management any arrest, detention, charge or conviction of any criminal offences under the Criminal Code that may impact the ability to carry out duties.
  4. 3.8 Ensuring off-duty conduct does not:

    1. 3.8.1 Detrimentally affect FedDev Ontario's reputation, programs or services;
    2. 3.8.2 Render you unable to properly perform a requirement of your duties;
    3. 3.8.3 Render you guilty of a serious breach of the Criminal Code, thus rendering your conduct injurious to the general reputation of FedDev Ontario and its employees; or
    4. 3.8.4 Inhibit FedDev Ontario's ability to manage its operations efficiently or to direct its workforce.

Stewardship

You are entrusted to use and care for public resources responsibly, for both the short term and the long term.

You shall responsibly use resources by:

  1. 4.1 Effectively and efficiently using the public money, property and resources you manage.
  2. 4.2 Considering the present and long-term effects that your actions have on people and the environment.
  3. 4.3 Acquiring, preserving and sharing knowledge and information as appropriate.
FedDev Ontario–specific expectations
  1. 4.4 Exercising appropriate due diligence, efficiency and transparency when performing duties and in the management of public funds.
  2. 4.5 Respecting established safety and security rules and standards, as well as administrative rules and regulations of the workplace.
  3. 4.6 Respecting the integrity of protected, classified and personal information.
  4. 4.7 Being accountable for the appropriate and efficient use of government assets.

Excellence

Excellence in the design and delivery of public sector policy, programs and services is beneficial to every aspect of Canadian life. Positive engagement, collaboration, effective teamwork and professional development are all essential to a high-performing organization.

You shall demonstrate professional excellence by:

  1. 5.1 Providing fair, timely, efficient and effective services that respect Canada's official languages.
  2. 5.2 Continually improving the quality of policies, programs and services you provide.
  3. 5.3 Fostering a work environment that promotes teamwork, learning and innovation.
FedDev Ontario–specific expectations
  1. 5.4 Providing the best advice, service, quality and efficiency in all business operations.
  2. 5.5 Communicating respectfully with all stakeholders whether through conventional means or social media.

Avenues for resolution

The expected behaviours are not intended to respond to every possible ethical issue that might arise in the course of daily work. When these issues arise, you are encouraged to discuss and resolve these matters with their immediate supervisor. They can also seek advice and support from other appropriate sources (see Appendix D).

You 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 Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, if you have information that could indicate a serious breach of this Code, you can bring the matter, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to the attention of your immediate supervisor, the Senior Officer for Disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

See the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector for more information.

Chapter 2: Expected standards of conduct

You 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 a public servant, you are expected to balance your right to freedom of expression, protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with your legal obligation to be impartial and politically neutral while performing official duties, demonstrating loyalty and effectively serving your 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 a person employed at 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 D), or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

Prevention of harassment and dealing with conflict in the workplace

Part II of the Canada Labour Code, defines workplace harassment and violence as “any action, conduct or comment, including of a sexual nature, that can reasonably be expected to cause offence, humiliation or other physical or psychological injury or illness to an employee, including any prescribed action, conduct or comment.

FedDev Ontario strives to provide you with an integrated healthy, safe and respectful workplace that is free from all forms of harassment and violence and to respond appropriately and without delay to a notice of any occurrence of harassment or violence.

Harassment and violence in our workplace is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.

If you believe that you have experienced harassment or violence by someone in the workplace or at any location or event related to work, 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 your manager.

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 regarding procedures, avenues of recourse, and resolution, consult the Directive on the Prevention and Resolution of Workplace Harassment and Violence, the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations and the Guide on Applying the Harassment Resolution Process.

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

Use of social media

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

When using social media, you 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 you to be aware of your 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, you 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 we 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. You 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.

You are required to adhere to the Directive on Service and Digital and the Guideline on Acceptable Network and Device Use.

Chapter 3: Conflict of interest and post-employment

Prevention of conflict of interest

Preventing and avoiding situations that could give rise to a conflict of interest, the appearance of one, or the potential for one, is the primary method by which you, as a person employed at FedDev Ontario, can maintain public confidence in the impartiality and integrity of the public service.

Conflict of interest does not relate exclusively to matters concerning financial transactions and the transfer of economic benefit. Although 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. With the permanent and pervasive nature of information technology, you should be particularly sensitive to real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest that may arise from messages and information transmitted via the Internet and other media.

It is impossible to foresee every situation that could give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest. When in doubt, you should refer to the requirements found in this Code, to guide appropriate action. You can also seek guidance from your manager, from the deputy head, or the senior official for conflict of interest. 

To comply with the conflict of interest measures outlined in this Code, it is usually sufficient for you to submit a confidential report disclosing any ownership of particular assets, investments, receipt of gifts, hospitality or other benefits, or participation in any outside employment or activities.

Occasionally, you may need to take additional compliance measures at the direction of management. These may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • You may have to avoid or withdraw from particular activities or situations, or you may have to refuse offers of gifts that would place you in a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest with your official duties.
  • You may have to divest yourself of particular assets, or take other appropriate measures as determined by the delegated manager, where such assets constitute a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest with your official duties.
  • You may have to modify or terminate a contractual arrangement with the Government of Canada where the arrangement presents a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest.
  • If you are on Leave Without Pay (LWOP), you are expected to seek guidance and to submit a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Reporting Form if, during the period of LWOP, you are contemplating outside employment or activities.
  • If you are requesting LWOP to pursue outside employment opportunities, you must submit a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Reporting Form to seek direction and clearance well in advance before accepting such employment.
  • If you are a Project Review Committee member and in a situation that could give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, you will recuse yourself from the discussion. If you need to be recused for reason of conflict of interest, you must submit a report detailing the real, apparent or potential conflict of interest to Human Resources for response by the delegated authority.

In addition to the requirements outlined in this Code, you are required to observe any specific conduct requirements of the statutes governing FedDev Ontario and your profession, where applicable.

Your responsibilities and requirements

The following are the conflict of interest, conflict of duties, and post-employment requirements that are a condition of your employment at FedDev Ontario. These requirements are grounded in and serve to uphold the values contained in the Public Sector Code and this Code. By upholding these ethical standards, you conserve and enhance public confidence in the honesty, fairness and integrity of the public service.

This section details your responsibilities and requirements, as a person employed at FedDev Ontario.

General responsibilities:

  1. Complying with the requirements of this Code of Conduct and the Directive on Conflict of Interest, which is a condition of employment.
  2. Taking all possible steps to identify, prevent, report, and resolve any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest or conflict of duties situations between your official responsibilities and your private affairs during your employment at FedDev Ontario, and any conflict of interest situations when you leave the Agency.
  3. Not knowingly taking advantage of, or benefiting from, information that is obtained in the course of your duties that is not available to the public;
  4. Ensuring that any real, apparent or potential conflict that arises between your private activities and your official responsibilities as a person employed is resolved in the public interest.
  5. Reporting in writing to the deputy head, within 60 days of initial appointment or any subsequent appointment, transfer or deployment, using FedDev Ontario’s Conflict of Interest Disclosure Reporting Form, all outside employment and activities, assets, liabilities and interests, or competing official responsibilities that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest or duties in relation to your official duties and responsibilities.
    • Consider the nature of your official duties and responsibilities in relation to your outside employment or activity, and in relation to the characteristics of your assets and liabilities.
    • Determine whether there is any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest or duties between your official duties and responsibilities and your outside employment or activities, or your assets and responsibilities. When in doubt whether a situation could be a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest or duties, you should seek advice or direction from your manager on how to proceed.
    • If there is any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest or duties situation, report the matter to the deputy head.
  6. Where a situation arises where concurrent or competing official responsibilities conflict, you must make every effort to recuse yourself from the conflict, seek the advice of your manager, and if a conflict of duties is deemed to exist or there is any question as to whether it exists, report the situation to the deputy head.
  7. On a regular basis thereafter, and every time a significant change occurs in your personal affairs or official duties, you are required to review your obligations under this Code, the Public Sector Code and the Directive on Conflict of Interest. If a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest or duties exists, you must file a report in a timely manner.
  8. Maintaining the impartiality of the public service and refraining from having private interests and engaging in outside employment or activities that may subject you to demands incompatible with your official duties, or that could be seen to impair your ability to perform your duties and responsibilities in an objective and impartial manner.
  9. If you work in an area with responsibilities identified to have a high risk of conflict of interest, you may have to attest regularly that you understand your obligations under this Code and indicate whether or not you need to submit a new or revised report.

Assets, liabilities and financial mitigation

As a person employed at FedDev Ontario, you are required to evaluate your assets and liabilities, 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 or duties between the carrying out of your official duties and your assets or liabilities, you are to report this matter to the deputy head or senior official in a timely manner.

Where the deputy head or senior official determines that any of these assets or liabilities results in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest or duties in relation to your official duties, you may be required to divest those assets or to take other measures to resolve the conflict.

You may not sell or transfer assets to family members or anyone else, or take any other measures for the purpose of circumventing the compliance requirements as set out in the Policy on People Management (subsections 4.1.29 and 4.1.30) and any other applicable requirements.

The types of assets and liabilities that should be reported are set out in Appendix C.

Details on requirements for preventing and resolving financial conflicts of interest, are set out in Appendix B - Standard on Preventing and Resolving Financial Conflicts of Interest of the Directive on Conflict of Interest:

  • Financial mitigation strategies and divestment
  • Activity withdrawal measures
  • Blind trust agreements
  • Blind management agreements
  • Other trusts and management arrangements
  • Agent arrangements
  • Asset-freezing arrangements
  • Cost reimbursement

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 conflict of duties, or would undermine the impartiality of the public service or your objectivity.

You must report in writing to the deputy head, using FedDev Ontario’s Conflict of Interest Disclosure Reporting Form, when concurrent or competing official responsibilities give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest or conflict of duties situation. Such a report is to be made within 60 days of initial appointment or any subsequent appointment, transfer or deployment, or every time a significant change occurs in your personal affairs or official duties. The deputy head (or delegated authority) may require that the outside activities be modified or terminated if it is determined that a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists.

Political activities

Federal public service employees, including students, are subject to the political activities provisions set out in Part 7 of the Public Service Employment Act. As such, you have the right to engage in political activities while maintaining the principle of political impartiality in the public service.

You are required to seek and obtain permission from the Public Service Commission 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).

Prior to participating in non-candidacy political activitiesFootnote 2, as a person employed at FedDev Ontario, you must:

  • Seek the advice of your manager and/or designated political activities representative;
  • Consider the nature of your official duties and your responsibilities in relation to the political activity;
  • Determine whether there is a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest situation; and
  • If there is any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest situation, or any question as to whether one might exist, report in writing to the deputy head.

For more information about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding political activities, please consult the Public Service Commission’s Political Activities website.

Gifts, hospitality and other benefits

You are expected to use good judgment and to refuse any gifts, hospitality or other benefits that may have a real, apparent or potential influence on your objectivity in carrying out your official duties and responsibilities or that may place you under obligation to the donor. This includes activities such as free or discounted admission to sporting and cultural events, travel or conferences.

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, arise out of activities or events related to your official duties, and do not compromise or appear to compromise your integrity or that of your employer.

You are to report and seek written direction from the deputy head or senior official where it is impossible to decline gifts, hospitality or other benefits that do not meet the principles set out above, or where it is believed that there is sufficient benefit to the organization to warrant their acceptance.

Financial arrangements, solicitation, fundraising and use of government property

As a person employed at FedDev Ontario, you must:

  • Refrain from undertaking any financial arrangements, including procuring goods, contracting services or administering grants and contributions or transfer payments, with outside entities or individuals where there is a risk for a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest or conflict of duties situation.
  • Refrain from soliciting gifts, hospitality, other benefits or transfers of economic value from outside entities or individuals that have, had, or may have dealings with the organization, including during fundraising activities for the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign, without having received prior written approval from the deputy head.
  • When fundraising for such official activities, ensure that prior written authorization has been obtained from the deputy head or senior official in order to solicit donations, prizes or contributions in kind from external organizations or individuals.
  • Similarly, if an outside individual or entity, with whom FedDev Ontario 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 must consider whether any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists and must obtain the consent in writing of the deputy head or senior official prior to accepting any such benefit.
  • Refrain from the direct or indirect use of, or from 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.
  • The deputy head or senior official may require that the activities be modified or terminated where it is determined that there is a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest or an obligation to the donor. These provisions are designed to ensure that this Code is consistent with paragraph 121(1) (c) of the Criminal Code.
  • Contracts with the Government of Canada, non-public information, preferential treatment and inappropriate influence

    You are responsible for demonstrating objectivity and impartiality in the exercise of duties and in decision-making, whether related to staffing, financial awards or penalties to external parties, transfer payments, program operations or any other exercise of responsibility.

    This means that you are prohibited from granting preferential treatment or advantages to family, friends or any other person or entity.

    More specifically, you must:

    1. Refrain from using your position as leverage to influence or gain personal advantage that is a benefit for yourself, a family member, a friend or a colleague.
    2. Refrain from knowingly taking advantage of or benefitting from information that is obtained in the course of your official duties and responsibilities and that is not available to the public. Providing information that is publicly accessible is not considered preferential treatment.
    3. Refrain from assisting outside entities or individuals in their dealings with the government where doing so would result in preferential treatment or advantages to the entities or individuals.
    4. Refrain from interfering in the dealings of outside entities or individuals with the government in order to inappropriately influence the outcome.
    5. Refrain from taking advantage of contacts developed in the course of your official duties to market, acquire or carry on outside activities.
    6. Disclose any contractual or other arrangement wherein you are in receipt of benefit or income either directly or indirectly from a contract with the Government of Canada. The deputy head or senior official will determine whether the arrangement presents a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, and may require that the contract be modified or terminated.
    7. Refrain from offering extraordinary assistance to any entity or persons already dealing with the government without the knowledge and support of your supervisor. You also are not to disadvantage any entity or persons dealing with the government because of personal antagonism or bias.

    Post-Employment, designated positions and limitation period

    You have a responsibility to minimize the possibility of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest between most recent responsibilities within the federal public service and subsequent employment outside the public service.

    Before leaving the public service, you should discuss with your manager, and must report in writing to the deputy head, all intended future employment and activities that could give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to your most recent duties and responsibilities.

    FedDev Ontario positions designated as a risk for post-employment:

    Certain positions at FedDev Ontario involve official duties that may raise post-employment concerns. At FedDev Ontario, the deputy head has designated positions classified at the following levels as being subject to these measures:

    AS06

    AS07

    AS08

     

     

    CO02

    CO03

    CO04

     

     

    CS04

     

     

     

     

    EC06

    EC07

    EC08

     

     

    EX01

    EX02

    EX03

    EX04

    EX05*

    FI03

    FI04

     

     

     

    IS05

    IS06

     

     

     

    PE05*

    PE06

     

     

     

    PM05

    PM06*

     

     

     

    *These positions do not currently exist at FedDev Ontario, but should they be created, they will be designated.

    If you occupy or occupied one of these designated positions, before leaving the public service and during the one-year limitation period after leaving the public service, you must:

    • Report in writing to the deputy head all firm offers of employment and activities that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to your most recent duties and responsibilities.
    • Seek the deputy head’s approval before you:
      1. Accept appointment to a board of directors of, or employment with, private entities with which you had significant official dealings during the period of one year immediately prior to leaving the Agency. The official dealings in question may be either directly on your part or through subordinates.
      2. Make representations to any government organization on behalf of persons or entities outside the public service with which you had significant official dealings during the period of one year immediately prior to the termination of their serviceFootnote 3. The official dealings in question may be either directly on your part or through subordinates.
      3. Give advice to your clients or employer using information that is not publicly available concerning the programs or policies of FedDev Ontario, or other departments or organizations with which you had a direct and substantial relationship.

    If post-employment risks have been identified, and measures are put in place to mitigate the risk of a post-employment conflict of interest, you will be informed about the decisions taken and the reasons for applying mitigation measures. This will be done in writing and you will be required to acknowledge that you have understood the decisions and agree to apply the measures.

    Waiver or reduction of limitation period

    A person employed or former person employed may apply to the deputy head for a written waiver or reduction of the limitation period. If you wish to request a waiver or reduction of the one-year post-employment limitation period, you must seek the deputy head’s written approval. Your request for approval must include specific information, which is detailed in the Directive on Conflict of Interest (subsection A.2.2.4.3).

    Resolution

    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 senior official. When agreement cannot be reached on the appropriate arrangements to resolve a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest or duties, the disagreement will be resolved through the resolution procedures established by the deputy head.

    Consequences

    A great deal of trust is placed in you in the performance of your duties by your employer, as well as by the Canadian public.

    Although this Code prescribes values, expected behaviours and standards of conduct, it is not exhaustive. The absence of a specific standard of behaviour or guideline covering a particular situation does not relieve you from the responsibility to act ethically. The action or omission may still be subject to disciplinary action. Do not assume that only one interpretation of a situation exists, particularly in conflict of interest situations, such as outside activities or employment. Consult with your manager or Human Resources branch.

    A person employed by FedDev Ontario who has not complied with the requirements set out in this Code may be subject to disciplinary measures, up to and including termination of employment.

    Appendix A: Duties and obligations

    Persons employed

    Persons employed at FedDev Ontario are expected to abide by this Code and demonstrate the values of the public sector in all actions and behaviour. Furthermore, persons employed must also adhere to the behavioural expectations set out in this Code. If you do not abide by these values and expectations, you may be subject to administrative or disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment.

    Managers

    Persons employed who are also managers are in a position of influence and authority that gives them a particular responsibility to exemplify the values of the public sector. Managers are expected to uphold this Code, model appropriate behaviours, encourage dialogue on values and ethical issues, and foster an environment of openness where they encourage discussion, promote the exchange of ideas, elicit questions, and promote the search for solutions. Employees also have an important role to play by participating in the dialogue and contributing to creating a work environment that reflects values and ethics.

    As provided by sections 12 and 13 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), if you, as a public servant, have information that could indicate a serious breach of this Code, you can bring this matter, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to the attention of your immediate supervisor, the Senior Officer for Disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

    Deputy head

    The deputy head has specific responsibilities under the PSDPA, including the establishment of a Code of Conduct for FedDev Ontario, and overall responsibility for promoting a culture of values and ethics within the Agency. The deputy head, supported by the Senior Officer for Disclosure and the Director General, Human Resources, ensures that you, as an employee, are aware of your obligations under this Code and that you can obtain appropriate advice within the Agency on ethical issues, including possible conflicts of interest.

    The deputy head is responsible for designating a senior official to whom responsibility is assigned or authority is delegated with regard to the prevention and resolution of conflict of interest and conflict of duties situations.

    It is the responsibility of the deputy head to ensure that this Code and internal disclosure procedures are implemented effectively and are regularly monitored and evaluated. The deputy head is also responsible for ensuring that programs and services are provided in a non-partisan manner.

    The deputy head is subject to this Code and to the Conflict of Interest Act.

    Senior management

    The vice presidents and the senior management team support the deputy head in carrying out responsibilities pertaining to values and ethics within this Code. They are responsible, collectively, for promoting compliance with this Code and for fostering a values-based culture and high ethical standards of conduct that enable employees to work to their full potential in a professional and respectful work environment.

    Senior Officer for Disclosure

    The Senior Officer for Disclosure helps promote a positive environment for disclosing offences, deals with disclosures of wrongdoing made by public servants of FedDev Ontario, and supports the deputy head in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA.

    The duties and powers of the Senior Officer for Disclosure also include the following, pursuant to the internal disclosure procedures established under the PSDPA:

    1. Provide public servants with information, advice and guidance on FedDev Ontario’s internal disclosure procedures, including the making of disclosures, the conduct of investigations into disclosures, and the handling of disclosures made to supervisors.
    2. Receive and record disclosures and review them to establish whether there are sufficient grounds for further action under the PSDPA.
    3. Manage investigations into disclosures, including determining whether to deal with a disclosure under the PSDPA, initiate an investigation, or cease an investigation.
    4. Coordinate handling of a disclosure with the senior officer of another federal public sector organization if a disclosure or an investigation into a disclosure involves that other organization.
    5. Notify the person(s) who made a disclosure in writing of the outcome of any review and/or investigation into the disclosure, and on the status of actions taken on the disclosure, as appropriate.
    6. Report the findings of investigations, as well as any systemic problems that may give rise to wrongdoings, directly to his or her chief executive, with recommendations for corrective action, if any.

    As a person employed at FedDev Ontario, you are encouraged to communicate with the Senior Officer for Disclosure to discuss possible avenues to address your concerns.

    Senior Officer for Conflict of Interest

    The Senior Officer Conflict of Interest helps ensure that conflict of interest and conflict of duties risks are identified and resolved, and supports the deputy head in meeting the requirements of the Directive on Conflict of Interest.

    The duties and powers of the Senior Officer for Conflict of Interest also include the following, pursuant to the conflict of interest procedures established under the Directive of Conflict of Interest:

    1. Identifying the types of assets and liabilities that must be reported by persons employed because ownership might constitute a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest.
    2. Identifying positions that may be a risk for post-employment conflicts of interest (“designated positions”) and seeking deputy head approval of this list.
    3. Providing consistent information, advice and assistance to persons employed about preventing and resolving conflict of interest or conflict of duties situations.
    4. Ensuring any actions taken or decisions made are documented and that all records relating to this are maintained in accordance with the Privacy Act. Most conflict of interest files are, at minimum, classified as Protected B.
    5. Ensuring that persons offered employment and persons employed are informed about the Directive on Conflict of Interest, the list of reportable assets and liabilities, and the designated positions.
    6. Informing persons employed about decisions taken and reasons for applying mitigation measures.
    7. Ensuring protection of the identity of the person employed and their financial information when a financial mitigation strategy is applied.

    Treasury Board Secretariat: Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer

    In support of the Treasury Board President’s responsibilities under section 4 of the PSDPA, the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) is responsible for promoting ethical practices in the public sector. The OCHRO will work with all relevant partner organizations to implement and promote this Code, and will provide advice to chief executives and designated departmental officials with respect to its interpretation.

    The Chief Human Resources Officer may issue directives, standards and guidelines related to this Code.

    OCHRO will monitor the implementation of this Code at FedDev Ontario with a view to assessing whether the stated objectives have been achieved.

    Public Service Commission

    The Public Service Commission is responsible for conducting staffing investigations and audits to safeguard the integrity of the public service staffing system and for administering certain provisions related to political activities in accordance with the Public Service Employment Act.

    Appendix B: Definitions

    Persons employed:

    For the purpose of this Code, this includes indeterminate and term employees, individuals on leave without pay, students participating in student employment programs, assignments, secondments, casual, seasonal and part-time workers, at FedDev Ontario. Individuals on incoming Interchange Canada assignments are also expected to comply with the requirements of this Code. Governor in Council appointees, such as deputy heads, are subject to the Conflict of Interest Act and to the Public Sector Code.

    Conflict of interest:

    A situation, whether real, apparent or potential, in which the person employed has private interests that could influence the performance of their official duties and responsibilities or in which the person employed uses their office for personal gain.

    • Real: A conflict of interest situation that exists at the present time.
    • Potential: A conflict of interest situation that could reasonably be foreseen to happen in the future.
    • Apparent: A situation that could be perceived as a conflict of interest by a reasonable observer, whether or not it is the case.
    Conflict of duties:

    A conflict, whether real, apparent or potential, 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 could include the responsibilities of his or her primary public service employment and the responsibilities of an outside role that forms part of his or her official duties, such as an appointment to a board of directors or other outside function.

    Public servant:

    The Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA) defines public servant as "every person employed in the public sector" (this includes the core public administration, Crown corporations and separate agencies). This includes indeterminate and term employees; individuals on leave without pay; students participating in student employment programs; and casual, seasonal and part-time workers employed at FedDev Ontario. Although not public servants, individuals on incoming Interchange Canada assignments are expected to comply with the requirements of this Code. Governor in Council appointees, such as deputy heads, are subject to the Conflict of Interest Act and to the Public Sector Code.

    Appendix C: Reportable and exempt assets & liabilities

    Reportable assets and liabilities: (you must report these)

    1. publicly-traded securities of corporations and foreign governments and self-administered Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) that are composed of these securities, where these securities are held directly and not through units in mutual funds;
    2. 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;
    3. commercially operated farm businesses;
    4. real property that is not for the private use of public servants or their family members;
    5. commodities, futures and foreign currencies or cryptocurrencies held or traded for speculative purposes;
    6. assets described in this section placed in trust or resulting from an estate of which the public servant is a beneficiary;
    7. secured or unsecured loans granted to persons other than to members of the public servant's immediate family;
    8. direct and contingent liabilities in respect of any of the assets described in this section; and
    9. 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.

    Exempt assets and liabilities: (you do not need to report these)

    The assets and interests for the private use of you and your family members, as well as assets that are not commercial character, are exempt assets that are not required to be disclosed in a report. For example, such assets would include the following:

    1. residences, recreational properties and farms used or intended for use by you or your family;
    2. household goods and personal effects;
    3. works of art, antiques and collectibles;
    4. automobiles and other personal means of transportation;
    5. cash and deposits other than foreign currencies held for speculative purposes;
    6. securities of fixed value issued or guaranteed by any level of government in Canada or agencies of those governments;
    7. investments in limited partnerships that are not traded publicly and whose assets are exempt assets;
    8. public sector debt financing not guaranteed by a level of government, such as university and hospital debt financing;
    9. assets held in Registered Retirement Savings Plans, Registered Education Saving Plans, Tax Free Savings Accounts or similar other tax related saving vehicles that are not self-administered or self-directed;
    10. investments in a diversified investment fund (i.e. a fund that does not concentrate its investments in specific businesses or industries, including but not limited to, diversified Exchange-Traded Funds “ETF”), money market mutual funds and diversified mutual funds;
    11. guaranteed investment certificates, certificates of deposit, and similar financial instruments;
    12. annuities and life insurance policies;
    13. pension rights;
    14. money owed by a previous employer, client or partnership;
    15. personal loans receivable from members of your immediate families and small personal loans receivable from other persons where you have loaned the monies receivable; and
    16. any liability, such as a car loan, home renovation loan, or credit card account, from a financial institution or business entity granted on terms available to the general public.

    Appendix D: References and inquiries

    References

    Legislation

    Policies

    Other

    Inquiries

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