The Code of Conduct (Code) for the National Occupational Council of Canada applies to all members, directors and officers. The Code reflects a commitment to the Council’s values and provides a framework to guide ethical conduct in a way that upholds the integrity and reputation of the Council. Members, directors and officers are expected to behave in a way that aligns with this Code. They understand that this Code does not cover every specific scenario. Therefore, they use the spirit and intent behind this Code to guide their conduct, and exercise care and diligence in the course of their work with the Council.
To demonstrate commitment to transparency and accountability, this Code is available to the public on the Council’s website.
- Members, directors and officers act with impartiality and integrity.
- Members, directors and officers demonstrate respect and accountability.
- Members, directors and officers operate in a fair and open manner.
These principles guide the behaviour and decisions of members, directors and officers:
- The actions and decisions of members, directors and officers are made to promote and to advance the mandate and long-term interests of the Council.
- Members, directors and officers are responsible stewards of Council resources.
- Members, directors and officers have a responsibility to uphold the Council’s mandate
- Members, directors and officers have a responsibility to act in good faith and to place the interests of the Council above their own private interests.
- Members, directors and officers behave in a way that demonstrates that their behaviour and actions are fair and reasonable in the circumstance.
- When a member, director or officer, as an individual, is subject to more than one code of conduct, the member, director or officer must consider the expectations in all. Members, directors and officers understand that this Code is not intended to conflict with other Codes of Conduct, and will discuss any potential conflicts with the Council Chair or in absence of Chair, the Vice Chair.
- The Code applies to all members, directors and officers unless a specific exemption is granted by the Chair in writing.
- Members, directors and officers know that when they become aware of a real or apparent conflict of interest, they must at the first opportunity disclose this conflict to the Council Chair or in absence of Chair, the Vice Chair.
- Members, directors and officers understand that disclosure itself does not remove a conflict of interest.
- Members, directors and officers encourage their colleagues to act fairly and ethically and know that they are able to raise concerns about a suspected breach by another to the Council Chair, or in absence of Chair, the Vice Chair without fear of reprisal.
- Members, directors and officers know that breaches of this Code may result in disciplinary action, up to and including removal of the member.
- Members, directors and officers know that if they have any questions about the Code, or are not sure how to apply these principles, they should consult with the Council Chair, or in absence of the Chair, the Vice Chair.
- Each member, director and officer confirms annually their understanding of, and commitment to, the Code’s expectations.
Behavioural standards help members, directors and officers make appropriate decisions when the issues they face involve ethical considerations. Behavioural standards cannot cover all scenarios but provide guidance in support of day-to-day decisions. All members, directors and officers must adhere to the following standards:
- Members, directors and officers must not engage in any criminal activity and comply with all relevant laws, regulations, policies and procedures.
- Members, directors and officers must not use their status or position with the Council to influence or gain a benefit or advantage for themselves or others.
- Members, directors and officers conduct contributes to a safe and healthy workplace that is free from discrimination, harassment or violence.
- Members, directors and officers must not use drugs or alcohol in a way that affects their performance and safety or the performance and safety of their colleagues, or that negatively impacts the reputation or operations of the Council.
- Members, directors and officers must act in a way that is consistent with the Council’s protocols on public comment.
- Members, directors and officers must take reasonable steps to avoid situations where they may be placed in a real or apparent conflict between their private interests and the interests of the Council. In other words, actions or decisions that members, directors and officers take on behalf of the Council must not provide them with an opportunity to further the private interests of themselves, their families, their business associates or others with whom they have a significant personal or business relationship.
- Confidential InformationMembers, directors and officers must respect and protect confidential information, use it only for the work of the Council and do not use it for personal gain. Members, directors and officers must comply with protocols that guide the collection, storage, use, transmission and disclosure of information.
- Gifts and GratuitiesMembers, directors and officers must not accept or receive gifts and gratuities other than the normal exchange of gifts between friends or business colleagues, tokens exchanged as part of protocol or the normal presentation of gifts to people participating in public functions.
- Outside ActivitiesMembers, directors and officers must avoid participating in outside activities that conflict with the interests and work of the Council. For example:
- Business Interests: Members, directors and officers must not hold interests in a business directly or indirectly through a relative or friend that could benefit from, or influence, the decisions of the Council.
- Political Activity: Members, directors and officers may participate in political activities including membership in a political party, supporting a candidate for elected office or seeking elected office. However, they must not participate directly in soliciting contributions for a political party. In addition, any political activity must be clearly separated from activities related to the work for the Council, must not be done while carrying out the work of the Council and must not make use of Council facilities, equipment or resources in support of these activities.
Administrative processes help members, directors and officers manage ethical dilemmas, including any real or apparent conflict of interest concerns.
- AdministrationThe Code Administrator for members, directors and officers is the Council Chair. The Code Administrator responsibilities for the Chair are shared between the Council Vice Chair and Council Secretary:
- the Vice Chair receive disclosures from the Chair;
- the Council Secretary provides advice to the Chair about whether a proposed activity by the Chair would be a breach of this Code; and
- the Vice Chair can request that the Council Secretary investigate alleged breaches of the Code by the Chair or any member.
The Code Administrator receives and ensures the confidentiality of all disclosures and ensures that any real or apparent conflict of interest is avoided or effectively managed. As well, the Code Administrator is responsible for providing advice and managing all concerns and complaints concerning potential breaches of the Code, including conflicts of interest within the Council. Even though the Council may have a delegated process for responding to and managing concerns, the Code Administrator is responsible for ensuring procedural fairness.
- DisclosureIt is the responsibility of each member, director and officer to declare in writing to the Code Administrator those private interests and relationships that they think could be seen to impact the decisions or actions they take on behalf of the Council. When there is a change in their responsibilities within the Council or in their personal circumstance, member, director and officer shall disclose in writing any relevant new or additional information about those interests as soon as possible. Where a real or apparent conflict of interest cannot be avoided, members, directors and officers must take the appropriate steps to manage the conflict.Members, directors and officers disclose these real or apparent conflicts of interest so that the Code Administrator is aware of situations that could be seen as influencing the decisions or actions they are making on behalf of the Council. This provides members, directors and officers , following a review by the Code Administrator, an opportunity to take action to minimize or remove the conflict. To actively manage a conflict of interest, options include:
- removing themselves from matters in which the conflict exists or is perceived to exist;
- giving up the particular private interest causing the conflict; and,
- in rare circumstances, resigning their position with the Council.
- Reporting a Potential Breach by AnotherMembers, directors and officers are encouraged to report in writing a potential breach of this Code by another to the Code Administrator. When reporting a potential breach in good faith and with reasonable grounds, members, directors and officers are protected from retaliation for such reporting.
- Responding to Potential BreachOnce a potential breach has been reported, the Council’s procedures for responding to and managing a potential breach will be promptly initiated. The Code Administrator will review the circumstance and details of the potential breach and will notify the alleged member, director or officer. The alleged member, director or officer has the right to complete information and the right to respond fully to the potential breach. The identity of the reporter will not be disclosed unless required by law or in a legal proceeding. The Code Administrator makes the final internal decision and completes a report of the review in a timely manner. The decision may range from finding no potential breach to one that reveals suspected criminal conduct.
- Consequences of a BreachMembers, directors and officers who do not comply with the standards of behaviour identified in this Code, including taking part in a decision or action that furthers their private interests, may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including removal of the member
The Code of Conduct for the National Occupational Council of Canada was introduced on September 1, 2015 and is reaffirmed annually to ensure it remains current and relevant.