Effective April 2, 2012
Message from the Deputy Minister
PART 1: Our Values in Practice
A) Our values
1. Respect for Democracy
2. Respect for People
B) Workplace Leadership
C) Examples of Behaviours to Avoid
PART 2: Guidelines and Expectations of Conduct
1. Care and Use of Government Property
2. Confidentiality and Use of Information
3. Providing Testimony and Information
4. Electronic Networks Access and Use
5. Duty of Loyalty
6. Use of Social Networks
7. Public Comments
8. Respect and Courtesy when Serving and Dealing with Clients
9. Off-Duty Conduct
10. Fishery Officer Conduct
PART 3: Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment
B) Prevention of Conflict of Interest
C) General Responsibilities and Duties
D) Conflict of Interest During Employment
1. Personal Assets
2. Outside Employment or Activities
3. Political Activities
4. Gifts, Hospitality and Other Benefits
5. Solicitation and Fundraising
6. Avoidance of Preferential Treatment
7. Relationship/Partnership with Stakeholders
8. Reporting Relationships
E) Conflict of Interest Before and After Leaving Employment
1. Post-Employment Limitation Period When in Designated Positions
2. Waiver or Reduction of Limitation Period
PART 4: Resolution of Values and Ethics Issues.
PART 5: A Word From our Values and Ethics Champions
PART 6: Resources and Contacts
PART 7: Reference Documents
Other Items of Interest
As Public Service employees, we provide services to Canadians in line with the policies of the elected government and of our department. We are responsible for the use of public funds and resources and often represent our department and the Government of Canada in our communities. Our role as public servants places us in a unique position of trust, requiring high standards of ethical behaviour that reflect our commitment to the values of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Government of Canada.
Our department has an important mandate that directly touches the lives of many families and communities across Canada, and each and every one of us has a key role to play in its delivery. Every day, our jobs may present us with difficult decisions.
Building on the foundation of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Values and Ethics Code underscores our values. It sets out the expectations for behaviour governing all activities we perform to fulfill our mandate. It is binding on all management and employees, and it requires that we all be familiar with its content.
Just as our personal values guide our decisions in our personal lives, our organizational values embodied in these guidelines are meant to guide the daily decisions we make at work.
By itself, the Code cannot address all the issues that may arise in the course of conducting our business. Collaboration and dialogue are a critical part of the process for making sound decisions. I encourage you to embark upon this dialogue.
Public Service reputation, workplace ethics and public trust are not gained by directive or by policy; they are constructed, day in and day out, from the thousands of actions taken by us from coast to coast to coast.
To remain the great organization we are – and to enhance our reputation and standing – each and every one of us must do our part to ensure that our actions and decisions reflect our organizational values.
Let us be proud.
This Code is effective as of April 2, 2012.
The Fisheries and Oceans Canada Values and Ethics Code applies to every person employed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada1, including students, term employees, casual employees, seasonal and part-time workers, as well as individuals working with the Department by means of a secondment or assignment or through an Interchange Canada agreement. Employees on leave, including leave without pay, continue to be subject to the Code for the extent of their leave. Contractors and volunteers, including emeritus scientists, are expected to respect the intent of this Code.
All employees of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, regardless of level or position, are required to adhere to the values and expected standards of behaviour articulated in this Code as a condition of employment. A breach of these values or expectations of conduct may result in disciplinary measures, up to and including termination of employment.
Management must ensure that this Code has been provided to and discussed with all new employees of the Department. However, it is the responsibility of every employee to be aware of the content of this Code2. This Code includes the principles and requirements of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and theTreasury Board Secretariat Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employmentto make it a one-reference document. By abiding with this Code, employees are also fulfilling their obligation under the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment. This Code replaces the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service, published in 2003, and the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Code of Conduct for Fishery Officers.
The following values are a compass to guide us in everything we do. They will support us in all our activities and enable us to better understand expectations and responsibilities within our organization. As they will often overlap, they cannot be considered in isolation from each other. This Fisheries and Oceans Canada Values and Ethics Code is an important source of guidance for us. We are expected to take steps to integrate these values into our decisions, actions, policies, processes and systems. Similarly, we can expect to be treated in accordance with these values by our organization.
The departmental values are based on the federal public sector values of:
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:
At Fisheries and Oceans Canada Respect for Democracy also means:
Treating all people with respect, dignity and fairness is fundamental to our relationship with the Canadian public and colleagues, and it 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 innovation.
Public servants shall respect human dignity and the value of every person by:
At Fisheries and Oceans Canada Respect for People also means:
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 sector.
Public servants shall serve the public interest by:
At Fisheries and Oceans Canada Integrity also means:
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:
At Fisheries and Oceans Canada Stewardship also means:
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:
At Fisheries and Oceans Canada Excellence also means:
Everyone is a model for others and, as such, is a leader. No matter where we are or what our role is within the organization, modeling our behaviour and actions according to this Codedemonstratesleadership. Ethics in the workplace is a shared responsibility.
We are expected to:
Supervisors and managers are visible role models, especially for those people who work directly with them, and as such are held to the highest standards. Supervisor and managers lead by example and set the tone for ethical conduct. Actions speak louder than any written code.
Supervisors/managers must demonstrate ethical leadership by:
The expected behaviours listed in this Code help define each of our organizational values. Because we might sometimes stray from our values it is important to be able to recognize what unacceptable behaviours are so that we can avoid these at all costs. These behaviours harm the workplace atmosphere and have a direct impact on productivity and employee well-being. Below is a list of examples of what to avoid:
This part of the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Values and Ethics Code provides specific guidelines related to expected behaviours for certain circumstances. Although not exhaustive, it addresses many situations we face on a daily basis.
Property, equipment, materials, vehicles or facilities purchased or leased by the Department are owned by the Government and, by extension, the people of Canada. They are to be used for official purposes only, unless we have received proper management authorization for any other use. In all cases, use must never be for outside business interests or for any other form of personal gain.
We are expected to account for and protect any government property and valuables under our control. If any item is lost, stolen or damaged, we must immediately report it to our supervisor. Unless we have received authorization by the delegated authority, we must return all government property received as part of our duties when we leave our position, or when we are requested to do so by a proper authority.
Government-issued credit card must be used for official Fisheries and Oceans Canada business only. We are responsible for its use and for paying the invoice in a timely manner. Please refer to the Treasury Board Directive on Acquisition Cards and the Fisheries and Oceans Canada guidelines on Using Acquisition Cards.Any knowledge, information or technology created in Fisheries and Oceans Canada, or by departmental employees, to meet operational requirements must be dealt with in accordance with the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Intellectual Property Management Policy and Intellectual Property Management Guidelines.
As Fisheries and Oceans Canada employees we must comply with all legislation, directives and procedures relating to any personal or official information that are under the control of the Department.
We access official information only if authorized to do so and if it is required for work. Under no circumstances will we use this information for personal use, gain or financial benefit either for ourselves, our relatives or anyone else. We shall not destroy or change a record, make a false record or hide a record, nor ask or advise someone else to do so.
All information exchanged in the course of our duties must be gathered by legal means, be true and fair and not designed to mislead. During and after our employment we are required to keep in strict confidence all information we obtained about employees and clients to which the public does not have access. We disclose this type of information only if specifically authorized to do so by legislation or departmental guidelines or by a court of law. In social or public settings, we take care not to discuss confidential, personal or sensitive information.
We are required to use discretion at all times when conducting investigations or prosecuting.When we leave the employment of the Department, we do not take with us or retain any official records or documents, including paper documents, electronic or digital information, videos, etc. unless authorized by the delegated authority.
When called upon to testify in court proceedings or to provide information in the course of an investigation, judicial inquiry, fact finding, etc., we are required to do so in a full and forthright manner. We shall not knowingly provide false, misleading, or inaccurate information. We shall conduct ourselves honestly, ethically and with integrity. We will avoid speculation or personal opinions.
See the Treasury Board Policy on the Use of Electronic Networks and the DFO’s Acceptable Use of Electronic Networks Policy.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s electronic network supports a wealth of information and is a cost-effective tool for communications, service to the public, departmental visibility, gathering job-related information and much more. We must use the network effectively, and be cautious not to expose the Department or ourselves to potential harm.
The electronic network is for official use only. However, limited personal use of the network is permitted, provided it complies with all related legislation, policies and guidelines. This must not affect our productivity or that of our colleagues or impose a storage burden on computer systems. Examples of acceptable personal use during breaks and lunch time include limited online banking transactions, reading or writing personal emails or surfing the Web on acceptable sites.
Examples of unacceptable activity of the electronic network includes the use for private business, personal gain or profit, political activity, sending chain letters or abusive messages, etc. See DFO’s Acceptable Use Policy for Electronic Networks for further guidance.
Remember: access to the electronic network can always be traced back to the user.
Freedom of expression is a deep-rooted value in our democratic system. It is entrenched in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and all Canadians, including federal public servants, enjoy this right.
At the same time, the Public Service of Canada is an important national institution, part of the essential framework of Canadian parliamentary democracy. Through the support we provide to the duly constituted government, public servants contribute in a fundamental way to good government, democracy and Canadian society.
As a result, we have unique responsibilities that are part of our conditions of employment. While our right to freedom of expression is protected in the Charter, as public servants, we are also required to be – and to be seen to be – objective and impartial in fulfilling our responsibilities, and to demonstrate loyalty to our employer, the Government of Canada.
Given these responsibilities, employment in the Public Service involves acceptance of certain restraints, one of the most important of which is the use of caution when it comes to making criticisms of the Government. While we are free to question policies, procedures or instructions, we should do so within the appropriate internal channels. When doing so, we must exercise caution in ensuring that our public statements have no impact on our ability – or the perception of our ability – to objectively and impartially perform our duties as a public servant.As employees of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, making certain public commentary or criticism, such as signing a petition or publicly speaking out against a policy, direction, position
or program of our Department, could bring into question the real or perceived ability to perform our official duties in a completely objective and impartial manner. Generally, the more closely our official duties and place of employment are related to the issue, the higher the risk that our objectivity and impartiality will be questioned.
When balancing our right to freedom of expression with the importance of our duty of loyalty to our employer and impartiality of the public service, we should consider the following:
In many circumstances, we can voice our opinions on government positions, policies or decisions. However, in certain circumstances, this balance may only be achieved by limiting our freedom of expression. We must consider these factors and exercise sound judgment before engaging in such activities.
For further guidance, refer to the TBS document entitled Duty of Loyalty.
The Government of Canada actively endorses the use of social networks as a communications tool to reach and interact with its employees as well as the public.
However, we must bear in mind that social networks are public forums, and that comments and behaviours on these forums become part of the public record. As we are now more visible as public servants, we must always consider our organizational values (especially respect for democracy and respect for people) as well as our responsibilities under this Code when making statement on social networks sites.
Comments, criticisms, pictures, videos and personal information that we place on these sites are not private. We must be cautious of what is said and posted in light of our duty of loyalty, security of information, the reputation and professionalism of the Department and the government, and respect for colleagues.
As Fisheries and Oceans Canada employees, our public comments can easily be seen by others as the voice of the Department. With this in mind, we cannot publicly comment on the Department’s position on any subject unless it is part of our official duties and that it complies with the Departmental National Media Relations and Spokesperson Policy.
When authorized, before making public comments, we must make every effort to obtain accurate information and facts by consulting with the proper colleagues and stakeholders to address sensitivities and not going outside the scope of our knowledge and expertise. We must avoid expressing personal opinions on Fisheries and Oceans Canada policies and programs, limiting our public comments to factual information.All media inquiries must be referred to the Communications Branch or Regional Communications.
At Fisheries and Oceans Canada, we are called upon to work with external and internal clients and stakeholders. While these situations may at times be difficult, we must remain professional and respectful, even under difficult conditions such as in times of personal stress and in the face of provocation. We must never make abusive, derisive, threatening, insulting, offensive or provocative statements or gestures to, or about, another person.
Similarly, we can expect to be treated with respect by our clients and stakeholders. In circumstances when this is not the case, and where appropriate, we can request the other party(ies) to remain respectful. In most cases, we can even postpone an interaction to a later time, when tempers have cooled.
When performing unwelcome activities, such as dealing with fisheries violations or explaining unpopular decisions, we are likely to experience difficult client relations from which we cannot withdraw. Training is available to increase conflict management skills for dealing effectively with difficult situations.
Please refer to PART 3, Section 7, Relationship / Partnership with External Stakeholders regarding to possible situations of conflict of interest when dealing with external stakeholders.
Off-duty conduct is usually considered a private matter. However, it could become a work-related matter if it5:
As Public Service employees, we must consider the impact of our actions even outside the hours of our employment. Off-duty activities may sometimes reflect on both the Department and the Government of Canada and affect the confidence and respect of the public.
Please note: Employees who are bound to the workplace for extended periods of time (i.e. on ships) will find that the line between “on-duty” and “off-duty” becomes blurred. In these circumstances, we should be mindful of the public perception of our actions; the public does not distinguish whether we are on-duty or off-duty.
As Fishery Officers we are and continue to be subject to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Values and Ethics Code in its entirety. The following standards of conduct are supplementary to all other expectations7 of behaviour already listed in this Code, and are intended to clearly articulate the additional standards that apply to Fishery Officers. Fishery Officers carry out the Department’s enforcement mandate, and are a key contact group between the Department and the public. The professional and personal activities of Fishery Officers, as law enforcement / peace officers, reflect on the Department and the Government of Canada. As such, as Fishery Officers we are expected to conduct ourselves at all times, both on and off duty, in a manner which will not discredit the Department. In particular, as Fishery Officers we shall:
Conflict of Interest: a situation in which a public servant8 has private interests that could improperly influence the performance of his or her official duties and responsibilities or in which a public servant uses his or her office for personal gain. A real conflict of interest exists at the present time, an apparent conflict of interest could be perceived by a reasonable observer to exist, whether or not it is the case, and a potential conflict of interest could reasonably be foreseen to exist in the future.
According to the Federal Court of Appeal in Threader,9 the existence of an apparent conflict of interest must be determined by the following question: Would an informed person, viewing the matter realistically and practically and having thought the matter through, think it more likely than not that the public servant, whether consciously or unconsciously, will be influenced in the performance of his official duties by considerations having to do with his private interests?
In the public service, the appearance and perception of a conflict of interest is as important to manage as a real conflict of interest.
Conflict of duties: a conflict 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 roles could include his or her primary public service employment and his or her responsibilities in 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.
Third party: any individual, group, or organization external to the Government of Canada, such as a private individual, a business, a society, an association, or a university.
This section outlines the conflict of interest and post-employment requirements. These requirements are grounded in and serve to uphold our values. By upholding these ethical standards, we conserve and enhance public confidence in the honesty, fairness and integrity of the public service. These requirements also form part of Canada’s commitments as a signatory to international agreements on values and ethics.
We maintain public confidence in the objectivity of the public service by preventing and avoiding situations that could give the appearance of a conflict of interest, result in a potential for a conflict of interest or result in an actual conflict of interest. Conflict of interest does not relate exclusively to matters concerning financial transactions and the transfer of economic benefit. While 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, public servants 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, we should refer to the requirements set out in this Code to guide appropriate action. We can also seek guidance from our manager or the Centre for VICR.
In addition to the requirements outlined in this appendix, we are also required to observe any specific conduct requirements contained in the statutes governing our Department and our profession, where applicable.
Ultimately, each one of us is responsible for preventing, avoiding and mitigating our conflict of interest situations.
Our general responsibilities and duties include:
In order to prevent and deal with situations of conflict of interest during employment, we are required to report in writing to the Centre for VICR, using the DFO Conflict of Interest (COI) Declaration Form, all outside activities, assets and interests that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to our official duties. Such a report is to be made within 60 days of our initial appointment or any subsequent appointment, transfer or deployment. This must be done in consultation with our manager.
On a regular basis thereafter, and every time a major change occurs in our personal affairs or official duties, we are required to review our obligations under this Code. If a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists, we must complete and submit a DFO COI Declaration Form to the Centre for VICR in a timely manner.When negotiating financial arrangements with outside parties, we are to comply with the requirements listed in this Code as well as other related directives or policies issued by the Treasury Board and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. When in doubt, we are to immediately report the situation to our managers in order to seek advice or direction on how to proceed.
We are required to evaluate our personal assets, taking into consideration the nature of our official duties and the characteristics of our assets. If there is any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest between the carrying out of our official duties and our assets, we are to report this matter to the Centre for VICR in a timely manner, using the DFO COI Declaration Form.
Where the Centre for VICR determines that any of these assets results in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to our official duties, we may be required to divest those assets, or to take measures to resolve the conflict. We may not sell or transfer assets to family members or anyone else for the purpose of circumventing the compliance requirements.
The types of assets that should be reported and the procedures for reporting and managing such assets are set out in the Directive on Reporting and Managing Financial Conflicts of Interest.For example, if we work in a section of Fisheries and Oceans Canada where we are involved in developing policies that will affect the fishing industry and we own publicly-traded securities in that same industry, we need to report these assets for review by the Centre for VICR, using the DFO COI Declaration Form.
We 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 would undermine the impartiality of the public service or our objectivity.
After discussing with our manager, we are required to complete and submit a DFO COI Declaration Form to the Centre for VICR when our outside employment or activities might subject us to demands incompatible with our official duties, or cast doubt on our ability to perform our duties or responsibilities in a completely objective manner. The Centre for VICR may require that the outside activities be modified or terminated if it is determined that a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists.
If we receive a benefit or income either directly or indirectly from a contract with the Government of Canada, we are required to report such contractual or other arrangements to the Centre for VICR. The Centre for VICR will determine whether the arrangement presents a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, and may require that the contract be modified or terminated.
The outside activities listed below have significant risks of placing us in real, apparent or potential conflict of interest with respect to our official duties as employees of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. If we participate in any of these activities we must discuss it with our manager and report it to the Centre for VICR for review, using the DFO COI Declaration Form.
2.1 Fisheries and Oceans Canada Programs or Activities
2.2 Commercial Activities Related to Fisheries
During the assessment of this possible conflict of interest, the following criteria will be used to determine the nature of our duties and our visibility related to this activity:
2.3 Boards of Directors
If we are involved in an external board of directors we must consult the DFO Boards of Directors Assessment Tool and follow the requirements set out in its Decision Tree. We must ensure that concurrent outside appointments, such as to a board of directors, are managed appropriately and that any resulting conflicts of duties are resolved in the public interest.For example, the Decision Tree identifies that where there is no link with our official duties, as in the case of membership in the board of directors of a condo association or a parent-teacher association, no risk of conflict of interest arises.
Part 7 of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) recognizes our right, as public servants, to engage in political activity so long as it does not impair, or is not perceived to impair, our ability to perform our duties in a politically impartial manner.
“Political activities” are defined in Part 7 of the PSEA as:
If we wish to engage in a political activity not covered by Part 7 of the PSEA that could constitute a conflict of interest, we are required to report the proposed activity to the Centre for VICR. Similarly, if we are subject to this Code but not subject to Part 7 of the PSEA, including casual and part-time workers, and wish to engage in any political activity that could constitute a conflict of interest, we are to report the proposed activity to the Centre for VICR.
Examples of non-candidacy political activities are: going door-to-door to solicit votes for a candidate or party, putting a sign on your front lawn supporting a candidate or party, donating to a political candidate or party, etc. While in uniform, we shall not attend political gatherings or participate in any political activity. For further examples and guidance, please consult the Public Service Commission’s Guidance document.
If we are considering involvement in non-candidacy political activities, we should seek advice from our manager or the Centre for VICR who is the Designated Departmental Official for Political Activities before acting. We should also refer to the Public Service Commission’s webpage on political activities.
We are required to seek and obtain permission from the Public Service Commission to be a candidate, or seeking to be nominated as one, in a federal, provincial, territorial, or municipal election, in accordance with Part 7 of the PSEA. We should seek assistance from the Centre for VICR who is the Designated Departmental Official for Political Activities.
3.3 Holding a Position of Office in and/or Volunteering for Aboriginal Band Councils
Holding a position of office and/or volunteering in an Aboriginal band council is not considered a political activity under Part 7 of the PSEA. However, given the mandate of our Department, there may be instances when these types of outside activities could place us in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest. If we participate in any of these activities we must discuss it with our manager and if this participation could place us in a situation of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, we must report it to the Centre for VICR for review, using the DFO COI Declaration Form.
The nature of our position (i.e. regulatory role, visibility, decision-making power, extent and nature of dealings with the Aboriginal band, area of work coverage, etc.) will be key in the assessment of whether or not there is a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest between our official duties and these outside activities.
We are expected to use our best judgment to avoid situations of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest by considering the following criteria on gifts, hospitality and other benefits and in keeping with the overall context of this Code.
We must not accept any gifts, hospitality or other benefits that may have a real, apparent or potential influence on our objectivity in carrying out our official duties and responsibilities or that may place us under obligation to the donor. This includes activities such as free or discounted admission to sporting and cultural events, travel or conferences.
Although the normal expectation is that we do not accept gifts, hospitality or other benefits, it is permissible:
Soliciting or accepting a commission, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind from a person who has dealings with the Government, without obtaining the required written consent, is an offence under the Criminal Code as well as a serious breach of this Code. This could be interpreted as a bribe.
For further information on the acceptance of gifts, please consult the Departmental Guidelines on the Acceptance and Solicitation of Gifts, Hospitality and Other Benefits.
4.2 Situations Where it May be Impossible to Decline a Gift, Hospitality or Other Benefit
We are to seek written direction from the Centre for VICR 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 Fisheries and Oceans Canada to warrant acceptance of certain types of hospitality. The DFO COI Declaration Form may be used for this purpose and sent to the Centre for VICR for review.
When we participate in events (speaker at a conference, panel, etc.) in our official capacity, we do not accept any form of honorarium, regardless of whether such participation was during work hours or not.
4.4 Travel offers from a third party
In the course of our duties, we may receive offers from stakeholders to cover travel-related costs when we are called upon to collaborate with them or are invited to a conference as a speaker or guest.
If a third party offers to pay or reimburse the costs related to our travel, we must assess whether the offer poses a risk of real, apparent, or potential conflict of interest, or may have, or give the appearance of having, influence on our objectivity in carrying out our official duties. We must also ensure that the acceptance of the offer would not contravene any legal, financial or policy requirements. Accepting any offer of funded travel from a third party is unacceptable when:
If management decides that there is a benefit to, and a value added for, the Department in our attending such an event, a departmental source funding should be identified to cover the cost of the travel.
With the exception of fundraising for officially supported activities as the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC), we may not solicit gifts, hospitality, other benefits or transfers of economic value from a person, group or organization in the private sector who has dealings with the government. When fundraising for such official activities we should ensure that we have prior written authorization from our Regional Director General (RDG), Assistant Commissioner (AC), Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) or Deputy Commissioner (DC) to solicit donations, prizes or contributions in kind from external organizations or individuals.
Similarly, if an outside individual or entity, with whom Fisheries and Oceans Canada has past, present or potential official dealings, offers a benefit to the Department such as funding for an event or a donation of equipment, we are to consider whether any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists, and obtain the consent in writing of our RDG, AC, ADM or DC prior to accepting any such benefit. Consent will be provided in consultation with the Centre for VICR, as the delegated authority to provide direction as to whether gifts, hospitality are to be declined or retained by the department, donated to charity, or disposed of.
Our RDG, AC, ADM or DC 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 of Canada.At Fisheries and Oceans Canada, we must consult the Departmental Guidelines on Fundraising and Solicitation in the Workplace for acceptable related activities and conduct.
We are responsible for demonstrating objectivity and impartiality in the exercise of our duties and in our 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 we are prohibited from granting preferential treatment or advantages to family, friends or any other person or entity. We are not to offer extraordinary assistance to any entity or persons already dealing with the government without informing our supervisor and obtaining their support. We also are not to disadvantage any entity or persons dealing with the government because of personal antagonism or bias.
Providing information that is publicly accessible is not considered preferential treatment.
For example, while it is acceptable to mentor someone regarding general principles in staffing when we are not part of the staffing process, we cannot provide someone with information not generally available to others. We must inform our supervisor for a file that involves a person or entity with which we have a personal relationship (i.e. contract, recruitment, transfer payment, collaboration, etc.) and we must not be responsible for such a file.We must never use our official identification, title or authority to obtain personal benefit, to exert influence, to obtain or appear to obtain any privilege, favour for ourselves or others, or to do anything that is illegal, improper or against the best interests of the public we serve or the Department. This would be a clear abuse of authority.
As public servants, we are called upon to have dealings with a variety of stakeholders. It is important to be, and be perceived as being, impartial and objective in all our dealings with our stakeholders, and to remember that we represent the Department and the Government of Canada. Care must be taken to keep our relationships with stakeholders professional and to avoid any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, especially if these become recurring and longstanding.
In a number of small communities, Fisheries and Oceans Canada form a visible and significant part of the community. In such cases, it may be a greater challenge for us to keep our professional and personal lives separate. Maintaining our professional demeanour in public fora and assessing the impact of our personal behaviour on our professional duties becomes especially important in these circumstances.
Consultation and Negotiation
In our role as public servants we are often called upon to manage and participate in consultations with diverse stakeholders, either bilaterally or in multi-stakeholder fora.
There are occasions when, as public servants, we are called upon to be negotiators, with other levels of government, First Nations and other stakeholders:
Given that as supervisors we are expected to be unbiased and fair in managing our team, a reporting relationship between family members is a real conflict of interest and should be avoided since it creates the appearance of preferential treatment. The closeness and visibility of the relationship are considered factors in determining the extent to which the definition of family may be applied. For instance, close personal relationships that may not satisfy the legal definition of family but may contribute to a perception of preferential treatment should also be avoided in reporting relationships.It is our responsibility to identify situations where we may be in a situation of potential conflict of interest and to take appropriate avoidance measures. In cases where it is impossible to avoid the conflict of interest, management should consult with the Centre for VICR to assign certain management responsibilities regarding the reporting employee (performance assessment, leave approval, financial approvals, etc.) to another supervisor, or take other administrative measures to address the conflict of interest.
This section contains requirements for preventing post-employment conflict of interest situations before and after leaving Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
We all have a responsibility to minimize the possibility of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest between our most recent responsibilities within the federal public service and our subsequent employment outside the public service.
The sole fact of rehiring a former public servant does not necessarily present a conflict of interest. In fact, in some cases, it might be the most cost-efficient way of dealing with short-term or specific recruitment needs. However, management should ensure good human resources planning, avoid preferential treatment, and respect policies and guidelines.
Before leaving our employment with the public service, we all are to disclose our intentions regarding any future outside employment or activities that may pose a risk of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest with our current responsibilities and discuss potential conflicts of interests with our manager or the Centre for VICR.For example, if in our current duties, we have significant dealings with an outside stakeholder, it is important not to benefit or seem to benefit from that relationship in order to obtain future employment.
At Fisheries and Oceans Canada, all executive (EX) positions are designated for post-employment limitation. In addition, the Deputy Minister is responsible for designating positions of risk for post-employment conflict of interest situations. Such designations are to be communicated to potential and current employees.
If we occupy these designated positions, we are subject to a one-year limitation period after leaving employment with the federal public service. Before leaving and during this one-year limitation period, we are to report to the Centre for VICR all firm offers of employment or proposed activity outside the public service that could place us in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest with our public service employment. We are also immediately to disclose the acceptance of any such offer.
In addition, we may not, during this one-year period after leaving the federal public service, without the authorization of the Deputy Minister via the Centre for VICR:
We may apply to the Centre for VICR for a written waiver or reduction of the post-employment limitation period. To do so, we are to provide sufficient information to the Centre for VICR to assist the Deputy Minister in making a determination as to whether to grant the waiver taking into consideration the following criteria:
The guidelines set out in this Code are not intended to respond to every possible ethical issue that might arise in the course of our daily work. When these issues arise, we are encouraged to discuss and resolve these matters with our manager in a timely manner. We can also seek advice and support from the Centre for VICR.
We are all expected to resolve issues in a fair, respectful and timely manner and consider informal processes such as dialogue or mediation. If necessary, formal recourse such as grievances may also be used.
As provided by Sections 12 and 13 of the Public Service Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), if we have information that could indicate a serious breach of this Code, we can bring this matter to our immediate supervisor, the Departmental Senior Officer for Disclosure, or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
When faced with an ethical dilemma, the following decision-making steps can assist us in determining an appropriate course of action. We should ask ourselves the following questions:
Although this Code sets standards of behaviour for all employees of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, they are not all-inclusive. The absence of a specific standard of behaviour does not mean that an action is condoned and consequently it may still be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment.Always remember that you are responsible for your choices and actions.
When each of us decides to pursue a life of public service, we likely do so because certain values are important to us – we want to be part of an organization where values such as respect for democracy, respect for people, integrity, stewardship, excellence and service to the public good are a central and constant element in all that we do.
The Fisheries and Oceans Canada Values and Ethics Code is, first and foremost, a tangible expression of the principles that we, as employees of the Department, hold close to our hearts. It is our vehicle for telling the world who we are as our best selves and what we stand for.
Many of you contributed enthusiastically to the development of the Code, a welcome sign that values and ethics truly are part of our everyday thoughts and discourse here at Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard. The Code is meant to inspire you further, and to support us all in setting high standards for ourselves and for the relationships we have with others as we deliver results for Canadians.
As your departmental Champions for Values and Ethics, we encourage you to view this Code as an essential tool to help and guide you and we encourage you to think of the Code as a “living document”, one that you can talk about with your colleagues, supervisor and manager.Departmental Values and Ethics Champions
Any questions we should have related to this Code, we can discuss them with our manager or supervisor. For additional guidance concerning this Code, we are to contact the Centre for Values, Integrity and Conflict Resolution at 1-877-213-6272 or send an email message to email@example.com.
Informal conflict resolution
Conflict resolution provides employees and managers with a confidential, neutral forum in which to discuss and resolve workplace conflicts before initiating a formal process, or after putting a formal process on hold to attempt to resolve the conflict informally. If we require assistance we may contact our regional Conflict Resolution Advisor of the Centre for VICR.
Senior officer for Disclosure
The senior officer for disclosure helps promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing and deals with disclosures of wrongdoing made by public servants of their organization. The senior officer for disclosure is responsible for supporting the Deputy Minister in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA. For information or to make a disclosure please contact the Centre for VICR, responsible for internal disclosures, at 1-866-211-4411 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employee Assistance Program
If we find ourselves in a challenging personal situation (i.e. difficulty managing your time, health issues, substance abuse, relationship issues, etc.) that could affect our professional relationships or performance at work, it is important to speak to our manager or other advisors.
To help overcome personal challenges, we have access to the Employee Assistance Program.
Other resourcesAssistance is also available from our human resources advisors and our union representatives.
The following is a list of references that relate to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Values and Ethics Code. It is by no means exhaustive, but it includes the most relevant material.
Acts and regulations
Access to Information Act
Canada Labour Code
Criminal Code of Canada
Financial Administration Act
Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act
Public Service Employment Act
Public Service Labour Relations Act
Fisheries and Oceans Canada Policies and Guidelines
Boards of Directors Assessment Tool and Decision Tree
Centre for Values, Integrity and Conflict Resolution
DFO’s Acceptable Use Policy for Electronic Networks
Employee Assistance Program
Guidelines on Investigations of Breaches of the Fishery Officer Code of Conduct
Guidelines on the Acceptance and Solicitation of Gifts, Hospitality and Other Benefits
Guidelines on Fundraising and Solicitation in the Workplace
Intellectual Property Management Guidelines
Intellectual Property Management Policy
Using Acquisition Cards (Finance and Administration 101)
National Media Relations and Spokesperson Policy
Treasury Board policies and directives
Directive on Acquisition Cards
Harassment in the Workplace - Policies and Publications
Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment
Policy on Transfer Payments
Policy on the Use of Electronic Networks
Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector
Communications Policy of the Government of Canada
1 Throughout this document, all references to Fisheries and Oceans Canada include the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), unless otherwise specified.
2 This Code fulfills the requirement of section 6 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, which requires federal organizations to establish a code of conduct. It was developed in consultation with employees and bargaining agents.
3 Underlined terms in this Code are referenced in PART 7: Reference Documents.
4 Fraser v. Public Service Staff Relations Board,  2 S.C.R. 455.
5Criteria found in Millhaven Fibres Ltd., Millhaven Works, and Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Int'l Union, Local 9-670 (1967), 1 (A) Union-Management Arbitration Cases 328. These criteria were subsequently adopted by the PSLRB in several decisions.
6For the purposes of this Code, this includes designated fishery officers and fishery guardians employed by the Department.
7Fishery Officers should consult the Guidelines on Investigations of Breaches of the Fishery Officer Code of Conduct
8Order-in-council appointees, such as the Deputy Minister and Associate Deputy Minister, are subject to the Conflict of Interest Act, and are not subject to Part 3 of this Code.
9Threader v. Canada (Treasury Board),  1 F. C. 41 (CA) paragraph 27.