Public Safety Canada Code of Conduct
- Expected Behaviours
- Roles and Responsibilities
As public servants working at Public Safety Canada, we are accountable to Canada's Public Safety Minister and through him to the Canadian people.
Our behaviour must, at all times, show that we are worthy of their trust and confidence.
As the Department with the mission of building a safe and resilient Canada, we have a special obligation to ensure that everything we do in our work, whether in an administrative, policy, coordination, advisory or other capacity, ultimately contributes to the safety and security of the Canadian public.
The principles set out in the Public Safety Canada Code of Conduct (the Code) are intended to help us understand those rules and standards of conduct which are necessary to achieve our professional goals and objectives. The Code also provides direction in situations where the right course of action, when faced with a difficult situation, may not always be clear.
The Code applies to employees at all levels of Public Safety Canada. Managers and senior executives are expected to set an example by demonstrating high ethical and professional standards in their own conduct. It should also be noted that due to the nature of their duties, certain positions within the Department have a higher level of risk from the perspective of standards of conducts, and as a result, the conduct of the incumbents of these positions would be subject to a higher level of scrutiny.
The Code is designed to assist us in incorporating the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's values to our departmental values of Service, Unity, Respect and Excellence. It is through adhering to all of these that we can build a strong and durable culture of ethics in our Department.
By re-committing to the values of the Public Service, and adhering to the behaviour outlined in this Code, we, as public servants employed at Public Safety Canada, strengthen the ethical culture of the public sector and maintain public confidence in the integrity of all public institutions.
This document also fulfils our requirement to implement an Organizational Code of Conduct following Parliament's decision to enact the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA).
This Code outlines the values and expected behaviours that guide us in all activities related to our professional duties. It was developed in consultation with employees, management and bargaining agents. This Code is consistent with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector (VECPS), as required by the subsection 6(2) of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. Should anyone wish to delve more deeply into different issues, specific references to supporting legislation and directives are found at the end of this document.
The VECPS includes five core values: respect for democracy; respect for people; integrity; stewardship and excellence. These encompass several other principles such as lawfulness, impartiality, honesty, courtesy, transparency, accountability and professionalism. Public Safety Canada endorses the core values and aims to integrate them at all levels of decision making.
Respect for Democracy
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.
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 innovation.
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.
Federal public servants are entrusted to use and care for public resources responsibly, for both the short-term and long-term.
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.
Moreover, we are also expected to adhere to the values of Service, Unity, Respect and Excellence as defined in Public Safety Canada’s Mission, Vision and Values Statement:
- Service: We serve the public. We deliver high quality, timely programs and services that are responsive to the needs of all Canadians including our employees.
- Unity: We bring people together by building trust through team work, collaboration and integration.
- Respect: In a diverse society, we demonstrate integrity and respect for each other, our partners, our institutions and Canadians, both as taxpayers and as citizens.
- Excellence: We are driven by professionalism, innovation and achieving results for Canadians.
We are expected to reflect these values in every aspect of our decision making when conducting our official duties. This section outlines in general terms standards of conduct required of Public Safety Canada's employees. These are not exhaustive, but they exemplify the way in which the core values can guide us in everyday situations.A) Care and use of government property or valuables, and taxpayer property held by Public Safety Canada
We are responsible for government property or valuables and for taxpayer property in our possession or control. We are expected to report lost, stolen or damaged items to our manager.
- Property: This includes but is not restricted to, computers (including laptops), Blackberries, software, electronic and paper files, documents and data, office equipment and supplies, video equipment, telecommunication devices, ID, vehicles, and physical premises.
- Valuables: This includes, but is not restricted to, taxi chits, government credit cards (including those use for travel) and telephone calling cards.
While government-owned or leased property and valuables are intended for official purposes, limited and acceptable personal use may be permitted subject to managerial approval.
Use of Public Safety Canada identification
We are expected to avoid using job titles or any official identification to influence or obtain any privilege or to favour ourselves or others, or to do anything that is illegal, improper or against the best interests of the Department.
Public Safety Canada identification may be used for standard corporate discount offered to government employees when there is no expectation of a direct return on the part of the business, e.g., at a fitness center, hotel chains and car rental services. Employees must never represent themselves as being on official business when on personal business.
Travel cards (Amex)
Remember that when issued a Government of Canada Amex card, recipients sign an agreement stating that the card will be used only for authorized business travel and related expenses and hospitality. We are expected to abide by these conditions as well as to ensure the balance is paid on time.
Government-owned or government-leased vehicles
For liability reasons, we are expected to transport only authorized passengers in government-owned or leased vehicles.
As per section 12 of the Copyright Act and section 3 of the Public Servant Invention Act, anything created, designed, developed or produced in the course of our duties is the full property of Public Safety Canada. This includes, but is not limited to, software, computer devices, work methods, procedures, forms and evaluation systems.
Returning government property and valuables
All government property and valuables issued to employees are expected to be returned when we leave our position, are transferred or reassigned, or when so requested by a proper authority. Departmental documents, including manuals, policy or procedural texts or anything that is not in the public domain, must be left behind. Keep in mind that we are expected never to communicate any information or share any proprietary knowledge obtained while on the job that has not been made public by Public Safety Canada.
B) Confidentiality and disclosure of information
Upon employment with the government, we take an oath or solemn affirmation that we will not disclose or make known any matter that comes to our knowledge by reason of our employment. As such, we are expected to keep in strict confidence all information not made available to the general public, including policies, programs, practices and procedures, as well as any personal information of other individuals that we have access to in the course of our duties. This requirement also applies to former employees after they leave the employ of the Department.
This type of information may be disclosed to clients or designated representatives if specifically authorized by legislative or departmental guidelines.
Access to information and privacy
The Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act control how the government collects, uses, stores, discloses and disposes of any personal information. It also lists exemptions to protect the release of information which could cause harm or be contrary to Canadian law.
The Privacy Act gives Canadian citizens and permanent residents the right to access their personal information held by the federal government and protects against its unauthorized use and disclosure. The Access to Information Act gives Canadian citizens and permanent residents access to records under the control of a government institution. Contraventions of the Access to Information Act include destroying, mutilating, altering, falsifying or making a false record, concealing a record or directing, proposing, counselling or causing anyone to do so in any manner, with the intent to deny a right of access.
As public servants, we are expected to comply with all legislation, directives and procedures relating to the collection, use, sharing, storage, disclosure, distribution and disposal of any personal information pertaining to individual or commercial business.
Security of information
Government security hinges on the assurance that protected and classified information remains uncompromised, so we are expected to abide by any legislations, directives and procedures relating to the collection, use, sharing, storage, distribution and disposal of all protected or classified information.
This includes appropriately classifying and safeguarding documents as well as immediately reporting any unauthorized access, loss or theft of protected or classified material to managers and to the departmental security officer.
Providing testimony or information
We are expected to cooperate and assist in the conduct of governmental investigations such as an investigation conducted by a safety officer who is carrying out his or her duties under the Canada Labour Code. This includes providing information and complete access to departmental information systems, documents and records to an investigator to the extent that such access is legally permitted.
We are expected to give testimony on behalf of Public Safety Canada or the Crown in court or before any administrative tribunal or panel if so required. While we are required to assist in any investigation ongoing under federal legislation, consult managers before assisting a provincial or foreign authority. We may also be expected to provide information in the context of internal or external audits.
C) Consumption of intoxicants and smoking
For health and safety reasons, as well as to maintain a work-like environment, the Department does not permit the consumption of alcohol, cannabis, illegal drugs, or other intoxicants at the office or while on any premises where we conduct our business. We are therefore expected to refrain from consuming such substances, except in situations where an Assistant Deputy Minister has authorized the limited, controlled consumption of alcohol for a special event in an area not open to the public. At such occasions, we are expected to maintain our professionalism and act in a manner that does not discredit the Department.
We are expected to never report to work under the influence of alcohol, cannabis or other drugs or intoxicants. “Under the influence” means that a reasonable person would consider effectiveness impaired to the extent that it could pose a hazard or embarrassment to the individual or to Public Safety Canada, or duties cannot be performed properly.
We are expected to protect ourselves and others by refraining from operating an official vehicle when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if performance is impaired in any way.
We are not permitted to smoke or vape in any indoor or enclosed space under the control of Public Safety Canada. The exception is the elder's room, or any other similarly designated rooms, where the use of sacred plants is deemed acceptable for ceremonial purposes.
We should exercise goodwill and respect by refraining from smoking near building entrances and air intake ducts and observing applicable local laws, bylaws, or restrictions imposed by building owners on smoking in the workplace or in public spaces.
D) Contact with the public and external partners
Remember, in the eyes of many clients, we represent not only Public Safety Canada, but the entire federal public service. Courteous, prompt, sensitive and professional service to the public and external partners in our official capacities reflects well on all of us.
Decorum in the workplace does the same. We are expected to refrain from making abusive, derisive, threatening, insulting, offensive or provocative remarks or gestures to, or about, another person. Likewise, we are expected never to engage in any discriminatory practice based on race, national or ethnic origins, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or convictions for an offence for which a pardon has been granted.
A professional, neat appearance and dressing appropriately for our duties will project a positive image of Public Safety Canada in public and in dealing with stakeholders. We are expected to contribute to this positive business image by presenting an appearance that is consistent with the generally accepted requirements of the duties we are required to perform.
F) Electronic network access and use
If we access or use Public Safety Canada's computer systems, equipment or software, we must make every effort to protect Public Safety Canada from any possible threats to security and guard against:
- accidental or deliberate destruction of equipment and data;
- disclosure of sensitive information loss of removable media containing departmental files (for examples CDs or USB keys);
- theft and corruption; and
- exposure to viruses.
We are expected to inform managers of any breach of computer security, policies, or standards. Please remember that we must never disclose passwords for our Public Safety Canada's system or network to anyone, including managers.
While the Department's computer systems and electronic networks are for authorized business purposes, limited personal use after hours, or during an authorized break, of the internet, intranet and e-mail is acceptable, as long as it complies with all related legislation, policies and guidelines. Also, we are expected not to let personal use of systems and networks affect our productivity or that of colleagues, or impose a storage burden on the Public Safety Canada's computer system. Examples of acceptable use include writing a brief e-mail to friends or family members, accessing the news or conducting routine banking transactions.
Likewise, Blackberries, cell phones and other mobile devices are intended for business purposes, although limited personal use is acceptable. We are expected to assume any costs associated with the personal use of these devices by letting the manager know of any personal use of such devices.
All information obtained, stored, sent or received using Public Safety Canada's electronic networks is subject to routine monitoring, and will be reviewed when there are reasonable grounds to do so. As a result, we should not expect privacy when visiting websites or sending e-mails while using the Department's electronic network.
G) Financial management and fraud
As employees, we may be responsible for collecting, receiving, managing or distributing public money. These are serious responsibilities and we are expected to comply with applicable laws, regulations and policies. Responsible financial management and the prevention of fraud are matters of public trust.
Care of money
We are expected to be extremely diligent in accounting for, safeguarding, and disposing of any government money, including petty cash, in our possession or control; we are expected to do so according to established procedures and reasonable standards of care. If money is misplaced, lost or stolen, we are expected to immediately report the matter to the manager, who will notify appropriate management representatives.
Contracting and procurement
All procurement contracting must be conducted in a manner that will:
- stand the test of public scrutiny in manner of prudence and probity, facilitate access, encourage competition, and reflect fairness in the spending of public funds;
- ensure pre-eminence of operational requirements;
- support long-term industrial and regional development and other appropriate national objectives, including Aboriginal economic development; and
- comply with the government's obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Government Procurement.
We are expected to evaluate all contracts in a fair and objective manner, free from personal influences or bias. We are expected never to receive, or be perceived as receiving, any personal benefit from any contract on which we have influence. This includes accepting bribes, which is an indictable offence that may lead to criminal charges and carry penalties that include fines and imprisonment.
In the same vein, we are expected to refrain from assisting private entities or persons, including past colleagues, friends or family members, in their dealing with Public Safety Canada where this would result in preferential treatment of entities or persons.
Finally, we are expected to use contracting responsibly and for the purpose for which it is intended. For example, the contracting mechanisms for Temporary Help Services were designed as a short term solution to be used when a public servant is absent for a period of time; or, there is a requirement for additional staff during a workload increase, and there is an insufficient number of public servants available to meet the requirement; or, a position is vacant and staffing action is in process. They must not to be used as a method to circumvent the laws, policies and regulations applicable to staffing.
Borrowing, lending, or soliciting money
We are expected never to:
- borrow money from a client, or present a personal cheque to be cashed by a client; or
- ask any employee under our supervision to sign a financial instrument, as an endorser or co-maker, to ensure an amount of money is being lent or borrowed.
Soliciting money from co-workers is restricted to collecting voluntary contributions towards gifts for events such as marriage, retirement, bereavement, etc., and for authorized charitable purposes such as the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign. In addition, passive solicitation – solicitation which does not rely on the use of Public Safety Canada's e-mail network – to support local fundraising campaigns such as children's sport events, girl guides, etc, is considered acceptable.
We are expected to refrain from gambling on Public Safety Canada's premises or while on duty. Social, voluntary draws, usually called “50-50” – collections taken up by employees to establish a sum of money, half of which will go to the winner of the draw and the other half to charity – are not covered by this code because they do not constitute solicitation of the private sector. However, it should be noted that draws of this type are regulated by provincial authorities and subject to licensing requirements.
Overpayment of public funds
The Department will recover any monetary advance paid to us that we do not repay or account for, and will recover any amount paid to us in error such as overpaid salary or benefits, as well as any public money lost through any negligence or misconduct on our part.
Using our position for personal enrichment, or that of a friend, family member, or associate, through the misuse or misappropriation of the organization's resources or assets, may constitute fraud.
Examples of fraudulent actions include, but are not limited to:
- attempting to obtain leave to which we are not entitled;
- falsely reporting overtime, travel time, expense accounts, or taxi expenses;
- using our Public Safety Canada's credit card for personal purchases;
- failing to report any violation or fraud concerning the Financial Administration Act and its regulations, or any other revenue law; and
- conspiring or colluding to defraud the Crown, or providing the opportunity for someone else to do so.
Fraudulent activities are subject to administrative and disciplinary action up to, and including, termination of employment. Some cases of fraud against the Crown are indictable offenses that may lead to criminal charges and carry penalties including fines and imprisonment.
The Public Service Employment Act, regulations and related policies guide all staffing processes. Those of us who are hiring managers are expected to ensure that all staffing actions are consistent with the values of fairness, access, transparency and representativeness, as identified by the Public Service Commission (PSC). All appointments must be based on merit, non-partisan and free from personal biases.
Conversely, applicants for a staffing process are expected to accurately portray past experience, skills and abilities. To mislead a hiring manager or evaluation board regarding any aspect of the evaluation process may lead to administrative and disciplinary actions.
I) Official Languages
The Official Languages Act, regulations and related policies guide our behaviour in this regard. Public Safety Canada provides and maintains a work environment that is conducive to the effective use of both official languages.
We can use the official language of our choice:
- when we are supervised; this provision applies to those of us who occupy a “bilingual” or “either French or English” positions. Incumbents of “unilingual” positions are supervised in the language of the position;
- to obtain personal and central services;
- to obtain training and professional development; and
- to work with regularly and widely used work instruments and electronic systems acquired by the institution or produced on its behalf.
Notwithstanding, we are also expected to actively offer communications and services to the public in both official languages at all times and when offering personal and central services.
J) Hours of work
All Public Safety Canada employees are expected to maintain their scheduled hours of work and follow established processes for the approval of leave, as allowed under collective agreements or terms and conditions of employment. Doing so ensures the efficient operations of our work units.
K) Harassment, discrimination and resolving workplace issues
The Department is committed to providing a respectful work environment where diversity is valued. While management is responsible for fostering a work environment free from harassment and discrimination, it is everyone's responsibility to treat colleagues fairly, respectfully and with dignity.
- Harassment: Any improper conduct by an individual, that is directed at and offensive to another person or persons in the workplace, and that the individual knew or ought reasonably to have known would cause offence or harm. It comprises any objectionable act, comment or display that demeans, belittles, or causes personal humiliation or embarrassment, and any act of intimidation or threat. It includes harassment within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
- Discrimination: The negative or adverse differential treatment of individuals on their race, age, religion, sex or other prohibited grounds of discrimination.
We are expected to avoid any improper conduct that is directed at and offensive to another person or persons in the workplace, and that we knew or ought reasonably to have known would cause offense or harm. In the same vein, we are expected never to engage in discriminatory or harassing behaviour through an action or inaction that could harm employees' working relationships, job security or general well-being at work, outside the workplace or outside working hours.
Harassment is a serious matter, so we are expected to refrain from filing frivolous or vexatious harassment complaints. As workplace issues and conflicts that arise can severely damage the work environment, we are encouraged to address these issues before they escalate. The goal is to ensure ongoing positive working relationships by resolving conflicts promptly and cooperatively.
The use of an interest-based approach and informal conflict mechanism such as coaching, facilitation and mediation can help to resolve the issue and prevent a situation from escalating to the point where initiating a process such as a grievance or harassment complaint may be necessary. Most workplace conflicts can be resolved co-operatively to the satisfaction of all parties. If we need guidance, confidential services are available through the Office of Informal Conflict Management. Union representatives can likewise provide advice and guidance to their members on harassment or other problematic situations in which an interest-based approach could be considered.
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is not a part of the conflict resolution process, but EAP counsellors and referral agents are available to talk things over in a confidential, neutral setting.
L) Safety and security
The Department values our safety and security; we are expected to contribute to both by observing safety and security standards, rules, and procedures established for our work sites. Any work-related accidents or injuries, or any unsafe or hazardous conditions at work, must be reported immediately to managers.
We are also expected to report to a manager and to the departmental security officer any real or potential security incidents – threats, stalking, assault, or verbal abuse or negligent or criminal acts – immediately.
M) Terms and conditions of employment, collective agreements and unions
As employees, we are expected to respect the terms and conditions set out in collective agreements or terms and conditions of employment. The Public Service Labour Relations Act sets out procedures for employee participation in employee organizations (unions). The Act also contains provisions that prohibit:
- intimidating employees in the creation or administration of employee organizations;
- restraining employees from becoming members of an employee organization; and
- discriminating against a member of an employee organization.
N) Off-duty conduct
While our off-duty conduct is a private matter, we are expected to ensure that it does not affect our image and performance as Public Safety Canada employees. We are therefore expected to refrain from engaging in off-duty conduct that:
- is harmful to the Department's reputation;
- renders us unable to perform our duties in a satisfactory manner;
- leads other employees to refuse, be reluctant or be unable to work with us;
- renders us guilty of a serious breach of the Criminal Code of Canada and thus renders our conduct injurious to the general reputation of the Department and its employees; and
- makes it difficult for the Department to manage its operations efficiently or to direct its workforce.
We should be aware that engaging in such conduct may lead to disciplinary action up to, and including, termination of employment.
We are expected to report to a manager as soon as possible if we are arrested, detained or charged with a violation, either in Canada or outside Canada, of laws (including the Criminal Code of Canada) or statutes or regulations of Canada or another country. However, we need to report charges under traffic or highway codes only if received during the use of a government-owned or leased vehicle.
O) Publicly commenting for Public Safety Canada
Only authorized spokespersons can issue statements or comments on Public Safety Canada's position on a given subject. If asked for the Department's position, we are expected to refer the inquiries, through the manager, to the Communications Branch or the authorized Public Safety Canada spokesperson.
P) Public criticism of Public Safety Canada
Public servants' duty of loyalty to the employer includes a commitment to be discreet and to refrain from public statements critical of the federal government. We are expected to avoid making, through public medium such as radio, television, blog or social networking sites (such as Facebook or Twitter), either directly or through a third party, any public pronouncement critical of Public Safety Canada's policies, programs, or officials, or on matters of current political controversy, where the statement or actions might create a conflict with the duties of our position at Public Safety Canada.
However, the duty of loyalty is not absolute and a balance must be reached between an employee's right to freedom of expression and the legitimate interest of the Government to maintain a public service characterized by professionalism and impartiality. As a result, public criticism may be justified in certain circumstances, including:
- the government is engaged in illegal acts;
- the government's policies jeopardize life, health or safety; and
- the public servant's criticism has no impact on his or her ability to perform effectively the duties of a public servant, or on the public's perception of that ability.
Again, ignoring the duty of loyalty may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. When in doubt, we are expected to discuss the matter with the manager and use internal means, including disclosure of wrongdoing, to bring any criticisms to the attention of Public Safety Canada management.
Q) Disclosure of information concerning wrongdoing in the workplace
When we have reasonable grounds to believe that another person has committed a wrongdoing in the workplace, we should speak to the manager. If this does not seem appropriate in the circumstances, we may approach the Senior Officer for Disclosure with confidence that we will be treated fairly. If the matter is not appropriately addressed at this level, or there are reasons to believe it could not be disclosed in confidence within the Department, it may be referred to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada.
Wrongdoing, defined in the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA):
- the contravention of an Act of Parliament or of the legislature of a province, or of any regulations made under any such act;
- the misuse of public funds or assets;
- gross mismanagement in the federal public sector;
- a serious breach of a code of conduct;
- an act or omission that creates a substantial and specific danger to the life, health and safety of Canadians or the environment; and
- knowingly directing or counselling a person to commit a wrongdoing.
We have a responsibility to ensure that allegations or evidence of misconduct are reported immediately. When an activity, statement or document comes to our attention that may involve or constitute improper (or criminal) activity, report the incident to the manager immediately. We are also expected to respect the reputation of individuals by not making frivolous or vexatious disclosures of wrongdoing or by making disclosures in bad faith.
R) Conflict of interest and post-employment:
We are expected to comply with the policy on conflict of interest and post-employment, which sets out the obligation to avoid and prevent situations that could give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest.
- Real conflict: Happens when there is a direct conflict between a public servant's current duties and responsibilities and their existing private interests.
- Apparent conflict: Occurs when there could be a reasonable perception that a public servant's private interests could improperly influence the performance of the public duties—whether or not this is in fact the case.
- Potential conflict: Arises in situations where a public servant has private interests that may not interfere with their official duties immediately but could interfere with their official duties in the future.
Conflicts of interest that arise between personal interest and official duties will be resolved in favour of the public interest.
We are expected to refrain from using our position to influence or bypass Public Safety Canada's procedures for personal gain or for the benefit of family, friends, colleagues or anyone else in order to avoid conflicts of interest.
We are expected to report to the manager all circumstances that may place an individual in a situation of a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest including those which may arise from outside employment or activity. Clarification of actions, activities or situations that may constitute a conflict of interest should be obtained from the manager or by submitting a confidential report to the Manager, Labour Relations, Compensation and Wellness Programs.
After leaving the federal public service, we are required to minimize the possibility of real, apparent and potential conflict of interest between the new employment and our most recent responsibilities within the federal public service. We are obliged to also abide by the limitation period applicable to our position.
S) Gifts, hospitality and other benefits
Conflicts of interest may arise from seemingly innocuous situations. Therefore, we are expected to decline gifts, hospitality, or other benefits that could influence or appear to influence our judgement, or call into question our integrity or that of Public Safety Canada. The gift, hospitality and other benefits section of the policy on conflict of interest and post-employment contains details on accepting or refusing gifts, including the strict conditions and limitations that apply when accepting gifts.
We may accept incidental gifts including mugs or pens, normal-related business hospitality such as coffee or light lunch, or nominal gifts for events such as speaking at conferences or symposiums. We are, however, expected to decline gifts, including tickets to major entertainment or sporting events such as the theatre, ballet or NHL games, alcohol, cigarettes, or any other gifts offered, if they could appear to influence our judgement or question our integrity.
Where it is impossible to decline gifts, hospitality and other benefits that do not meet the principles set out above, or where it is believed that there is sufficient benefit to Public Safety Canada to warrant acceptance of a certain type of hospitality, we are expected to discuss it with our manager after the gift, hospitality or benefit is accepted. He or she will then advise the Manager, Labour Relations, Compensation and Wellness Programs, for appropriate action. We will then be notified in writing whether the gift, hospitality or other benefit is to be declined or retained by Public Safety Canada, donated to charity, disposed of, or retained.
We are expected never to 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. Doing so without the written consent from a delegated manager is an offense under paragraph 121 (1) (c) of the Criminal Code of Canada, in addition to being subject to disciplinary sanctions.
T) Political activity
As citizens, we are entitled to express ourselves freely and to participate in political activities, but as public servants, we are expected to use discretion and judgement in doing so. For instance, when taking part in political activities as described below, we are expected to exercise restraint, relative to our position and visibility, so as not to jeopardize the political neutrality of the public service.
Under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), we have important rights and obligations related to our involvement in political activities. If we are considering getting involved in any political activities, the Public Service Commission and Public Safety Canada's management will help explain more about those rights and obligations.
Political activity is:
- Any activity in support of, within, or in opposition to a political party;
- Any activity in support of or in opposition to a candidate before or during an election period; and
- Seeking nomination or standing as a candidate in a municipal, provincial, territorial, or federal election before or during an election period.
As public servants, we are expected only to engage in political activities that do not impair, or are perceived to impair, our ability to perform our duties in an impartial manner.
This Code is a condition of employment for all public servants employed at Public Safety Canada. We must therefore abide by it, and demonstrate the values of the federal public sector in our actions and behaviour. Disregarding these values and failure to meet these expectations may lead to administrative or disciplinary measures up to, and including, termination of employment.
This Code came into force on April 2, 2012. It will be subject to a review five years after it comes into effect.
Roles and Responsibilities
Public servants must demonstrate the values of the public sector in their actions and behaviour. Furthermore, public servants must also adhere to the behavioural expectations set out in this Code.
Public servants who are also managers have a particular responsibility to exemplify the values of the public sector.
As provided by sections 12 and 13 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), if a public servant has information that could indicate a serious breach of this Code they must bring this matter to the attention of their immediate supervisor, their Senior Officer for Disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada.
The Deputy Minister has specific responsibilities under the PSDPA, including establishing a code of conduct for their organization, and an overall responsibility for fostering a positive culture of values and ethics in their organization. His or her role is to ensure that employees are aware of their obligations under this Code. He or she also ensures that employees can obtain appropriate advice within their organization on ethical issues, including possible conflicts of interest.
The Deputy Minister ensures that the VECPS, this organizational Code of Conduct, and their internal disclosure procedures are implemented effectively in Public Safety Canada, and are regularly monitored and evaluated. He or she is also responsible for ensuring non-partisanship in the provision of programs and services by their organizations.
The Deputy Minister is subject to this Code and to the Conflict of Interest Act.
Senior Officer for Disclosure
The Senior Officer for Disclosure helps promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoings, and deals with disclosures of wrongdoing made by public servants of their organization. He or she is responsible for supporting the Deputy Minister in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA.
The Senior Officer's duties and powers within his or her organization also include the following, pursuant to the internal disclosure procedures established under the PSDPA:
- Provide information, advice, and guidance to public servants of his or her organization regarding the organization's internal disclosure procedures, including the making of disclosures, the conduct of investigations into disclosures, and the handling of disclosures made to supervisors;
- Receive and record disclosures, and review them to establish whether there are sufficient grounds for further action under the PSDPA;
- Protect the confidentiality of the public servant(s) involved in a disclosure as well as shield them from reprisals as required under the PSDPA;
- Manage investigations into disclosures, including determining whether to deal with a disclosure under the PSDPA, initiate an investigation, or cease an investigation;
- 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;
- 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; and
- 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.
Treasury Board Secretariat – Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer
In support of the President of the Treasury Board'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. OCHRO will work together with all relevant partner organizations to implement and promote the VECPS, 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 the VECPS.
OCHRO will monitor the implementation of the VECPS in organizations 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, and administering certain provisions related to political activities in accordance with the Public Service Employment Act.
If you have any questions pertaining to this Code or its application, you are encouraged to bring your concern to the attention of your manager. You can also communicate with the Manager, Labour Relations, Compensation and Wellness Programs at Public Safety Canada.
Care and Use of Government Property or Valuables, and Taxpayer Property Held by Public Safety Canada
- Copyright Act (Justice)
- Public Servant Invention Act (Justice Canada)
- Directive on Travel Cards and Travellers Cheques (Treasury Board Secretariat)
Confidentiality and Disclosure of Information
- Access to Information Act (Justice Canada)
- Privacy Act (Justice)
- Security of Information Act (Justice Canada)
- Access to Information Policy (Treasury Board Secretariat)
- Access to Information Guidelines (Treasury Board Secretariat)
- Oath or Solemn Affirmation (Public Works and Government Services Canada)
Contact with the Public and External Partners
Electronic Network Access and Use
Financial Management and Fraud
- Financial Administration Act (Justice Canada)
- Federal Accountability Act (Justice Canada)
- Criminal Code (Justice Canada)
- Contracting Policy (Treasury Board Secretariat)
- Directive on Acquisition Cards (Treasury Board Secretariat)
- Public Service Employment Act (Justice Canada)
- Public Service Employment Regulations (Justice Canada)
- Values of the Public Service Employment Act (Public Service Commission)
- Official Languages Act (Justice Canada)
- Official Languages Regulations (Justice Canada)
- Policy on Language of Work (Treasury Board Secretariat)
- Policy on Use of Official Language for Communication with and Services to the Public (Treasury Board Secretariat)
Hours of Work
- Collective Agreements (Treasury Board Secretariat)
- Policy on Terms and Conditions of Employment (Treasury Board Secretariat)
- Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment (Treasury Board Secretariat)
- Directive on Terms and Conditions of Certain Excluded/Unrepresented Employees (Treasury Board Secretariat)
Harassment, Discrimination and Resolving Workplace Issues
- Canadian Human Rights Act (Justice Canada)
- Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace (Treasury Board Secretariat)
Safety and Security
- Canada Labour Code Part II (Justice Canada)
- Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (Justice Canada)
Terms and conditions of employment, collective agreements and Unions
- Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (Justice Canada)
- Public Servants Disclosure Protection (Treasury Board Secretariat)
Public criticism of Public Safety Canada
Disclosure of wrongdoing in the workplace
- Public Servant Disclosure Protection Act (Justice Canada)
- Public Servant Disclosure Protection Act (Treasury Board Secretariat)
- Values and Ethics Code and the Public Servant Disclosure Protection Act (Public Safety Canada)
Conflict of interest and post-employment
- Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service (Treasury Board Secretariat)
- Confidential Report (Treasury Board Secretariat)
Gifts, hospitality and other benefits
- Criminal Code (Justice Canada)
- Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service (Treasury Board Secretariat)
- Public Service Employment Act (Justice Canada)
- Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service (Treasury Board Secretariat)
- Political Activity (Public Service Commission)
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