Table of Contents
Message From the Deputy Minister
About the Department of Finance Canada
The role of federal public servants
The role of Ministers
Respect for Democracy
Respect for People
Disclosure Protection Officer
Director, Values and Ethics
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat – Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer
Public Service Commission
Access to information and privacy
Communication with the media
Disclosure of wrongdoing
Duty of loyalty
Harassment and discrimination
Security of information
Use of electronic networks
Use of social media
Workplace health and safety
Delegation of authorities
Employee Assistance Program
Informal Conflict Management Systems
Prevention and resolution of harassment in the workplace
Requirements for public servants to prevent and deal with conflict of interest and post-employment situations
Prevention of conflict of interest
A public servant’s general responsibilities and duties include:
Requirements for preventing and dealing with situations of conflict of interest during employment
Outside employment or activities
Gifts, hospitality and other benefits
Avoidance of preferential treatment
Requirements for preventing post-employment conflict of interest situations before and after leaving office
Before leaving employment
Post-employment limitation period for public servants in designated positions
Waiver or reduction of limitation period
Conflict of interest prevention
Director, Values and Ethics
Annual securities disclosure
Review and determination process
Conflict resolution measures
Protection of personal information
Information, training and counselling
Failure to comply
Assets, liabilities and outside activities subject to a Confidential Report
Reportable publicly traded securities
Other reportable assets and liabilities
Reportable outside activities or employment
Assets, liabilities and outside activities not requiring a Confidential Report
Historically, the Department of Finance has set the highest standards for excellence, accountability and ethical conduct in serving our Minister, the Government of Canada and the Canadian public. Canadians trust us to develop financial and economic policies that preserve and strengthen their standards of living and quality of life. My senior management team and I firmly believe that the way we demonstrate adherence to public service values and ethics on a daily basis is fundamentally important in ensuring public confidence and trust. We are counted on to provide professional, objective and impartial advice to serve the public interest.
Public service values and ethics matter. Given this Department’s access to sensitive economic, fiscal, financial and tax information, we must protect all classified information and ensure that we do not use or disclose non-public information for our financial benefit or for the benefit of others. This commitment to values and ethics should also be reflected in how we manage our budgets and financial transactions; how we do procurement; how we ensure fairness and transparency in our staffing processes; and in the respect we demonstrate for each other. It’s easier to make the right decisions when you understand our shared public sector values.
I would ask each of you to familiarize yourself with the Department of Finance Code of Conduct. If you are unsure of your obligations, please seek guidance from the appropriate individual. This Code forms part of your terms and conditions of employment and is designed to assist you in appreciating the ethical issues and corporate values that relate to your work. Each of us is accountable for putting these principles into action and demonstrating personal and professional integrity in representing the Department of Finance.
Your commitment to these values and ethics is essential in supporting and reinforcing professionalism and protecting the reputation and integrity of the Department and its employees.
The Department of Finance and its employees develop policies and provide advice to the government with the goal of creating a healthy economy for all Canadians. More specifically, the department:
Federal public servants have a fundamental role to play in serving Canadians, their communities and the public interest under the direction of the elected government and in accordance with the law. As professionals whose work is essential to Canada’s well-being and the enduring strength of the Canadian democracy, public servants uphold the public trust.
The Constitution of Canada and the principles of responsible government provide the foundation for the role, responsibilities and values of the federal public sector. Constitutional conventions of ministerial responsibility prescribe the appropriate relationships among ministers, parliamentarians, public servants and the public. A professional and non-partisan federal public sector is integral to our democracy.
Public servants working in the Department of Finance are accountable to their departmental managers, to the Government and to the public for the way they conduct themselves. Public servants are expected to carry out their assigned duties conscientiously and in accordance with the Department’s policies and guidelines. Public servants should carefully consider the potential impact that their decisions and actions may have on all stakeholders including the public, their co-workers and others. They should make appropriate choices as to what is right and what is wrong, even when legal and regulatory decisions do not require it.
Ministers are also responsible for preserving public trust and confidence in the integrity of public sector organizations and for upholding the tradition and practice of a professional non-partisan federal public sector. Furthermore, Ministers play a critical role in supporting public servants’ responsibility to provide professional and frank advice. 
Acceptance of these values and adherence to the expected behaviours is a condition of employment for every public servant in the federal public sector, regardless of their level or position. A breach of these values or behaviours may result in disciplinary measures being taken, up to and including termination of employment.
More specifically, compliance with this Code (which includes the pre-existing Conflict of Interest Code for the Department of Finance at Annex A), the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment is a condition of employment for all public servants working in the Department of Finance, including indeterminate and term employees (full and part-time), persons on secondment to the Department, casuals, students and staff on leave with or without pay.
Although they are not public servants, individuals on incoming Interchange Canada assignments are expected to comply with the requirements of this Code. As well, volunteers and other persons not employed by the Department who participate in organizational activities that assist the Department in carrying out its mandate are expected to respect the requirements of this Code. Governor in Council appointees, such as deputy heads, are subject to the Conflict of Interest Act and the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.
The Department of Finance Code of Conduct came into force on April 2, 2012.
This Code outlines the values and expected behaviours that guide public servants in all activities related to their professional duties. By committing to these values and adhering to the expected behaviours, public servants strengthen the ethical culture of the public sector and contribute to public confidence in the integrity of all public institutions.
The Public Service Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA) requires the establishment of both a public sector code of conduct and a departmental code of conduct. The Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, established by the Treasury Board, fulfills the first requirement and the Department of Finance Code of Conduct fulfills the second requirement of the PSDPA. This Code includes the pre-existing Conflict of Interest Code for the Department of Finance(Annex A). It should also be read in conjunction with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment.
These values are a compass to guide public servants in everything they do. They cannot be considered in isolation from each other as they will often overlap. This Codeand departmental policies are important sources of guidance for public servants as they are expected to integrate these values into their decisions, actions, policies, processes and systems. Similarly, public servants can expect to be treated in accordance with these values by the Department of Finance.
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 our 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.
Federal public servants are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the values of the public sector and these expected behaviours.
Public servants shall uphold the Canadian parliamentary democracy and its institutions by:
1.1 Respecting the rule of law and carrying out their duties in accordance with legislation, policies and directives in a non-partisan and impartial manner.
1.2 Loyally carrying out the lawful decisions of their leaders and supporting Ministers in their accountability to Parliament and Canadians.
1.3 Providing decision makers with all the information, analysis and advice they need, always striving to be open, candid and impartial.
Public servants shall respect human dignity and the value of every person by:
2.1 Treating every person with respect and fairness.
2.2 Valuing diversity and the benefit of combining the unique qualities and strengths inherent in a diverse workforce.
2.3 Helping to create and maintain safe and healthy workplaces that are free from harassment and discrimination.
2.4 Working together in a spirit of openness, honesty and transparency that encourages engagement, collaboration and respectful communication.
Public servants shall serve the public interest by:
3.1 Acting at all times with integrity and in a manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny, an obligation that may not be fully satisfied by simply acting within the law.
3.2 Never using their official roles to inappropriately obtain an advantage for themselves or to advantage or disadvantage others.
3.3 Taking all possible steps to prevent and resolve any real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest between their official responsibilities and their private affairs in favour of the public interest.
3.4 Acting in such a way as to maintain their employer’s trust.
Public servants shall use resources responsibly by:
4.1 Effectively and efficiently using the public money, property and resources managed by them.
4.2 Considering the present and long-term effects that their actions have on people and the environment.
4.3 Acquiring, preserving and sharing knowledge and information as appropriate.
Public servants shall demonstrate professional excellence by:
5.1 Providing fair, timely, efficient and effective services that respect Canada’s official languages.
5.2 Continually improving the quality of policies, programs and services they provide.
5.3 Fostering a work environment that promotes teamwork, learning and innovation.
The expected behaviours are not intended to respond to every possible ethical issue that might arise in the course of a public servant’s daily work. When ethical issues arise, public servants are encouraged to discuss and resolve these matters with their immediate supervisor. They can also seek advice and support from other appropriate sources within the Department of Finance such as the Director, Values and Ethics.
Public servants at all levels are expected to resolve issues in a fair and respectful manner and consider informal processes such as dialogue or mediation.
As provided by sections 12 and 13 of the PSDPA, if public servants have information that could indicate a serious breach of this Code they can bring this matter, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to the attention of their immediate supervisor, the Department of Finance Disclosure Protection Officer (DPO) or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
The DPO is responsible for supporting the Deputy Minister in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA. The DPO helps promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing, and deals with disclosures of wrongdoing made by employees of the organization.
Members of the public who have reason to believe that a public servant has not acted in accordance with this Code can bring the matter to the DPO or to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner to disclose a serious breach of this Code.
Public servants are expected to abide by this Code, and demonstrate the values of the public sector in their actions and behaviour. If a public servant does not abide by these values and expectations, he or she may be subject to administrative or disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment.
As provided by sections 12 and 13 of the PSDPA, if public servants have information that could indicate a serious breach of this Code they can bring this matter, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to the attention of their immediate supervisor, the DPO or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
Public servants who are also managers are in a position of influence and authority that gives them a particular responsibility to exemplify the values of the public sector.
A manager is expected to demonstrate leadership in respecting this Code and its underlying policies and, in particular, to:
The deputy minister of a public sector organization has specific responsibilities under the PSDPA, including establishing a code of conduct for the organization, and an overall responsibility for fostering a positive culture of values and ethics in the organization. The Deputy Minister of the Department of Finance ensures that employees are aware of their obligations under the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and this Code of Conduct. It must also be ensured that employees can obtain appropriate advice within the organization on ethical issues, including possible conflicts of interest.
The Deputy Minister ensures that this Code, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment and the internal disclosure procedures are implemented effectively in the department, and are regularly monitored and evaluated.
The Deputy Minister is responsible for ensuring the non-partisan provision of programs and services by the department.
The Deputy Minister is subject to the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and to the Conflict of Interest Act.
The DPO helps promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing, and deals with disclosures of wrongdoing made by public servants of the department. Senior officers are responsible for supporting the Deputy Minister in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA. In the Department of Finance, the DPO is also the Director, Values and Ethics.
The DPO's duties and powers within the department also include the following, in accordance with the internal disclosure procedures established under the PSDPA:
The Director, Values and Ethics, is designated by the Deputy Minister as the senior official responsible for ensuring that all public servants working in the Department of Finance are aware of their obligations and comply with this Code, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment.
The Director reports directly to the Deputy Minister on Code-related matters. The role of the Director is to receive, record, review and protect confidential disclosure reports filed under this Code; resolve conflict of interest issues; and provide information, training and advice to departmental personnel on matters relating to conflict of interest and generally, on matters of values and ethics. The Director provides ongoing support to the Champion of Values and Ethics.
In support of the Treasury Board President’s responsibilities under section 4 of the PSDPA, the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) is responsible for promoting ethical practices in the public sector. The OCHRO will work with all relevant partner organizations to implement and promote the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, 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 Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.
OCHRO will monitor the implementation of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector in organizations with a view to assessing whether the stated objectives have been achieved.
The Public Service Commission is responsible for conducting staffing investigations and audits to safeguard the integrity of the public service staffing system and administering certain provisions related to political activities to maintain the non-partisanship of the public service in accordance with the Public Service Employment Act
The Access to Information Act gives every Canadian citizen, permanent resident, individual or corporation present in Canada the right to request access to records that are under the control of federal government institutions regardless of their format. It also contains exemptive provisions which may be used to protect certain types of information from disclosure. Of note is section 67.1 of the Act which makes it a criminal offence to intentionally destroy, mutilate, alter, conceal a record or to direct, propose, counsel or cause any person to do the same in order to prevent its access under the Act.
The Privacy Act protects the privacy of individuals with respect to their personal information and it governs the federal government’s collection, retention, use and disclosure of that information. The Act also provides individuals (including those in Canada who are not permanent residents or citizens) with a right of access to their personal information subject to the exemptive provisions that can be used to protect certain types of personal information from disclosure. Breaches of personal information are investigated internally and possibly by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
Only designated and authorized spokespersons within the Media Office of the Department of Finance may make statements or comments to the media.
If a call from the media is received, it must be referred to the departmental Media Office. The role of the Media Office is to ensure that media requests are handled by experienced staff in a timely fashion.
The Minister of Finance is the only person who can conduct television or radio interviews on behalf of the Department of Finance.
The departmental spokespersons are the only Finance officials who can be quoted by name for attribution by the print and electronic media.
In the event that an employee receives a call from a journalist about a Working Paper or Analytical Paper, this call must also be referred to the Media Office. The spokesperson, a communications strategist and the Assistant Deputy Minister or the General Director of the relevant policy branch will generally discuss the appropriate response.
“Wrongdoing” under the PSDPA is a violation of an Act of Parliament or the legislature of the province, or any regulations made under any such Act; the misuse of public funds or assets; a serious breach of this code of conduct; or gross mismanagement in the public sector. It may involve an act or omission that creates a substantial endangerment to the life, health or safety of persons and of the environment; or it could involve knowingly directing or counselling a person to commit a wrongdoing.
In accordance with the PSDPA, employees are encouraged to come forward if they believe that a serious wrongdoing has taken place in the workplace. In making a disclosure, employees shall be treated fairly, in confidence and protected against reprisal.
Finance staff may make a disclosure of wrongdoing to the Disclosure Protection Officer or to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. If an employee makes a disclosure of wrongdoing to his or her supervisor, the disclosure must then be forwarded to the Disclosure Protection Officer.
The duty of loyalty has long been a fundamental value and requirement of the public service of Canada. In Canada's system of parliamentary democracy, public servants owe a duty of loyalty to their employer. This duty derives from the essential mission of the public service to help the duly elected government, under law, to serve the public interest. The duty of loyalty reflects the importance and necessity of an impartial and effective public service.
Employees must ensure that their public statements or actions do not impair their ability to carry out their duties or call into question their impartiality in carrying out their duties. Internal avenues should be used to bring criticism to the attention of management.
Employees must refrain from making, through any public medium, either directly or through a third party, any statement critical of the Department of Finance or government policies, programs, or officials, or on matters of current political controversy where the statements or actions might create a conflict with the duties of their position or Department of Finance and Government of Canada programs and policies.
Given technological innovations, such as social networking websites, employees should exercise caution in using publicly accessible media to express criticism of government policy as it may impair (or be perceived as impairing) their ability to carry out their official duties in an impartial matter. Employees should not use public fora to disclose non-public information.
Employees may be responsible for collecting, receiving, managing or disbursing public money. These are serious responsibilities and the management of financial resources must be exercised with due diligence and in accordance with Treasury Board and Department of Finance policies and procedures. It is imperative that all financial management activities comply with the Financial Administration Act.
The Department of Finance promotes a professional and respectful work environment where diversity is valued. Everyone is entitled to work in an environment free from harassment and discrimination. While management is responsible for fostering such an environment, it is everyone’s responsibility to treat fellow employees with fairness, respect and dignity.
Employees must fully respect the confidentiality requirements of information obtained through their position in the Department of Finance. Documents containing confidential/secret information must be strictly controlled at all times and not be displayed in elevators or left in conference rooms, on desks or in other locations where they may be seen by the public or by employees who do not have a legitimate need to know. Unnecessary copying of confidential/secret documents should be avoided. Documents containing confidential information must be placed in an appropriate secured cabinet. For more detailed guidance, please consult the Guideline for Employees of the Government of Canada: Information Management (IM) Basics and the Security of Information Act.
Depending on the circumstances, in the case of a privacy breach, contact the Director of Security Services and the Director of Access to Information and Privacy immediately for further guidance.
Use of electronic network facilities, including the Internet, for personal use on personal time for such purposes as online banking and shopping, sending personal electronic mail using the departmental email system and exploring the Internet for useful resources is permissible.
Access to electronic network facilities, including the Internet, provides employees with powerful tools but also carries with it responsibility. Maintaining balance between empowerment and responsibility is not solely the job of the Department but is also the job of the user and creator of the information resources stored on the networks.
Employees should limit themselves to authorized uses and avoid any unlawful or unacceptable use of electronic networks.
When employees participate in Web 2.0 and social media websites for personal use, people may know or ascertain that they are public servants. The issues of accessibility to information posted on social networking websites may blur the distinction between the professional and the private lives of employees. Depending on the website and access given, information originally posted for family and friends may be forwarded to others who have access to the online content. All employees are expected to use sound judgement to ensure that postings do not compromise the professional, respectful and non-partisan performance of their official duties.
For more information on the use of social media, visit the Guideline for External Use of Web 2.0 by Treasury Board.
While on the job, employees are expected to follow established safety procedures and comply with all instructions concerning health and safety in the workplace in accordance with the Canada Labour Code, Part II. Employees are also required to take all reasonable and necessary precautions to ensure their safety and health and that of other employees and any persons granted access to the workplace. Employees are to promptly report to their manager any work-related accident or personal injury or that of other employees, or any unsafe or hazardous condition at work.
The following bargaining agents represent unionized public servants working in Department of Finance and are available to assist their members and consult on workplace issues:
Public Service Alliance of Canada (AS, CR, GT, IS, LS, PM, ST)
Human Resource Delegation Authorities and Delegation of Financial Signing Authorities sets out the authorities that are delegated to Finance employees.
The Employee Assistance Program is available to all employees and their immediate family members, to help them better manage stressful situations and deal with difficult professional or personal situations. This voluntary and confidential service is offered at any time day or night, all year round.
The use of an interest-based approach and informal conflict resolution mechanisms such as coaching, facilitation and mediation can, in many instances, help to resolve issues and prevent situations from escalating to the point where processes such as a grievance or a harassment complaint are necessary. Confidential services are available from Conflict Management Services.
For guidance concerning political activities, consult the Public Service Commission website to find the Designated Political Activities Representative for the Department.
The Treasury Board Policy on Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace provides a guide to help determine what constitutes harassment. It fosters prevention and rapid resolution, setting out a complaint mechanism, the use of mediation and the potential for an investigation, where applicable. The Policy encourages participation in a problem resolution process before proceeding with the complaint process. Employees may direct any questions regarding harassment to the Manager, Conflict Resolution Services.
Following are the conflict of interest and post-employment requirements that are a condition of employment for public servants in the Department of Finance. These requirements are grounded in and serve to uphold the values contained in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. By upholding these ethical standards, public servants 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. The Conflict of Interest Code for the Department of Finance(Annex A) sets out specific conflict of interest and reporting measures established for the Department.
A public servant maintains 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, public servants should refer to the requirements found in this Code, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment to guide appropriate action. Public servants can also seek guidance from their manager or the Director, Values and Ethics.
Deputy Head: means Deputy Minister of the Department of Finance or his or her delegate, such as the Director, Values and Ethics.
Public servant: a person employed in organizations defined in section 11(1) of the Financial Administration Act, unless excluded through specific acts, regulations or Orders in Council. This includes indeterminate and term employees, individuals on leave without pay, students participating in Student Employment Programs, casual, seasonal and part-time workers.
Although they are not public servants, individuals on incoming Interchange Canada assignments are expected to comply with, and volunteers are expected to respect, the requirements in this Code. Governor in Council appointees, such as deputy heads, are subject to the Conflict of Interest Act and to the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.
Conflict of interest: a situation in which the public servant has private interests that could improperly influence the performance of his or her official duties and responsibilities or in which the 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.
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.
Public servants are required to report in writing to the deputy head by way of a Confidential Report, all outside activities, assets and interests that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to their official duties. Such a report is to be made within 60 days of their initial appointment or any subsequent appointment, transfer or deployment. As outlined in the Conflict of Interest Code for the Department of Finance, employees must submit an annual Confidential Report/ Affirmation in accordance with the mandatory annual Reporting Schedule.
On a regular basis thereafter, and every time a major change occurs in their personal affairs or official duties, every public servant is required to review his or her obligations under this Code, the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment and the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. If a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists, the he or she is to file a report in a timely manner.
When negotiating financial arrangements with outside parties, public servants are to comply with the requirements listed herein as well as other related directives or policies issued by the Treasury Board. When in doubt, public servants are to immediately report the situation to their managers or the Director, Values and Ethics in order to seek advice or direction on how to proceed.
Public servants are required to evaluate their assets, taking into consideration the nature of their official duties and the characteristics of their assets. If there is any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest between the carrying out of their official duties and their assets, they are to report this matter to the Director, Values and Ethics, in a timely manner.
Where the Director, Values and Ethics, determines that these assets results in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to their official duties, public servants may be required to divest those assets or take other measures to resolve the conflict. Public servants may not sell or transfer assets to family members or anyone else for the purpose of circumventing the compliance requirements.
The Conflict of Interest Code for the Department of Finance (see Annex A) sets out the types of assets that should be reported (see Annex B) and the procedures for divesting such assets are set out in the Treasury Board Directive on Reporting and Managing Financial Conflicts of Interest.
In assessing whether private interests could give rise to a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest in light of their professional duties, public servants may wish to ask themselves:
Public servants 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 the objectivity of the public servant.
Public servants are required to provide a report to the Director, Values and Ethics, when their outside employment or activities might subject them to demands incompatible with their official duties or cast doubt on their ability to perform their duties or responsibilities in a completely objective manner. The Director, Values and Ethics, may require that the outside activities be modified or terminated if it is determined that a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists.
Public servants who receive a benefit or income either directly or indirectly from a contract with the Government of Canada are required to report to the Director, Values and Ethics, on such contractual or other arrangements. The Director, Values and Ethics, will determine whether the arrangement presents a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, and may require that the contract be modified or terminated.
Any public servant considering involvement in political activity should seek the advice of their manager, the designated political activities representative, the Public Service Commission or a human resources advisor before acting.
Public servants are required to seek and obtain permission from the Public Service Commission to seek nomination for or be a candidate in a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal election, in accordance with Part 7 of the PSEA.
“Political activities” are defined in Part 7 of the PSEA as “any activity in support of, within or in opposition to a political party; carrying on any activity in support of or in opposition to a candidate before or during an election period; or, seeking nomination as or being a candidate in an election before or during the election period.”
Any public servant who wishes to engage in a political activity not covered by Part 7 of the PSEA that could constitute a conflict of interest is required to report the proposed activity to Director, Values and Ethics.
Similarly, any public servant who is subject to this Code but who is not subject to Part 7 of the PSEA, including casual and part-time workers, who wishes to engage in any political activity that could constitute a conflict of interest, is to report the proposed activity to the Director, Values and Ethics.
Public servants are expected to use their 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 Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment and this Code.
Public servants are not to accept any gifts, hospitality or other benefits that may have a real, apparent or potential influence on their objectivity in carrying out their official duties and responsibilities or that may place them under obligation to the donor. This includes activities such as free or discounted admission to sporting and cultural events, travel or conferences.
The acceptance of gifts, hospitality and other benefits is permissible if they are infrequent and of minimal value, within the normal standards of courtesy or protocol, arise out of activities or events related to the official duties of the public servant concerned, and do not compromise or appear to compromise the integrity of the public servant concerned or of his or her organization.
Public servants are to seek written direction from their deputy head where it is impossible to decline gifts, hospitality or other benefits that do not meet the principles set out above, or where it is believed that there is sufficient benefit to the organization to warrant acceptance of certain types of hospitality.
With the exception of fundraising for such officially supported activities as the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign, public servants 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, public servants should ensure that they have prior written authorization from their deputy head in order to solicit donations, prizes or contributions in kind from external organizations or individuals.
Similarly, if an outside individual or entity with whom the organization has past, present or potential official dealings, offers a benefit to the organization such as funding for an event or a donation of equipment, public servants are to consider whether any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists, and obtain the consent in writing of the deputy head prior to accepting any such benefit.
The deputy head 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 guideline is consistent with paragraph 121(1) (c) of the Criminal Code.
Public servants are responsible for demonstrating objectivity and impartiality in the exercise of their duties and in their 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 they are prohibited from granting preferential treatment or advantages to family, friends or any other person or entity. They are not to offer extraordinary assistance to any entity or persons already dealing with the government without the knowledge and support of their supervisor. They 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.
All public servants have a responsibility to minimize the possibility of real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest between their most recent responsibilities within the federal public service and their subsequent employment outside the public service.
Before leaving their employment with the public service, all public servants are to disclose their intentions regarding any future outside employment or activities that may pose a risk of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest with their current responsibilities and discuss potential conflicts with their manager or the Director, Values and Ethics.
The measures that follow apply specifically to public servants staffed in executive positions (EX) and their equivalent as well positions equivalent to as EX minus 1 and EX minus 2. See Appendix 1 for a complete listing of these positions.
Public servants in these designated positions are subject to a one-year limitation period after leaving office. Before leaving office and during this one-year limitation period, these public servants are to report to the deputy head all firm offers of employment or proposed activity outside the public service that could place them in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest with their public service employment. They are to also disclose immediately the acceptance of any such offer. In addition, these public servants may not, during the one-year period, without the deputy head’s authorization:
A public servant or former public servant may apply to the Director, Values and Ethics, for a written waiver or reduction of the limitation period. The public servant is to provide sufficient information to assist the deputy head in making a determination as to whether to grant the waiver taking into consideration the following criteria:
With respect to the arrangements necessary to prevent real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest, or to comply with the requirements set out above, it is expected that situations will be resolved through discussion and agreement between the public servant and the Director, Values and Ethics. In the case of a disagreement as to the appropriate arrangements to resolve a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, the issue will be addressed through the resolution procedures established by the deputy head.
A great deal of trust is placed in public servants in the performance of their duties. A public servant who does not comply with the requirements set out in this Code may be subject to disciplinary measures, up to and including termination of employment.
Although this Code prescribes standards of conduct, they are not exhaustive. The absence of a specific standard of behaviour or guideline covering a particular situation does not relieve a public servant from the responsibility to act ethically. The action or omission may still be subject to disciplinary action. Do not assume that only one interpretation of a situation exists, particularly in conflict of interest situations such as outside activities or employment and investments. Consult with a manager, or the Director, Values and Ethics.
The Department of Finance is a values-based organization that is committed to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct.
It is a basic principle of ethical conduct in the federal public service that a public servant’s private interests and official duties should not conflict and that public office should not be used for private gain.
This Code establishes specific measures to prevent conflicts of interest for persons working in the Department of Finance. In doing so, it aims to protect the reputation and integrity of both the Department and its staff.
Reason for measures
Specific measures are necessary for Finance because of the nature of the Department’s work and the fact that it affects the financial markets and the economy more generally.
No use or disclosure of non-public information
The key premise of this Code is that persons who work in the Department of Finance must not use or disclose non-public information obtained in the course of their work for their own financial benefit or the benefit of others.
Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment
The requirements of this Code supplement and strengthen the conflict of interest provisions of the Treasury Board’s Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment. The Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment sets out general measures that apply to all public servants. It covers assets, outside employment or activities, and receipt of gifts, hospitality and other benefits. It also sets out avenues for resolving conflicts.
Condition of employment
Compliance with this Code is a condition of employment for persons working in the Department of Finance. In the event, and to the extent, of any inconsistency between the measures established by this Code and those established by the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment, this Code shall prevail.
Integrated Code requirements
For convenience, the conflict of interest measures under this Code and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment have been integrated and are collectively set out in this Code.
This Code, the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment and the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector apply to all public servants working in the Department of Finance, including indeterminate and term employees (full and part-time workers), persons on secondment to the Department, casuals, students and staff on leave with or without pay. They also apply to Interchange Canada participants and Finance counsellors posted to Canadian missions abroad.
Duty to prevent conflicts and protect information
All staff members must arrange their personal affairs and conduct themselves in a manner that will prevent real, potential or apparent conflicts between their private interests and the public interest served through their official duties. Staff are obliged to protect information obtained through their work and not to use or disclose non-public information for personal profit or to enable others to profit.
Publicly traded securities
Staff members should be aware that investments in publicly traded securities, in particular, can give rise to a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest because of the nature of the Department’s work and the market sensitivity of non-public information to which staff have access.
Public interest prevails
Any conflict between a staff member’s private interests and his or her official duties must be resolved in favour of the public interest.
The Director, Values and Ethics has lead responsibility for the application of this Code, the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Department of Finance Code of Conduct. The Director reports to the deputy head on Code-related matters.
The role of the Director is to receive, record, review and protect confidential disclosure reports filed under this Code and Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment, resolve conflict of interest issues, and provide information, training and advice to departmental personnel on matters relating to conflict of interest and generally, on matters of values and ethics.
This Code establishes two specific conflict of interest compliance measures for staff members: (1) a mandatory annual Affirmation and (2) mandatory annual disclosure of reportable publicly traded securities. All other compliance measures are pre-existing and established by the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment. The integrated compliance measures under this Code and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment are set out below.
A simplified process has been established to facilitate reporting under this Code and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment through use of a single form.
Every staff member must affirm initially, and annually thereafter, that he or she has read this Code and has reviewed his or her personal circumstances in light of the requirements of this Code and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment.
Staff members with no reportable interests must file an Affirmation only.
Staff members with reportable interests must file an Affirmation/Confidential Report.
When Confidential Report required
A Confidential Report is required in the circumstances set out in paragraphs (a) to (c) below.
Mandatory securities reporting
A Confidential Report must be filed annually by every staff member who directly or indirectly holds reportable publicly traded securities or who manages such securities on behalf of another. The Confidential Report must disclose all security holdings and trades during the 12 months preceding the annual filing date or during the period since the staff member’s last filing. The requirement to report applies whether or not the staff member views the securities and trades as giving rise to a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest.
See Part I.1 of Annex B for examples of reportable publicly traded securities.
Reporting other assets, liabilities, activities or gifts
Every staff member who
must file a Confidential Report if, in the staff member’s objective view, the reportable interests, activities or gifts/benefits give rise to a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest with respect to his or her official duties.
See Parts I.2 and I.3 of Annex B for examples of reportable assets, liabilities and outside activities.
Reporting due to major change in circumstances
Staff members must review their compliance obligations every time a major change occurs in their personal circumstances or official duties. If, in the staff member’s objective view, the change in circumstance gives rise to a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest, a Confidential Report must be filed within 60 days of the change.
Kinds of changes that may trigger a Report
Changes that may trigger the requirement to file a new Confidential Report include:
Advice on planned transactions
If in doubt as to whether or not a planned financial transaction might give rise to a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest, staff members are encouraged to consult the Director, Values and Ethics before entering into the transaction. Financial transactions include, but are not limited to, securities transactions, investment property transactions and currency trades for speculative purposes.
Staff members should not enter into planned financial transactions that the Director, Values and Ethics has determined would give rise to a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest.
Review by Director, Values and Ethics
The Director, Values and Ethics will review all Confidential Reports filed. If additional information is required, the staff member who filed the Confidential Report will be consulted first. If further information is required, the staff member’s Assistant Deputy Minister may be contacted for information on the staff member’s work and responsibilities to assist in determining whether a conflict of interest exists.
Process when conflict found
If the Director, Values and Ethics, determines that a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest exists, he will attempt to resolve the conflict with the staff member concerned. If the matter cannot be resolved, it will be referred to the deputy head or his delegate for decision. The staff member will be informed of the referral, provided with an opportunity to make written submissions and informed of the decision in writing.
The review and determination process will be conducted in a timely manner.
Divestment of securities and other assets
If it is determined that a staff member’s publicly traded securities or other assets create a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest, the requirement to divest set out in the TB Directive on Reporting and Managing Financial Conflicts of Interestwill apply. Assets are usually divested by selling them through an arm’s-length transaction or by making them subject to a blind trust arrangement.
Blind trust costs
If it is appropriate to establish a blind trust, the divesting staff member may be reimbursed for certain trust costs by the deputy head.
Methods of resolving other conflicts
Conflicts arising out of liabilities, participation in outside employment or activities or receipt of gifts or other benefits may be resolved by requiring the staff member to settle the liability in question, avoid, curtail, modify or withdraw from the conflicting activity or decline, return or otherwise dispose of the gift or other benefit received.
Efforts to reach mutual agreement
In determining appropriate corrective action, efforts will be made to achieve mutual agreement with the staff member concerned. Consideration will be given to such factors as:
Personal information provided will be collected, used, disclosed, stored and disposed of in accordance with the Privacy Act and the Department’s security policy.
The primary use of the information is for review by the Director, Values and Ethics and the deputy head in administering the conflict of interest provisions. The information will be shared on a limited, need-to-know basis only and solely for the purposes of the Review and Determination/Conflict Resolution processes set out above.
Staff members are encouraged to seek guidance from the Director, Values and Ethics on their personal or financial circumstances or on any other matter relating to conflict of interest.
Information and training
Staff will be provided with copies of, and written information on this Code and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment. Appropriate information and training will be provided on an ongoing basis and included in the orientation course for new entrants to the Department of Finance.
A staff member who does not comply with the requirements of this Code and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment is subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Questions regarding the meaning or application of this Code or the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment may be directed to the Director, Values and Ethics.
The following are non-exhaustive examples of publicly traded securities that must be disclosed in an annual Confidential Report whether the securities are directly or indirectly held and whether or not the staff member views the securities as giving rise to a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest:
NOTE: Investments in Treasury Bills, certificates of deposit, money market mutual funds and diversified investment funds are exempt from disclosure and do not require a Confidential Report unless, due to the particular nature of the staff member’s official duties or the non-public information to which he or she has access, such investments give rise to a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest.
The following are non-exhaustive examples of other assets and liabilities that must be disclosed in a Confidential Report if, objectively viewed, they give rise to a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest:
The following are non-exhaustive examples of outside activities or employment that must be disclosed in a Confidential Report if, objectively viewed, they give rise to a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest:
The following are examples of assets, liabilities and outside activities that generally do not require a Confidential Report:
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 This Code is intended to clarify the role and expectations of public servants within the framework of Canadian parliamentary democracy as laid out in the Constitution Act and the basic principle of responsible government, which holds that the powers of the Crown are exercised by Ministers who are in turn accountable to Parliament.
 The Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA) defines “public servant” as every person employed in the public sector (this includes the core public administration, Crown corporations and separate agencies). Every member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and every chief executive (including deputy ministers and chief executive officers) are also included in the definition of public servant for the purpose of the PSDPA and the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.
 This text reflects the duties and responsibilities set out in Accountable Government - A Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State, the Conflict of Interest Act, the Lobbying Act and the PSDPA.
 A condition of employment is a requirement that a person must meet on appointment and maintain throughout his or her period of employment. For example, security clearance and medical suitability are conditions of employment.
 Department of Justice employees working within Legal Services Units at the Department of Finance are subject to the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment and the Conflict of Interest Code for the Department of Finance (see Annex A).
 The Department of Finance Code of Conduct was developed in consultation with the Values and Ethics Advisory Network which is composed of employee representatives from all Branches in the Department of Finance and bargaining agents.
 Assistant deputy ministers and their equivalents are subject to the Lobbying Act. In the case of any conflict between the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment and the Act, the Act takes precedence.
 The Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment also sets out measures relating to solicitation, avoidance of preferential treatment and post-employment measures.
 The terms “staff” and “staff members”, as used in this Code, mean all persons to whom this Code applies as set out in the Application section above.