Code of Ethics and Conduct

Notice to readers:
Many of the policy instruments referenced in the CRA Code of Ethics and Conduct are only available to CRA employees.

Revised: Commissioner’s message: February 25, 2013

Resolution number: 2012/2013-19 (October 11, 2012)

This document replaces the previous version of the Code
Board of Management Reference: 2011/2012-31 - (March 26, 2012

A message from the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Revenue

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is recognized and respected for delivering its tax, benefit, and other programs with integrity and professionalism. Our success is in large part due to the exemplary standard of conduct of our employees.

The work of CRA employees touches the lives of all Canadians. Through the administration of our tax, benefit, and other programs, governments are able to provide the programs and services that improve the quality of life of Canadians. That is why it is essential that we continue to carry out our work with the integrity that Canadians deserve and expect. Section 241 of the Income Tax Act directs us to be absolutely scrupulous with respect to the protection and security of taxpayer information. We must ensure that any access or disclosure of this information is only for purposes authorized under legislation. Any misuse of taxpayer information will result in serious disciplinary measures including termination of employment

The Code of Ethics and Conduct was designed to guide and support you in your work. It sets out the conduct that is expected of you when you carry out compliance activities, provide client services, respond to appeals, provide service to other employees, manage programs and resources, or carry out other important aspects of the CRA's Mission. The Code reinforces our collective commitment to serve the public according to our corporate values-integrity, professionalism, respect and cooperation-and to support a work environment in which people are respected.

If you are new to the CRA, you must certify that you agree to abide by the standards set out in the Code. All employees are also asked to review their obligations under the Code on an annual basis.

We would also like to draw your attention to the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector (VECPS), in force since April 2, 2012. As a CRA employee, you are an integral part of the broader public service and, as such, are governed by the values and expected behaviours contained in the VECPS. The VECPS highlights the following values: Respect for Democracy, Respect for People, Integrity, Stewardship and Excellence.

We ask that you read both Codes carefully and be guided by the values and standards of conduct that have made the Canadian public service and the CRA institutions of which we can all be proud.

Andrew Treusch
Commissioner

W. Davern Jones
Deputy Commissioner

Table of Contents

  1. Your accountability as an employee
  2. Our mission, vision, and values
  3. Your expected standard of conduct
    1. Appearance
    2. Care and use of government property or valuables, and taxpayer property held by the CRA
    3. Care and use of Agency information (confidentiality)
    4. Conflict of interest
    5. Consumption of intoxicants and smoking
    6. Contact with the public - sensitivity and responsiveness
    7. Electronic networks access and use
    8. Financial management and fraud
    9. Fundraising
    10. Gifts, hospitality, and other benefits
    11. Hours of work and attendance
    12. Integrity Framework
    13. Off-duty conduct
    14. Personnel Security Screening
    15. Political Activity
    16. Publicly commenting for the CRA
    17. Public criticism of the CRA
    18. Resolving workplace issues
    19. Safety and security
    20. Terms and conditions of employment and collective agreements
    21. Unions and similar employee associations
  4. Failure to comply and consequences
  5. Leadership role of executives and managers

1. YOUR ACCOUNTABILITY AS AN EMPLOYEE

The CRA Code of Ethics and Conduct (the Code) and the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector (VECPS) require employees to behave at all times in a way that upholds the integrity of our organization and maintains our excellent reputation. The Code and the VECPS apply to all employees, including term employees and students.

As a public servant, and an employee of the CRA, there are times when you are faced with questions of what is right or wrong, and of how to conduct yourself.

  • What are my responsibilities to protect taxpayer/confidential information?
  • What are my obligations to safeguard CRA and Government of Canada security, funds, and property?
  • What should I do if I witness a breach of conduct such as misuse of taxpayer information, harassment, misuse of electronic networks, etc.?
  • Could my personal affairs potentially put me in a conflict of interest?
  • Should I accept hospitality or gifts from clients?
  • Can I publicly criticize or complain about the CRA?

The CRA Code was developed to answer these types of questions and for you to use as a guide when determining an appropriate course of action.

It is your responsibility to become familiar with the contents of the CRA Code and the VECPS, to abide by them, and to conduct yourself in a way that reflects their overall spirit.

Although the Code and VECPS prescribe standards of conduct for all employees, they are not all-inclusive. Even if a specific standard of conduct is not listed, it does not mean that it is condoned. It may still attract disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

At some point, you may find yourself in an ethical dilemma or have a question about what you should do or how you should act. You do not have to tackle such situations on your own - help is available. The laws and the CRA policies referred to in this document are hyperlinked for your reference. If you are ever unsure how to act, discuss the matter with your manager. Also available are advisors (human resources, finance and administration, and security), and other resources, such as the Integrity site on InfoZone. Non-compliance with the Code could attract disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment (See Section 4).

New employees are required to acknowledge receipt of the CRA Code and the VECPS upon hire. All employees are reminded annually of their obligation to re-read and to adhere to the CRA Code and the VECPS and the Conflict of Interest Policy.

2. OUR MISSION, VISION, AND VALUES

CRA mission

Our mission is to administer tax, benefits and related programs and to ensure compliance on behalf of governments across Canada, thereby contributing to the ongoing economic and social well-being of Canadians.

CRA vision

The CRA is the model for trusted tax and benefit administration, providing unparalleled service and value to its clients, and offering its employees outstanding career opportunities.

CRA values

We have four enduring values that guide our organization:

  • Integrity is the foundation of our administration. It means treating people fairly and applying the law fairly.
  • Professionalism is the key to success in achieving our mission. It means being committed to the highest standards of achievement.
  • Respect is the basis for our dealings with employees, colleagues, and clients. It means being sensitive and responsive to the rights of individuals.
  • Co-operation is the foundation for meeting the challenges of the future. It means building partnerships and working together toward common goals.

When contributing your part to our mission, please keep in mind that the key to ethical decision-making and good conduct is to abide by the CRA's values, Code of Ethics and Conduct, the policy instruments referenced in this Code, as well as laws affecting the CRA (such as the Income Tax ActExcise Tax Act and Canadian Human Rights Act). Refer to the Integrity Framework to see CRA policies, programs, and systems that work together to protect the integrity of the CRA.

You are responsible for behaving ethically and with good conduct when acting in your professional capacity on behalf of the CRA, whether dealing with internal or external clients. Your manager and other advisors are there to guide you.

As a public servant, you are also required to become familiar with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector (VECPS). It is the compass that guides the values and expected behaviours of the broader federal public sector. The values of Respect for Democracy, Respect for People, Integrity, Stewardship and Excellence are found in Appendix B of the CRA Code.

3. YOUR EXPECTED STANDARD OF CONDUCT

Please read this section on expected conduct carefully. Ask yourself how you will contribute, through your own good conduct, to the tradition of the CRA as a public institution marked by integrity, professionalism, respect, and cooperation.

As an employee of the CRA, you are accountable to your employer and to the public for the way you conduct yourself. You are expected to carry out your assigned duties conscientiously and in accordance with instructions and with CRA policy instruments. Your conduct also involves thinking through the possible impact of your actions and decisions on all interested parties - the public and clients you serve, co-workers, subordinates, and others - in terms of what is right or wrong, even when legal and regulatory decisions do not require it.

When considering how to act in a difficult situation, it may help to ask:

  • If I were the taxpayer, what would I consider fair treatment to be?
  • Would I be upset or embarrassed if my actions were known to my manager or colleagues or reported in the media?
  • Could my actions have a negative impact on the CRA if brought to the attention of the public?

When faced with a difficult situation, you should first consider seeking advice from your manager.

You have a duty to report any violations of this Code, the VECPS , or of any CRA policies. You must not conceal or condone misconduct.

Misconduct must be reported in accordance with the Discipline Policy and the Internal Investigation into Alleged or Suspected Employee Misconduct Policy.

Wrongdoing, defined in the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), should be reported to your supervisor or manager, or, if that is not possible, to the CRA's Senior Officer for Internal Disclosures, at 1-866-451-2792 or via email at NAT-Internal_Disclosures_Office-Bureau_de_la _divulgations_internes. Wrongdoing, as defined in the PSDPA, could also be reported to the Public Service Integrity Commissioner.

Before disclosing wrongdoing, please refer to the Internal Disclosures Policy, and Procedures, located on the Internal Disclosures Office site. This site can guide you through appropriate protocols, such as respecting the confidentiality rules associated with disclosure of wrongdoing.

When you are on approved leave, with or without pay, you are still an employee of the CRA and you remain bound by this Code.

a) Appearance

Your appearance and dress should be appropriate for your duties at all times. It must not be detrimental to health and safety, your work performance or that of others, or to the image of the CRA. You are expected to be neat, clean, and well groomed. When you meet the public at your workplace or at a taxpayer's place of business, your appearance should reflect the CRA's business image. It should, at a minimum, reflect your professional image as a representative of the CRA and be in keeping with appropriate business attire in your local community.

b) Care and use of government property or valuables, and taxpayer property held by the CRA

You are expected to protect and are responsible for any government property, or valuables, and taxpayer property that you possess or control. If any items are lost, stolen or damaged, immediately report what happened to your manager.

Property

This includes, but is not restricted to, computers (including laptops), software, electronic and paper files, documents and data, office equipment and supplies, video equipment, telecommunications devices, ID, vehicles and physical premises.

Valuables

This includes, but is not restricted to, taxi chits, government credit cards (including those used for travel) and telephone calling cards.

Taxpayer Property

This includes, but is not restricted to, books and records, and financial instruments.

You may only use government owned or leased property, or valuables, for official purposes, unless you have pre-authorization for personal use.

Use of CRA identification

You cannot use your job title or any official identification to influence or obtain any privilege or favour for yourself or others, or to do anything that is illegal, improper or against the best interests of the CRA.

You may use your CRA identification to get a standard corporate discount offered to government employees, as noted in the Gifts, Hospitality and Other Benefits Policy, when there is no expectation of a direct return on the part of the business (for example - at a fitness centre, Costco, hotel chains, and car rental services). Employees must never represent themselves as being on official government business when on personal business.

Travel cards (AMEX)

When you accept a CRA AMEX card, you sign an agreement stating that you will only use the card for Government of Canada authorized business travel-related expenses and hospitality. You are responsible for its use and for paying the balance on time.

Government-owned or government-leased vehicles

You may only transport authorized passengers in government-owned or government-leased vehicles, as defined in the CRA Fleet Management Directive.

Intellectual property

You cannot market or sell any CRA property, for example, software, computer devices, work methods, forms, manuals, policies, procedures, or evaluation systems. Doing so, either while employed by the CRA, or post-employment, is against the law and could result in legal action, even if you worked on, improved, or modified the item outside of working hours.

For further details, see section 72 of the Canada Revenue Agency Act, section 12 of the Copyright Act, and section 3 of the Public Servants Inventions Act.

Returning CRA property and valuables when leaving the job

You must return all government property and valuables issued to you in your job when you leave your position, are transferred or reassigned, or when a request to do so is made by a proper authority. When you leave the CRA, you cannot take any CRA documents with you, including manuals, policy or procedural texts or anything that is not in the public domain, nor can you communicate any information or share any proprietary knowledge that you obtained while on the job, and that has not been made public by the CRA.

c) Care and use of Agency information (confidentiality)

Protecting privacy rights is central to the integrity of the CRA. All personal or proprietary information of taxpayers, other clients, third-party providers (for example, contractors and suppliers) and CRA employees, that you have or use, must be protected and kept in strictest confidence. You swore or affirmed you would do so when you were first hired as a federal public servant and took your Oath or Affirmation.

In swearing or affirming your Oath or Affirmation, you agreed that you would not disclose any information you might become aware of while doing your job. This includes information about policies, programs, practices and procedures of the CRA to which the public does not have official access. It is important to remember that the obligation to keep both CRA and taxpayer information confidential continues even after you leave the CRA.

You are not permitted to serve friends, acquaintances, family members, colleagues, or former colleagues as clients (for example, as taxpayers, contractors, or organizational representatives). Should this occasion arise, you must first notify your manager, who will ensure that someone else serves them. In cases where that may not be possible, your manager must first provide you with authorization, and then you must follow standard procedures.

Three questions about access to and disclosure of taxpayer/confidential information:

  1. I have been asked by a relative to access and disclose tax information about their file (and I am the official representative listed on their T1).
  2. I have been asked by a colleague to access the tax information of a famous hockey player.
  3. I want to access my own tax or benefit information.

Can I do it? The answer is "no".

Accessing information that is not part of your official duties and assigned workload, whether for simple curiosity or at the request of a relative, friend, colleague or former colleague, for any purpose, is an example of serious misconduct. So is giving such information to an unauthorized person for any purpose. Unauthorized access and disclosure of taxpayer information may also violate the Income Tax Act, Excise Tax Act, or Excise Act 2001 and could attract disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment and possible referral to the RCMP.

You may only use, process, store, or handle personal or proprietary information for work-related purposes (for example, to conduct an audit, take a collections action, or manage a staffing process) and in the way specified by the CRA (for example, respecting the security designation on the file such as "confidential", or "protected"). You may not remove, hide, change, mutilate, copy, destroy, or make public any official information, record, or document without express authorization from your manager. Such information may only be disclosed to the client or their designated representative.

If you have any questions about how to treat any CRA information, you are expected to consult your manager.

You must never:

  • access any information that is not part of your officially assigned workload;
  • disclose any CRA information that has not been made public; or
  • use any CRA information that is not publicly available, for personal use, gain or financial benefit for yourself, your relatives or anyone else.

To do so would compromise the integrity of the tax system and the protection of taxpayer information. It could also place you in a serious conflict of interest situation, which could attract a severe disciplinary measure including termination of employment, and could lead to criminal charges.

Providing testimony or information

You are obliged to co-operate and help with the conduct of an investigation by providing information to an investigator and offering access to CRA information systems, documents and records, to the extent such access is legally permitted. This also includes the requirement to support the Crown's case by giving testimony in court. You must not ignore a subpoena, court order, or other legal document. If you receive such a document, advise your manager immediately. Your manager will alert either the Legal Services Branch at Headquarters or the appropriate Department of Justice Canada office for your region and will guide you through the process.

Use of tax information for human resources management

Legislation also permits authorized managers to access tax information for the purposes of supervising, evaluating or disciplining an employee. An employee may also use tax information to challenge a performance evaluation or a disciplinary action. Your access is strictly limited to those parts of the information that are relevant to the purpose.

For full information and rules, see Guidelines for Managers. Also, see Section 241 of the Income Tax Act and Section 295 of the Excise Tax Act).

Complying with official requests for CRA information

The public has the right to ask for and obtain copies of CRA documents (through an "ATIP" request). This right is governed by the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, which;

  • strictly control how the federal government collects, uses, stores, discloses, and disposes of any personal information;
  • give Canadian citizens and permanent residents the right to access their personal information held by the federal government;
  • protect against unauthorized disclosure of personal information; and
  • give Canadian citizens and permanent residents access to information in federal government records, except for information that could cause harm or be contrary to Canadian law.

Any notes that you attach to any CRA document, whether handwritten or electronic, become part of an official record and subject to access to information and privacy (ATIP) requests.

CRA documents, including messages transmitted by devices like cell phones and BlackBerries are also subject to ATIP requests.

If documents are requested as part of an ATIP request, destroying, altering, falsifying or concealing a record, or directing anyone to do so, with the intent of obstructing the right of access, carries penalties, including fines and imprisonment (Section 67.1 of the Access to Information Act). For more information, please see the Access to Information Act and the ATIP FAQs.

d) Conflict of interest

As an employee, a conflict of interest arises whenever your private interests, and/or outside activities impair, or could be perceived to impair, your ability to make decisions with integrity and honesty in the best interests of the CRA and the Public Service of Canada. You must always act in a way that is not damaging or potentially damaging to the CRA.

Where a conflict of interest does arise between your private interests and/or outside activities and your official duties, it will be resolved in favour of the public interest.

It is your responsibility, and a condition of your employment, to avoid situations that could lead to a potential, apparent, or real conflict of interest. Even if you do not consider something to be a conflict of interest, others observing the situation may. You are strongly encouraged to consult the Conflict of Interest Policy and Guidelines, and to consult with your manager or other advisor to ensure that you have not inadvertently placed yourself in an apparent conflict of interest situation.

You must not use your position to influence or bypass legislation, CRA policies or procedures, nor use any CRA information that is not publicly available, for personal use, gain, financial or other benefit of your family, friends, colleagues or anyone else.

For example, if you:

  • become aware through your role at the CRA of a potential business investment opportunity, and this information is not public, you must not take advantage of that opportunity nor facilitate or encourage anyone else to do so;
  • are involved in auditing activities under the Income Tax Act, or Excise Tax Act, file a Confidential Report with your delegated manager before you do any form of bookkeeping or accounting for another person or company;
  • are involved in procurement, and you have personal ties to a bidder (such as family, friend, colleague, acquaintance, or business associate), a real, potential, or apparent conflict of interest may arise. Discuss the matter with your manager, since it may be necessary for you to withdraw from participation in that procurement process; or
  • become aware of any pending legislative changes before they are made public, you must not use that knowledge in any way for your own benefit, or that of a friend, family member, or associate, and you must not facilitate or encourage anyone else to do so.

If you find yourself in a possible conflict of interest situation, ask yourself:

  • Have I contravened CRA policy?
  • Do I stand to gain personally from my actions (for example - an auditor investing in a company based on insider knowledge obtained during an audit)?
  • Does someone else stand to gain from my actions?
  • Will my actions help a relative, friend, or colleague or former colleague receive service, information, or other benefits not available to all Canadians?
  • Am I using CRA assets and time for unauthorized personal use?
  • Would I be uneasy discussing this with my manager or colleagues?

If the answer is yes to any of the above questions, you are in a potential, apparent or real conflict of interest situation.

To avoid conflict of interest situations, please be guided by the CRA's Conflict of Interest Policy and Guidelines. To ensure ongoing compliance, you must assess your situation:

  • annually
  • each time your job changes
  • any time there is a change in your personal interests and/or outside activities.

Submitting a confidential report

If you have non-exempt assets or liabilities, such as, but not limited to, publicly traded securities, or interests in partnerships and family businesses, you must submit a Confidential Report to your delegated manager. For more information see page 2 of the Confidential Report form. Your delegated manager will provide the advice you need. If you have or are seeking a paid or volunteer job outside the CRA, you should speak to your manager about whether you should file a Confidential Report to enable your delegated manager to determine whether or not you are, or might be perceived to be, in a conflict of interest situation.

For more information, see the Conflict of Interest Policy and Guidelines.

e) Consumption of intoxicants and smoking

Consumption of intoxicants

The CRA does not permit the consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs, or other intoxicants while on duty or while on any premises where the CRA conducts its business. The only exception could be where a senior manager has authorized the limited, controlled consumption of alcohol, for a special event in an area not open to the public. On these occasions, you are expected to behave in a way that does not bring discredit to the CRA.

You must never report for work under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants. Under the influence means that a reasonable person would consider your effectiveness impaired to the extent that it could pose a hazard or embarrassment to you, to the CRA, to others or to property; or it means that you cannot perform your duties properly.

You are not to operate an official vehicle after having consumed alcohol or drugs or if your performance is impaired in any way.

Smoking

The CRA supports a safe and healthy working environment and does not permit smoking in any indoor or enclosed space, under the CRA's control, in which employees perform the duties of their employment. The CRA encourages smokers to exercise goodwill and mutual respect by refraining from smoking near building entrances and air intake ducts. You must also comply with any applicable laws, bylaws, or restrictions imposed by building owners, concerning smoking in the workplace or in public spaces.

f) Contact with the public - sensitivity and responsiveness

The importance of courteous, prompt, sensitive, and professional service to the public cannot be over-emphasized. All CRA employees share a commitment to serving in the public interest. In the eyes of the public, you represent not only the CRA but also the entire Public Service of Canada. Taxpayers expect to receive service as indicated in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Sensitivity to the needs of the public involves being polite, even under difficult conditions, in times of personal stress, and in the face of provocation that does not involve a violation of the law. You must not make any abusive, derisive, threatening, insulting, offensive, or provocative statements or gestures to, or about, another person. We are all responsible for contributing to a culture of integrity at the CRA.

If your role requires that you sometimes overcome an obstinate lack of cooperation on the part of a taxpayer (for example - if you act as a tax officer responsible for enforcement), a persistent, yet professional, approach will be necessary.

The actions of persons from outside the CRA may sometimes be abusive or threatening or even result in personal assault. The CRA will provide you with protection, support, and help. You must promptly report full details of any incident to your manager and co-operate in any subsequent investigation. Threats, stalking, or assault must be reported by telephone to 1-866-362-0192. More information can be found in the CRA's policy on Abuse, Threats, Stalking and Assaults Against Employees and in the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy.

g) Electronic networks access and use

You must only use the CRA's primary computer systems and databases, such as Rapid and Corporate Administration System (CAS), for authorized business purposes, that is, for carrying out tasks that form part of your assigned workload.

When you access or use CRA computer systems or electronic networks, you must make every effort to protect the CRA from threats to their security. You must guard against:

  • accidental or deliberate destruction of equipment and data;
  • disclosure of sensitive information;
  • loss of removable media containing CRA files (for example - CDs or USB keys. See Security for the Computing Environment);
  • theft and corruption; and
  • exposure to viruses.

Report any breach of computer security, policies, or standards to your manager. Please remember that you must never disclose your password for any CRA system to anyone, including your manager.

You are reminded, each time you sign on, that CRA computer systems and electronic networks are for authorized business purposes only, except for the very limited personal use provided for, under certain conditions, in the Monitoring of the Electronic Networks' Usage Policy.

Examples of acceptable limited personal use, when permitted after hours or during an authorized break, include reading or writing a brief email message to/from a family member or friend, or checking the weather forecast on-line. To be considered as limited personal use, such use:

  • must comply with all related legislation, and policy instruments;

  • must not interfere with users' performance and/or productivity; and

  • must not impose a performance or storage burden on the Agency’s electronic networks.

Misconduct related to using CRA computers and electronic networks - Examples:

CRA computers and databases:

  • unauthorized access or disclosure of tax or other confidential information, including your own

Self-service portal:

  • falsely registering attendance or time reporting, including overtime

CRA electronic networks:

  • viewing or sharing non-work-related images or chain letters;
  • signing up for non-work-related email subscriptions (for example - Air Canada Web Saver or Stock Alerts);
  • engaging in private business, or political activities
  • sending classified or designated information, without using the proper encryption mechanisms; and
  • downloading, filing, or distributing such things as music (audio) files, unauthorized software, or games, and thereby potentially harming the CRA's electronic networks

Downloading, possessing, viewing, or distributing erotic or pornographic images or material is strictly prohibited.

Records are created and stored by every email received, sent or filed (including those that are subsequently deleted) using the CRA's email system, and records are created of every Web page visited, as well as every download initiated. Records are also created and stored for every access of taxpayer information.

Employees must be aware that all information obtained, stored, sent, or received using the CRA electronic networks is subject to routine monitoring, and will be reviewed when there are reasonable grounds to do so. To learn more, see the Monitoring of the Electronic Networks' Usage Policy.

h) Financial management and fraud

As an employee, you may be responsible for collecting, receiving, managing or disbursing public money. These are serious responsibilities and you must comply with the following legal provisions to ensure responsible financial management and to prevent fraud: Financial Administration Act sections 38(2), 78 and 80(1) b), c), d) and e), 80(2) and 81, and the Criminal Code, section 122. In addition, managers with delegated financial authority (FAA sections 32, 33, and 34) are accountable for all transactions under their responsible area.

Care of money (including instruments of financial security)

You may be entrusted with large amounts of money. You must be extremely diligent in accounting for, safeguarding, and disposing of any government money in your possession or control, and must do so according to established procedures and reasonable standards of care. If money in your care is misplaced, lost or stolen, you are to immediately report the matter to your manager, who will notify the appropriate management representative.

Borrowing, lending, or soliciting money

You must not:

  • borrow money from a client, or present a personal cheque to be cashed by a client; or
  • ask any employee who you supervise to sign a financial instrument, as an endorser or co-maker, to secure an amount of money being lent or borrowed.

Soliciting money from co-workers is restricted to collecting voluntary contributions toward gifts for marriage, retirement, bereavement, and the like; or for authorized charitable purposes for organizations that provide aid or a place of safety, such as shelters for the homeless, victims of abuse, or other community services.

Fraud

Fraud is defined as any intentional act, or intentional omission, by an employee for personal benefit, or for the benefit of a third party, through the deliberate misuse or misapplication of CRA resources, revenues, information, assets, or authority.

Examples of fraudulent activities include:

  • falsified claims for overtime or leave, and any other action that results in receiving remuneration for time not worked;
  • falsely reporting travel time, expense accounts, or taxi expenses; or
  • failing to report any violation or fraud concerning the Financial Administration Act and its regulations, or any other revenue law.

The CRA:

  • will recover any monetary advance paid to you that you do not repay or account for, and will recover any amounts paid to you in error (for example - overpaid salaries or benefits); and
  • can recover from you any public money lost through any negligence or misconduct on your part.

Penalties for fraud

You will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment if you:

  • commit a fraud; including falsely registering attendance, falsifying medical certificates, or any other action that results in receiving remuneration for time not worked;
  • fail to report a fraud or any violation of the Financial Administration Act and its regulations or any other revenue law; or
  • provide an opportunity or permit another person to defraud the Crown.

Some cases of fraud against the Crown are indictable offenses that may lead to criminal charges and carry penalties that include fines and imprisonment.

i) Fundraising

CRA employees have an exemplary record of holding fundraising activities to raise money for worthy causes such as charity, employee recreational organizations, and employee social events.

For information on fundraising activities, please see the Fundraising Guidelines on InfoZone.

Solicitation

Donations for items to be used as prizes or gifts cannot be solicited or accepted from external individuals or organizations. CRA employees may donate items (including goods, merchandise, or non-work-related services).

Gambling on CRA premises

Whether on or off duty, any participation in a gambling activity (including sports pools) on CRA premises, is strictly prohibited.

j) Gifts, hospitality, and other benefits

It is your responsibility to decline any gift, hospitality, or other benefit that could influence your judgment, or call into question your integrity or that of the CRA. You are responsible for adhering to the Gifts, Hospitality, and Other Benefits Policy and to consult that policy for details on accepting or refusing gifts, including the strict conditions and limitations that apply when accepting gifts.

You may usually accept incidental gifts such as:

  • mugs, pens, or similar items (under $25 value);
  • normal CRA-related business hospitality (for example - coffee or light lunch valued under $50); and
  • nominal benefits such as a speaker's honorarium or a gift from a delegation of foreign visitors (under $50).

You may not accept:

  • cash or cash equivalents (for example - gift cards or cheques);
  • tickets to major entertainment or sporting events (for example - theatre, ballet, NHL, NBA); or
  • cigarettes, alcohol, related goods, or anything prohibited by Canadian law.

Remember that soliciting any gifts that would be used as personal benefits by employees, for example - prizes for golf tournaments and the like, is prohibited under the Gifts, Hospitality, and Other Benefits Policy.

It is a serious matter to accept a gift, hospitality, or other benefit that does not meet the criteria, including the dollar limits. If you do, you must immediately advise your manager in writing who will inform the delegated manager who in turn will advise you on how to proceed.

k) Hours of work and attendance

As a CRA employee, you are expected to adhere to your scheduled hours of work and to follow established processes for the approval of leave, as allowed under your collective agreement and/or terms and conditions of employment. In this way, you can contribute to the efficient operation of your work unit.

l) Integrity Framework

As employees, we are all responsible for contributing to the integrity of the CRA, by shaping our activities and conversations in ways that cultivate trust. The Agency is continually strengthening its approach to managing integrity and in 2012 published an Integrity Framework (the Framework). This Framework is presented in a one-page image that includes the policies, programs, and systems that work together to protect the integrity of the CRA. The image shows how we define integrity; how we communicate and promote integrity standards; as well as how we monitor, ensure, and manage integrity lapses. You are encouraged to take a look at the Framework, and to review the integrity-related material found on the InfoZone site Integrity at the CRA.

m) Off-duty conduct

Your off-duty conduct is usually a private matter. However, please be careful that it does not affect your image and performance as a CRA employee. Laws, including the Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act, govern many of the services that you and your colleagues provide. Your own compliance with these laws (for example - reporting all your taxable income) is essential to preserve your own integrity and the integrity of the CRA.

Off-duty conduct that may attract disciplinary action up to, and including, termination of employment includes conduct that:

  • is harmful to the employer's reputation (for example - personal violations of the laws that the CRA administers);
  • renders you unable to perform your duties in a satisfactory manner;
  • is a violation of the Criminal Code or is injurious to the general reputation of the CRA and its employees; or
  • makes it difficult for the employer to manage its operations efficiently and to direct its workforce.

You must report the situation to your manager without delay if:

  • you are charged under any Canadian laws, regulations, or federal statutes, related to your official duties (including traffic violations that happen at work or prevent you from being able to work); or
  • you are arrested, detained, or charged with a violation of the Criminal Code, when the violation could impact or be perceived to impact your official duties.

Q: I am a regular user of the Web sites "Facebook" and "MySpace" and am an active "blogger". If I identify myself as a CRA employee, could this behaviour go against the CRA Code of Ethics and Conduct and result in administrative or disciplinary action being taken against me?

A: Yes, it could. For example, if you identify yourself or your colleagues on Facebook as CRA employees, or disclose any proprietary CRA information in your blog, your public comments could jeopardize the Agency's reputation or programs. See Public Criticism of the CRA.

n) Personnel Security Screening

The Personnel Security Screening program is a federal government requirement. Personnel Security Screening contributes to the integrity of the CRA by verifying whether individuals are sufficiently reliable and trustworthy to occupy specific positions. Once screened and hired, employees are granted access to Agency premises, information, and assets.

Obtaining and maintaining the required security status associated to your position remains a requirement throughout your employment with the Agency. Please refer to the Personnel Security Screening Policy for more information.

o) Political Activity

Important Reminder: If you want to seek nomination or run as a candidate in a territorial, municipal, provincial, or federal election, before or during the election period, you must apply in advance to the Public Service Commission (PSC) for permission and approval for leave without pay (LWOP). LWOP may or may not be needed if you want to seek nomination or run as a candidate in a municipal election. The legal requirement is found in Part 7, subsections 114(1) and 115(1) of the Public Service Employment Act.

More information about this process and the potential effect on your employment at the CRA is available on the PSC Web site at http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/plac-acpl/index-eng.htm.

As a citizen, you are entitled to express yourself freely and to participate in political activities, but as a public servant, you must use discretion and judgment in doing so. For instance, when taking part in political activities, you must:

  • remain loyal to your employer, the Government of Canada; and
  • exercise restraint, relative to your position and visibility, so as not to jeopardize the tradition of the Public Service as politically neutral.

Under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), you have important rights and obligations related to your involvement in political activities. If you are considering getting involved in any political activity, the PSC and management at the CRA will support you in understanding more about your rights and obligations, and about how to act appropriately.

As a public servant, you may engage in any political activity as long as it does not impair or is not perceived as impairing your ability to perform your duties in a politically impartial manner.

Under the PSEA, the legal definition of a 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; or
  • seeking nomination or standing as a candidate in a municipal, provincial, territorial, or federal election before or during the election period.

p) Publicly commenting for the CRA

Only designated and authorized spokespersons can make statements or comments to the media about the CRA (CRA Media Directive). If you receive a call from the media, you must refer it to an authorized spokesperson. Employees in the regions should refer any media calls to the office of the director of communications in their region. Employees at Headquarters should refer any media calls to the Media Relations Section of the Public Affairs Branch.

A list of all employees who are authorized to speak to the media is available on the CRA's Web site at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/nwsrm/md-eng.html.

q) Public criticism of the CRA

As a CRA employee, you must make sure that your public statements or actions do not impair your ability to carry out your duties or call into question your impartiality in carrying out those duties. You should use internal means to bring any criticisms you may have to the attention of CRA management.

You are to refrain from making, through any public medium (such as radio, television, newspaper, blog, or Facebook), either directly or through a third party, any pronouncement critical of CRA policies, programs, or officials, or on matters of current political controversy where the statements or actions might create a conflict with the duties of your position or CRA programs.

Although you are expected to conduct yourself at all times in a way that brings credit to the CRA, you have an added responsibility to conduct yourself in a way that is, in the eyes of the general public, obviously above reproach.

You must make sure that anything you say about the CRA and its operations is truthful and honest, does not deliberately or negligently misstate facts, and does not impair your employment relationship.

r) Resolving workplace issues

The CRA promotes a culture of integrity and a respectful work environment where diversity is valued. You are responsible for contributing to the culture of integrity, and to a workplace free from discrimination and harassment.

Workplace issues and conflicts that arise can severely damage the work environment. The CRA's policy is that these issues should be dealt with before they escalate. The goal is to ensure on-going positive working relationships by resolving conflicts promptly and cooperatively. 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 the issue and prevent a situation from escalating to the point where initiating a process such as a grievance or a harassment complaint may be necessary. Most workplace conflicts can be resolved co-operatively to the satisfaction of all parties. Confidential services are available from Conflict Resolution Advisors at Headquarters and in each region of the Agency.

Discrimination means treating people differently, negatively or adversely because of their race, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, colour, marital status, family status, disability, or conviction for which a pardon was granted. As used in human rights laws, discrimination means making a distinction between certain individuals or groups based on a prohibited ground of discrimination. See the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Harassment is a form of employee misconduct/improper behaviour that is directed at, and is offensive, to another employee, and which the harassing employee knew or ought reasonably to have known would be unwelcome and cause offence or harm. It includes objectionable conduct, comment, or display that demeans, belittles, or causes personal humiliation or embarrassment, and any act(s) of intimidation or threat(s), that detrimentally affects individual well-being or the work environment.

More details regarding harassment can be found in the CRA's Preventing and Resolving Harassment Policy.

A few common questions on the subject of workplace issues and harassment:

Q: A co-worker told a racially themed joke which upset several of us. What should I have done?

A: You should speak up in such a case and point out to your co-worker that such jokes are not acceptable, or raise the matter with your manager if you are not comfortable addressing your co-worker directly.


Q: My manager is always after me about my work. He does not make the same demands of my colleagues. Is that harassment? What should I do about it?

A: Managers are expected to allocate work to members of their team, and comment on employees' performance. It is important that open lines of communication exist between you and your manager. You should speak to your manager or other advisor about how you feel.


Q: Could the posting of pictures of scantily clad people be considered harassment?

A: At the very least, it is not appropriate and is disrespectful towards one's colleagues. Any employee or manager becoming aware of such a posting should speak to the employee who did the posting and request that it be removed immediately.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is also available for employees. Although the EAP is not part of the conflict resolution process, EAP counsellors and referral agents are available if employees want to talk things over in a confidential, neutral setting.

s) Safety and security

Your safety and security as an employee of the CRA are very important to the Agency. While on the job, you must observe safety and security standards, rules, and procedures established for your work site. You are to promptly report to your manager any work-related accident or injury to yourself or other employees, or any unsafe or hazardous condition at work. See form T4009, Hazardous Occurrence Investigation Report. For more information, see the CRA's Occupational Health and Safety Policy.

If you experience or become aware of any security infraction (threats, stalking, assault, or verbal abuse) or negligent or criminal act, you must report this to your manager or a security officer immediately, who will then complete a Security Incident Report. Refer to the Abuse, Threats, Stalking and Assaults Against Employees Policy and to the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy for more information.

t) Terms and conditions of employment and collective agreements

You are responsible for respecting the terms and conditions set out in the collective agreements (PSAC - Union of Taxation Employees, or PIPSC - AFS agreements) and/or your applicable terms and conditions of employment:

  • Public Service Terms and Conditions of Employment Policy
  • Terms and Conditions of Employment Policy for the Human Resources Occupational Group
  • Human Resources Policy Framework for the Executive Cadre, 14.0 Terms and Conditions of Employment
  • Terms and Conditions of Employment for Students

u) Unions and similar employee associations

The Public Service Labour Relations Act sets out procedures for employee participation in employee organizations. The Act also contains provisions that prohibit:

  • intimidation of employees in the creation or administration of employee organizations;
  • the restraining of employees from becoming members of an employee organization; or
  • discrimination against a member of an employee organization (for example - in regard to employment or to any condition of employment).

4. FAILURE TO COMPLY AND CONSEQUENCES

A great deal of trust is placed on you in the performance of your duties. We expect that you will adhere to the values and principles in the CRA Code and the VECPS.

If you suspect or discover that you are not in compliance with the Code and/or the VECPS, consult with your manager. Depending on the circumstances, your manager may need to determine whether any breach warrants action. Procedures are in place to make sure that all cases of employee misconduct or wrongdoing are handled fairly.

Despite preventative measures by the CRA and its employees, a few employees will contravene the Code and/or the VECPS, either explicitly or implicitly, and will engage in misconduct up to and including criminal activity. This could seriously disrupt public confidence in the integrity of the CRA and its employees, and the public service of Canada. Misconduct will not be tolerated.

Please see the CRA's Discipline Policy and the Procedures for addressing employee misconduct, including the Table of Suggested Disciplinary Measures, where you will find examples of misconduct and potential disciplinary measures.

Serious misconduct includes but is not limited to individual or group misconduct such as:

  • access of and/or use of unauthorized information for personal gain or the benefit of someone else, which could also be a violation of the Income Tax Act, Excise Tax Act or Excise Act 2001;
  • submitting or approving false claims for a refund of duty, taxes, or benefits; and
  • intentionally violating the legislation that the CRA enforces.

If you contravene the CRA's Code of Ethics and Conduct, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, or any of their underlying laws, policies or policy instruments, you could be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, termination of employment. Any disciplinary measure taken against you would be in accordance with the CRA's Discipline Policy and the Procedures for Addressing Employee Misconduct. Some serious misconduct can result in referral to a law enforcement agency.

Employee Assistance Program

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is committed to promoting, fostering, and maintaining the well-being of its diverse employee population. Many situations can affect employee relationships, health, and work performance. The CRA believes that it is important to offer assistance to employees facing these situations, and to encourage them to seek help voluntarily at the earliest stage, to minimize any adverse effects on their work and personal life.

If you experience a challenging personal situation which could affect your performance or professional relationships at work (for example a health issue or difficulty managing your time) please speak to your manager or other advisor. You also have access to the CRA’s Employee Assistance Program.

As a CRA employee, you are ultimately responsible for adhering to the expected standard of conduct as articulated in this Code.

Reminder:

Although this Code prescribes standards of conduct for all employees of the CRA, they are not all-inclusive. The absence of a specific standard of behaviour does not mean that an action is condoned. It may still be subject to disciplinary action.

Do not assume - particularly in conflict of interest situations such as outside employment, business activities, investments, or volunteer work - that your interpretation of the situation is the only one. Consult with your manager, and file a Confidential Report with your delegated manager.

5. LEADERSHIP ROLE OF EXECUTIVES and MANAGERS

The personal example of all CRA executives and managers, including team leaders, speaks louder than any written code.

As a leader at the CRA, you must hold yourself accountable for your actions and for adhering to CRA’s integrity instruments. To do so, you must show that you yourself are following the legislation and policies that guide the work of the CRA, and you must demonstrate the values of the CRA and of the public service through your own daily conduct. You must also take steps to ensure that your employees are aware of, and adhere to, the legislation, policies, and related instruments that are in place at the CRA.

As a leader, you are expected to understand and follow the complex rules that guide the way we do business at the CRA. You are also expected to demonstrate leadership in respecting the Code of Ethics and Conduct and all underlying policies and, in particular, to:

  • ensure your own conduct is above reproach;
  • provide effective, responsible, and fair service;
  • set an example by acting with integrity, professionalism, respect, and co-operation;
  • maintain open, positive communications, and working relationships;
  • respect equity and diversity in all their dimensions; and
  • recognize excellence, and encourage personal and professional development in a learning environment.

As a leader, you are a visible role model for the employees you supervise.

Every executive and manager shall make sure that all new employees under their responsibility are given a copy of, or have electronic access to, the Code of Ethics and Conduct, and that a signed Confirmation of Receipt form is placed in their personnel file.

Executives and managers are also required to remind all employees annually of their obligations under the CRA Code, the VECPS, as well as the CRA Conflict of Interest Policy and to remind employees to file a new Confidential Report when required.

Appendix A - List of Sources and Authorities

Charters and laws

Policies, other documents, and resources

  • Abuse, Threats, Stalking and Assaults Against Employees
  • Collective agreements
  • Conflict of Interest Policy
  • Conflict Resolution Policy
  • CRA Integrity Site
  • CRA Media Relations Directive
  • Delegation of Human Resources Authorities
  • Discipline Policy, Procedures for Addressing Employee Misconduct and Table of Suggested Disciplinary Measures
  • Employees’ Access to their Own Tax Information and that of their Relatives and Acquaintances
  • Gifts, Hospitality and Other Benefits Policy
  • Information Management Policy
  • Integrity Framework
  • Internal Disclosures Policy and Procedures
  • Internal Investigations into Alleged or Suspected Employee Misconduct
  • Monitoring of the Electronic Networks’ Usage Policy
  • Oath or Affirmation
  • Occupational Health and Safety Policy
  • Personnel Security Screening Policy
  • Preventing and Resolving Harassment Policy
  • Security Incident Reporting and Management Directive
  • Sustainable Development Policy
  • Taxpayer Bill of Rights
  • Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector
  • Workplace Violence Prevention Policy

Confirmation of Receipt Form

I acknowledge that I have received my copy of the CRA Code of Ethics and Conduct which includes the text of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector (VECPS).

I have read both the CRA Code and the VECPS and agree to abide by the standards set out therein.

____________________
_                              __________________
Employee's signature
                                      Manager's signature
_______________
                                            ______________
Employee's name                                             
Manager's name
(print)
                                                                 (print)

__________
Date

Note: Original signed copy to be returned to your manager, who will forward it to the Regional Workplace Relations Centre of Expertise for inclusion in your personnel file.

This printed version may not be current.


Appendix B - Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector (VECPS)

The Role of Federal Public Servants

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. [1] Constitutional conventions of ministerial responsibility prescribe the appropriate relationships among ministers, parliamentarians, public servants [2] and the public. A professional and non-partisan federal public sector is integral to our democracy.

The Role of Ministers

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. [3]

Objectives

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.

As established by the Treasury Board, this Code fulfills the requirement of section 5 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA). It was developed in consultation with public servants, public sector organizations and bargaining agents. This Code should be read in conjunction with organizational codes of conduct.

Statement of Values

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 Code and respective organizational codes of conduct are important sources of guidance for public servants. Organizations are expected to take steps 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 their organization.

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

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.

Stewardship

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

Excellence

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.

Expected Behaviours

Federal public servants are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the values of the public sector and these expected behaviours.

  1. Respect For Democracy
    Public servants shall uphold the Canadian parliamentary democracy and its institutions by:
    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.
    2. Loyally carrying out the lawful decisions of their leaders and supporting ministers in their accountability to Parliament and Canadians.
    3. Providing decision makers with all the information, analysis and advice they need, always striving to be open, candid and impartial.
  2. Respect For People
    Public servants shall respect human dignity and the value of every person by:
    1. Treating every person with respect and fairness.
    2. Valuing diversity and the benefit of combining the unique qualities and strengths inherent in a diverse workforce.
    3. Helping to create and maintain safe and healthy workplaces that are free from harassment and discrimination.
    4. Working together in a spirit of openness, honesty and transparency that encourages engagement, collaboration and respectful communication.
  3. Integrity
    Public servants shall serve the public interest by:
    1. Acting at all times with integrity and in a manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny, an obligation that may not be fully satisfied by simply acting within the law.
    2. Never using their official roles to inappropriately obtain an advantage for themselves or to advantage or disadvantage others.
    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.
    4. Acting in such a way as to maintain their employer's trust.
  4. Stewardship
    Public servants shall use resources responsibly by:
    1. Effectively and efficiently using the public money, property and resources managed by them.
    2. Considering the present and long-term effects that their actions have on people and the environment.
    3. Acquiring, preserving and sharing knowledge and information as appropriate.
  5. Excellence
    Public servants shall demonstrate professional excellence by:
    1. Providing fair, timely, efficient and effective services that respect Canada's official languages.
    2. Continually improving the quality of policies, programs and services they provide.
    3. Fostering a work environment that promotes teamwork, learning and innovation.

Application

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.

The PSDPA defines the "public sector" as: (a) the departments named in Schedule I to the Financial Administration Act and the other portions of the federal public administration named in Schedules I.1 to V to that Act; and (b) the Crown corporations and other public bodies set out in Schedule I of the PSDPA. However, "the public sector" does not include the Canadian Forces, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service or the Communications Security Establishment, which are subject to separate requirements under the Act.

The Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector came into force on April 2, 2012.

Avenues for Resolution

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 their organization.

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 the matter, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to the attention of their immediate supervisor, their senior officer for disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

Senior officers for disclosure are responsible for supporting the chief executive in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA. They help promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing, and deal with disclosures of wrongdoing made by employees of the organization. Further information on the duties and powers of senior officers for disclosure can be found in the attached Appendix.

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 an organizational point of contact that has been designated for the handling of such concerns or to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner to disclose a serious breach of this Code.

Appendix

Duties and Obligations
Public Servants

Public servants are expected to abide by this Code and 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 their respective organizational codes of conduct. 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.

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.

As provided by sections 12 and 13 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (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, their senior officer for disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

Chief Executives [4]

Chief executives of public sector organizations have 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. They ensure that employees are aware of their obligations under this Code and their specific organizational code of conduct. They also ensure that employees can obtain appropriate advice within their organization on ethical issues, including possible conflicts of interest.

Chief executives ensure that this Code, their organizational code of conduct, and their internal disclosure procedures are implemented effectively in their organization, and that they are regularly monitored and evaluated. Chief executives of Crown corporations may rely on their boards of directors for support in this duty.

Chief executives are responsible for ensuring the non-partisan provision of programs and services by their organizations.

Chief executives are subject to this Code and to the Conflict of Interest Act.

Senior Officers for Disclosures

The senior officer for disclosure helps promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing and deals with disclosures of wrongdoing made by public servants of their organization. Senior officers are responsible for supporting the chief executive in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA.

The senior officer's duties and powers within his or her organization also include the following, in accordance with the internal disclosure procedures established under the PSDPA:

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

In support of the Treasury Board President's responsibilities under section 4 of the PSDPA, the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) is responsible for promoting ethical practices in the public sector. [5] The OCHRO will work with all relevant partner organizations to implement and promote this Code, and will provide advice to chief executives and designated departmental officials with respect to its interpretation.

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

OCHRO will monitor the implementation of this Code 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 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.

Footnotes

1. 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.

2. 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 this Code.

3. 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.

4. "Chief executive" means the deputy head or chief executive officer of any portion of the public sector, or the person who occupies any other similar position, however called, in the public sector (PSDPA, 2005).

5. Section 4 of the PSDPA assigns this responsibility to the Minister responsible for the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada (subsequently the Canada Public Service Agency (CPSA)). With the creation of the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer within Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat on February 6, 2009, the functions of the CPSA were transferred to the OCHRO.

This printed version may not be current.

Date modified: