Code of Conduct

Policy Number: 
2301
Policy Responsibility: 
Vice-President, Finance & Administration
Approved: 
Board of Governors
Effective: 
November 27, 2014
Review: 
November 27, 2016

Policy Statement: 

Introduction

  1. The Institute is committed to providing a learning and working environment characterized by respect for others, honesty, and professionalism.
  2. The Institute is also committed to the highest standards of ethics and integrity.
  3. This Code of Conduct (the “Code”) provides guidance to employees on standards of conduct, ethics and integrity, in furtherance of the Institute’s Commitments.

Application and Scope

  1. The Code applies to all employees of the Institute.1
  2. The Code is not intended to override or derogate from but to complement Institute policies and procedures, as well as collective agreements and terms and conditions of employment, and professional codes with which employees must comply.
  3. This Code supplements existing Institute policies and is not exhaustive.

Values and Principles

  1. Employees of the Institute conduct themselves in a manner that promotes and reflects the Institute’s Commitments in all of their interactions.
  2. Employees of the Institute promote and support a respectful, inclusive and safe work environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity.
  3. Employees of the Institute contribute to a healthy and safe workplace by complying with all safety legislation and policies and by taking all reasonable precautions to ensure their own safety and that of others.

Knowledge and Compliance with Policies and Regulations

  1. Employees are expected to be familiar with all Institute policies and procedures relevant to their responsibilities and to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with those policies and procedures.
  2. Employees are expected to be aware of and comply with provincial and federal legislation and regulations and other contractual or legal obligations that affect how they carry out their duties and how the Institute conducts business.
  3. Employees are encouraged to seek guidance where there is a question about compliance with Institute policies, procedures and/or applicable laws.

1 “Employee” is defined as all Institute personnel who are designated as either casual, part-time, full-time, term or sessional employees.

Conflict of Interest

Principles:

  1. Employees of the Institute are in a position of trust and are to carry out their responsibilities in the best interest of the Institute.
  2. Employees have a responsibility to conduct themselves in a way that does not either compromise the ability of the Institute to accomplish its work or undermine the confidence in the employee’s ability to discharge his or her responsibilities.
  3. Employees are expected to act with transparency and impartiality and to avoid or remove themselves from situations involving a conflict of interest.
  4. The following guidelines and procedures set out general requirements with respect to conflicts of interest and are intended to assist employees to recognize possible conflicts of interest situations, so that they can disclose, manage and resolve such situations.
  5. One of the main goals of conflict of interest management is to contribute to confidence in and trust that decisions and actions taken by employees are impartial and made with integrity.

Definition:

  1. A conflict of interest situation arises where a personal interest of an employee is sufficient to influence or appear to influence the objective exercise or proper discharge of his/her duties as an employee of the Institute.
  2. Conflict of interest applies to situations where there is actual, potential or an appearance of conflict of interest;
    1. An actual conflict of interest refers to a situation where an employee exercises a power or performs a duty or responsibility, at the same time knowing that in doing so, there is the opportunity to further his or her private or personal interest(s).
    2. A potential conflict of interest refers to a situation where a private or personal interest of an employee could influence the exercise of the employee’s power or performance of his or her duties or responsibilities, provided that he or she has not yet exercised that power or duty.
    3. An apparent or perceived conflict of interest refers to a situation where informed people might reasonably hold the apprehension that a conflict of interest exists on the part of the employee.
  3. There are several situations that could give rise to a conflict of interest.  The following examples illustrate situations that are usually considered to create a conflict of interest or a potential or apparent conflict of interest. They do not constitute an exhaustive list.

Examples:

Personal Gain

  • Influencing or participating in a decision of the Institute that will directly or indirectly result in your own financial gain.
  • Receiving payment, from an outside source, for work that is part of your duties and responsibilities as an employee.
  • Accepting significant gifts or special favors for personal gain from individuals or organizations with which the Institute does business. See also the section below on Gifts and Entertainment

Inappropriate Use of Information

  • Using confidential information obtained in your capacity as an employee for personal gain or to benefit someone you know, and communicating such information to those not authorized to receive it. See also the section below on Confidentiality.

Conflict of Commitment

  • Undertaking external consulting, professional or other activities, which, by virtue of their time commitment, prevent the employee from fulfilling his/her obligations to the Institute.  See also the section below on Outside Interests and Activities.

Personal Relationships

  • Participating in the evaluation, promotion, or hiring of a family member, close friend, or associate.

Compromising Situations

  • Placing oneself in a situation where one is under an obligation to a person who might benefit or seek to gain special consideration or favor.

Role and Responsibilities of Employees

  1. Employees are expected to recognize possible conflict of interest situations and use good judgment to avoid situations that constitute or create the appearance of a conflict of interest.
  2. A conflict of interest situation may arise even where there is no intention of acting unfairly or dishonestly. Where employees are in doubt about a particular set of circumstances, they should discuss the situation with their manager/supervisor prior to engaging in the activity.

Conflict of Interest Procedures

  1. In general, where an actual or potential conflict of interest arises, employees must immediately disclose the situation to their manager/ supervisor, prior to engaging in such activity, unless there are exceptions, special restrictions or prohibitions provided for in existing policies, in an applicable collective agreement, or an employee’s terms of employment.
  2. Where an employee is unsure of whether he/she is in a conflict, that employee should raise the potential conflict with his/her manager/supervisor.
  3. The manager/supervisor in consultation with the Director, Human Resources, will determine if a conflict exists or the appearance of a conflict exists.
  4. The manager and the employee will agree on a course of action to monitor or avoid the conflict. The agreed upon course of action shall be documented in writing.
  5. In the event that agreement cannot be reached, or that the employee disagrees with a finding that he/she is in a conflict of interest, the case will be referred through the appropriate management channels for resolution, up to and including the Vice-Presidents.
  6. Where a conflict of interest is discovered after consideration of a matter, the employee must declare the conflict of interest at the first opportunity to his/her manager/supervisor, in order that there be an opportunity to re-examine the matter and take required remedial measures.
  7. For conflict of interest situations involving a Vice-President, the President will review the facts and make a determination regarding the appropriate course of action. For conflict of interest situations involving the President, the Board of Governors will make a determination regarding the appropriate course of action.
  8. All participants are expected to maintain the confidentiality of the information they receive during the process of addressing an actual, potential or apparent conflict of interest.

Outside Interests and Activities

  1. The Institute recognizes that employees may engage in professional, technical and other activities to enhance their professional growth.
  2. Similarly, employees may also have alternate employment, participate in businesses, or receive remuneration of funds for personal activities outside of their employment at the Institute.
  3. Such outside activity and/or interests are generally encouraged, provided that:
    1. the activity does not interfere with the performance of the employee’s duties as an employee;
    2. the activity does not represent a conflict of interest;
    3. the activity is not performed in such a way as to appear to be an official act of the Institute, or to represent the Institute’s opinion or policy; and
    4. the activity does not negatively impact upon the Institute’s reputation or bring the Institute into disrepute.
  4. Any use of Institute facilities in connection with outside work may occur only where prior approval has been obtained from the appropriate authority and the Institute may require full compensation for such use.
  5. Employees are encouraged to participate in community service and are free to engage in political, professional, interest group and charitable activity. In so doing, employees:
    1. should avoid situations of actual or perceived conflict of interest;
    2. ensure such participation does not impede the performance of the employee’s Institute duties;
    3. must be careful not to imply Institute support for or sponsorship for the outside organization or its initiatives.
  6. The Institute prohibits:
    1. political activity such as canvassing funds on behalf of any political party in the workplace;
    2. canvassing of donations or funds for causes/charities in the workplace, unless approved

Post-Employment Restrictions for Senior Executives

  1. Definitions
    For the purpose of the post-employment restrictions set out below:
    1. “Senior Executive” means a person employed by the Institute as President or Vice President; and
    2. “Outside Entity” means a person or entity other than a public sector employer as defined in Section 1 of the Public Sector Employers Act.
  2. After Leaving the Institute
    The following is a condition of a Senior Executive’s employment with the Institute.  If the Senior Executive had a substantial involvement in dealings with an Outside Entity on behalf of the Institute at any time during the year immediately preceding the end of the Senior Executive’s employment with the Institute then, for one year after the end of the Senior Executive’s employment, the Senior Executive must not:
    1. accept an offer of employment with, an appointment to the board of directors of, or a contract to provide services to, that Outside Entity; or
    2. provide consulting or other services to that Outside Entity, in connection with its dealings with the Institute.
  3. Reduction of One-Year Limitation
    The President and CEO, or the Institute Board of Governors if the Senior Executive is the President and CEO, may reduce a Senior Executive’s one-year restriction, upon application, after considering the following:
    1. the circumstances under which the Senior Executive’s employment ended;
    2. the Senior Executive’s general employment prospects;
    3. the significance to the Institute of information the Senior Executive possessed by virtue of the Senior Executive’s position with the Institute;
    4. the desirability of a rapid transfer of the Senior Executive’s skills to an employer other than the Institute;
    5. the degree to which the new employer might gain unfair commercial advantage by hiring the Senior Executive;
    6. the authority and influence the Senior Executive possessed while employed by the Institute;
    7. the disposition of other cases.
  4. The decision of the President and CEO, or the Board of Governors if the Senior Executive is the President and CEO, on the application to reduce the Senior Executive’s one-year restriction shall be issued in writing within ten (10) working days of receipt of the application.
  5. If the President and CEO reduces the one-year restriction for a Vice-President, the President and CEO shall report the change to the Board of Governors at the next regularly scheduled meeting.

Gifts and Entertainment

  1. To preserve the image and integrity of the Institute and its community, employees should avoid giving, soliciting or receiving gifts, meals, entertainment, privileges or services intended to influence unfairly, or that might give the appearance of unfairly influencing, a decision concerning any Institute business, including commercial, administrative, employment related, academic or research oriented in nature.
  2. Reasonable and customary hospitality may be an accepted courtesy of a business relationship. Payments for meals, refreshments, travel, accommodations or entertainment by an outside source are permitted,  provided that:
    1. they are reasonable in amount;
    2. they are expended in the course of a meeting or other occasion the purpose of which is to hold a bona fide business discussion or to foster better relations between the Institute and external individuals, groups, or institutions;
    3. they are unsolicited; and
    4. the expense would be paid for by the Institute as a business expense if not paid for by the outside source.
  3. Employees may not accept gifts unless they have only nominal value or are offered in accordance with social or cultural custom, for example, when an employee retires or leaves the Institute or visits another Institute. In all such cases, however, whenever the gift might influence, or might be reasonably construed as influencing a business decision it should be refused.

Working Relationships

  1. Employees involved in a personal relationship outside work which compromises objectivity, or the perception of objectivity, should avoid being placed in a direct reporting relationship to one another. For example, employees who are direct relatives or who permanently reside together may not be employed in situations where:
    1. A reporting relationship exists where the superior has influence, input or decision-making power over an employee’s performance, evaluation, salary, premiums, conditions of work or similar matter; or
    2. The relationship affords an opportunity for collusion between the two employees that would have a detrimental effect on the Institute.
  2. The above policy may be waived by the President provided that the President is satisfied that sufficient safeguards are in place to ensure that the Institute’s interest are not compromised.

Confidential Information

  1. Protecting confidential information is an important practice for the Institute.
  2. In the course of employment employees may have access to, or become aware of, confidential or proprietary information of the Institute or of a third party who has provided such information to the Institute.
  3. Confidential information refers to information that becomes available to an employee as a result of his or her employment, and is not otherwise generally available. Confidential information includes business, proprietary, technical, operational, financial, legal, personal information relating to personnel or students (as described below under Privacy), and all other information that the Institute treats as confidential.
  4. Employees are required to maintain the confidentiality of information with which they work or have access to and must protect such information from loss, theft, misuse and improper disclosure.
  5. Employees are expected to be familiar with and comply with specific policies on confidentiality related to their responsibilities, including the Student Records Policy.
  6. Employees must not use or disclose confidential information received in the course of their employment without appropriate prior authorization.
  7. Employees must notify supervisor/manager if they have reason to believe that confidential information has been lost, stolen, misused or improperly disclosed.
  8. Employees should not disclose or use confidential information to further their own interests or for other unauthorized purposes, such as to benefit friends or family (see above under Conflict of Interest).
  9. The requirements with respect to use, disclosure and protection of confidential information apply throughout and continue after employment with the Institute ends.
  10. If you have questions or are not certain whether information is confidential, you should seek guidance from your supervisor/manager.

Related Policies and Procedures:

Privacy

  1. The Institute is committed to protecting the privacy of individuals from whom it collects personal information.
  2. Personal information is protected by privacy laws and the Institute is subject to the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
  3. The Institute has established a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Policy and employees are required to be aware of and understand the policy.
  4. In general, employees may access personal information only when and to the extent it is required by their job, and may only disclose personal information for authorized purposes. Employees must take all reasonable steps available to protect the privacy of anyone whose personal information is held by the Institute.
  5. The Institute is also required to comply with the information access requirements established in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Records created by employees may be subject to an access to information request.

Related Policy:

Accessibility

  1. The Institute strives at all times to provide services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities.  The Institute is committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access its business and services in the same place and in a similar way as others - see our Policies, Accommodation of Employees and Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Related Policy and Procedures:

Harassment, Discrimination and Violence

  1. The Institute’s Equity and Diversity Policy outlines our commitment to providing a learning and work environment that supports diversity, and that is free from all forms of discrimination, including sexual and other forms of harassment, and violence.
  2. Harassing conduct, including any behavior that a reasonable person would conclude contributes to an intimidating or offensive environment, will not be tolerated - see our Harassment Policy – Students and Harassment Policy – Employees.

Related Policy and Procedures:

Proper Use of Institute’s Property and Resources

General

  1. Institute property and resources are intended to be used for Institute work and purposes, including teaching, learning, research and administrative purposes.
  2. Employees are expected to use Institute property and resources responsibly and safely and for valid Institute purposes.
  3. Institute property and resources can be both tangible (such as buildings, furniture, equipment, vehicles, supplies, computer systems) as well as intangible (such as intellectual property, patents, use of facilities and services).
  4. In using Institute property and resources, employees are expected to comply with applicable Institute policies and procedures, including:
    1. Information & Educational Technology Acceptable Use Policy
    2. Information Security Policy
    3. Corporate Mobile Device Policy
  5. Employees may not make unauthorized use of Institute property or resources, for personal gain or for commercial purposes.
  6. Any use of Institute property not connected to Institute work must be approved by the manager accountable for that asset.

Related Policies and Procedures:

Records and Records Retention

  1. The Institute is committed to the efficient and effective management of records and retains and disposes of records in accordance with approved retention and disposition schedules.
  2. Employees are responsible for careful preparation and maintenance of accurate and complete records. Employees should never create a false or misleading record. Employees are responsible for managing records in accordance with the Institute’s Records and Information Management Policy.
  3. Any records, regardless of their source, media, format or location are the property of the Institute and remain the property of the Institute at the end of an individual’s employment or contract.

Related Policy:

Intellectual Property

  1. The Institute has established a policy and procedure that apply to all intellectual property.
  2. The Intellectual Property Rights Policy establishes appropriate recognition for intellectual property rights, proper management of intellectual property by the Institute, as well as compliance with applicable intellectual property rights law.
  3. Employees are required to be aware of and understand their rights and responsibilities as described in the Intellectual Property Rights Policy.

Related Policy:

Copyright

  1. The Institute has established policies and procedures to address copyright permission, reproduction and use of copyright protected materials in accordance with applicable copyright laws.
  2. Employees are required to be aware of and understand their rights and responsibilities as described in the Copyright Compliance Policy and Fair Dealing Policy.

Related Policies:

Questions or Concerns

  1. The Code offers guidance to employees on standards of conduct but cannot address every situation an employee may encounter.
  2. Employees who are uncertain about the appropriate course of action in a situation or who have any questions or concerns about the Code are encouraged to discuss these with their manager/supervisor or Human Resources.

Compliance with the Code of Conduct

General

  1. Upholding the Code is the responsibility of every employee.
  2. Employees found to have violated the requirements of this Code or other Institute policies may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
  3. Employees are required to acknowledge that they have read and understand the Code. Attached are sample forms of acknowledgement.
  4. Monitoring: The VP Finance and Administration is responsible for monitoring compliance with this Code.
  5. Orientation and Education: Human Resources staff and/or manager/supervisor are responsible for reviewing the Code during an employee’s orientation, as well as applicable policies.
  6. Advising and Updates: Managers/supervisors are responsible for advising the employees of the required standards on an on-going basis and informing employees of new policies or revisions to existing ones.
  7. Compliance with the Code: Employees are responsible for conducting themselves in accordance with the Code at all times; and for seeking guidance if in doubt as to the proper course of action to follow.

Reporting Breaches of the Code of Conduct

  1. Any employee who has observed or learned of a breach of the Code must, as soon as possible, report the situation to their manager/supervisor as appropriate. A report should be made in writing.
  2. Where an employee considers anonymity to be necessary, an employee may report a breach of the Code by delivering an unsigned report to the Office of the President or to the Office of the Executive Assistant to the President and Board of Governors, as appropriate.
  3. There will be no reprisal against an employee for making a report in good faith and such matters will be treated in confidence.
  4. All reports will be investigated.
  5. Failure to report a breach of the Code may lead to disciplinary action.

Last updated August 11, 2015