Code of Conduct - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Code of Conduct

  1. Preamble
  2. Core Values
  3. Guiding Principles
  4. Behavioural Standards
  5. Administrative Processes
  6. Other Resources
  7. Affirmation

I. Preamble

The Code of Conduct (Code) for the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (Council) applies to all members.  The Code reflects a commitment to the Council’s values and provides a framework to guide ethical conduct in a way that upholds the integrity and reputation of the Council.  “This Code of Conduct is consistent with the policy on ethics and conflict of interest set out in the Public Agencies Governance Framework and also meets the requirements of the Alberta Public Agencies Governance Act.  Members are expected to behave in a way that aligns with this Code.  Although this Code does not cover every specific scenario, members use the spirit and intent behind this Code to guide their conduct, and exercise care and diligence in the course of their work with the Council.

To demonstrate commitment to transparency and accountability, this Code is available to the public on the Council’s website.

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II. Core Values

  1. Members act with impartiality and integrity.
  2. Members demonstrate respect and accountability.
  3. Members are not in conflict between their private interests and duty to the public.

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III. Guiding Principles

The following principles guide the day-to-day behaviour and decisions of members and are in addition to the principles that guide Council’s pursuit of its vision and mission:

  1. The actions and decisions of members are made to promote the public interest and to advance the mandate and long-term interests of the Council.
  2. Members are responsible stewards of public resources.
  3. To serve the public interest, members have a responsibility to uphold the Council’s mandate.
  4. Members have a responsibility to act in good faith and to place the interests of the Council above their own private interests.
  5. Members behave in a way that demonstrates their behaviour and actions are fair and reasonable in the circumstance.
  6. Members enjoy the same rights in their private dealings as any other Albertan, unless it is demonstrated that a restriction is necessary in the public interest.
  7. When a member, as an individual, is subject to more than one code of conduct, the member must consider the expectations in all.  This Code is not intended to conflict with other Codes of Conduct, and members will discuss any potential issues with the Council’s Chair and the Code Administrator (the Code Administrator is the Director of the Secretariat for the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities).
  8. The Code applies to all members unless a specific exemption is granted by the Code Administrator.
  9. When members become aware of a real or apparent conflict of interest, they must at the first opportunity disclose this conflict to the Council’s Chair and the Code Administrator.
  10. Members understand that disclosure itself does not remove a conflict of interest.
  11. Members encourage their colleagues to act fairly and ethically and know that they are able to raise concerns about a suspected breach by another to the Council’s Chair and the Code Administrator without fear of reprisal.
  12. Breaches of this Code may result in disciplinary action, up to and including removal of the member from their position on Council.
  13. If members have any questions about the Code, or are not sure how to apply these principles, they will consult with the Council’s Chair or the Code Administrator.
  14. Each member confirms on an annual basis their understanding of, and commitment to, the Code's expectations.

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IV. Behavioural Standards

Behavioural standards help members make appropriate decisions when the issues they face involve ethical considerations.  Behavioural standards cannot cover all scenarios but provide guidance in support of day-to-day decisions.  All members must adhere to the following standards:

  1. Members must not engage in any criminal activity and comply with all relevant laws, regulations, policies and procedures.
  2. Members must not use their status or position with the Council to influence or gain a benefit or advantage for themselves or others outside of the Council’s mandate.
  3. Member conduct contributes to a safe and healthy environment that is free from discrimination, harassment or violence.
  4. Members must not use drugs or alcohol in a way that affects their performance and safety or the performance and safety of their colleagues, or that negatively impacts the reputation or operations of the Council.
  5. Members must act in a way that is consistent with the Council’s protocols on public comment.
  6. Members must take reasonable steps to avoid situations where they may be placed in a real or apparent conflict between their private interests and the interests of the Council.  In other words, actions or decisions that members take on behalf of the Council must not provide them with an opportunity to further the private interests of themselves, their families, their business associates or others with whom they have a significant personal or business relationship.
    1. Confidential Information
      Members must respect and protect confidential information, use it only for the work of the Council and do not use it for personal gain.  Members must comply with protocols that guide the collection, storage, use, transmission and disclosure of information.
    2. Gifts and Gratuities
      Members must not accept or receive gifts and gratuities other than the normal exchange of gifts between friends or business colleagues, tokens exchanged as part of protocol or the normal presentation of gifts to people participating in public functions.
    3. Outside Activities
      Members must avoid participating in outside activities that conflict with the interests and work of the Council.  Members will discuss any potential conflicts with the Council’s Chair and/or the Code Administrator.

      For example:

      1. Business Interests:  Members must not hold interests in a business directly or indirectly through a relative or friend that could benefit from, or influence, the decisions of the Council.
      2. Employment:  Members must not take employment subsequent to their appointment to the Council that affects their performance or impartiality with the Council.
      3. Political Activity:  Members may participate in political activities including membership in a political party, supporting a candidate for elected office or seeking elected office.  However, any political activity must be clearly separated from activities related to the work for the Council, must not be done while carrying out the work of the Council and must not make use of Council facilities, equipment or resources in support of these activities.
      4. Volunteer Activity:  If members are involved in volunteer work, the activity must not influence or conflict with decisions relating to the Council outside of providing potential insights in support of meeting the Council’s mandate.
    4. Pre-Separation
      Members considering a new offer of appointment or employment must be aware of and manage any potential conflicts of interest between their current position and their future circumstance, and must remove themselves from any decisions affecting their new appointment or employment.
    5. Post-Separation
      Once members have left the Council, they must not disclose confidential information that they became aware of during their time with the Council and must not use their contacts with their former colleagues to gain an unfair advantage for their current circumstance.
    6. Property
      Members may have limited use of the Council’s premises and equipment for incidental purposes as authorized by the Director of the Council’s Secretariat providing such use involves minimal additional expense to the Council, is not performed on the member’s work time, does not interfere with the mission of the Council and does not support a personal or private business.
    7. Related Persons or Parties
      Members must avoid dealing with those in which the relationship between them might bring into question the impartiality of the member. 

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V. Administrative Processes

Administrative processes help members manage ethical dilemmas, including any real or apparent conflict of interest concerns.

  1. Administration
    The Code Administrator for members and the Council’s Chair is the Director of the Council’s Secretariat. The Code Administrator receives and ensures the confidentiality of all disclosures and ensures that any real or apparent conflict of interest is avoided or effectively managed.  As well, the Code Administrator is responsible for providing advice and managing all concerns and complaints concerning potential breaches of the Code, including conflicts of interest within the Council.  Even though the Council may have a delegated process for responding to and managing concerns, the Code Administrator is responsible for ensuring procedural fairness.
  2. Disclosure

    It is the responsibility of each member to declare in writing to the Code Administrator those private interests and relationships that they think could be seen to impact the decisions or actions they take on behalf of the Council.  When there is a change in their responsibilities within the Council or in their personal circumstance, members shall disclose in writing any relevant new or additional information about those interests as soon as possible.  Where a real or apparent conflict of interest cannot be avoided, members must take the appropriate steps to manage the conflict.

    Members disclose these real or apparent conflicts of interest so that the Code Administrator is aware of situations that could be seen as influencing the decisions or actions they are making on behalf of the Council.  This provides members, following a review by the Code Administrator, an opportunity to take action to minimize or remove the conflict.

    To actively manage a conflict of interest, options include:

    • removing themselves from matters in which the conflict exists or is perceived to exist;
    • giving up the particular private interest causing the conflict; and
    • in rare circumstances, resigning their position with the Council..
  3. Reporting a Potential Breach by Another
    Members are encouraged to report in writing a potential breach of this Code by another to the Council’s Chair and/or the Code Administrator.  When reporting a potential breach in good faith and with reasonable grounds, members are protected from retaliation for such reporting.
  4. Responding to a Potential Breach
    Once a potential breach has been reported, the Council’s procedures for responding to and managing a potential breach will be promptly initiated.  The Code Administrator will review the circumstance and details of the potential breach and will notify the member alleged to have been involved in the potential breach.  The member has the right to complete information and the right to respond fully to the allegations.  The identity of the reporter will not be disclosed unless required by law or in a legal proceeding.  The Code Administrator’s decision and report of the review are completed in a timely manner.  The decision may range from finding no potential breach to recommending legal proceedings should criminal conduct be suspected.
  5. Consequences of a Breach
    Members who do not comply with the standards of behaviour identified in this Code, including taking part in a decision or action that furthers their private interests, may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including loss of the Council member’s position on the Council.
  6. Review of a Decision
    Members can request in writing that a decision that has been made by the Code Administrator about a real or apparent breach of the Code, including a conflict of interest involving that member, be reviewed.  In this case, the Code Administrator will facilitate the process of having an Assistant Deputy Minister in Human Services review the decision and provide a resolution.

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VI. Other Resources

  1. Where to Get Advice

    When members require advice and guidance in determining whether misconduct or a conflict exists, or need clarification, they may discuss their issue with:

    • The Code Administrator and/or
    • The Council's Chair
  2. Questions to Consider

    When members are faced with a difficult situation, the following questions may help with their decisions as to the right course of action:

    • Have I reflected on or consulted with the Council’s Chair or the Code Administrator about whether I am compromising the Code’s values, principles or behavioural standards?
    • Have I considered the issue from a legal perspective?
    • Have I investigated whether my behaviour aligns with a policy or procedure of the Council?
    • Could my private interests or relationships be viewed as impairing my objectivity?
    • Could my decision or action be viewed as resulting in personal gain, financial or otherwise?
    • Could my decisions or actions be perceived as granting or receiving preferential treatment?

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VII. Affirmation

The Code of Conduct for the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities was introduced on November 16, 2009 and is reaffirmed annually by the Council to ensure it remains current and relevant.

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Created:
Modified: 2016-07-06
PID: 14976