Code of Conduct

Date of issue: October 23, 2014
Issued/Developed by: Justin Trottier
Board of Directors Approval Date: October 23, 2014

We expect all directors, employees and volunteers to engage in ethical, businesslike and lawful conduct. This commitment includes behaviour consistent with the values of the organization and its underlying principles.

Our agency’s mission and vision informs and establishes the foundations of our organizational principles and philosophy.

All personnel are obliged to sign this Code of Conduct, and must be familiar with and adhere to the provisions of this Code of Conduct as well as those of related policies referred to herein and as communicated from time to time, which are integrated with this Code of Conduct.

A. Definitions

“client” means any individual or organization to whom a director, employee or volunteer extends service or interacts with in the course of his or her role on behalf of the agency, and may include program participants, members, donors, and supporters.

“community” means any and all clients, personnel, members, directors, donors, supporters and all those individuals and organizations who have a responsibility toward our agency and an interest in its success.

“employee” includes any consultant, worker supplied by an agency, part-time casual worker, student or intern, and any other person (other than a volunteer) who is engaged in the operations of our agency, but does not include employees or representatives of any partner agency or supplier of goods or services.

“volunteer” means any person who gives unpaid service to our agency on a one off or regular basis; volunteer includes all directors. 

“personnel” includes all “employees” and “volunteers”; personnel may also be referred to as “internal stakeholders”.

“directors” refer to the “Board of Directors”.

B. Procedural Details

I. Principles

Personnel are required to:

a) Uphold principles and values as adopted and communicated by the agency, and promote and support the work of the agency;

b) Respect all standards regarding the use of the agency logo and identity and report any observed misuse of these following reporting procedures;

c) Respect and promote respect for the agency;

d) At all times, while wearing official insignia or representing the agency in any way, adopt a respectful attitude toward others.

e) Endeavour to maintain a public persona and conduct consistent with the agency’s mission, vision, principles and values.

f) Endeavour to comply with all the agency policies and procedures as issued and communicated by the agency from time-to-time.

II. General Conduct

Personnel will:

a) At all times, act with honesty, integrity, diligence and transparency;

b) Contribute to a positive and healthy environment for all individual and collective members of the agency’s Community, including interpersonal respect, appreciation of differences and respect for human dignity;

c) At all times, maintain a standard of conduct which is in keeping with the policies and procedures of the agency and which is aimed at preventing harm and promoting education and freedom.

d) Discharge all duties with integrity, observe all instructions and directions from supervisors and strive towards attaining a high standard of responsibility and achievement; work collaboratively and cooperatively with all personnel;

e) Respect the confidentiality of personal and privileged information;

f) Abide by the laws of Canada, as well as those of the province, territory and country in which they reside and/or operate, and expect no support from the agency if they willingly or recklessly contravene such laws;

g) Except with authorization, ensure that actions do not result in financial or other liability for the agency;

h) Ensure that all commitments are entered into in accordance with the agency by-laws, policies and practices, including all appropriate consultations, tendering and approvals;

i) Administer with care the funds and supplies entrusted to them and account for such use of funds and supplies;

j) Not give out any information to media or other external parties, unless within the scope of duties or otherwise authorized to do so;

III. Client Relationships:

The relationship between personnel and clients requires personnel to understand their unique position of authority and perceived power. Personnel have a duty to ensure that vulnerable clients are treated with confidentiality, integrity, honesty, dignity and respect.

When providing programs and services, personnel are required to:

a) Treat clients in a manner that maintains dignity and respects their individual perspectives on matters of religion, sexual orientation or identity, culture, customs and habits; the agency personnel are not obligated to support, affirm or disaffirm client perspectives but are obligated to respect the rights of others to hold these perspectives.

b) Provide service and assistance within the organization’s policies, procedures, directives and guidelines;

c) Understand the client’s vulnerability and dependency on personnel to provide assistance, education or training, and to act accordingly. This includes the recognition that personal relationships outside the scope of a professional relationship may not be in the best interests of either party or the agency;

d) Provide assistance, education and training regardless of race, colour, national or ethnic origin, language, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, physical characteristics, philosophy, religion, political opinions or other ground of discrimination prohibited under applicable provincial, federal or international human rights law;

e) Respect the client’s privacy with respect to their personal information, image and property;

IV. Breaches Regarded as Misconduct:

The following behaviour or actions are considered acts of misconduct:

a) Action or speech which is humiliating, neglectful, insubordinate, dishonest, threatening, degrading, bullying, exploitive, illegal, bigoted or prejudiced;

b) Sexual relationships or activity with vulnerable clients of the agency and to whom a duty of service, education or training is provided or which are based on an unequal power relationship or with a counterpart who can confer benefit.

c) Intentional misuse of the agency’s logo or identity;

d) Breach of applicable Canadian, foreign national or international law intended for the protection of children or other vulnerable persons;

e) Exercising any professional activity without valid certification(s);

f) Engaging in, or being associated with, any business or activity which is, or may be, detrimental to and/or destructively targeting of the agency;

g) Disclosing without authorization, directly or indirectly, to any person or organization, the private affairs of the agency including, but not limited to, trade secrets, supplier lists, or personal information of clients, volunteers or employees;

V. Reporting of Breaches:

a)  Personnel are obliged to contribute to an environment which prevents misconduct and promotes the implementation of appropriate behaviour as defined in this Code of Conduct.

b)  Where any personnel develop concerns regarding a potential breach by a colleague he/she is required to report such concerns to the President. If the President is suspected of involvement, the case should be brought to the Board of Directors.

c)  Personnel reporting a breach are encouraged to put their name to their reports. Anonymous allegations are much less credible, but they will be considered in light of the seriousness of the alleged breach.

d)  The President is required to investigate any alleged or reported breach of the Code of Conduct, complete a report stating the nature of the allegation, how they have dealt with it and any recommendations for changes within the agency; this report will be submitted to the Board of Directors.

e)  Any report which implicates the President will be the responsibility of the Board of Directors to investigate; any report which implicates a member or members of the Board of Directors will be investigated in such a manner to exclude named individuals from influencing the investigation.

VI. Fair Treatment

A reported concern will be handled fairly with respect to any individual named, taking into account the seriousness of the issue raised, the credibility of the information or allegations, and the prospects of an effective investigation.

VII. Protection from Retaliation

No one shall be penalized, discharged, suspended, threatened, harassed, or discriminated against for communicating information about a suspected breach of the Code of Conduct. Any act of retaliation by any director, employee or volunteer of the agency will be treated as misconduct.

All reports of incidents that are made maliciously, for personal gain, for any ulterior motive or otherwise not in good faith will also be treated as misconduct.

VIII. Confidentiality

All reported concerns will be treated as confidential to the fullest extent permitted by law. Persons are encouraged to give their names with any information they communicate, as this will usually assist in the investigation of the matter disclosed. However, consideration will also be given to information reported anonymously. Information communicated will be disclosed only to those persons who have a need to know in order to properly respond to the reported concern.

E. Fraud and Sexual Exploitation/Abuse or Any Form of Discrimination

Where misconduct involves a potential act or acts of fraud, sexual exploitation or abuse or any form of discrimination whatsoever, personnel have a duty to report the misconduct.

F. Off-Duty Conduct

Personnel may be seen as the agency representatives at any time, even when off-duty. Off-duty activities which, in the absence of evidence demonstrating reasonable justification or motivation, adversely affect staff, volunteers or the agency’s Community, or which, when seen through the eyes of a reasonable observer, discredit the agency, are also breaches of the Code of Conduct.

G. Disciplinary Action

A breach of the Code of Conduct is subject to disciplinary or legal action in accordance with applicable policies and procedures as approved by the Board of Directors from time to time. The nature of disciplinary action will take into account harm to the individual, harm to the agency and its reputation, and whether or not there was an unequal power relationship. Disciplinary action includes dismissal, where circumstances warrant.

H. Responsibilities

  1. The President is responsible for advising the agency’s community as regards to the maintaining, monitoring, and revising of this policy.
  2. Members of the Board of Directors are responsible for overseeing, applying and implementing this policy in each of their respective jurisdictions.

Code of Ethics

Our charity will conduct its business honestly and ethically wherever we operate in the world. We will constantly improve the quality of our services, products and operations and will create a reputation for honesty, fairness, respect, responsibility, integrity, trust and sound business judgment. Illegal or unethical conduct on the part of officers, directors, volunteer, employees or affiliates is unacceptable. We will not compromise our principles for short-term advantage. The ethical performance of our charity is the sum of the ethics of the men and women who volunteer and work here. Thus, we are all expected to adhere to high standards of personal integrity.

Officers, directors, volunteers and employees must never permit their personal interests to conflict, or appear to conflict, with the interests of our agency, its clients or affiliates. Officers, directors, volunteers and employees must be particularly careful to avoid representing the agency in any transaction with others with whom there is any outside business affiliation or relationship. Officers, directors, volunteers and employees shall avoid using contacts they have developed through their work with our agency in order to advance their private business or personal interests.

Conflict of interest includes situations where a volunteer or employee with our agency is also engaged in a volunteer or paid relationship with another organization, including other non-profit or charitable organizations with related or overlapping mandates. Where volunteers or employees have multiple organizational relationships, they must put the interests of our agency first while they are operating in their capacity as volunteers or employees with our agency.

No bribes, kickbacks or other similar remuneration or consideration shall be given to any person or organization in order to attract or influence business activity. Officers, directors, volunteers and employees shall avoid gifts, gratuities, fees, bonuses or excessive entertainment, in order to attract or influence business activity.

Officers, directors, volunteers and employees will often come into contact with, or have possession of, proprietary, confidential or business-sensitive information and must take appropriate steps to assure that such information is strictly safeguarded. This information – whether it is on behalf of our agency or any of our clients or affiliates – could include strategic business plans, operating results, marketing strategies, client lists, personnel records, and costs, processes and methods. Proprietary, confidential and sensitive business information about our agency, other companies, individuals and entities should be treated with sensitivity and discretion and only be disseminated on a need-to-know basis.

Officers, directors, volunteers and employees agree to disclose unethical, dishonest, fraudulent and illegal behaviour, or the violation of our policies and procedures, directly to management.

Violation of this Code of Ethics can result in discipline, including possible termination of your relationship with our agency. The degree of discipline relates in part to whether there was a voluntary disclosure of any ethical violation and whether or not the violator cooperated in any subsequent investigation.

Work and Volunteer Rules

We want to encourage a safe and pleasant work-and-volunteer atmosphere that promotes satisfaction, respect, responsibility and value for all our employees, volunteers, clients and other stakeholders. 

This can only happen when everyone cooperates and commits to appropriate standards of behavior. Every employee and volunteer at the agency has a shared responsibility toward improving the quality of the work and volunteer environment. 

By agreeing to work or volunteer at the agency you have agreed to follow the agency’s rules and to refrain from conduct which is detrimental to our goals. The prohibited conduct that is listed below is not an inclusive list. Moreover, the agency does not limit its right to discipline or discharge employees or volunteers to the prohibited conduct listed below. Remember that, while we value our employees and volunteers, the agency maintains the right to terminate its employees or volunteers at any time and for any reason, with or without notice.

The following is a list of behaviors that the agency considers unacceptable. Any employee or volunteer found engaging in these behaviors will be subject to disciplinary actions including reprimand, warning, layoff, or dismissal:

  1. Failure to be at the agreed-upon location, ready to volunteer or work, at the agreed-upon starting time.
  2. Willfully damaging, destroying, or stealing property belonging to volunteers or employees or to the agency.
  3. Fighting or engaging in horseplay or disorderly conduct.
  4. Insubordination, including but not limited to, refusal or failure to perform a requested or required job or volunteer task.
  5. Ignoring duties or loafing during volunteering or working hours.
  6. Coming to volunteer or work under the influence of alcohol or any drug, or possessing, using, selling, negotiating the sale of, or being under the influence of drugs, alcohol or other controlled substances while working or volunteering for the agency.
  7. Intentionally giving any false or misleading information to obtain employment or to enter a volunteer relationship.
  8. Using threatening or abusive language toward a volunteer or employee.
  9. Falsifying any record, including that of your work or volunteer hours, or those of another employee or volunteer, or falsifying other employment or volunteer- related documents including, but not limited to, personnel files, employment review documents, intra-company communication, communications with those outside the company, expense records, etc.
  10. Smoking in the agency premises
  11. Willfully or habitually violating safety or health regulations.
  12. Using the agency equipment in an unauthorized manner, including unauthorized or excessive use of company property 
  13. Possessing firearms, weapons or any other potentially hazardous or dangerous property, without prior authorization, while volunteer or working for the agency or while on the agency property.
  14. Theft or destruction of the agency property.
  15. Disclosure of company trade secrets or any other confidential or proprietary information of the company, its customers or fellow employees.
  16. Failure to follow, or general neglect of, safety rules and procedures.
  17. Solicitation of fellow employees or volunteers on the agency premises.
  18. Failure to keep your workplace in a neat and sanitary condition.
  19. Use of obscene or otherwise inappropriate language or conduct.
  20. Off-duty conduct which can affect the agency’s credibility or reputation.
  21. Gambling on the agency premises.
  22. Taking unauthorized gratuities in connection with the agency business.
  23. Lending keys to the agency property to unauthorized persons or allowing duplicate keys to be made, without authorization.
  24. Harassment of, or discrimination against, an employee, volunteer or client
  25. Bad-mouthing or spreading rumors.

If you have any questions about your personal conduct or that of any fellow employee or volunteer, immediately consult your supervisor for clarification.

The agency encourages a system of progressive discipline depending on the type of prohibited conduct. The agency is not required to engage in progressive discipline and may discipline or terminate an employee or volunteer where he or she violates the rules of conduct, or where the quality or value of their work fails to meet expectations. 

As part of our progressive discipline system, and based on the nature of the employee or volunteer violation, management will attempt to provide the employee/volunteer first with a verbal warning, then one or more written warnings, and if the conduct is not sufficiently altered, eventual demotion, transfer, forced leave or termination. Your supervisor will make every effort possible to allow you to respond to any disciplinary action taken. Understand that the agency is not obligated to follow any disciplinary or grievance procedure and that you may be disciplined or terminated without going through any procedure.