Values and Ethics Code for Canada Economic Development

About this publication

Publication author : Canada Economic Development for Quebec regions

Publish date : April 5, 2016

Summary :

The Values and Ethics Code for CED (VECCED) outlines the values and expected behaviours that guide employees in all their professional activities.

Table of Contents

  1. About the VECCED
  2. Responsibilities and obligations
  3. Agency context and analytical approach
  4. Consequences of failure to comply with requirements
  5. Wrongdoing in the workplace
  6. Values and behaviours

About the VECCED

As provided for under the Federal Accountability Act, the Government of Canada has adopted the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector (VECPS) that applies to all federal government institutions, including separate employers and Crown corporations. It puts forward the values and ethics that must guide and support public servants in the performance of their duties and in their professional conduct. The Code contains a balanced general statement concerning the following five values: respect for democracy; respect for people; integrity; stewardship; and excellence. Complementing the VECPS is the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Policy.

Like the Treasury Board Secretariat, which places values and ethics at the heart of its Foundation Framework for Policies, each department must also take steps to integrate public sector values into its decisions, policies, processes and systems and to control the various risk factors.

Under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), the Agency is required to establish an organizational code in line with the provisions of the new VECPS.

The Agency’s Values and Ethics Code (VECCED) was designed to help put into practice the new VECPS and the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Policy. It takes into account our operating context and specificities with respect to values and ethics, such as the key risks inherent to our mandate, concerns expressed during consultations, and the behaviour expected by the organization.

Our organizational code is intended to make information as clear as possible and easily accessible to employees and managers. To this end, it has been subject to extensive consultations with managers, employees of the various sectors and workers’ unions. It refers to the key policies, directives and tools related to the five values and ethics.

CEDVEC is not only an internal policy designed to inform our behaviours and attitudes by transposing the provisions of the VECPS to our specific context, but also a benchmark, and a tool for shaping the many aspects of our organizational culture.

Each one of us, employees and managers alike, is invited to embrace our Code and actively use it to continually improve our ways of doing things. It can help us, for instance, to act on the results of the Public Service Employee Survey, our diagnostic report, or our focus days. It is up to us to make the most of it so that the high-level values of the public sector are well reflected within our organization.

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Responsibilities and obligations

The VECCED completes, but does not replace, the legislation and policies in effect in the public service and at the Agency. Nor does it replace collective agreement provisions.

The VECPS, the VECCED and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment are conditions of employment for all Agency public servants.

A detailed description of values and ethics obligations and responsibilities can be found in Appendix I of the VECPS, as well as Part 6 and Appendix B the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment. It sets out, among others, those of the deputy head (the President) and public servants at all levels and the designated senior officer for disclosure of wrongdoing, notably:

Public employees

As public servants of the Agency, whatever our level, we have to become familiar with the provisions of the public sector Code, the Agency’s Code, the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment and the CDE Directive on the same topic, and we are required to apply them in our actions and behaviours. Similarly, as public servants, we are entitled to expect the Agency to treat us in accordance with these values.

The Web site of the Chief Human Resources Officer, and more specifically its Values and Ethics section, provides possible solutions, frequently asked questions and guides on various topics related to values and ethics. When unsure as to the conduct to be adopted, we can discuss the matter with our manager or consult a variety of specially designated resources.

Managers – Additional expectations

The behaviour exhibited and personal example set by Agency managers are more eloquent than any written rules. The key leadership competencies profile available on the Chief Human Resources Officer website outlines the leadership skills, abilities and characteristics that are needed to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

This profile establishes the four groups of leadership competencies, that is, values and ethics, strategic thinking, commitment and management excellence and provides many examples of behaviours associated with these competencies. This profile is an important benchmark with respect to professional development, and it states that values and ethics constitute the foundation for leadership within the public service. The performance of delegated managers deals with these competencies.

In an atmosphere of openness and awareness, managers have the ability to exercise their leadership skills within their teams by:

Senior Officer for Disclosure of Wrongdoing

The Senior Officer for Disclosure of Wrongdoing is notably responsible for creating the conditions for disclosure and following up on disclosures made by the Agency’s public servants.

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Agency context and analytical approach

Agency staff are called upon to deal with regional development stakeholders, namely, communities organizations, the numerous partners and other levels of government, and enterprises. The Agency is therefore one of the key federal government representatives present in Quebec’s regions. Our success as public servants, both factually and in the public eye, depends on our always being mindful that we administer public funds. As stated in the Code, we must meet particularly high standards in that regard. We perform our duties in a complex legal and regulatory context that demands knowledge of numerous rules and requires vigilance and judgment. Not all concretesituations that we could encounter are addressed in the VECCED. Some guidelines are very specific, whereas others have nuances. When faced with a dilemma or uncertain about the behaviour to be adopted, we:

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Consequences of failure to comply with requirements

The Agency expects us, public servants, to comply with the VECPS, our organizational Code (VECCED), the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment and the CDE Directive on the same topic at all times in our actions and behaviours and to subscribe to their principles and provisions.

It also expects us to abide by the legislation, policies and guidelines governing our conduct. Failure to comply with them can lead to administrative or disciplinary measures which in the case of serious breaches may include dismissal.

Wrongdoing in the workplace

The Government of Canada has adopted the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA). This Act aims to encourage public sector employees to disclose, in good faith, information concerning possible serious wrongdoing in the workplace and to provide them with a clearly defined process in that regard. Its purpose is also to ensure that employees who disclose such information are treated equitably and are protected from reprisals under the PSDPA.

This Act does not replace other existing recourse mechanisms such as grievances, harassment complaints and staffing complaints.

Under Sections 12 and 13 of the PSDPA, if we have information that could indicate a serious breach of the VECCED or the VECPS, we can bring this matter to the attention of the designated senior officer for disclosure under the PSDPA or directly to the Integrity Commissioner.

The Agency’s Directive on the Disclosure of Wrongdoing provides the definition of wrongdoing and of reprisal measures. It also contains examples of wrongdoing and disclosure procedures, and sets out the responsibilities of managers and the designated senior officer with respect to application of the PSDPA.

The Directive also deals with mechanisms outside the Agency to which employees may resort to disclose wrongdoing within the meaning of the PSDPA to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner (PSIC), along with mechanisms available to protect them from reprisals.

Resources

  • Disclosure
  • Protection against reprisals
  • Three options:
    • Immediate Supervisor / Delegated Manager
    • Designated Senior Officer with respect to the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act: marc.lemieux@canada.ca
    • Directly to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner : http://www.psic-ispc.gc.ca/
      613-941-6400 or 1-866-941-6400
 

Values and behaviours

Respect for democracy

Themes

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.

We shall uphold the Canadian parliamentary democracy and its institutions by:

Context

To answer these questions properly, we are guided by the public sector’s democratic values that specify that, as public servants, we serve parliamentary democracy by supporting, in a neutral manner, the government’s agenda. Indeed, the role, responsibilities and values of the federal public service are based on the Canadian Constitution and the principles of responsible government. These principles dictate the relationship between the Minister, parliamentarians, public servants and the public. A professional and impartial public sector is inseparable from our democratic system.

By recognizing that the Minister is an elected official who is mandated by the public and accountable to Parliament, we provide him with all the information he needs and our best advice, frankly, in keeping with the values and ethics of the public sector. We implement his decisions loyally, and in compliance with the legislation, policies and directives that govern us.

The Minister, for his part, recognizes the public sector’s aptitude and ability to serve successive governments. He has an obligation to maintain the tradition of an impartial, non-partisan public sector and its ability to provide professional, candid and frank advice at all times. He is also responsible for preserving public confidence in the integrity of management and operations within the Agency.

Responsibilities and accountability regarding personnel management, including appointments, employer/employee relations, and departmental organization are assigned directly to the President. Under the VECPS, the President is responsible for ensuring non-partisan administration of programs and services. Communications other than of a strictly public nature between the Minister, his Office or any other elected official, and public servants must go through the Office of the President.

Examples

Resources

Learn more

Resources

Agency spokesperson and media relations : Communications Branch (514-283-8817)
 
Exchange with elected officials
Managers
  • Prompt transmission of relevant information to the President via the appropriate communication channels
 

Respect for people

Themes

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.

We shall respect human dignity and the value of every person by:

Context

Respect for people is a public sector family of values that relates to many aspects of public servants’ lives as individuals. Treating all people with respect, dignity and fairness is fundamental to our relationship with the public and contributes to a safe and healthy workplace that promotes engagement, openness and transparency. Many statutes, policies and programs give us guidance and support us in that regard.

Well-being and recognition

The Agency applies many policies related to well-being, such as the Informal Conflict Management System and the Employee Assistance Program. In-house and external resources are mandated to provide the services associated with them.

The Agency’s Recognition Policy aims to underscore the contribution of an employee or manager in the performance of their duties in order to emphasize the importance placed on people within the organization. In a less formal way, but equally essential, recognition of the contribution of each employee and manager in the performance of their duties reinforces the commitment to individuals.

Respect, dignity and fairness in relations with others

The Agency expects us to display civility in our relations with others and to treat the public, colleagues, managers and employees with courtesy, respect, dignity, politeness, decency, and fairness, in a spirit of cooperation. Contributing to developing and maintaining a good work environment is a responsibility we all share.

In terms of fairness, managers have a special responsibility to ensure excellence, integrity and respect for employees as well as just and transparent employment practices in compliance with the Public Service Employment Act. The purpose of this Act is to ensure that federal government staffing values are implemented. Merit and non-partisanship remain the cornerstones of appointments, resulting in a public service that is representative and able to serve the public with integrity and in the official language of choice.

For their part, employees are responsible for taking steps to obtain available information with respect to a staffing process in which they participated.

The diversity of people and the ideas they generate are the wellspring of our spirit of innovation. Consistent with the Employment Equity Act, the Agency promotes inclusion and respect for diversity and pursues specific organizational objectives with respect to the hiring, retention and development of individuals belonging to designated groups (women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities).

Healthy, harassment and discrimination free workplace

The Treasury Board Secretariat’s Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution defines as follows harassment that can come from a colleague, supervisor, subordinate, other person working in the workplace or member of the public:

Any improper conduct by an individual, that is directed at and offensive to another person or persons in the workplace, and that the individual knew or ought reasonably to have known would cause offence or harm. It comprises any objectionable act, comment or display of that demeans, belittles or causes personal humiliation or embarrassment, and any act of intimidation or threat. It also includes harassment within the meaning of the law.

This TBS policy has as its objective to foster a respectful workplace through the prevention and prompt resolution of harassment. It also provides a guide to help determine what constitutes harassment, sets out a complaint and grievance mechanism, the use of mediation and the holding of an investigation, where applicable, and encourages participation in a problem-solving process before proceeding with a complaint process.

Although incivility and harassment are not the same in scope, both require that action be taken to maintain a good work environment or correct a discomfort. The Agency also promotes an approach to incivility based on prevention, respect for privacy, and a rapid response that prompts the parties to find a solution. Employees and managers have complementary responsibilities in this area. Employees recognize that they are the first level of intervention in their discomfort, seek help if necessary and take action as quickly as possible. Managers, for their part, set out expectations, manage performance and behaviours, and take immediate action when a situation related to the work environment or an employee’s discomfort requires it.

Discrimination — As public servants of the Agency, we do not express ourselves through word or behaviour in a discriminatory manner. Discrimination means to treat someone differently or unfairly because of a personal characteristic or distinction which, whether intentional or not, has an effect which imposes disadvantages not imposed upon others or which withholds or limits access to other members of society. There are eleven prohibited grounds under the Canadian Human Rights Act: race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, mental or physical disability and pardoned conviction.

Honesty and transparency, engagement and collaboration

Internal communications play an essential part in the performance of our duties. They are a daily challenge in the flow of priorities, tasks, changes to be managed and urgencies to be taken care of. Honesty, openness, quality and a steady stream of upward and downward communications are at the heart of an organizational culture that fosters a work environment of trust and reciprocity to which employees and managers can contribute. Beyond individual professional commitment, which is critical to the attainment of the Agency’s objectives, a spirit of cooperation allows the sharing of information, knowledge and individual strengths in order to improve our results.

A department’s external communications are an important aspect of Canadian democracy which informs citizens. We, employees and managers, show honesty and transparency in compliance with current legislation, policies and directives, notably the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

We abide by the Agency’s Policy on Spokespersons and Media Relations, which outlines the roles and responsibilities for processing information requests from the public and the media.

Health, Safety

The purpose of Part II of the Canada Labour Code is to prevent workplace related accidents and injury. Under the Code, we promote prevention, which is essential to ensuring health and safety in the workplace and eliminating or reducing risks. To that end, the Agency applies several policies and implements initiatives, systems and tools that engage the responsibility of managers and employees.

Examples

Dignity, civility, fairness, healthy environment and diversity

Honesty, transparency, collaboration and security

Resources

Learn more

Well-being and recognition

Respect, dignity and fairness in relations with others

Healthy, harassment and discrimination free workplace

Health, Safety

Resources

Well-being and Recognition
Recognition Program
Human Resources Directorate (514-496-2572)
 
 
Information Conflict Management System (ICMS)
Confidential and impartial access administered by another department
  • 1-888-JE-RÈGLE (1-888-537-3453)
  • Montréal: 514-350-6161
  • Québec: 418-649 -3101
Guynette Boivin (514-496-2572)
dec.sgid.ced@canada.ca
 
 
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Confidential Government Service accessible 24/7 year-round
  • 1-800-268-7708
  • 1-800-567-5803 for the hearing impaired
 
Respect, dignity and fairness in relations with others
Information on the staffing process
Delegated Manager responsible for the staffing process
Human Resources Directorate (514-496-2572)
 
 
Diversity / Employment Equity
Consultant, Employment Equity
Diversity Committee
Human Resources Directorate (514-496-2572)
 
Healthy, harassment free workplace
Harassment prevention and resolution
  • Immediate Supervisor / Delegated Manager
  • Human Resources Directorate (514-496-2572)
 
Honesty and transparency, engagement and cooperation
Access to information and privacy protection
Stéphane Bordeleau (514-283-8176)
Agency Corporate Secretariat
 
Occupational Health and Safety
  • Participation in meetings
  • Safety
  • Accident report and follow-up
  • Occupational Health and Safety Committee, Local Committee or Regional Representative (514-283-0405)
  • Management Security Officer - PCAD
  • Human Resources Directorate (514-496-2572)
 

Integrity

Themes

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.

We shall serve the public interest by:

Context

To answer these questions properly, we are guided by the public sector’s democratic values that specify that, as public servants, we serve parliamentary democracy by supporting, in a neutral manner, the government’s agenda. Indeed, the role, responsibilities and values of the federal public service are based on the Canadian Constitution and the principles of responsible government. These principles dictate the relationship between the Minister, parliamentarians, public servants and the public. A professional and impartial public sector is inseparable from our democratic system.

By recognizing that the Minister is an elected official who is mandated by the public and accountable to Parliament, we provide him with all the information he needs and our best advice, frankly and candidly, in keeping with the values and ethics of the public sector. We implement his decisions loyally and lawfully, and in compliance withthe policies and directives that govern us.

TheMinister,for his part, recognizes the public sector’s aptitude and ability to serve successive governments. He has an obligation to maintain the tradition of an impartial, non-partisan public sector and its ability to provide professional, candid and frank advice at all times. He is also responsible for preserving public confidence in the integrity of management and operations within the Agency.

Responsibilities and accountability regarding personnel management, including appointments, employer/employee relations, and departmental organization are assigned directly to the President.Under the VECPS, the President is responsible for ensuring non-partisan administration of programs and services within the Agency. It is for these reasons that communications other than of a strictly public nature between the Minister, his Office or any other elected official,and public servants must go through the Office of the President.

Examples

Resources

Learn more

Resources

Agency spokesperson and media relations : Communications Branch (514-283-8817)
 
Exchange with elected officials
Managers
  • Prompt transmission of relevant information to the President via the appropriate communication channels
 

Stewardship

Themes

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

We shall use resources responsibly by:

Context

Functions in relation to resources management (human, material and financialmust be conducted according to specific rules that are set out in legislations and policies. In discharging our responsibilities, we are guided by the public sector’s stewardship values and by TBS policy tools under the Financial Administration Act and other enabling statutes (such as the Labour Relations Act for human resources).

Under the Directive on Delegation of Financial Authorities for Disbursements, managers are responsible for the ongoing financial and operational monitoring of their centres of responsibility and, as applicable, the audit of recipients’ compliance with the terms and conditions of their contribution agreements. Managers must manage the public resources entrusted to them prudently, efficiently and effectively, and in such a manner as to achieve value for money.

Use of work time, Crown-owned property and assets

We use work time and Agency assets to approved ends or to those for which they are intended, and not for personal purposes (for instance, telephones, computers, laptops, equipment and supplies, automobiles and offices).

We comply with TBS and Agency policies and directives with respect to the use of public funds, in particular for purchases, rentals, hospitality expenses, travel, the use of telepresence, participation in events or training, the use of wireless devices, and professional services.

Management of grant and contribution agreements

The Agency administers grant and contribution agreements and expects every agreement to be approved with extreme diligence indicating a reasonable probability that the client will be able to:

In its Policy on Transfer Payments, TBS expects advisors to periodically monitor the progress and activities of the recipients of contributions (payable and non-payable) or grants. Monitoring is a crucial element of a transfer program control framework which includes monitoring claims (receivables). Receivables are an important asset of the government. We carry out our monitoring role and responsibilities in accordance with the  Agency’s Program Management Manual.

Doubts about the good stewardship of program funds

When a situation or action involving a proponent raises concerns about the sound management of program funds, we apply the Review process regarding situations raising doubts as to good stewardship of program funds. (NB. These situations overlap several value aspects, namely, the integrity of proponents, professional vigilance (excellence) and the sound use of resources (stewardship).

Use of electronic networks and computer environment security

We limit ourselves to authorized uses and avoid any unlawful or unacceptable use of electronic networks. The Treasury Board’s Policy on Acceptable Network and Device Use and the Agency's Guideline on Acceptable and Device Use provide many examples of authorized activities as well as activities to be avoided. The Agency’s directive complements this information.

We protect the security of the Agency’s computer environment and comply with copyright, particularly when downloading software from the Internet.

Information management and protection

Information is a resource and we contribute to its good management by referring to the information policies and directives which set out expected results, what should be kept, what may be eliminated, record management and many other aspects.

Examples

Resources

Learn more

Use of work time, Crown-owned property and assets

Treasury Board Policy, notably:

Management of grant and contribution agreements

Use of electronic networks and computer environment security

Information management and protection

Resources

Information Management
 
General Director, Technology, Information, Security and Administration Branch (TISAB)
 
Use of Electronic Networks / Security of Computer Environment
  • Use
  • Software download
  • Computer security and copyright
InfoAide Service: (514-496-2433)
Technology, Information, Security and Administration Branch (TISAB)
 
Procurement and Contracting
 
Procurement , Contracting and Materiel Management
514-283-6574
 

Excellence

Themes

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.

We shall demonstrate professional excellence by:

Context

To answer these questions, we need to demonstrate judgment and professional commitment. In this regard, the Agency supports professional development and team work.

Efficiency and quality

We do our jobs professionally and conscientiously, meeting the specific requirements contained in the statutes and policies that govern us.

Official languages

Under the Official Languages Act, the Agency has the obligation to support the development of official language minority communities and to ensure, in accordance with the Regulations, that both French and English are respected as the official languages of Canada. As public servants, we comply with the three main principles of institutional bilingualism, namely: service to the public (Part IV), language of work (Part V), and equitable participation (Part VI).

Professional image

We adopt, at all times, appropriate, reasonable and respectful dress and behaviour that reflect the professional image of the Agency and the Public Service of Canada, which we represent. The same is true for the language we use and our written communications, including e-mails, while keeping in mind that they may be accessible to the public.

Knowledge

We aim to update the professional knowledge that we need to do our jobs. Moreover, we share our knowledge and expertise with our colleagues to help strengthen professionalism at the Agency.

Examples

Resources

Learn more

Efficiency and quality

Resources

Official Languages
Institutional bilingualism
Human Resources Directorate (514-496-2572)
 
  • Service to the public
  • Language of work
  • Equitable participation
  • In cases of complaints for violation of the Official Languages Act (OLA) concerning relations with the public and employees, see the Administrative Directive for Managing Official Language Complaints
 
Knowledge
Professional development and learning
Human Resources Directorate (514-496-2572)
 
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