Code of Ethics and Conduct


Category: Board of Health
Subject: Code of Ethics and Conduct
Division: N/A
Policy Number: CA.45.01.505
Effective Date: October 5, 2016


The Board of Health (BOH) for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) is committed to ensuring the highest standards of legal and ethical conduct in all of its activities, and to governing in a manner that promotes confidence in its ethics, integrity, honesty and accountability.

Individually and collectively, BOH members therefore agree to adhere to the following principles:


  • The BOH shall support and uphold the Mission, Vision and Values of WDGPH.
  • The BOH shall govern in accordance with the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA), BOH By-laws, Robert’s Rules of Order and BOH policies and procedures.

Governance Principles

  • The BOH is authorized by the HPPA to act as the governing body of WDGPH.
  • Individual Directors have no governing authority.  It is only when Directors act collectively that the BOH can make decisions which are binding on the Medical Officer of Health/Chief Executive Officer (MOH/CEO).
  • The MOH is required to put before the BOH all matters requiring a decision of the Board.
  • Decisions approved by the BOH are expressed as Board resolutions.
  • It is the statutory duty of the MOH to implement, or if appropriate to delegate implementation, of BOH resolutions.
  • The MOH is prohibited under the HPPA from responding to the personal opinion, direction or query of any one Director, or group of Directors, without the authorization of the BOH.
  • Directors are similarly prohibited from attempting to influence WDGPH operations outside of BOH meetings.
  • Each Director is entitled to equal access to the decision-making process, and equal access to the information provided to support BOH governance.
  • The BOH may form committees to make recommendations on any matter that may be dealt with by the Board, but committees do not have the authority to bind the BOH, and are restricted to dealing with matters which are specifically delegated by BOH resolution or By-law.


  • Directors will act as a model of exemplary governance, at all times conducting themselves with the decorum and dignity commensurate with their position as leaders in public health.
  • Directors will treat fellow BOH members and WDGPH staff with dignity and respect, modelling professionalism and courtesy, during and outside of Board and committee meetings.
  • Directors will embrace their diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and views.
  • Directors will avoid any conduct towards a member of the BOH or WDGPH staff which is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, which offends, embarrasses or intimidates, or which reflects intolerance towards any group or individual on the basis of a ground prohibited under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  • During discussion of matters before the BOH, Directors shall recognize the right of one another to be heard, in order that a healthy, respectful debate upon the merits of the issues may take place.
  • After the vote has been called, taken and recorded, or otherwise disposed of by the BOH, each Director shall respect the decision of the majority, regardless of any personal views he or she may have expressed during the debate, or how he or she voted.

Professional Skill and Diligence 

  • Directors shall come to all BOH Board and committee meetings for which their attendance is required, prepared to contribute to the debate and discussion in a manner that is informed and respectful of the limits on staff and BOH member time.
  • Directors shall to the best of their ability continue to expand their knowledge and skills throughout their term, familiarizing themselves with applicable legislation, public health issues, BOH By-laws, and Robert’s Rules of Order, in order to enhance their ability to contribute to productive discussion and debate of matters before the Board.

Staff/Board Relations

  • The HPPA provides that the MOH is responsible for the management of the WDGPH, including its staff, and the delivery of health programs and services.
  • In accordance with the HPPA, the MOH reports directly to the BOH on issues relating to public health concerns, and public health programs and services.
  • Employees and those whose services are otherwise engaged by the WDGPH are subject to the direction of and are responsible to the MOH.
  • Directors will not ask the MOH or other staff to act on individual requests for information or action, nor shall BOH members attempt to exercise personal influence or authority over any staff member.
  • BOH members and staff shall work together in a manner that acknowledges the various responsibilities, job descriptions and skills of each individual acting in his or her respective role on behalf of WDGPH.


  • The duty of confidentiality is fundamental to a Director’s fiduciary obligation to WDGPH.
  • Notwithstanding that Directors are appointed to the BOH, a Directors may not disclose confidential information to their appointing organization, except as may be approved from time to time by Board resolution.
  • In particular, Directors have a legal obligation to maintain the confidentiality of any information received at or pursuant to a closed session meeting of the BOH or committee of the BOH.
  • A Director seeking clarification as to whether information is public or private has an obligation to consult with the Chair prior to the disclosure of such information.
  • Where a Director has any doubt about the nature or extent of their duty of confidentiality, or their potential personal liability should there be an intentional or unintentional failure to adhere to this duty, he or she is encouraged to request that WDGPU assist in obtaining legal advice.
  • A Director’s duty of confidentiality continues to survive indefinitely after the expiration of his or her term, except to the extent that information becomes known to the public.


  • Except as otherwise directed by the BOH, the Chair is the only public voice of the BOH in matters of policy, and correspondingly, the MOH is the only spokesperson for matters involving WDGPH operations, unless the Chair or the MOH, as the case may be, specifically delegates his or her authority to another spokesperson. 
  • All requests for public comment must be directed to the Chair or the MOH, as appropriate.

Conflict of Interest

  • In accordance with the HPPA, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, BOH By-Law No. 1, and the Board’s Conflict of Interest Policy, a Director has a responsibility while acting in his or her capacity as a Director to serve the interests of WDGPH above any other competing interest.
  • It is the responsibility of a Director to determine if he or she has an interest which conflicts with an interest of the WDGPH.
  • A Director who determines that he or she has a conflict of interest must address the conflict in accordance with the provisions of the BOH Conflict of Interest Procedure.


  • A Director who alleges that another Director has failed to comply with the Code shall follow the process outlined in the Code of Ethics and Conduct Procedure.

Director Commitment to the Code of Conduct

  • All those who permit their names to stand for, and therefore agree to serve as members of the BOH are deemed to have read this Code, and, by accepting the office, acknowledge their intent to be bound by its contents, and the consequences of any breach thereof.
  • As a further indication of commitment to adhere to the principles herein, each Director will provide the Secretary of the BOH with an executed copy of this Code upon his or her appointment to the BOH, and thereafter by no later than January 31 of each year during his or her term of office.


Corresponding Procedure:  CA.45.02.505 Code of Ethics and Conduct
By-Law #1  
Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7
Ontario Human Rights Code, R.S.O. c. H.19
Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, R.S.O. c. M.50


Chair of the Board of Health


Chair of the Board of Health 



Category: Board of Health
Subject: Code of Ethics and Conduct
Division: N/A
Procedure Number: CA.45.02.505
Effective Date: October 5, 2016


This procedure shall be followed by a Director alleging that a member of the Board of Health (BOH) has breached the Code of Ethics and Conduct (the Code) as defined in Policy CA.45.01.505 Code of Ethics and Conduct.

Breach of Code

  • A Director who has reason to believe that another Director has breached any provision of this Code may make a written submission describing the alleged breach to the Chair, who shall thereupon make an inquiry appropriate to the nature of the complaint.
  • The Chair will respond to the allegation of a breach in a timely manner.
  • The Chair shall include as part of his or her inquiry a discussion with the Director who is alleged to have breached the Code, and shall provide that Director with the written submission containing the allegation along with the opportunity to make a written submission in response to the allegation. 
  • The BOH Chair will ensure all parties are advised of their rights and responsibilities pursuant to this process.
  • If after conducting an inquiry the Chair determines that a breach has not occurred, the Chair shall report their findings to the Director who made the allegation, and to the Director about whom the allegation was made.
  • If after conducting an inquiry the Chair determines that a breach has occurred, he or she shall report such findings to the BOH.  The Chair’s report will include the written submissions, if any, of the Director alleging a breach, and the responding Director alleged to have committed a breach, as well as a recommended response for the BOH’s consideration.
  • By special resolution, the BOH may:
    • issue a letter of caution;
    • issue a letter of censure, specifying the nature of the breach and any remedial action required as determined by the BOH; and/or
    • remove the Director from one or more committees for a specified period or indefinite period;
  • If a Director has reason to believe that the Chair is in breach of the Code, that Director shall contact the Vice Chair, who shall assume the responsibilities of the Chair in the procedure outlined herein.

The Director alleged to have breached the Code may not be present for any Board discussion, and is prohibited from voting on any motion, substantive or procedural, regarding the breach.  There shall be no right of appeal of the BOH’s decision.



Corresponding Policy:  CA.45.01.505 Code of Ethics and Conduct
By-Law #1
Ontario Human Rights Code, R.S.O. c. H.19
Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, R.S.O. c. M.50
Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7


Chair of the Board of Health


Chair of the Board of Health