Code of Ethics and Conduct

Policy

Category: Human Resources
Subject: Code of Ethics and Conduct
Division: Administrative Services
Policy Number: CA.52.01.145
Effective Date: November 18, 2016

POLICY STATEMENT

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) is committed to ensuring the highest standards of legal and ethical conduct in all of its activities. As representatives of WDGPH it is imperative that, all employees, students and volunteers act in a manner that promotes the Agency’s reputation for ethics and integrity that fosters a culture of honesty and accountability.

This Code of Ethics and Conduct (Code) does not list all prohibited behaviours (e.g. theft, fraud, drug use) but rather promotes ethical behaviour. It is the aim of WDGPH to create an environment which promotes the highest standards of ethical behaviour. To that end, WDGPH encourages employees to raise questions and bring forward issues, particularly with respect to ethics concerns.

It is expected that all employees, students and volunteers will comply with all federal, provincial and municipal laws, and all policies of WDGPH. Nothing in this Code is intended to conflict with WDGPH’s obligations to its employees under the Collective Agreement or any employment contract. Employees are expected to comply with all professional regulatory codes and requirements. This Code is not intended to alter any rules of conduct employees may have as part of their professional affiliations.

In support of this Code of Ethics and Conduct, all employees, students and volunteers are to:

  • Maintain the highest level of professional standards;
  • Show respect to all people in the workplace and honour diversity in co-workers and the community;
  • Treat all persons honestly and fairly with regard for their rights, entitlements, duties and obligations;
  • Accept responsibility for the duties assigned and collaborate with others in a spirit of teamwork to accomplish defined goals;
  • Treat others with respect, cooperation and dignity;
  • Be professional and courteous with both internal and external personnel;
  • Resolve any work-related disagreements in a mature manner based on reasonable expectations;
  • Avoid any situations which would place him/herself in a potential conflict of interest as defined in CA.52.01.101 Conflict of Interest policy;
  • Report any attempt by another organization, a member of the public or a co-worker to influence the outcome of any decision relating to WDGPH business; and
  • Protect WDGPH’s assets and ensure their efficient use. Theft, carelessness and waste have a direct impact on the financial health of WDGPH.
Community Activity

No employee at any level, student or volunteer shall accept an appointment to the board of a community agency or association that deals with matters related to the activities of WDGPH without reporting their potential appointment to their Director or the Medical Officer of Health. WDGPH’s Conflict of Interest policy must be followed. Individuals covered by this policy who participate on external community associations/committees will ensure there is no conflict of interest relating to WDGPH.

Research Ethics

In support of this Code of Ethics and Conduct policy, all employees, students and volunteers are to ensure that research and evaluation projects are conducted in accordance with ethical standards.

Political Activity

WDGPH recognizes the right of all employees, students and volunteers to participate in a personal capacity in political, trade union or professional association activities. At the same time, employees, students and volunteers must be and appear to be politically neutral in their official WDGPH duties.

Employees wishing to be elected to a position on the Councils of the County of Wellington, the County of Dufferin or the City of Guelph will be subject to Section 30 of the Municipal Elections Act. It requires that employees take an unpaid leave of absence upon being nominated and resign their employment if elected.

Similarly, employees wishing to seek election to a position as a member of Ontario’s Provincial Legislature or the Parliament of Canada are governed by the relevant legislation and are entitled to an unpaid leave of absence from the date of nomination until the date the election results are announced.

Employees, students and volunteers shall not use WDGPH funds, goods, services or assets for any political activity.

Relationship with Members of the Board of Health (BOH)

Employees shall treat all members of the BOH with professionalism and courtesy but must not favour, or appear to favour, the interests of one member over another. Employees should direct inquiries from individual BOH members to their immediate Supervisor and Director. Approval must be obtained from the Director prior to providing information to a BOH member.

Tobacco-Free Workplace

The Agency will abide by the rules and regulations of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA). In addition, because the Agency recognizes the hazards caused by exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, as well as the life-threatening diseases linked to the use of all forms of tobacco, WDGPH will promote a tobacco-free environment that goes beyond the SFOA for all employees, volunteers, students and visitors. 

WDGPH expects all employees, volunteers, students and visitors to respect the Agency’s prohibition of any tobacco products, electronic cigarettes or other vaping products on any Agency property.  It is expected that WDGPH staff be role models for the community in the prevention of tobacco use by not smoking and if one does smoke to do so in private areas where their affiliation with WDGPH may be recognized. Products intended for use in nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) are acceptable to meet compliance with the code of conduct.  

Drug and Alcohol Use

The Agency is committed to promoting and protecting the health of our community. The Agency acknowledges that there are increased risks of cancer from the moderate consumption of alcohol as well as legal and illegal drug consumption.   

WDGPH is committed to providing a professional and client service environment that is free of alcohol and substance abuse for both legal and illegal drugs and from the unauthorized use and misuse of prescription drugs. 

Employees, students, and volunteers are expected to report fit for work and to remain fit for work throughout their work day and when on-call.

Accordingly, it is the Agency’s expectations that:

  • All individuals will report to work fit to work and will not be under the influence of alcoholic beverages, legal or illegal substances, or prescription drugs that may inhibit the individual’s ability to perform their job safely and productively in a professional manner.
  • Individuals will not provide, serve or consume alcoholic beverages during working hours or WDGPH-sponsored workplace events.
  • Individuals will not consume, possess, sell or distribute illegal substances, especially while in or on WDGPH premises.
  • Individuals will take reasonable steps (i.e. express concern about them operating a motor vehicle, ask them not to operate a motor vehicle, etc.) to prevent any co-worker, customer, supplier or other guest from operating a motor vehicle while impaired/intoxicated/unfit for work, and should immediately report the situation to a Manager or Director.
  • Individuals acknowledge that the intentional misuse of medications and/or legally-obtained drugs while on WDGPH business or premises is prohibited.
  • Individuals agree that they will report to their Manager if they are taking any medication and/or any legally-obtained drugs that may inhibit an employee’s ability to perform their job safely and productively. Employees who are taking these substances are required to advise their immediate Supervisor of any need for modified duties if the medication and/or legally-obtained drugs will affect their ability to work safely and productively. Alternatively, an individual who is taking any medication and/or any legally-obtained drugs that may inhibit their ability to perform their job safely and productively may provide medical documentation outlining their medical restrictions and seek an accommodations as outlined in CA.52.01.151 – Accommodation in Employment
  • Individuals are prohibited to use, possess, distribute, offer or sell illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia on Agency property or at Agency events except as authorized by the Agency to support the Ontario Public Health Standards.
  • Individuals may not possess medications without a legally obtained prescription on Agency property or at Agency events. Individuals also may not distribute, offer or sell prescribed medications.

Employees are encouraged to access the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), their health care practitioner or other community resource for help with any substance abuse problem. 

Nepotism

The Agency encourages public confidence by ensuring that all Agency activity is conducted fairly and free from nepotism. WDGPH commits that all hiring, promotions, performance appraisals and discipline will be undertaken in an impartial manner.

WDGPH is committed to preventing nepotism in any employment related decisions to preserve employee morale; to provide the highest quality service possible; to ensure equitable opportunities; and ensure integrity in the recruitment process.

Violations

Employees, students and volunteers shall promptly report to their immediate Supervisor, a member of senior management or Human Resources any violations or imminent violations of this Code or other WDGPH policies, or any other illegal or unethical behaviour at WDGPH.  Failure to report a violation may have serious consequences for that individual as well as for the offender.

In regards to the Code of Ethics and Conduct requirements for Drug and Alcohol use, the Agency encourages employees to access the EAP, their health care practitioner or other community resource for help with any substance abuse problem. 

Employees, students and volunteers must not attempt to impede or obstruct any investigations by WDGPH or any government or regulatory agency.

WDGPH will not permit retaliation of any kind by or on behalf of WDGPH against anyone who:

  • In good faith reports any violations of this Code or policies, or other illegal or unethical conduct; or
  • Cooperates in an investigation by WDGPH or any government authority.

Violations of this Code may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all WDGPH employees, students and volunteers. 

DEFINITIONS

Code of Conduct – a set of rules outlining the responsibilities of proper practices for an individual or organization.

Ethics – moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity.

Associations – a group of people organized for a common purpose.

Tobacco Products – tobacco in any processed or unprocessed form that may be smoked, inhaled or chewed, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff and chewing tobacco. Electronic cigarettes or other similar vaping products. Herbal hookah, which may or may not contain tobacco, is also included in this definition.

Workplace – a building, vehicle, open, external area where an individual is required to be there or near there as part of their job. Workplace may be any land, premises, location, internal or near which an individual works (i.e. a client’s home or business, etc.).

Alcohol – any beverage which contains ethyl alcohol, including beer, wine, liqueurs and spirits. Very low alcohol products (e.g. beer with 0.5% alcohol by volume) are included in this definition.

Alcoholic Beverage – refers to beer, wine and distilled spirits.

Illegal drugs – any drug or substance that has been obtained illegally and the use, sale, possession, purchase or transfer of which is restricted or prohibited by law.

Drug paraphernalia – Except as outlined by the Ontario Public Health Standards and authorized by the Agency, this refers to any non-authorized equipment, product or material that is modified for making, using, or concealing illegal drugs or to facilitate the use of illegal drugs.

Prescription drugs – drugs which have been legally obtained with a health care practitioner’s prescription.

Medication – refers to a drug obtained legally, either over-the-counter or through a health care practitioner’s prescription.

Nepotism – favoritism granted to a family member or significant social relationship, usually in the form of hiring practices or other employment decisions without regard or with lesser regard to the individual’s merit, qualifications or performance.

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Corresponding Procedure:  CA 52.02.145 Code of Ethics and Conduct
CA.50.01.106  Research Ethics
CA.52.01.100  Workplace Harassment and Workplace Sexual Harassment
CA.52.01.101  Conflict of Interest
CA.52.01.119  Gifts, Favours and Donations
CA.52.01.126  Confidentiality
CA.52.01.142  Progressive Discipline Process
CA.52.01.151  Accommodation in Employment
CA.54.01.105  Computer and Internet Use
Occupational Health and Safety Act
Ontario Human Rights Code

American Cancer Society

CONTACT FOR INQUIRIES

Manager, Human Resources

APPROVED BY

Director, Administrative Services 


Procedure

Category: Human Resources
Subject: Code of Ethics and Conduct
Division: Administrative Services
Procedure Number: CA.52.02.145
Effective Date: November 18, 2016

PROCEDURE

This procedure will be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA), the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), and the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA).

  1. An individual who believes that they may have breached any laws or policies has an obligation to report the incident(s) in question. 
  2. When a member of the Board of Health (BOH), employee, student or volunteer becomes aware of behaviour that they believe violates any law, regulation, or WDGPH policy or procedure, that individual must report the incident.  Employees, students and volunteers should report concerns to their immediate Supervisor, Director and Human Resources. BOH members should report their concerns to the Chair of the Board.
  3. Individuals should complete the CA.30.01.149 Code of Ethics and Conduct Investigation Report form posted on WDGPH’s website. The individual completing the form should ensure all relevant information is provided as accurately as possible. To ensure prompt follow up to this concern, this form should be completed as soon as possible upon becoming aware of the circumstances.
  4. Useful information to collect includes identification of other individuals who share the concern or who may be aware of the situation, the number of instances the person has observed the behaviour, documents that may be available to support the concern and the names of others the person has shared the concern with. Once completed, the form must be submitted to the person(s) as detailed in 2. above.
  5. If the individual is not comfortable discussing the matter with their immediate Supervisor or Director, they may choose to submit the report directly to Human Resources.
  6. The BOH Chair will meet with the BOH member submitting the Code of Ethics and Conduct Investigation Report form to discuss best practices and resolution.
  7. The immediate Supervisor, Director and Human Resources will review the Code of Ethics and Conduct Investigation Report form to determine the appropriate follow-up for resolution.
  8. An investigation into the matter will be conducted by the immediate Supervisor, and/or Director and Human Resources.
  9. Human Resources will advise all parties of the process, their rights and responsibilities, facilitate communication and coordinate the process including any follow-up action required.
  10. The individual filing the report and the person(s) against whom it was filed will be interviewed as well any other individual(s) who may have knowledge of the matter.
  11. Anyone being interviewed as part of the investigation process may bring a representative with them to a meeting. Union employees may bring an ONA representative to the meeting.
  12. Every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality of all parties during the investigation.  All parties involved will be advised prior to any discussions if information must be shared with others involved in the investigation.
  13. Once all information has been gathered, it will be reviewed to determine if there has been a violation of any law, regulation, policy or procedure.
  14. If it is found that there has been a violation, corrective action up to and including termination may be taken. Any disciplinary action will follow the policy CA.52.01.142 Progressive Discipline Process
  15. Depending on the nature of the violation it may be reported to the appropriate external agencies as required by regulatory bodies or legislation.
  16. If it is found that there has not been a violation, the individual(s) involved will be advised that no further action will be taken.
  17. In all cases, Human Resources who will oversee the investigation will respond to the individual(s) who reported the suspected violation within 30 days, and every 30 days thereafter until the matter is resolved.
  18. All documents related to the investigation will be kept confidential and filed with Human Resources in a separate file.
  19. An appeal of any decision may be made to the Director, Administrative Services. If not satisfied with that response a final appeal may be made to the Medical Officer of Health.
  20. Falsely reporting a violation of any law, regulation, policy or procedure is a serious offence. Any person who does so will be subject to disciplinary action.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Directors will:
  • Understand, promote and ensure the Code of Ethics and Conduct is followed;
  • Create an open and supportive environment where all individuals feel comfortable raising questions;
  • Provide advice to employees to assist them in making decisions that are consistent with this Code;
  • Participate in investigations of reported questionable or unethical behaviour;
  • Seek resolutions that meet Code of Ethics and Conduct standards;
  • Ensure equitable resolutions are implemented; and
  • Confirm that resolutions are followed and meet the Code.
Managers will:
  • Understand, promote and ensure the Code of Ethics and Conduct is followed;
  • Create an open and supportive environment where all individuals feel comfortable raising questions;
  • Provide advice to assist individuals in making decisions that are consistent with this Code;
  • Participate in investigations of reported questionable or unethical behaviour;
  • Report any violations of this Code, other policies, or illegal conduct;
  • Ensure equitable resolutions are implemented; and
  • Confirm that resolutions are followed and meet the Code.
Employees will:
  • Understand and uphold the policy CA.52.01.145 Code of Ethics and Conduct;
  • Work with others to create an open and supportive environment where all individuals feel comfortable raising questions;
  • Seek advice if facing questions about ethical behaviour;
  • Report any violations of this Code, other policies, or illegal conduct; and
  • Participate in investigations and resolutions as required.
Human Resources will:
  • Understand, promote and ensure the policy CA.52.01.145 Code of Ethics and Conduct is followed;
  • Review the Code during orientation of new employees;
  • Create an open and supportive environment where all individuals feel comfortable raising questions;
  • Provide advice to assist individuals in making decisions that are consistent with this Code;
  • Participate in investigations of any violations of this Code;
  • Ensure equitable resolutions are implemented; and
  • Confirm that resolutions are followed and meet the Code.

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Corresponding Policy:  CA.52.01.145 Code of Ethics and Conduct
CA.52.01.100   Workplace Harassment and Workplace Sexual Harassment
CA.52.01.101   Conflict of Interest
CA.52.01.119   Gifts, Favours and Donations
CA.52.01.126   Confidentiality
CA.52.01.142   Progressive Discipline Process
CA.54.01.105   Computer and Internet Use
CA.30.01.149  Code of Ethics and Conduct Investigation Report form
Ontario Human Rights Code
Occupational Health and Safety Act

CONTACT FOR INQUIRIES

Manager, Human Resources

APPROVED BY

Director, Administrative Services