Federal public servants have a fundamental role to play in serving Canadians, their communities and the public interest under the direction of the elected government and in accordance with the law. As dedicated professionals whose work is essential to Canada's well-being and the enduring strength of the Canadian democracy, public servants uphold the public trust.
The Constitution of Canada and the principles of responsible government provide the foundation for the role, responsibilities and values of the federal public sector. Constitutional conventions of ministerial responsibility prescribe the appropriate relationships among ministers, parliamentarians, public servants and the public. A professional and non-partisan federal public sector is integral to our democracy.
Ministers are also responsible for preserving public trust and confidence in the integrity of management and operations within public sector organizations, and for respecting the tradition of a professional non-partisan federal public sector. Furthermore, Ministers play a critical role in the ability of public servants to provide professional and frank advice.
The Agency is responsible for providing integrated border services that support national security and public safety priorities and facilitate the free flow of persons and goods, including animals and plants that meet all requirements under the program legislation.
Protection • Service • Integrity
The Canada Border Services Agency works to ensure Canada's security and prosperity by managing the access of people and goods to and from Canada.
An integrated border agency that is recognized for service excellence in ensuring Canada's security and prosperity.
We work with vigilance at the border, within Canada and abroad, providing the services necessary to help keep our nation safe and prosperous. Born of the rich history that is our legacy, we are proud to protect and serve Canadians and are confident in our ability to meet new challenges.
We are united in our resolve to carry out our diverse mandate and enforce the laws of Canada with impartiality and fairness.
As leaders and innovators in border management, we value our strong domestic and international partnerships and are dedicated to working together on critical safety, security and trade issues.
We rise to the challenges we face each day, and take pride in knowing that the work we do makes a difference in the lives of Canadians while contributing to global security and commerce.
Our Commitment to Service Excellence
Values are a compass that guides us in everything we do; they represent what we believe and care about. Values cannot be considered in isolation from each other as they often overlap. We are expected to integrate public sector and CBSA values into our decisions, actions, policies, processes, systems, and how we deal with others. Similarly, we can expect to be treated in accordance with these values by our colleagues and management.
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.
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 serve the public interest through non-partisan support of our Minister.
We show the utmost appreciation for the dignity, diversity and worth of all people and uphold the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
We develop and sustain mutual trust with our colleagues.
We uphold the Canadian parliamentary democracy and its institutions by:
We respect human dignity and the value of every person by:
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 exercise our authority in an honest, open and fair manner.
We accept responsibility for our actions in order to build and maintain a reputation of trustworthiness and accountability.
We serve the public interest by:
Federal public servants are entrusted to use and care for public resources responsibly, for both the short term and long term.
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 employ public resources wisely and properly.
We provide efficient, competent and excellent service.
We set high standards of achievement and accountability both individually and collectively.
We use resources responsibly by:
We demonstrate professional excellence by:
Whether uniformed, non-uniformed, armed or unarmed, as CBSA employees (including managers and employees who are indeterminate, part-time, term, casual, on leave without pay, students, working for our Agency by means of a secondment/assignment or through an Interchange Canada agreement, and new recruits) we are responsible for acting at all times in such a way as to uphold the public interest and for exhibiting conduct in keeping with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the CBSA Code of Conduct. These two Codes, along with the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment (Policy), collectively form a part of our terms and conditions of employment.
We recognize that CBSA's policies, standards, procedures and practices provide the boundaries within which we demonstrate professional conduct with respect and integrity. Additionally, we ensure that our conduct does not violate the Criminal Code, the CBSA Act or any of the laws, rules and regulations administered by the Agency. As professionals, we protect the Agency's reputation and its internal and external stakeholder and law enforcement partner relationships in our decisions and actions. We understand that an action or inaction on our part that is not in keeping with these laws, rules and regulations, Codes, and the Policy is considered misconduct and will entail CBSA disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment.
For more guidance, see Chapter 4: Disciplinary Measures and Resolutions of Issues Pertaining to the Code of Conduct.
As employees we are expected to take reasonable steps, where possible and where there is no personal risk, to address behaviour that is not in keeping with the spirit or intent of either Code and/or the Policy. Examples of such steps include:
As managers we ensure that all employees under our responsibility are familiar with the contents of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment and the CBSA Code of Conduct, and that they are informed that the Codes and Policy are a part of each employee's terms and conditions of employment. We are also accountable for consistently addressing inappropriate behaviour and/or performance issues in a timely manner and applying reasonable measures to address breaches of either Code and/or the Policy.
CAUTION: If we witness serious misconduct we will promptly report this to our manager. Managers will promptly refer cases of serious misconduct to Personnel Security and Professional Standards so that they can be addressed, and senior management is made aware and can appropriately respond to emerging trends.
For more information on serious misconduct, see the Security Volume, Chapter 27: Internal Investigations into Alleged or Suspected Employee Misconduct or contact Personnel Security and Professional Standards for clarification.
When we have reasonable grounds to believe that a public servant has committed or is about to commit a wrongdoing in the workplace, under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), we have three options to disclose this information. Our identity will be protected, and we will be afforded protection against reprisal, when we report wrongdoing using any of these three options:
For more guidance, see Chapter 3: Disclosure of Information Concerning Wrongdoing in the Workplace.
We are all ethical leaders whether we are uniformed, non-uniformed or armed employees; we act as models for others. Ethical leadership entails exploring, seeking to understand, and making ethical judgments in all situations before acting by:
Therefore, more experienced employees and managers, at all levels, have a special role in consistently modeling the expected standards of behaviour outlined in the Code of Conduct for new employees, recruits and other CBSA employees. They:
The following section outlines in general terms the minimum expected standards of conduct to be followed by all CBSA employees and all recruits whether uniformed, non-uniformed or armed. Every employee and recruit is required to become familiar with the expected standards of conduct, understand their meaning, seek guidance when required, and make judgments on the possible present and long-term consequences of their actions before deciding how to act. Guidance can be sought from experienced colleagues, our managers or Resources posted on Atlas.
The expected standards of conduct will naturally evolve over time in keeping with new developments and changes to the services that CBSA provides.
Our CBSA value of Professionalism reminds us of our obligation to observe the terms and conditions of employment contained in our letter of offer, our collective agreement, as well as those set out in CBSA and Treasury Board policies.
As professionals, we demonstrate reliability by complying with the work hours and rest periods prescribed in the collective agreement. This includes being ready and able to work at the start of our work period, remaining on duty or at work until we are relieved or when we reach the end of our scheduled hours, and being accountable to our colleagues, clients and stakeholders.
We follow established procedures when requesting a change in our regular work schedule (e.g. leave request, early departure, or change in our break or meal periods). We use sick leave only for its intended purpose.
In the case of absences from work because of illness or an emergency, we provide explanations to our manager and inform him or her in advance when we expect to return to work.
Our CBSA value of Professionalism includes how we present ourselves to clients, stakeholders, the public, and our colleagues inside and outside the CBSA, including law enforcement partners. Our appearance and dress reflect the professional image of the CBSA and the public service.
The CBSA Uniform Policy and Standards of Appearance outlines a very high standard of dress and appearance for our uniformed staff. It describes appearance standards consistent with the operational needs of the Agency and the expectations of the Canadian public.
For non-uniformed staff, our professional dress and appearance depend upon the duties we perform and are especially important when we are serving the public. We rely upon our common sense and good judgment and recognize that, at minimum, we always present ourselves in a neat, clean, and well-groomed manner that does not interfere with the work performance of others.
For all employees, we use fragrances sparingly bearing in mind the environmental sensitivities of many individuals and we ensure that our hygiene minimizes unpleasant body odours.
Managers are responsible for communicating the importance of appearance as a component of professionalism in the workplace. From time to time, managers may need to clarify and provide guidance on what is considered appropriate (or not appropriate) dress in the workplace given employees' responsibilities (e.g. specific job duties, level of interaction with the public, etc.).
Our CBSA value of Professionalism involves our continued efforts to improve our programs and services and to consider the present and long-term effects our actions have on people and the environment. This consideration extends to using social media for enforcement, investigation, recruitment, services to the public, stakeholder education, raising the Agency's profile, outreach, and as a collaborative and consultative tool.
While there are many benefits to using social media, there are also potential risks and challenges. As professionals, we must bear in mind that social networks are public fora, and that comments and behaviour on these fora become a part of the public record.
Our CBSA value of Respect encompasses our duty of loyalty to the Agency. Therefore, we use sound judgment to ensure that our personal and professional use of social media does not compromise the Agency's reputation, its protected information, or our working relationships with our colleagues, stakeholders and clients.
When commenting in social media fora:
We must exercise caution when posting pictures, videos and information in social media fora. For example, we take into consideration the Agency's reputation, including its internal and external working relationships; the absolute confidentiality of customs, Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), corporate or trade information and information on individuals collected in the course of our duties; and the possible risks to the safety of individuals and colleagues identified in social media fora.
For more guidance, see the following specific sections:
Our CBSA value of Integrity includes maintaining the public's confidence in our Agency. Therefore, when using social media for personal and professional use, we use the same criteria and good judgment as would be applied to any other conflict of interest area.
For more guidance, see Chapter 2: Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment.
Our CBSA values of Respect, Integrity and Professionalism guide us throughout our work day. They can also extend to our private time. This is especially true in terms of engaging in outside activities on social media fora, outside employment, and political activities.
We understand that our outside activities and off-duty conduct are usually private matters. They could become work-related matters, however, if they have negative consequences on the Agency. We avoid such activities, which may include those that:
We also avoid activities that place us or the Agency at risk by knowingly associating, outside of our official duties, with individuals or groups who are believed or suspected to be connected with criminal activities.
CAUTION: We are not permitted to do anything illegal or contrary to the Criminal Code, the CBSA Act, or any legislation or regulation enforced by the Agency. In the unlikely event of being arrested, detained or charged—in Canada or outside Canada—with a violation of laws or regulations, we will immediately report this incident to our manager. This includes minor incidents, such as a traffic violation or highway code violation ticket received while using a government-owned or leased vehicle. We must also report to our manager, any contact or associations we have with known or suspected criminals outside our official duties, so that we can protect ourselves and the Agency.
For specific guidance on outside employment and other activities, see Chapter 2, section 2. Outside Employment or Activities.
For specific guidance on political activities, see Chapter 2, section 3. Political Activities.
For more guidance, see the following specific sections:
Additional information can also be found in: Chapter 2: Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment and Chapter 4: Disciplinary Measures and Resolutions of Issues Pertaining to the Code of Conduct.
Our CBSA value of Respect encompasses our duty of loyalty to our Agency and the Government of Canada. We act respectfully by discussing issues, problems or matters internally and not in public fora. Once a decision has been taken, we support it and follow through.
We acknowledge that only authorized spokespersons can issue statements or make comments about the CBSA's position on any given subject. We take caution when making comments in public spaces (including on social media fora) when referencing the CBSA, so as not to be misconstrued as representing an Agency position. If we are asked for the CBSA's position on an issue, we refer all inquiries, through our manager, to the CBSA national or regional spokespersons.
We refrain from making public criticisms of the CBSA and/or the Government of Canada including posting critical comments on social media fora.
Furthermore, we know that the duty of loyalty is not absolute and public criticism may be justified in certain limited circumstances.
CAUTION: CBSA employees must exercise caution to ensure that their public statements:
If in doubt, you are strongly encouraged to discuss the matter with your manager. You should use internal means to bring any criticisms you may have to the attention of CBSA management.
Our CBSA value of Professionalism includes the manner in which we use the tools of our trade including computerized systems, equipment and software. As professionals we make every effort to protect the CBSA from any possible threats to security by, in particular:
As professionals, we recognize that CBSA's computer systems and those of external agencies accessed via the CBSA's network, software, equipment, networks, Internet, intranet, e-mail, smart phones, tablets and any other electronic devices are used only for authorized business purposes.
We limit personal use of the Internet, intranet and e-mail and comply with all related legislation, policies and guidelines. We ensure that our personal use does not affect our productivity or that of our colleagues, and imposes no storage burden on the CBSA computer systems. Examples of acceptable limited personal use include professional activities, career development, or reading or writing brief e-mails after hours or during break periods.
CAUTION: Examples of professional misconduct related to the use of electronic networks that are offences under the Criminal Code include, but are not restricted to:
In compliance with the Criminal Code, authorized officers may access restricted sites when conducting authorized investigations or intelligence probes or when researching and developing CBSA-sanctioned training material.
For more guidance, see the following specific sections:
Our CBSA value of Professionalism encompasses our effective and efficient use of the Agency's property and assets when conducting official duties. As professionals we demonstrate our CBSA value of Integrity by using government property and assets only in our official duties and never for personal gain or use.
We seek authorization from management before we use property, equipment, materials, vehicles or facilities purchased, used or leased by the Agency for reasons other than official purposes. This includes, but is not restricted to: vehicles, buildings, space, premises, facilities, uniforms, files and documents, office equipment and supplies, computers, software, video equipment, telecommunications devices such as smart phones, government credit cards, telephone calling cards and defensive equipment like pepper spray, handcuffs, batons and duty firearms.
We account for and protect any and all government property and assets that we possess or control. If any item is lost, stolen or damaged, we immediately report the incident to our manager.
For more guidance, see section 8. Confidentiality and Disclosure of Information.
As professionals, we understand that badges, official identification, officer or office stamps or other security documentation have been issued to assist and identify CBSA employees in the performance of their duties. Therefore, we use them only for the purposes for which they were intended. We display a government identification card when we are on government premises and when we are asked to identify ourselves as a government representative.
We do not use our job title, official identification, badge or any other official document (whether on or off-duty, personally or professionally, or when engaging in social media activities) for a purpose that is illegal, improper or against the best interests of the CBSA.
We never use a colleague's official identification, badge, stamp, user identification number or password. We do not use any of our Agency identification to obtain or appear to obtain any privilege or favour for ourselves or others. Exceptions include Agency approved commercial organization discounts, e.g. fitness memberships, or other discounts that are authorized by our manager.
For more guidance, see section 3. Social Media and Chapter 2: Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment.
In the event that a badge, stamp or official identification is lost, stolen or damaged, we immediately report the occurrence to our manager and file a security incident report. Also, if we are temporarily or permanently reassigned and our new functions do not require the use of a badge, stamp or official identification, we return them to our manager.
Anything we create, design, develop or produce as part of our job, even if we or any other person have improved or modified it outside working hours, becomes the property of CBSA and the Government of Canada. We therefore cannot market or sell any of this property. We recognize that the Copyright Act protects the CBSA identifiers (such as badges, logos, branding images etc.) from illegitimate use, trade and sale.
We will return all government property and assets received as part of our duties when we leave our position or if we are temporarily reassigned, or when requested by a proper authority.
Our CBSA value of Professionalism includes our role as custodians of government resources. As professionals, we acquire information, preserve it and share it only when authorized to do so.
We are legally obliged to protect the privacy of individuals and our commercial clients' business information. In doing so, we comply with section 107 of the Customs Act and the Privacy Act in the collection, use, sharing, storage, disclosure, distribution and disposal of any personal information pertaining to individuals or commercial information pertaining to businesses.
We keep in strict confidence all information that we obtain about CBSA's clients and all other official information including policies, programs, practices and procedures to which the public does not have official access. We disclose this type of information to clients or designated representatives only if specifically authorized by legislative or Agency guidelines. We are especially vigilant when engaging in social media activities. For more guidance, see section 3. Social Media.
We do not destroy, alter, falsify or conceal a record, or direct anyone to do so, with the intent of obstructing the right of access set out in section 67.1 of the Access to Information Act.
Our CBSA value of Integrity encompasses the obligation to avoid inappropriate use of official information for personal purposes, for gain or financial benefit for ourselves or others, or to put others at a disadvantage. We access official information only if it is required to perform our duties and we are authorized to do so. We safeguard official information and use, process, store and handle designated or classified information only for purposes specified by the CBSA. We do not remove, hide, change, mutilate, copy or destroy any official information.
For more guidance, see section 6. Electronic Network Access and Uses and Chapter 2: Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment.
When we are in doubt about how to treat specific information, we seek guidance from management.
CAUTION: When leaving employment, we cannot take with us or retain any CBSA records or documents, including paper documents, CDs and diskettes with electronic information, videos, etc. These include, but are not limited to, training materials and any third-party information obtained during the performance of your duties.
We cooperate in governmental investigations including those conducted by Personnel Security and Professional Standards, a Health and Safety Officer, or a Senior Officer for Internal Disclosure Investigator who is carrying out his or her duties under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.
We speak with candour if we are called upon to provide information and we provide complete access to the CBSA information systems, documents and records to the extent that such access is legally permitted.
We recognize that we are required to give testimony as requested by the Crown in cases enforcing program legislation and where our managers have authorized our participation. In doing so, we are honest and truthful.
Should we be asked to assist in provincial or foreign authority investigations, we consult with our manager.
Our CBSA value of Respect encompasses all that we do to value the inherent dignity of all people. We show respect by never engaging in discriminatory or harassing behaviour.
Harassment is any 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 that demeans, belittles, or causes personal humiliation or embarrassment, and any act of intimidation or threat. It includes harassment within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Discrimination involves treating 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 for discrimination 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.
Everyone is entitled to work in an environment free from harassment and discrimination. These factors affect workplace and individual well-being and we acknowledge that they will not be tolerated. We accept our responsibility to treat fellow employees with fairness, respect and dignity, and we work with management to help foster a workplace that is safe and healthy.
We do not engage in any harassing or discriminatory behaviour, action or inaction that could harm an employee's working relationships, job security or general well-being at work. This includes harassment or discrimination of CBSA employees that may happen outside the workplace or outside working hours including activities on social media fora.
Harassment is a serious matter. The filing of frivolous or unsubstantiated harassment and/or discrimination claims can damage an employee's reputation and cause them emotional harm. We recognize that this is unacceptable and therefore we make every effort to resolve the situation or conflict as soon as possible, in a fair and respectful manner, before resorting to the complaint process.
If we witness harassment or discrimination or we are being harassed or subjected to discrimination, we will seek guidance and support from our manager. In cases where our manager is the source of our harassment or discrimination we will seek guidance and support from another manager. Additionally, we can explore options by contacting an Informal Conflict Management System Advisor, the Office of Values and Ethics, or our union representative.
CAUTION: Disciplinary or corrective measures will also be taken against the following:
For more guidance see, the following specific sections:
Our CBSA values of Respect, Integrity and Professionalism guide our interactions with members of the public. As CBSA employees we demonstrate these values in a number of ways, including:
For more guidance, see the following specific sections:
Working with the public occasionally involves dealing with difficult people. Clients' actions may sometimes be disrespectful, abusive, or threatening. They may even result in personal assault. If there is a need to resort to use of reasonable force we do so in accordance with CBSA training procedures and policies.
We must promptly report the full details of any incident to our manager and cooperate in any subsequent investigation.
The CBSA may provide us with protection, support and assistance in accordance with the Policy on Legal Assistance and Indemnification. This policy provides for both indemnification and legal assistance with respect to liability arising from circumstances in which we:
Our CBSA values of Respect, Integrity and Professionalism guide our interactions with the people we work with including colleagues, clients, and stakeholders.
As CBSA employees we demonstrate these values in a number of ways, including:
For more guidance, see sections:
Although this Code sets out expected standards of conduct for all employees at CBSA, they are not all-inclusive. Our CBSA value of Professionalism encompasses being attentive, alert and reliable. Therefore, neglecting our duties falls short of our high standards. For example, as professionals we:
For more guidance, see 1.1 Hours of Work
Our CBSA value of Professionalism entails competency. We demonstrate competency by observing safety and security standards, rules and procedures established for the workplace and the use of equipment while on the job.
We promptly report to our manager when there is a threat or any work-related hazard, accident or injury to ourselves or other employees.
CAUTION: Immediately notify your manager or a security officer if you become aware of:
Our CBSA value of Professionalism guides our behaviour at work so that we remain productive and avoid distracting or interfering with the work of others. It also includes being constantly aware of the potential for security breaches.
As CBSA employees working at Ports of Entry, and in any other CBSA offices where service to the public is provided, we do not use any personal electronic communication devices while performing our official duties.
As CBSA employees not directly serving the public, we minimize our use of personal electronic devices while we are performing our duties. If we are in doubt as to what is appropriate use, we consult and seek direction from our manager.
For more guidance, see section 3. Social Media.
Our CBSA value of Professionalism entails being ready and able to provide service excellence. Our CBSA value of Respect requires that we value and act within the rule of law.
As professionals, we never report to work under the influence of alcohol. We never use or are never found to be in possession of (except in relation to the performance of our duties) illegal drugs while on or off-duty. As a uniformed and/or armed employee we are especially vigilant in respecting this standard.
We recognize that, on occasion, consumption of alcohol may take place on CBSA premises in connection with the celebration of special events. Such activities are authorized by management and take place in areas not open to the public. Following these activities, we must be able to carry out our responsibilities effectively. Impairment due to alcohol consumption is not tolerated.
If we smoke, we do so only during rest periods and not on duty or in any building where the CBSA conducts its business.
Our CBSA value of Integrity requires us to separate our personal financial affairs from the handling of official financial matters.
We do not:
We follow established procedures and reasonable standards of care in accounting for, safeguarding and using government money, credit cards and any type of item having a financial value (e.g. phone cards, smart phones, cell phones, laptops, etc.) in our possession or control.
We immediately report to our manager if monies, credit cards or any type of item with a financial value is misplaced, lost or stolen while in our care.
For more guidance, see section 7. Care and Use of Government Property and Assets.
We do not endorse cheques, either personal or business, made payable to "cash" issued by customs-house brokers, importers or their agents. Endorsing such a cheque may contribute to a possible misappropriation of business funds.
We do not gamble on CBSA premises on or off-duty. Additionally, the Treasury Board Policy on the Use of Electronic Networks prohibits the use of computer systems and electronic networks for the purpose of illicit gambling.
For more guidance see section 6. Electronic Network Access and Uses.
CAUTION: Draws, usually called "50-50" draws (i.e., collections taken up by public servants to establish a sum of money, half of which would go to the winner of the draw and the other half to a charity) are exempt from this Code. They are considered social and voluntary activities shared by public servants. However, draws of this type are regulated by provincial authorities and are subject to licensing requirements.
We comply with all legal provisions governing financial matters and safeguard against any potential situations of fraud or inappropriate use of funds as stated in the Financial Administration Act, the Criminal Code and the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorism Financing Act.
We immediately report to our manager if we have knowledge or awareness of any violation or fraud.
The CBSA respects the right of employees to belong to employee organizations (unions) and to take part in their legal activities.
Our CBSA value of Integrity compels us to act at all times in a manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny. This behaviour goes beyond simply acting within the law. We do this by never using our official roles to gain advantage for ourselves or others or to cause disadvantage to others. We take the time to review our role as CBSA employees and as public servants to ascertain if there are any real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest between our official responsibilities and our private affairs. We take all possible steps to prevent and resolve any such conflicts of interest in favour of the public interest. We recognize that these obligations entail maintaining our employer's trust.
As public servants we are bound by the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment as a part of our terms and conditions of employment. Key sections of this Policy are outlined below.
Conflict of Interest (COI): is a situation in which the public servant has private interests that could improperly influence the performance of his or her official duties and responsibilities or in which the public servant uses his or her office for personal gain.
Conflict of Duties: a conflict that arises, not because of a public servant's private interests, but as a result of one or more concurrent or competing official responsibilities. For example, these roles could include his or her primary public service employment and his or her responsibilities in an outside role that forms part of his or her official duties, such as an appointment to a board of directors, or other outside function.
Public servant: a person employed in organizations defined in section 2 of the Policy. This includes indeterminate and term employees, employees on leave without pay, students participating in Student Employment Programs, casual, seasonal and part-time workers.
Although they are not public servants, individuals on incoming Interchange Canada assignments are expected to comply with, and volunteers are expected to respect, the requirements in Appendix B of the Policy. Order-in-council appointees, such as deputy heads, are subject to the Conflict of Interest Act, and are not subject to this Policy. Although, not bound by this Policy, we ask contractors and service providers to respect the spirit and intent of its requirements.
This section provides the conflict of interest and post-employment requirements. These requirements are grounded in and serve to uphold our values. By upholding these ethical standards, we conserve and enhance public confidence in the honesty, fairness and integrity of the public service. These requirements also form part of Canada's commitments as a signatory to international agreements on values and ethics.
We maintain public confidence in the objectivity of the public service by preventing and avoiding situations that could give the appearance of a conflict of interest, result in a potential for a conflict of interest, or result in an actual conflict of interest. Conflict of interest does not relate exclusively to matters concerning financial transactions and the transfer of economic benefit. While financial activity is important, conflicts of interest in any area of activity can negatively impact the perceived objectivity and impartiality of the public service. This is especially important with respect to activities on social media fora and when using electronic communication devices.
It is impossible to foresee every situation that could give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest. When in doubt, we should refer to the requirements set out in this Code and the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector to guide appropriate action. We can also seek guidance from our manager or explore options with the Office of Values and Ethics or consult the Resources posted on Atlas.
In addition to the requirements outlined in this Code, we are also required to observe any specific conduct requirements contained in the statutes governing the CBSA and our profession, where applicable.
Ultimately, each one of us is responsible for preventing, avoiding and resolving his or her real, apparent or potential conflict of interest situations.
Our general responsibilities and duties include:
In order to prevent and resolve conflict of interest situations during employment, we are required to report in writing according to CBSA procedures (as outlined in each of the following sections) using the CBSA Conflict of Interest (COI) Confidential Declaration Form, all outside activities, assets and interests that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to our official duties. Such a report is to be made within 60 days of our initial appointment or any subsequent appointment, transfer or deployment. This must be done in consultation with our manager.
On a regular basis thereafter, and every time a major change occurs in our personal affairs or official duties, we are required to review our obligations under this Code and the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. If a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists, we must complete and submit a CBSA COI Confidential Declaration Form according to CBSA procedures (as outlined below) in a timely manner.
When negotiating financial arrangements with outside parties, we are to comply with the requirements listed in this Code as well as other related directives or policies issued by the Treasury Board and the CBSA. When in doubt, we are to immediately report the situation to our manager in order to seek advice or direction on how to proceed. In addition to reporting to our manager, we can explore our options with the CBSA's Office of Values and Ethics.
We are required to evaluate our personal assets, taking into consideration the nature of our official duties and the characteristics of our assets. If there is any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest between the carrying out of our official duties and our assets, we are to report this matter to the President's delegated authority in a timely manner, using the CBSA COI Confidential Declaration Form. Additionally, we are to notify our manager that a CBSA COI Confidential Declaration Form has been submitted and notify him/her when and if the conflict of interest has been resolved.
Where the President's delegated authority determines that any of these assets results in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to our official duties, we may be required to divest those assets, or to take measures to resolve the conflict. We may not sell or transfer assets to family members or anyone else for the purpose of circumventing the compliance requirements.
The types of assets that should be reported and the procedures for reporting and managing such assets are set out in the Directive on Reporting and Managing Financial Conflicts of Interest.
We may engage in employment outside the public service and take part in outside activities unless the employment or activities are likely to give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest or would undermine the impartiality of the public service or our objectivity.
After consultation with our manager and if there is any doubt that our outside employment or activities might subject us to demands incompatible with our official duties, or cast doubt on our ability to perform our duties or responsibilities in a completely objective manner, we are required to complete and submit a CBSA COI Confidential Declaration Form to our manager. In addition to reporting to our manager, we can explore our options with the CBSA's Office of Values and Ethics. Our manager may require that the outside activities be modified or terminated if it is determined that a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists. The final decision rests with our Director General or Regional Director General.
Part 7 of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) recognizes our right, as public servants, to engage in political activity as long as it does not impair, or is not perceived to impair, our ability to perform our duties in a politically impartial manner. Whether a political activity will compromise impartiality, or will be perceived as doing so, depends on factors such as the nature of the political activity, the nature of our duties within the organizational context, and the level and visibility of our position.
"Political activities" are defined in Part 7 of the PSEA as:
If we wish to engage in a political activity not covered by Part 7 of the PSEA that could constitute a conflict of interest we are required to report the proposed activity to the CBSA's Designated Political Activities Representative (DPAR). Similarly, if we are subject to this Code but not subject to Part 7 of the PSEA, including casual and part-time workers, and wish to engage in any political activity that could constitute a conflict of interest, we are to report the proposed activity to CBSA's DPAR.
Before engaging in political activities, or if we are unsure whether the political activity we want to engage in is appropriate, we discuss our interest in becoming involved in a political activity with our immediate supervisor who may be able to offer advice and guidance concerning the political impartiality aspect of the PSEA requirements, given our current job responsibilities. We can also seek advice and direction from CBSA's DPAR. For more information, see General Political Activities.
As CBSA employees, we recognize that:
For more information speak to your manager and/or CBSA's Designated Political Activities Representative.
CAUTION: We are required to seek and obtain permission from the Public Service Commission to be a candidate, or seek to be nominated as one, in a federal, provincial, territorial, or municipal election. Before seeking nomination please read and comply with the Political Candidacy Request Process. Note that the responsibility for determining whether seeking nomination or being a candidate will compromise impartiality, or will be perceived as doing so, rests with the Public Service Commission.
Should we take part in any political activity, we will ensure that the nature of our participation does not conflict with our ability to:
We are expected to use our best judgment to avoid situations of real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest by considering the following criteria on gifts, hospitality and other benefits while keeping in mind the full context of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, this Code of Conduct and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment.
We are not to accept any gifts, hospitality or other benefits that may have a real, apparent or potential influence on our objectivity in carrying out our official duties and responsibilities, or that may place us under obligation to the donor. This includes activities such as free or discounted admission to sporting and cultural events, travel or conferences.
If we are offered a gift, hospitality or other benefits, we advise our manager, regardless of whether it is accepted or refused.
Although the normal expectation is that we do not accept gifts, hospitality or other benefits, it is permissible if they:
In case of doubt, it is best to decline the gift, hospitality or other benefits.
CAUTION: Soliciting or accepting a commission, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind from a person or commercial organization that has dealings with the Government of Canada, without obtaining the required written consent through our manager, is an offense under the Criminal Code, as well as a serious breach of this Code. This could be considered a bribe.
We are to seek written direction from our manager where it is impossible to decline gifts, hospitality and other benefits that do not meet the principles set out above, or where it is believed that there is sufficient benefit to the CBSA to warrant acceptance of a certain type of hospitality. In such cases we are expected to promptly declare the gift, hospitality or benefit and seek written direction on what to do (e.g. accept the gift on behalf of the Agency, accept the gift and donate it to charity, etc.). We can explore our options with the CBSA's Office of Values and Ethics in these situations.
When we participate in events (speaker at a conference, panel etc.) in our official capacity, we do not accept any form of honorarium, regardless of whether such participation was during or outside work hours.
In the course of our duties, we may receive offers from stakeholders to cover travel-related costs when we are called upon to collaborate with them or are invited to a conference as a speaker or guest.
If a third party offers to pay or reimburse the costs related to our travel, we must assess whether the offer poses a risk of real, apparent, or potential conflict of interest, or whether it may have, or give the appearance of having, influence on our objectivity in carrying out our official duties. We must also ensure that the acceptance of the offer would not contravene any legal, financial or policy requirements.
Accepting any offer of funded travel from a third party is unacceptable when:
If management decides that there is a benefit and a value added for the CBSA in our attending an event, then Agency source funding should be identified to cover the cost of the travel.
With the exception of fundraising for officially supported activities such as the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC), we may not solicit gifts, hospitality, other benefits or transfers of economic value from a person, group or organization in the private sector who has dealings with the government. When fundraising for such official activities we should ensure that we have prior written authorization from our manager, who will seek written authorization from the President's delegated authority to solicit donations, prizes or contributions in kind from external organizations or individuals.
Similarly, if an outside individual or entity, with whom the CBSA has past, present or potential official dealings, offers a benefit to the Agency such as funding for an event or a donation of equipment, we are to consider whether any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists, and obtain the consent in writing of our manager, who will seek written authorization from the President's delegated authority prior to accepting any such benefit.
The President's delegated authority may require that the activities be modified or terminated where it is determined that there is a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest or an obligation to the donor. These provisions are designed to ensure that this policy is consistent with paragraph 121(1) (c) of the Criminal Code.
We are responsible for demonstrating objectivity and impartiality in the exercise of our duties and in our decision-making, whether related to staffing, financial awards or penalties to external parties, transfer payments, program operations or any other exercise of responsibility.
This means that we are prohibited from granting preferential treatment or advantages to family, friends or any other person or entity. We are not to offer extraordinary assistance to any entity or persons already dealing with the government without the knowledge and support of our supervisor. We also are not to disadvantage any entity or persons dealing with the government because of personal antagonism or bias.
Providing information that is publicly accessible is not considered preferential treatment.
As public servants, we are called upon to have contact with a variety of stakeholders. It is important to be, and be perceived as being, impartial and objective in all our dealings with our stakeholders, and to remember that we represent the CBSA and the Government of Canada. Care must be taken to keep our relationships with stakeholders professional and to avoid any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest.
In small communities, CBSA is often a visible and significant part of the community. In such cases, it may be a greater challenge for us to keep our professional and personal lives separate. Maintaining our professional demeanour in public fora and assessing the effect of our personal behaviour on our professional roles becomes especially important in these circumstances.
Given that as managers or supervisors, we are expected to be unbiased and fair in managing our team, a reporting relationship between family members is a real conflict of interest and should be avoided since it creates the appearance of preferential treatment. The closeness and visibility of the relationship are factors to consider in determining the extent to which the definition of family may be applied. For instance, close personal relationships that may not satisfy the legal definition of family but may contribute to a perception of preferential treatment should also be avoided in reporting relationships.
It is our responsibility to identify situations where we may be in a situation of conflict of interest with respect to reporting relationships and to take appropriate action. In cases where it is impossible to avoid the conflict of interest, management should assign certain responsibilities regarding the reporting employee (performance assessment, leave approval, financial approvals, etc.) to another supervisor, or take other administrative measures to minimize the risk of a conflict of interest.
We all have the responsibility to minimize the possibility of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest between our most recent responsibilities within the federal public service and our subsequent employment outside the public service.
Before leaving our employment with the public service, we are all to disclose our intentions regarding any future outside employment or activities that may pose a risk of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest with our current responsibilities and discuss potential conflicts with our manager or the President's delegated authority.
At CBSA, EX positions or their equivalent, as well as EX minus 1 and EX minus 2 positions and their equivalent (e.g., PM-06, IS-05, AS-07), are designated for post-employment limitation. In addition, the President is responsible for designating positions of risk for post-employment conflict of interest situations. Such designations are to be communicated to potential and current employees.
If we occupy these designated positions, we are subject to a one-year limitation period after leaving employment with the federal public service. Before leaving and during this one-year limitation period, we are to report to the President's delegated authority all firm offers of employment or proposed activity outside the public service that could place us in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest with our public service employment. We are also immediately to disclose the acceptance of any such offer.
In addition, we may not, during this one-year period after leaving the federal public service, without the authorization of the President's delegated authority:
We may apply to the President's delegated authority for a written waiver or reduction of the post-employment limitation period. To do so, we are to provide sufficient information to assist the President in making a determination as to whether to grant the waiver taking into consideration the following criteria:
With respect to the arrangements necessary to prevent real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, or to comply with the requirements set out above, it is expected that situations will be resolved through discussion with the President's delegated authority. When we disagree on the appropriate arrangements to resolve a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, the disagreement will be resolved through the resolution procedures established by the Office of Values and Ethics.
If we do not comply with the requirements set out in this chapter we may be subject to disciplinary measures, up to and including termination of employment.
Wrongdoing is defined as:
When we have reasonable grounds to believe that a public servant has committed or is about to commit a wrongdoing in the workplace, under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act(PSDPA), we have three options to disclose this information. Our identity will be protected and we will be afforded protection against reprisal when we report wrongdoing using any of the three options:
When we disclose information concerning wrongdoing, we are expected to:
CBSA employees should ensure that allegations or evidence of misconduct or wrongdoing is reported immediately.
When receiving a disclosure of wrongdoing under the PSDA, managers must immediately report to the CBSA Senior Officer for Internal Disclosureany activity, statement or documentation that comes to their attention that may involve or constitute wrongdoing and/or improper (or criminal) activity.
When informed of any allegation or evidence of employee misconduct or wrongdoing, CBSA will investigate to ensure that the reputation of its employees and the integrity of CBSA operations are protected. Appropriate measures will be taken as a result of misconduct or wrongdoing.
For more guidance, see the CBSA Protected Disclosure of Wrongdoing Process and Chapter 4: Disciplinary Measures and Resolutions of Issues Pertaining to the Code of Conduct.
On its own, CBSA'sCode of Conduct cannot address all ethical issues that may arise in the course of carrying out our Agency's mandate. As CBSA employees and as public servants we are expected to uphold a high standard of conduct and to respect and act in accordance with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment, and the CBSACode of Conduct.
If a breach of either Code or the Policy occurs, managers are responsible for reviewing the breach and if required, consulting with Labour Relations and/or referring the case to Personnel Security and Professional Standards to determine appropriate action.
A decision regarding disciplinary measures will be determined on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration the nature of the breach and the seriousness of the misconduct. Serious breaches will result in consequences up to and including termination of employment. Some cases of misconduct may result in an employee being found guilty of an indictable offence and liable, on conviction, to fines and/or imprisonment based on legislative and regulatory requirements.
As provided by Sections 12 and 13 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), if we have information that could indicate wrongdoing, we can bring this matter to our manager, to CBSA's Senior Officer for Internal Disclosure, or to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. For more guidance see: Chapter 3 Disclosure of Information Concerning Wrongdoing in the Workplace.
The absence of a specific standard of conduct does not mean that an action is condoned and, consequently, it may still be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment.
With respect to either Code or the Policy, we are encouraged to resolve issues in a fair, respectful, and timely manner and to consider informal processes (e.g. dialogue, seeking guidance from experienced colleagues, our manager, an Informal Conflict Management System Advisor or our union representative. We can also explore our options with the CBSA's Office of Values and Ethics or view additional Resources posted on Atlas).
CAUTION: We are not permitted to do anything illegal or contrary to the Criminal Code, the CBSA Act, or any legislation or regulation enforced by the Agency. In the unlikely event of being arrested, detained or charged, whether on or off-duty—in Canada or outside Canada—with a violation of laws or regulations, we will immediately report this incident to our manager. This includes minor incidents, such as a traffic violation or highway code violation ticket received while using a government-owned or leased vehicle. We must also report to our manager, any contact or associations we have with known or suspected criminals outside our official duties, so that we can protect ourselves and the Agency.
For additional guidance concerning the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment and this CBSA Code of Conduct, contact the Manager of the CBSA Office of Values and Ethics at Tel: 613-941-5499.
The SOID helps to promote a protected environment for disclosing wrongdoing as specified in the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA) and deals with disclosures of wrongdoing made by CBSA employees and members of the public. For information visit the CBSA Disclosure of Wrongdoing Process site.
To make a confidential disclosure, please phone: 613-954-3604 or by email
The Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada provides a safe and confidential mechanism enabling public servants and the general public to disclose wrongdoings committed in the public sector.
Personnel Security and Professional Standards (PSPS) is responsible for all policies relating to professional standards and personnel security screening review for cause investigations. Specifically, it is the responsible authority for investigating suspicions or allegations of employee misconduct and unfavourable information that could jeopardize an employee's security screening or clearance. For more information, contact Tel: 613-941-7244.
The DPAR provides guidance for employees who want to engage in political activities. For information visit the CBSA General Political Activity and/or Political Candidacy Request Process sites or phone: 613-941-5499.
We have a right to work in an environment where employees respect each other and work together with professionalism. Different expectations, disagreements, and conflict are a natural and occasional part of human relations whether at work, school, or in our social lives. The confidential and impartial services of your Informal Conflict Management System are available to support you at the CBSA in attempting to resolve conflict. One can choose to use ICMS services prior to initiating a formal process, or after putting a formal process on hold. For assistance contact your ICMS Advisor.
If we find ourselves in a challenging personal situation (e.g. difficulty managing our time, health issues, substance abuse, relationship issues, etc.) that could affect our professional relationships or performance at work, it is important to speak to our manager or other advisors. To help overcome personal challenges, we have access to the Employee Assistance Program. This Program is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week to help overcome such personal challenges. For more information, see the Employee Assistance Program.
Assistance is also available from Labour Relations and Human Resources advisors and our union representatives.
The following is a list of resources that relate to the CBSA Code of Conduct. It is by no means exhaustive, but it includes the most relevant material.
Please note: Most of the resources below are internal documents only accessible to employees of the CBSA through the CBSA intranet. We have provided links only to the publicly available documents.
i Criteria adapted from the Millhaven Fibres Ltd., Millhaven Works, and Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Int'l Union, Local 9-670 (1967), 1 (A) Union-Management Arbitration Cases 328 (Anderson).
ii "Grant" and "contribution" here have the same meaning as in the Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments.
iii Assistant Deputy Ministers and their equivalents are subject to the Lobbying Act. In the case of any conflict between this Code and the Act, the Act takes precedence.