Code of conduct for National Energy Board Employees
Effective: 1 June 2014
Table of Contents
- 1 Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector
- 2 The NEB Code of Conduct
- 2.1 Principles of Conduct
- 2.2 Dealing with Potential Conflicts of Interest Procedure
- 2.3 Terms of Reference for Administration of the Code of Conduct
- 2.4 Approval of the NEB Code of Conduct
- Appendix 1 - Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector
- Appendix 2 - Guidelines for Meetings of Board Staff with Stakeholders
- Appendix 3 - References and Useful Links (in alphabetical order)
- Appendix 4 - Compliance Process Map
1 Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector
The Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector (Appendix 1) came into force on 2 April 2012 and applies to the entire public sector including the National Energy Board (NEB). It applies to all employees including term, students and casual employees. It outlines five values of the public sector: respect for democracy, respect for people, integrity, stewardship and excellence. The Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector also describes the expected behaviours of employees. The NEB Code of Conduct aligns with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. By committing to these values and expected behaviours, public servants strengthen the ethical culture of the public sector and contribute to public confidence in the integrity of all public institutions.
As established by the Treasury Board Secretariat, this code fulfills the requirement of Section 6 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. As a condition of employment, NEB employees must comply with both the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the NEB Code of Conduct.
2 The NEB Code of Conduct
The purpose of the NEB is to regulate pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest. It does this by promoting safety, security, environmental protection, and efficient energy infrastructure and markets, within its mandate set by Parliament.
The NEB has a long-standing reputation for fair, objective and respected decisions and recommendations. Employees play an important part in upholding that reputation. As a result, we each must carry out our day-to-day activities in a manner that:
- recognizes the values of the NEB;
- enhances public perception and the reputation of the NEB; and
- withstands the closest public scrutiny.
The Code includes the following elements:
- 2.1 Principles of Conduct - This section tells employees how they should conduct themselves. It describes the behaviours, attitudes and values of the NEB that employees are asked to demonstrate. It also outlines what employees are expected to do in order to avoid conflicts of interest;
- 2.2 Dealing with Potential Conflicts of Interest – This section describes the responsibilities of all NEB employees to avoid conflicts of interest. It explains the steps that are taken to review employee activities, what happens if a conflict is identified, and what employees can do if they disagree with the findings; and
- 2.3 Terms of Reference for Administration of the Code of Conduct – Delegates some of the Chair’s powers in relation to the Code to others at the NEB and establishes the Conflict of Interest (COI) Advisory Committee.
2.1 Principles of Conduct
2.1.1 Professional Behaviour
- How employees treat each other and those outside of the NEB tells a great deal about the values of the NEB. It is important that we:
- Conduct ourselves in a manner that reflects the NEB’s values of integrity, regulatory leadership, and accountability;
- Build relationships with co-workers and Board Members based on trust, honesty and mutual respect;
- Behave professionally and respectfully towards fellow employees, stakeholders and the general public;
- Make sure words and actions (including our communications through public mediums such as television, radio, newspaper, or social media):
- support the NEB’s reputation for fair, objective and respected decisions and recommendations;
- uphold the NEB’s mandate to be an independent regulator making decisions and recommendations in the Canadian public interest;
- reflect positively on the NEB and enhance its reputation; and
- support the NEB’s goals regarding safety, security, and environmental protection; and
- Make every effort to be helpful to applicants and the general public. When helping others, employees need to also make sure we respect the boundaries outlined by this Code and other NEB policies and guidelines (see the References and Useful Links section at the end of this document for a list of reference documents).
- All NEB employees are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of matters that are before the Board. This includes matters in which we are directly involved or of which we have knowledge.
- When addressing applications or other matters of concern to stakeholders, NEB employees must take care to keep the details confidential until a decision or recommendation has been made and the information is communicated publicly. The deliberations of the Board are always strictly confidential. This is of particular concern during the application process. Once an application has been filed (with the exception of certain non-hearing applications as described below), we should make sure that all communication goes to the Secretary, Process Advisor or Legal Counsel until a decision or recommendation has been made.
- An employee may find themselves in the unique position of being involved with, or knowledgeable of, a matter before the Board and at the same time, dealing with the stakeholder on other matters. For that reason, employees must always make sure discussions cover only the matter at hand and that information about other items before the Board is not shared.
- Employees need to treat stakeholders fairly and objectively. Employees must not create an appearance of giving preferential treatment to anyone submitting an application or presenting a matter before the Board. Participants in NEB processes should have a fair opportunity to be heard and to make submissions.
- When applicants or other stakeholders come to employees with questions or seeking information about applications, employees must only provide feedback on questions that relate to process. For example, answer questions about what content needs to be covered by referring parties to the NEB Filing Manual and also refer them to past decisions and recommendations that dealt with similar issues. Questions about how to best present information should not be answered. We can also refer these individuals to:
- NEB documents (e.g., National Energy Board Rules of Practice and Procedure, 1995, NEB Filing Manual);
- Hearing Process Advisor;
- Legal Counsel; or
- The Office of the Secretary, as appropriate.
2.1.4 Meetings with Stakeholders
- The NEB is required to maintain a high level of expertise and knowledge of matters related to the energy sector. The pace of change in the energy industry has accelerated, creating new challenges and issues and the need for different and creative regulatory responses. As a result, employees must maintain and enhance their knowledge and expertise related to the energy sector by formal and informal contacts and meetings with stakeholders. Such contacts can include facility tours, seminars, and informational meetings.
- Unless the meeting is informal and is unrelated to a matter that will be before the NEB, an agenda and minutes shall be kept and filed with Information Management & Technology. In this way the NEB can respond to any questions it receives about meetings employee(s) have attended. By keeping minutes, the NEB will be able to demonstrate that nothing was discussed outside of the meeting agenda.
- Because of the confidentiality of Board decision and recommendation-making and the importance of being seen as fair and impartial, the following types of meetings require approval. The procedures described in Appendix 2 - Guidelines for Meetings of Board Members with Stakeholders need to be followed when we have a meeting:
- on matters before the Board;
- with parties before the Board; or
- post-application and there are interested parties.
- For pre-application meetings we should refer to the National Energy Board Pre-Application Meetings Guidance Notes on the NEB website.
- In the event of questions about formal or informal meetings or contacts with stakeholders, speak with your Director, Business Leader or Legal Services.
2.1.5 NEB Act Applications
- 1. If specific criteria are met, NEB employees can communicate directly with companies who have submitted certain types of non-hearing applications in accordance with the guidelines described in the internal Information Request Procedure.
Presenting Information for NEB Applications
- 2. During a hearing for an NEB application, employees can present additional information for the Board Members to consider (e.g., external research reports, journal articles). However, any information employees provide must also be made available to all parties. In this way, everyone has the same opportunity to review the material and respond. If an employee wishes to present additional information, the employee should discuss how to do so with NEB Legal Counsel early in the hearing process. Once the record of the hearing has been closed and the NEB is preparing to make a decision or recommendation, further information cannot be presented.
Responding to Questions about Decisions
- 3. Employees must never try to explain or justify NEB decisions or recommendations on NEB applications. If asked questions, employees can direct individuals to the NEB’s decision or recommendation which contain the analysis that went into making the final decision or recommendation. If necessary, employees can also refer individuals to Legal Counsel.
Support Board Decisions and Recommendations
- 4. All regulatory decisions or recommendations for applications under the NEB Act are made by the Board Members. The role of NEB employees is to provide the support the Board needs to make those decisions or recommendations. This can include distributing documents to interested parties through to analyzing and making recommendations on information included in the application. In the end, however, the final decision or recommendation on an application rests with the Board.
2.1.6 Conflicts of Interest
Assets and Interests
- 1. Because of the nature of the NEB’s work employees need to make sure any interests or investments held do not present a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest with the NEB’s activities.
- 2. NEB employees should not be involved in any way with a business that deals in hydrocarbons or electricity. This means NEB employees should not own, hold shares in, act as a director, officer, partner or otherwise in a business that explores for, produces, sells, buys, transmits, exports, imports, is engaged in, or otherwise deals in hydrocarbons or electricity. Employees also should not hold any bond, debenture, strip bond, coupon, option or other security of a company engaged in such business.
- 3. When employees first start working at the NEB, employees must identify the assets and interests held. If at any time we make changes to our investments or interests that may present a conflict, employees must provide an update to the Human Resources representative on the COI Advisory Committee. If it is considered at any time that an employee holds an asset or interest that presents a conflict, the employee will be asked to divest that asset within 120 days.
- 4. If the COI Advisory Committee determines that assets or interests that present a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest with the NEB’s activities, the employee will be advised to divest. To comply with this Code, assets or interests must be divested in one of the following ways:
- Sold in an arm’s length transaction. This means selling an asset to someone with whom you do not have a relationship. Someone you have a relationship with would include your spouse, parent, sibling, children etc.; or
- Putting the asset into a blind trust arrangement, which means you have no control over the asset and the trustee who has control over it is at arm’s length to you.
- 5. If an employee chooses to place an asset in trust, the trust must be set up so the employee does not have any power to manage the asset or make decisions about it. When an asset is placed in trust, the COI Advisory Committee will review the agreement and verify with the Chief Operating Officer (COO) whether the agreement is acceptable. At the discretion of the COO the costs of placing or maintaining assets in a blind trust may be reimbursed.
- 6. It is not acceptable to sell or transfer assets or interests to family members or others in an attempt to avoid complying with this requirement.
- 7. Employees must identify outside activities they are involved in when they first start working at the NEB. If at any time an employee undertakes activities that could present a real, potential or apparent conflict the employee must provide an update to the Human Resources representative on the COI Advisory Committee.
- 8. Employees of the NEB can have a job outside of the NEB or run a small business providing these activities do not conflict with NEB activities, performance of NEB job duties, or the principles and requirements of Conduct referred to in this Code of Conduct.
- 9. Public Service employees have the right to engage in political activities while maintaining the principle of political impartiality in the Public Service. The Public Service Commission is responsible for administering the political activities regime. For information on candidacy requests or political activities not related to candidacy, please refer to the Public Service Commission website or the Board’s Designated Political Activities Representative.
- 10. If an employee’s work or business could lead to a relationship with a company, individual or organization that brings matters before the Board, the employee must advise the Conflict of Interest Advisory Committee by submitting a Confidential Report. The Conflict of Interest Advisory Committee will review the situation to advise whether there is a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest. For example, such a relationship might create the impression of the company, individual or organization getting special treatment from the Board.
- 11. If the Conflict of Interest Advisory Committee decides a real, potential or apparent conflict exists, the employee might be asked to limit, change or cease involvement with the company, individual, organization or activity.
- 12. If an employee is in doubt about a relationship, contact the Conflict of Interest Advisory Committee.
Criminal and Other Charges
- 13. If an employee is convicted of a violation of Canadian laws, regulations or statutes and a conviction could affect your ability to carry out the duties of your position, the employee must inform their Business Leader immediately. Similarly, if an employee is charged with such a violation and the charge itself affects the employee’s ability to carry out the duties of their position (e.g. the employee’s driver’s licence is suspended and the employee drives as part of their job) the employee must inform their Business Leader immediately.
Gifts, Hospitality or Other Benefits
- 14. Gifts, hospitality or other benefits offered as result of employment at the NEB can be accepted if:
- the offering is considered a 'normal' expression of courtesy (e.g., a lunch during a meeting) and does not exceed $200; and/or
- there is no suspicion that the offering has been made to influence an employee’s judgement or how the employee would perform their job.
- 15. If an employee believes a gift is not appropriate and you are unable to decline it, the employee must inform their Business Leader.
- 16. If an employee is in doubt about a gift, consult the internal Gifts, Hospitality & Other Benefits Guidelines document. If an employee is still in doubt, the employee needs to contact their Business Leader or the Conflict of Interest Advisory Committee.
Gifts, hospitality or benefits unrelated to an employee’s employment and given to the employee’s spouse or an immediate family member and not to the employee directly are generally acceptable. However, if an employee is working on an application for that particular company or individual, the offering should be declined.
- 17. Employees should not solicit or accept donations or prizes for NEB social events from companies in the energy industry.
Outside Employment Offers
- 18. Employees should not allow their work to be influenced by offers of outside employment. If you receive a firm offer, you should inform your Business Leader immediately. A job offer could place you in a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest situation.
- 19. When an employee receives a firm job offer outside of the NEB, the employee must notify their Business Leader or Strategic Leader of any post-employment activities that might be impacted by this Code.
- 20. The Business Leader or Strategic Leader may reassign the employee to other duties while still employed at the NEB, depending on the circumstances of the post-employment activity.
- 21. For the first year after leaving the NEB, an employee must not represent a company or individual before the NEB. This includes:
- sitting as a witness;
- acting as counsel;
- serving as an official representative at hearings;
- signing correspondence sent to the Board; or
- attending meetings with the Board or NEB employees.
- 22. During this time, however, it is acceptable for a former employee to make routine requests for information. Once employees leave the NEB they must still continue to keep confidential NEB information that is not publicly available.
- 23. If an employee is aware of a former employee that is not following these restrictions, advise the Conflict of Interest Advisory Committee.
Duties and Obligations
- 25. Employees are expected to abide by this Code. If an employee does not comply with this Code, he or she may be subject to corrective action, which could include disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment. Please refer to the internal Discipline Policy.
2.2 Dealing with Potential Conflicts of Interest Procedure
2.2.1 Process for Compliance with the Code of Conduct
- 1. The following describes the responsibilities of all employees at the NEB and the steps to meet the NEB’s conflict of interest requirements. For additional information, please refer to the process map in Appendix 4 - Compliance Process Map and the Terms of Reference for Administration of the Code of Conduct in Section 2.3.
Declaring Assets and Interests
- 2. Within 60 days of commencement of employment, a new employee must complete an Employee Certification Document (ECD).
- 3. On the ECD, if the employee declares they are not involved in any way with a business that deals in hydrocarbons or electricity or outside activities, the employee completes the ECD and submits it to Human Resources. No further action is required by the employee, unless their circumstances change.
- 4. On the ECD, if the employee declares they are involved in any of the following:
- involved in some way with a business that deals in hydrocarbons or electricity (including as an investor in securities of such business); or
- involved in outside activities which could present a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest with the Board’s activities,
- as contemplated by Section 2.1.6 of the NEB Code of Conduct, then the employee must prepare and submit a Confidential Report to the COI Advisory Committee.
- 5. Employees have an ongoing obligation to inform the COI Advisory Committee of any changes in their assets, liabilities and outside activities that would be subject to a Confidential Report.
Reviewing the Confidential Report
- 6. The COI Advisory Committee will review the ECD and the Confidential Report.
- During the review of the Confidential Report, the employee may be asked to:
- provide the COI Advisory Committee with further information about their assets and interests, outside employment or other activities;
- provide the COI Advisory Committee with further details or meet with the Conflict of Interest Advisory Committee about their Confidential Report; and/or
- meet with the COI Advisory Committee to make representations either personally or through a representative.
- During the review of the Confidential Report, the employee may be asked to:
- 7. The COI Advisory Committee will take into consideration any representations made by or on behalf of the employee before making a recommendation on a conflict of interest question. The COI Advisory Committee may also seek information from the employee’s Business Leader.
- 8. When advising about potential conflicts related to the assets and interests or outside activities of an employee, the Conflict of Interest Advisory Committee may consider such matters as:
- the level and nature of the employee’s position at the NEB;
- the possibility of the employee taking improper advantage of information obtained in the course of his/her official duties and responsibilities; and
- the possibility of the employee using public office to improper advantage to obtain outside employment.
COI Advisory Committee Recommendation
- 9. After reviewing the Confidential Report, the COI Advisory Committee will advise the employee if it appears that there is a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest. The COI Advisory Committee will suggest what is required to meet the requirements of the Code. The COI Advisory Committee may provide timelines for an employee to alter their assets, interests or activities. The COI Advisory Committee will allow an employee 120 days to divest assets.
- 10. If an employee does not confirm compliance with the recommendation of the COI Advisory Committee, the Committee shall advise the COO in writing of its recommendation and that it has not been followed by the employee.
- 11. If an employee disagrees with the COI Advisory Committee’s recommendation, they can, within 30 calendar days of receiving the COI Advisory Committee’s recommendation, submit a written request to the COO for a review and decision. The COO is accountable for making the decision under this Code.
- 12. The COO will forward the employee's letter to the COI Advisory Committee and request a written report that addresses the employee’s concerns and explains the recommendation. At the request of the COI Advisory Committee or the employee, the employee may make representations to the COI Advisory Committee, either personally or through a representative.
- 13. The COI Advisory Committee will forward the report to both the COO and the employee. The employee will be given 30 days to respond to the content of the report.
- 14. The employee will submit their response to the COO and provide a copy to the Human Resources representative of the COI Advisory Committee for record keeping.
- 15. The COO will review the COI Advisory Committee's report and the employee's response. The COO may seek information from the employee’s Business Leader. If the COO requires a legal opinion, the legal advice will be provided by a counsel other than the counsel on the COI Advisory Committee.
- 16. The COO will make a decision, taking into consideration the available information. Where the COO requires divestment, the cessation of an activity, or some other action to avoid or eliminate a conflict, the COO may set a time for the employee to do so.
- 17. If the employee does not comply with the COO’s decision, he or she may be subject to corrective action, which could include disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment.
- 18. In the event the COO becomes aware of a potential conflict of interest and is of the view that urgent action is required to address it, the COO may take steps at any time (including prior to COI Advisory Committee recommendation), requiring the employee to accept a temporary change in duties pending the opportunity for review of the matter by the Conflict of Interest Advisory Committee and, if requested, decision making by the COO.
2.2.2 Dealing with Potential Conflict of Interest - Family Members
- All employees should notify their Business Leader of immediate family members who work for, or on behalf of, a present or likely hearing participant in a proceeding to which the employee is assigned.
- Immediate family member of the employee means the employee’s spouse, parent, child, sibling, mother or father-in-law, son or daughter-in-law, brother or sister in-law and anyone (other than an employee of either the staff member or the staff member’s immediate family) who shares the employee’s residence.
- The Business Leader decides whether an employee with an immediate family member working for, or on behalf of, a present or likely hearing participant continues to be assigned to the hearing.
- The COO, upon request made by an employee with an immediate family member working for, or on behalf of, a present or likely hearing participant, reviews the decision made by their Business Leader in respect of whether the employee should continue to be assigned to the said hearing.
2.3 Terms of Reference for Administration of the Code of Conduct
- 1. By virtue of the delegation of authority in the Delegation of Human Resources Authorities, the COI Advisory Committee, Strategic Leaders, the Executive Team and the COO have the following authorities with respect to the administration of the Code:
- COI Advisory Committee
- To review declarations filed by employees in compliance with the Code and to advise employees and the COO of any apparent violations of the Code that may be revealed by those declarations; and
- To review and advise upon questions related to conflict of interest referred to the COI Advisory Committee by employees or management.
- Executive Team, Strategic Leaders & Directors:
- To ensure compliance with and enforcement of the Code.
- To determine whether or not a breach of the Code has occurred and make a decision where an employee does not confirm compliance with the recommendation of the COI Advisory Committee or requests a review of the recommendation;
- To require an employee to limit or cease outside activities, divest assets or interests, or restrict post-employment activities;
- To review the decision made by the Business Leader, upon request, in respect of whether an employee should continue to be assigned to a hearing where there is a potential conflict of interest relating to a family member; and
- To send out an annual reminder to all employees reminding them that they have an ongoing obligation to inform the Conflict of Interest Advisory Committee of any changes in their assets, liabilities and outside activities that would be subject to a Confidential Report.
- COI Advisory Committee
COI Advisory Committee Membership
- 2. The membership of the COI Advisory Committee will consist of:
- the General Counsel, Associate General Counsel, or other Counsel from the Legal Services Unit appointed by the CEO or COO, who will be the Chair of the Committee;
- the Secretary of the Board (alternate, Assistant Secretary of the Board); and
- the Director, Human Resources Programs (alternate, Technical Specialist, Human Resources Programs).
- 3. If any of the members are unavailable, the Chair of the Committee may ask their alternate (as indicated above) or, if that person is unavailable, a person acting for the member of the Committee, to perform their role on the COI Advisory Committee.
- 4. When the COI Advisory Committee meets, two members being present will constitute a quorum, one of which must be the Chair of the Committee.
- 5. A Human Resources Assistant will perform the duties of the Recording Secretary of the Committee.
2.4 Approval of the NEB Code of Conduct
The Code fulfils the requirements of Section 6 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. The Code of Conduct for NEB Employees, effective January 2009, is replaced by this Code of Conduct for National Energy Board Employees. The Code is aligned and encompasses the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.
This Code of Conduct and these Terms of Reference are approved this_____ day of _____________ 2014.
Chair & CEO
Appendix 1 - Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector
The Role of Federal Public Servants
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 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.
The Role of Ministers
Ministers are also responsible for preserving public trust and confidence in the integrity of public sector organizations and for upholding the tradition and practice of a professional non-partisan federal public sector. Furthermore, ministers play a critical role in supporting public servants' responsibility to provide professional and frank advice.
This Code outlines the values and expected behaviours that guide public servants in all activities related to their professional duties. By committing to these values and adhering to the expected behaviours, public servants strengthen the ethical culture of the public sector and contribute to public confidence in the integrity of all public institutions.
As established by the Treasury Board, this Code fulfills the requirement of section 5 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA). It was developed in consultation with public servants, public sector organizations and bargaining agents. This Code should be read in conjunction with organizational codes of conduct.
Statement of Values
These values are a compass to guide public servants in everything they do. They cannot be considered in isolation from each other as they will often overlap. This Code and respective organizational codes of conduct are important sources of guidance for public servants. Organizations are expected to take steps to integrate these values into their decisions, actions, policies, processes, and systems. Similarly, public servants can expect to be treated in accordance with these values by their organization.
1. Respect for Democracy
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.
2. Respect for People
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.
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.
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.
Federal public servants are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the values of the public sector and these expected behaviours.
1. Respect For Democracy
Public servants shall uphold the Canadian parliamentary democracy and its institutions by:
- 1.1 Respecting the rule of law and carrying out their duties in accordance with legislation, policies and directives in a non-partisan and impartial manner.
- 1.2 Loyally carrying out the lawful decisions of their leaders and supporting ministers in their accountability to Parliament and Canadians.
- 1.3 Providing decision makers with all the information, analysis and advice they need, always striving to be open, candid and impartial.
2. Respect For People
Public servants shall respect human dignity and the value of every person by:
- 2.1 Treating every person with respect and fairness.
- 2.2 Valuing diversity and the benefit of combining the unique qualities and strengths inherent in a diverse workforce.
- 2.3 Helping to create and maintain safe and healthy workplaces that are free from harassment and discrimination.
- 2.4 Working together in a spirit of openness, honesty and transparency that encourages engagement, collaboration and respectful communication.
Public servants shall serve the public interest by:
- 3.1 Acting at all times with integrity and in a manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny, an obligation that may not be fully satisfied by simply acting within the law.
- 3.2 Never using their official roles to inappropriately obtain an advantage for themselves or to advantage or disadvantage others.
- 3.3 Taking all possible steps to prevent and resolve any real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest between their official responsibilities and their private affairs in favour of the public interest.
- 3.4 Acting in such a way as to maintain their employer's trust.
Public servants shall use resources responsibly by:
- 4.1 Effectively and efficiently using the public money, property and resources managed by them.
- 4.2 Considering the present and long-term effects that their actions have on people and the environment.
- 4.3 Acquiring, preserving and sharing knowledge and information as appropriate.
Public servants shall demonstrate professional excellence by:
- 5.1 Providing fair, timely, efficient and effective services that respect Canada's official languages.
- 5.2 Continually improving the quality of policies, programs and services they provide.
- 5.3 Fostering a work environment that promotes teamwork, learning and innovation.
Acceptance of these values and adherence to the expected behaviours is a condition of employment for every public servant in the federal public sector, regardless of their level or position. A breach of these values or behaviours may result in disciplinary measures being taken, up to and including termination of employment.
The PSDPA defines the "public sector" as: (a) the departments named in Schedule I to the Financial Administration Act and the other portions of the federal public administration named in Schedules I.1 to V to that Act; and (b) the Crown corporations and other public bodies set out in Schedule I of the PSDPA. However, "the public sector" does not include the Canadian Forces, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service or the Communications Security Establishment, which are subject to separate requirements under the Act.
The Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector came into force on April 2, 2012.
Avenues for Resolution
The expected behaviours are not intended to respond to every possible ethical issue that might arise in the course of a public servant's daily work. When ethical issues arise, public servants are encouraged to discuss and resolve these matters with their immediate supervisor. They can also seek advice and support from other appropriate sources within their organization.
Public servants at all levels are expected to resolve issues in a fair and respectful manner and consider informal processes such as dialogue or mediation.
As provided by sections 12 and 13 of the PSDPA, if public servants have information that could indicate a serious breach of this Code, they can bring the matter, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to the attention of their immediate supervisor, their senior officer for disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
Senior officers for disclosure are responsible for supporting the chief executive in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA. They help promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing, and deal with disclosures of wrongdoing made by employees of the organization. Further information on the duties and powers of senior officers for disclosure can be found in the attached Appendix (from the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector).
Members of the public who have reason to believe that a public servant has not acted in accordance with this Code can bring the matter to an organizational point of contact that has been designated for the handling of such concerns or to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner to disclose a serious breach of this Code.
Appendix from the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector
Duties and Obligations
Public servants are expected to abide by this Code and demonstrate the values of the public sector in their actions and behaviour. Furthermore, public servants must also adhere to the behavioural expectations set out in their respective organizational codes of conduct. If a public servant does not abide by these values and expectations, he or she may be subject to administrative or disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment.
Public servants who are also managers are in a position of influence and authority that gives them a particular responsibility to exemplify the values of the public sector.
As provided by sections 12 and 13 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), if public servants have information that could indicate a serious breach of this Code they can bring this matter, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to the attention of their immediate supervisor, their senior officer for disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
Chief executives of public sector organizations have specific responsibilities under the PSDPA, including establishing a code of conduct for their organization and an overall responsibility for fostering a positive culture of values and ethics in their organization. They ensure that employees are aware of their obligations under this Code and their specific organizational code of conduct. They also ensure that employees can obtain appropriate advice within their organization on ethical issues, including possible conflicts of interest.
Chief executives ensure that this Code, their organizational code of conduct, and their internal disclosure procedures are implemented effectively in their organization, and that they are regularly monitored and evaluated. Chief executives of Crown corporations may rely on their boards of directors for support in this duty.
Chief executives are responsible for ensuring the non-partisan provision of programs and services by their organizations.
Chief executives are subject to this Code and to the Conflict of Interest Act.
Senior Officers for Disclosure
The senior officer for disclosure helps promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing and deals with disclosures of wrongdoing made by public servants of their organization. Senior officers are responsible for supporting the chief executive in meeting the requirements of the PSDPA.
The senior officer's duties and powers within his or her organization also include the following, in accordance with the internal disclosure procedures established under the PSDPA:
- Provide information, advice and guidance to public servants regarding the organization's internal disclosure procedures, including the making of disclosures, the conduct of investigations into disclosures, and the handling of disclosures made to supervisors.
- Receive and record disclosures and review them to establish whether there are sufficient grounds for further action under the PSDPA.
- Manage investigations into disclosures, including determining whether to deal with a disclosure under the PSDPA, initiate an investigation or cease an investigation.
- Coordinate handling of a disclosure with the senior officer of another federal public sector organization, if a disclosure or an investigation into a disclosure involves that other organization.
- Notify the person(s) who made a disclosure in writing of the outcome of any review and/or investigation into the disclosure and on the status of actions taken on the disclosure, as appropriate.
- Report the findings of investigations, as well as any systemic problems that may give rise to wrongdoing, directly to his or her chief executive, with recommendations for corrective action, if any.
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat-Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer
In support of the Treasury Board President's responsibilities under section 4 of the PSDPA, the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) is responsible for promoting ethical practices in the public sector. The OCHRO will work with all relevant partner organizations to implement and promote this Code, and will provide advice to chief executives and designated departmental officials with respect to its interpretation.
The Chief Human Resources Officer may issue directives, standards and guidelines related to this Code.
OCHRO will monitor the implementation of this Code in organizations with a view to assessing whether the stated objectives have been achieved.
Public Service Commission
The Public Service Commission is responsible for conducting staffing investigations and audits to safeguard the integrity of the public service staffing system and administering certain provisions related to political activities to maintain the non-partisanship of the public service in accordance with the Public Service Employment Act.
Appendix 2 - Guidelines for Meetings of Board Employees with Stakeholders
Employees are expected to use formal and informal meetings with stakeholders to maintain and enhance their expertise and knowledge. Meetings and discussions with stakeholders relating to procedure, the Process Advisor role, and Participant Funding Program are also acceptable. However certain types of meetings can present a risk to the integrity of the Board’s processes and require approval. These types of meetings are outlined below and processes set out for determining when such a meeting can proceed. If an employee has any questions about whether or not a proposed meeting comes within these Guidelines, the employee should speak with their Director, Business Leader or Legal Services. For all of the meetings outlined below, an agenda is required and minutes must be kept and filed with Records.
Pre-Application Meetings with Stakeholders
- 1. Where the attendance of Board Members is requested at a pre-application meeting with a regulated company or with possible interested parties, the request for the meeting should be made in writing through the Office of the Secretary of the Board and should include a proposed agenda.
- 2. All other meetings relating to a pending application shall follow the National Energy Board Pre-Application Meeting Guidance Notes (Revised 14 February 2013) ("Guidance Notes"”) and may be initiated by a request to a Director. An agenda and minutes of the meeting must be prepared in accordance with the Guidance Notes.
Meetings with Stakeholders on Matters Unrelated to an Application
- 3. Other than pre-application meetings subject to the Guidance Notes, all meetings with stakeholders currently before the Board on a matter that is not before the Board, may be held upon the authorization of the Business Leader (BL) and with the advice of Counsel. If the BL disagrees with the advice of counsel, the meeting may be held upon the authorization of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and with the advice of the General Counsel. If the COO disagrees with the advice of the General Counsel on whether the meeting should be held, a final decision will be made by the Chair & CEO of the Board.
- 4. The COO can exempt certain types of meetings from the requirements of item 3 above upon request by a BL. A list of the exempted meetings can be found below in the Meetings Exempted from the Guidelines for Meetings with Stakeholders.
Meetings on Regulatory Issues Before the Board
- 5. With the exception of meetings subject to the NEB Information Request Procedure, all other meetings with stakeholders or others on a regulatory issue before the Board may be held with the agreement of the COO and upon the advice of the General Counsel. If the regulatory issue is before a Panel, the Chair of the Panel must also agree. Should the COO disagree with the advice of the General Counsel, or, where applicable, the Chair of the Panel does not agree with either or both of them, a final decision will be made by the Chair & CEO of the Board. Meetings with stakeholders on regulatory issues before the Board should be conducted in accordance with the Board’s Procedures for Meetings on Matters before the Board below.
- 6. After a decision or recommendation has been issued, meetings may be held with regulated companies for compliance monitoring or in relation to landowner complaints. However, where the compliance meeting is about an issue that involved both the regulated company and other interested parties, the meeting may be held if the BUL agrees and upon the advice of counsel. If the BUL disagrees with the advice of counsel, the meeting may be held upon the authorization of the COO and with the advice of the General Counsel. If the COO disagrees with the advice of the General Counsel on whether the meeting should be held, a final decision will be made by the Chair & CEO of the Board.
Procedures for Meetings on Matters before the Board
When a decision has been taken to allow employees to have meetings with people outside the Board on a matter which is currently before the Board, the employee attending the meeting must provide the Chief Operating Officer with an email confirming that they will follow some or all these procedures.
Board proceeding or proceeding - the hearing or Board process in which the Board is considering the matter which is the subject of the meetings with people outside the Board.
matter - the issue which is both before the Board in the proceeding and the subject of the meetings with people outside the Board.
meeting - the meeting with people outside the Board which includes discussion of a matter currently before the Board in a Board proceeding.
meeting employee(s) - the employee(s) that will be attending the meeting with people outside the Board.
protected Members and employees - the Members and employees who should not receive information regarding the meeting in question (as they are involved with the issue currently before the Board). This would normally be the panel and staff assigned to a hearing, and would include, any alternate Member until the hearing commences.
In order to ensure that the Board proceeding is not compromised, some or all of the following safeguards will be put in place.
- The protected Members and employees are identified and will not be part of the meeting employee(s).
- Subsequent to the meeting, the meeting employees will not participate in the Board proceeding in any way.
- The meeting employees will not discuss the matter with the protected Members and staff at any time prior to release of the Board’s decision or recommendation on the proceeding.
- An agenda will be established for each meeting.
- Minutes will be kept for each meeting. These may be shared with the participants at the meeting, but will only be disseminated on a restricted basis (see items 7, 8 and 9 below) until the decision or recommendation in the Board proceeding is released.
- All notes and information from the meetings will be kept on confidential computer drives until the decision or recommendation in the Board proceeding is released. All hard copies of meeting documents will be kept locked at all times when not being worked on.
- Until the decision or recommendation in the Board proceeding is released, briefings on the discussions held at and information gathered from the meeting will be limited to:
- Board Members not involved in the proceeding;
- Senior management who are not involved and will not become involved in any substantive discussions or issues in the proceeding; and
- Only such staff as designated by senior management who are not and will not become involved in the Board proceeding.
- All documents distributed inside the Board with respect to the meeting will be provided under a cover memorandum which specifically lists the people to whom the document is being disseminated. The cover memorandum will contain a caveat attached to the distribution list which clearly states that there may be no further dissemination of the document or discussion of its contents with anyone other than those listed on the cover memo until after the decision or recommendation in the Board proceeding is released. All copies of the cover memo and documents will be numbered copies and a log will be kept by the distributor indicating who received each numbered copy.
- All documents distributed with respect to the meeting will be placed in envelopes marked "for the information of the addressee only".
- All oral briefings and discussions will commence with a statement that there can be no discussion regarding any of the information with anyone other than those listed on the distribution sheet or attending the oral briefing until after the decision or recommendation in the Board’s proceeding is released. A list of all people briefed on the meeting, all of whom must fall within the limits of item 7, will be maintained.
- After the decision or recommendation in the Board’s proceeding is released, all agendas and minutes will be placed on file and made publicly available, if requested.
Meetings Exempted from the Guidelines for Meetings with Stakeholders
Certain types of meetings are exempt from the requirements of the Guidelines for Meetings of Board Employees with Stakeholders. It should be noted, however, that if the stakeholder being met is involved in contested matters before the Board, Board Counsel should be invited to also attend the meeting. This will support the Board's action if a meeting is questioned by a stakeholder, and strengthen the perception that nothing was discussed outside of the matter specified on the meeting's agenda. The following types of meetings are exempt from the requirements of the Guidelines for Meetings of Board Employees with Stakeholders.
- meetings with a company to clarify or provide general information about Tolls Task Force resolutions (these meetings are about resolutions that are either approved unanimously or unopposed);
- initial contact with companies to discuss financial audits and meetings, as required, while preparing financial audit reports (Note: the Board should approve audit plans identifying the companies to audit and the timing);
- meetings on industry-wide initiatives related to regulatory or standards development, such as new regulations or guidelines and generic regulatory approaches;
- meetings on matters related to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act and that are not assigned to a Panel;
- discussions, calls, meetings about the use and operation of the Board’s electronic information submission and retrieval systems;
- Cost Recovery Liaison Committee Meetings;
- meetings with companies who may have applications before the Board or be interveners in Board proceedings, strictly for the purposes of providing market or supply knowledge and market intelligence, and where applications matters are explicitly not discussed;
- meetings between Legal Counsel to discuss procedural matters during a proceeding of any kind, including hearings;
- during the course of proceedings of any kind, including hearings, meetings to discuss procedures with stakeholders (including meetings/discussions relating to the Process Advisor role);
- meetings/discussions relating to the Participant Funding Program;
- meetings or contact as part of the issue resolution process; and
- Environmental Studies Research Fund Meetings.
Appendix 3 - References and Useful Links
(in alphabetical order)
- Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. O-7)
- Canada Petroleum Resources Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 36 2nd Supp.)
- Confidential Report on the internal NEB Process Dashboard under the HR - Employee Relations process: English PDB # 306176 / French PDB # 306177
- Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders [PDF]
- Delegation of Human Resources Authorities on the internal NEB Process Dashboard under HR - Overview of Documents Related to Divisions of HR process: English PDB # 307732 / French PDB # 307733
- Discipline Policy on the internal NEB Process Dashboard under the HR - Employee Relations process: PDB # 324564
- Employee Certification Document on the internal NEB Process Dashboard under the HR Employee Relations process: English PDB # 306174 / French PDB # 306175
- Gifts & Hospitality Guidelines on the internal NEB Process Dashboard under the HR - Employee Relations process: English PDB # 324562 / French PDB # 380923
- Grievance Handling Guidelines & Procedures on the internal NEB Process Dashboard under the HR - Employee Relations process: English PDB # 252163 / French PDB # 252164
- Information Request Procedure on the internal NEB Process Dashboard under the Application Assessment Process: PDB # 231242
- Meetings with External Parties & Delegations on the internal NEB Process Dashboard: PDB # 245640
- National Energy Board Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. N-7)
- National Energy Board Filing Manual
- National Energy Board Media Requests and Key Message - Media Lines Process on the internal NEB Process Dashboard under the Communications Processes: PDB # 549870
- National Energy Board Rules of Practice and Procedure, 1995 (SOR/95-208)
- National Energy Board Pre-Application Meetings Guidance Notes (Revised 14 February 2013)
- National Energy Board Respectful Workplace Policy on the internal NEB Process Dashboard under the HR - Employee Relations process: English PDB # 661896 / French PDB # 661897
- Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act on the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada website
- Public Service Commission of Canada Political Activities
- Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat website
Appendix 4 - Compliance Process Map
|Employee completes an Employee Certification Document (ECD)|
|Statement regarding Conflict
of Interest on the ECD
Outside Activities on the ECD
|Is the employee involved in some way with a business that deals in hydrocarbons or electricity?||No
|Employee submits ECD to Human Resources. No further action for employee||No
|Is the employee involved in any outside activities which could present a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest with the Board’s activities?|
|Employee prepares and submits a Confidential Report||Yes
The Conflict of Interest (COI) Advisory Committee
An employee may request a review of the recommendation
|Employee complies with
within the stated timeframe
|Employee requests a review of
the recommendation or does not comply
|No further action for employe||COO will conduct a review
and make a decision.
|If employee disagrees with decision,
they may file a grievance
with the Chair & CEO
|Chair & CEO makes final decision|
|Employees are expected to abide by this Code. If an employee does not comply with this Code, he or she may be subject to corrective action, which could include disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment. Please refer to the internal Discipline Policy.|
 The NEB has a Respectful Workplace Policy.
 If you encounter a media request, the NEB has an internal procedure on addressing media requests: Media Requests and Key Message - Media Lines Process.
 In the case of decisions made under the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act by the Chief Conservation Officer and the Chief Safety Officer, these principles also apply. Employees working on these matters must always act so as to maintain and enhance the reputation of the Board, the Chief Conservation Officer and the Chief Safety Officer for fair, objective and respected decisions.
 In particular, see the FAQ document on political activities.
 This Code is intended to clarify the role and expectations of public servants within the framework of Canadian parliamentary democracy as laid out in the Constitution Act and the basic principle of responsible government, which holds that the powers of the Crown are exercised by ministers who are in turn accountable to Parliament.
 The Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA) defines "public servant" as every person employed in the public sector (this includes the core public administration, Crown corporations and separate agencies). Every member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and every chief executive (including deputy ministers and chief executive officers) are also included in the definition of public servant for the purpose of the PSDPA and this Code.
 This text reflects the duties and responsibilities set out in Accountable Government: A Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State, the Conflict of Interest Act, the Lobbying Act and the PSDPA.
 "Chief executive" means the deputy head or chief executive officer of any portion of the public sector, or the person who occupies any other similar position, however called, in the public sector (PSDPA, 2005).
 Section 4 of the PSDPA assigns this responsibility to the Minister responsible for the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada (subsequently the Canada Public Service Agency (CPSA)). With the creation of the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer within Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat on February 6, 2009, the functions of the CPSA were transferred to the OCHRO.
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