Office of the Correctional Investigator
Code of Conduct

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Table of Contents

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Chapter 1: Introduction

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1.1 Introductory Statement

In his role as Champion of Values and Ethics for the organization, the Correctional Investigator initiated consultations (one-on-one meetings with staff) to obtain views, expectations and feedback for the development of an employee code of conduct. These individual conversations informed the agenda at the 2012 Employee Retreat. Following this meeting, the Office of the Correctional Investigator’s (OCI) Code of Conduct was completed.

Mission Statement

“As the ombudsman for federally sentenced offenders, the Office of the Correctional Investigator serves Canadians and contributes to safe, lawful and humane corrections through independent oversight of the Correctional Service of Canada by providing accessible, impartial and timely investigation of individual and systemic concerns.”

Essentially, the OCI’s oversight role is to ensure accountability of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) in carrying out its statutory mandate in compliance with its domestic and international legal and human rights obligations.

Independence, impartiality and respect for human rights are the foundations of the Office’s mandate. The work performed by investigative staff and their ongoing dedication to ensure legal and policy compliance and fair decision-making is rooted in the principle that offenders, like every other Canadian, must be treated with dignity and accordance with the rule of law.

1.2 Application

This Code applies to all individuals employed by the OCI. Acceptance of these values and adherence to the expected behaviours is a condition of employment for every employee in the organization, regardless of their level or responsibilities. A breach of these values or behaviours may result in disciplinary measures being taken, up to and including termination of employment.

It is expected that most matters arising from the application of this Code can and should be resolved at the organizational level.

The OCI’s Code of Conduct was approved by the Senior Management Committee on June 14, 2012 and came into force on that day.

1.3 Objectives

This Code outlines the values and expected behaviours that guide OCI employees in all activities related to their professional duties. By committing to these values and adhering to the expected behaviours, employees strengthen the ethical culture of the organization, and contribute to public confidence in the integrity of all public institutions.

This Code sets forth the values and ethics that will guide and support individuals employed by the OCI in all their professional activities and relationships.

It will serve to maintain and enhance public confidence in the integrity of the OCI. The Code will also serve to strengthen respect for, and appreciation of, the role played by the OCI within Canadian democracy and the Canadian criminal justice system.

The Code sets out OCI values as well as Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Measures.

As established by the Government of Canada, this Code fulfills the requirement of section 5 of the Public Service Disclosure Protection Act. This Code should be read in conjunction with other relevant human resources policies, including the OCI’s Directive on Discipline and Terms and Conditions of Employment.

Chapter 2: Values and Behaviours

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2.1 Public Service Values

Persons employed by the OCI shall be guided in their work and their professional conduct by a balanced framework of values: democratic, professional, ethical and people values. These families of values are not distinct but overlap.

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.

Public servants shall uphold the Canadian Parliamentary democracy and its institutions by:

  • Respecting the rule of law and carrying out their duties in accordance with legislation, policies and directives in a non-partisan and objective manner;
  • Loyally carrying out the lawful decisions of their leaders and supporting Ministers in their accountability to Parliament and Canadians; and
  • Providing decision-makers with all the information, analysis and advice they need, always striving to be open, candid and impartial.

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 people and the ideas they generate are the wellspring of our spirit of innovation.

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

  • Treating every person with respect and fairness;
  • Valuing diversity and the benefit of combining the unique qualities and strengths inherent in a diverse workforce;
  • Helping to create and maintain safe and healthy workplaces that are free from harassment and discrimination; and
  • Working together in a spirit of openness, honesty and transparency that encourages engagement, collaboration and respectful communication.

Integrity: 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 objectivity of the federal public sector.

Public servants shall serve the public interest by:

  • 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;
  • Never using their official roles to inappropriately obtain an advantage for them or to advantage or disadvantage others;
  • 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; and
  • Acting in such a way as to maintain their employer’s trust.

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

Public servants shall responsibly use resources by:

  • Effectively and efficiently using the public money, property and resources managed by them;
  • Considering the present and long-term effects that their actions have on people and the environment; and
  • Acquiring, preserving and sharing knowledge and information as appropriate.

Excellence: Excellence in the design and delivery of public sector policy, programs and services is beneficial to every aspect of Canadian life. Positive engagement, collaboration, effective teamwork and professional development are all essential to a high-performing organization.

Public servants shall demonstrate professional excellence by:

  • Providing fair, timely, efficient and effective services that respect Canada's official languages;
  • Continually improving the quality of policies, programs and services they provide to Canadians and other parts of the public sector; and
  • Fostering a work environment that promotes teamwork, learning and innovation.

2.2 OCI Values and Expected Behaviours

OCI employees are responsible for behaving ethically and in keeping with the values and standards set out in this Code which forms part of their conditions of employment. The OCI Code of Conduct is aligned with the Values and Ethics Code of the Public Service and both codes apply to employees working at the OCI.

Employees of the OCI should aspire to high standards of conduct in the fulfillment of their duties and take pride in their accomplishments. They are accountable to conduct themselves in a professional manner and to strive to achieve an acceptable standard of behaviour, competence and integrity in their work in accordance with the values stated in the organization’s raison d’être.

In addition to these standards of conduct, OCI employees are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the following:


  • Ensure that the organization’s workforce is representative of Canada’s diverse and multicultural society.
  • Ensure that correctional practice complies with and respects the Rule of Law, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canada’s domestic and international human rights obligations.
  • Contribute to public safety by administering Part III of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act with rigour and professionalism.
  • Respect the fact that persons deprived of their liberty are to be treated humanely, with dignity and respect.
  • Provide an effective external avenue of redress for federal offenders that will maximize resolution of offender complaints and enhance the accountability of the CSC.
  • Ensure decisions are reached and communicated in a fair and forthright manner.
  • Make reasonable and constructive recommendations to the CSC on individual complaints and systemic issues that will support the CSC as an open, transparent and accountable agency.
  • Report through the Minister of Public Safety to Parliament and the public at large on problems of offenders in a responsible, constructive and balanced manner.
  • Make recommendations and findings that are based on evidence and sound investigative work.
  • Protect the Office’s independence and maintain its arm’s length relationship with the Minister and the Department of Public Safety.
  • Promote the development of evidence-based policy in federal corrections.
  • Respond to access to information and privacy requests in a timely, open and transparent manner.


  • Be courteous, respectful and fair in all dealings with employees of the CSC, offenders, colleagues and members of the public.
  • Ensure that all interactions with the CSC are professional, respectful and constructive.
  • Show the utmost appreciation for the dignity, diversity and worth of individuals in all interactions with CSC employees, offenders, colleagues and members of the public.
  • Demonstrate patience, understanding and sensitivity when dealing with offenders and members of the public who may be in crisis or have special needs.
  • Deal professionally with disrespectful language of offenders with the active support and involvement of OCI directors.
  • Contribute actively to the maintenance of a work environment free of harassment and practices that undermine a person’s sense of personal dignity.
  • Treat OCI colleagues, subordinates, supervisors and senior managers with respect while understanding their respective roles, responsibilities and personal contribution to OCI mandate and operations.
  • Attempt to resolve tensions or work conflicts at the earliest possible opportunity and at the lowest or appropriate level of the organization, and use the Informal Conflict Management System when required.
  • Promote work-life balance.


  • Be client-focused by providing timely, accessible and professional Ombudsman services to federal offenders.
  • Act in an objective, fair and impartial manner in addressing offender complaints, and exercise OCI authority in a principled, open, professional and fair manner.
  • Protect confidential and classified information, inclusive of respecting the legal obligation to maintain confidentiality of communications with offenders.
  • Seek legal authority from the Correctional Investigator for any disclosure of confidential offender information.
  • Contribute to a just and humane correctional system through a client-centered approach to the provision of timely, accessible and professional ombudsman services.
  • Act in a professional manner that will not bring discredit to the OCI, affect or cast doubt on the performance of OCI duties, or conflict with OCI official duties.
  • Make recommendations to the CSC that are reasonable and based on rigorously obtained evidence and thorough investigations.
  • Perform assigned work as directed with dedication and enthusiasm, observe OCI terms and conditions of employment, and adhere to OCI and relevant Public Service policies, including Codes of Conduct.
  • Rigorously document interventions to support OCI obligations as an open, transparent and accountable agency.
  • Provide support and training to remedy employee performance concerns, and apply fair, timely and progressive discipline to OCI employees as required.


  • Exercise human and financial resource authorities responsibly and with due diligence.
  • Respect the OCI’s separate employer status while maintaining transparency and accountability.
  • Ensure due diligence and compliance with the Financial Administration Act and related obligations for all financial transactions, including travel and hospitality claims.
  • Manage leave in an honest and transparent manner, consistent with OCI policy.
  • Ensure that senior management has accurate and comprehensive information on budgets and expenditures, and make decisions that are cost-effective and consistent with the delivery of professional ombudsman services.


  • Manage people and financial resources with excellence, and continue to build the OCI as an employer of choice.
  • Set high investigative and operational standards of achievement and strive for the provision of professional and effective Ombudsman services. Incorporate best practices in all areas of OCI operations and policy.
  • Draw from best practices from the work of other jurisdictions, and be an innovation leader in promoting Effective Corrections and the delivery of timely and accessible Ombudsman services.
  • Document all relevant information, and comply with the duty to act fairly in an open and transparent manner.
  • Be strategic and respectful in using available options to maximize acceptance of OCI recommendations.

Chapter 3: Duties and Obligations

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3.1 Persons Employed by the OCI

This Code forms part of the conditions of employment at the OCI. At the time of signing their letter of offer, persons employed by the OCI acknowledge that this Code is a condition of their employment. All persons employed by the OCI are responsible for ensuring that they comply with this Code and that they exemplify, in all their actions and behaviours, the values and ethics of the OCI. In particular, they have the following obligations:

  1. Persons employed by the OCI must report, within 60 days of their first appointment or any subsequent appointment, transfer or deployment, all outside activities, assets, direct and contingent liabilities that might give rise to a conflict of interest with respect to their official duties. To this end, a Confidential Report must be filed with the Correctional Investigator.
  2. Every time a major change occurs in the personal affairs or official duties of individuals employed by the OCI, they must review their obligations under this Code. If a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest exists, they must file a new Confidential Report with the Correctional Investigator.
  3. When negotiating financial arrangements with outside parties, individuals employed by the OCI must assure compliance with the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Measures reflected in the Code of Conduct. When in doubt, employees must immediately report the situation to their Director in order to seek advice or direction on how to proceed.

When faced with an ethical dilemma, employees are encouraged to use the opportunities and mechanisms established by the Correctional Investigator to raise, discuss and resolve issues of concern related to this Code.

Individuals employed by the OCI who feel they are being asked to act in a way that is inconsistent with the values and ethics set in this Code should first attempt to raise the matter using the usual reporting relationship. Further avenues for resolution are contained in this Code.

All employees are responsible for fulfilling their job responsibilities in a manner that supports the organization in realizing its mandate and achieving its strategic goals and objectives. Individuals employed by the OCI are further responsible for applying and complying with the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Financial Administration Act, Public Service Employment Act and all other relevant laws and regulations. In addition, employees are expected to abide by the spirit and letter of the Code at all times.

3.2 Senior Management

OCI Senior Managers shall ensure that all employees under their responsibility are familiar with the OCI’s Code of Conduct as well as its values and ethics.

Chapter 4: Avenues of Resolution

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4.1 General

Any individual employed by the OCI who wants to raise, discuss and clarify issues related to this Code should first talk with his or her Supervisor or contact the senior official designated by the Correctional Investigator under the provisions of this Code, according to the procedures and conditions established by the Correctional Investigator.

Any individual employed by the OCI who witnesses or has knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace may refer the matter for resolution, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to the Senior Officer designated for the purpose by the Correctional Investigator under the provisions of the Policy on the Internal Disclosure of Information Concerning Wrongdoing in the Workplace and the Informal Conflict Management System.

Furthermore, any individual employed by the OCI who believes that he or she is being asked to act in a way that is inconsistent with the values and ethics set out in this Code can report the matter in confidence and without fear of reprisal to the Senior Officer, as described above.

4.2 Senior Officer for Disclosure

The Correctional Investigator has designated the Director, Corporate Services and Planning/Chief Financial Officer as the OCI’s Senior Officer for Disclosure. The Senior Officer will help promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoings, and will deal with disclosures of wrongdoing made by OCI employees. The Senior Officer is responsible for supporting the Correctional Investigator in meeting the requirements of the Public Service Disclosure Protection Act.

The Senior Officer for Disclosure's duties and powers also include the following, pursuant to the internal disclosure procedures established under the PSDPA:

  1. Provide information, advice, and guidance to employees regarding its internal disclosure procedures, including the making of disclosures, the conduct of investigations into disclosures, and the handling of disclosures made to supervisors or Directors.
  2. Receive and record disclosures, and review them to establish whether there are sufficient grounds for further action under the PSDPA.
  3. Manage investigations into disclosures, including determining whether to deal with a disclosure under the PSDPA, initiate an investigation, or cease an investigation.
  4. 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.
  5. Notify the individual(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.
  6. Report the findings of investigations, as well as any systemic problems that may give rise to wrongdoings, directly to Correctional Investigator, with recommendations for corrective action, if any.

Chapter 5: Conflict of interest

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5.1 General

If a matter is not appropriately addressed at the appropriate internal level, or the employee has reason to believe it could not be disclosed in confidence within the organization, it may then be referred to the Public Service Integrity Officer, in accordance with the Policy on the Internal Disclosure of Information Concerning Wrongdoing in the Workplace and the Informal Conflict Resolution System.

With respect to the appropriate arrangements necessary to prevent conflict of interest described in this Code, it is expected that most situations will be addressed by discussing the matter with the employee, identifying avenues of resolution and taking appropriate action. When an employee and the Correctional Investigator disagree on the appropriate arrangements to prevent conflict of interest situations in this Code, the disagreement shall be resolved through the established redress procedures.

5.2 Prevention of Conflict of Interest

Employees must avoid and prevent situations that could give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest. If a conflict does arise between an employee’s private interests and his/her official duties, the conflict should be resolved in favour of the public interest. Employees must never act in a manner that is damaging or potentially damaging to the OCI or the Public Service of Canada.

An employee cannot use his/her position to influence or bypass OCI procedures for personal gain or the benefit of his/her family, friends, colleagues or anyone else.

An employee must report to his/her Supervisor all circumstances that may place him/her in a situation of real, apparent or potential conflict of interest. If an employee is unsure or does not know if his/her actions, activities or situation constitutes, or could appear to constitute, a conflict of interest, he/she should ask or report it to the Correctional Investigator in writing by submitting a Confidential Report.

Although the OCI is supportive of volunteer work, employees must ensure that such an activity does not give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest.

Employees should be especially vigilant when using social media and other Internet or electronic communications platforms. Employees should be especially careful not to identify individuals, offenders, colleagues, and locations or comment on Government of Canada policies.

5.3 Gifts, Hospitality and Other Benefits

In accordance with this Code, an employee must not accept or solicit any gifts, hospitality or other benefits that may have a real or apparent influence on his/her objectivity in carrying out official duties or that may place the employee under obligation to the donor. This could appear as influencing or potentially influencing his/her judgment, or calling into question his/her professional integrity or the integrity of the OCI.

If a gift is offered to an employee, he/she must advise his/her immediate supervisor in writing, regardless of whether he/she accepts or refuses the gift, hospitality or benefit. Any costs associated with accepting or returning the gift will be the responsibility of the employee(s) concerned.

Acceptance of gifts, hospitality and other benefits is permissible if they:

  • are infrequent and of minimal value such as low-cost promotional objects, simple meals or souvenirs with no cash value;
  • arise out of activities or events related to official duties of the employee concerned;
  • are within the normal standards of courtesy, hospitality or protocol; and
  • do not compromise or appear to compromise the employee’s integrity or that of the OCI in any way.

In case of doubt, an employee should decline the gift, hospitality or other benefits.

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 OCI to warrant acceptance of a certain type of hospitality, an employee must discuss it with his or her supervisor, who will seek direction from the Correctional Investigator responsible to make decisions on conflict of interest. The employee will then be notified in writing whether the gift, hospitality or other benefit is to be declined or retained by the OCI, donated to charity, disposed of or retained by the employee.

At no time must an employee 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 OCI or the public service.

In the case of fundraising for charitable organizations, an employee must ensure that he/she has prior authorization from his/her Director, who will seek authorization from the Correctional Investigator responsible to make decisions on conflict of interest, to allow the employee to solicit donations, prizes or contributions in kind from external organizations or individuals.

Employees must always decline “honorariums” (a voluntary payment given to a professional person for services for which fees are not legally or traditionally required).

5.4 Avoidance of Preferential Treatment

When participating in any decision-making related to a staffing process or contracting of services, employees shall ensure that they do not grant preferential treatment or assistance to anyone. When making decisions that will result in a financial award to an external party, employees shall not grant preferential treatment or assistance to anyone. Employees should not offer any assistance to entities or persons who have dealings with the government, where this assistance is not part of their official duties, without obtaining prior authorization from their Director and complying with the conditions for that authorization. Providing information that is easily accessible to the public or to entities in which employees have interests is not considered preferential treatment.

Chapter 6: Post-Employment Measures

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6.1 General

With respect to the appropriate arrangements necessary to comply with the post-employment measures described in this Code, it is expected that most situations will be addressed by discussing the matter with the employee, identifying avenues of resolution and taking appropriate action. When an employee and the Correctional Investigator disagree on the appropriate arrangements to comply with the post-employment measures in this Code, the disagreement shall be resolved through the established redress procedures.

The objective of these measures is to establish rules of conduct respecting post-employment. These measures complement the OCI Values set out in Chapter 2, as well as the Conflict of Interest Measures in Chapter 5.

6.2 Overall Responsibility of Individuals Employed by the OCI

Without unduly restricting their ability to seek other employment, former OCI employees should undertake to minimize the possibility of real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest between their new employment and their most recent responsibilities within the OCI. Before leaving employment, individuals employed by the OCI should disclose their intention of future employment and discuss potential conflicts with their Director.

6.3 Application

The overall responsibility cited above applies to all persons employed by the OCI covered by the Code. The measures that follow apply specifically to those persons employed by the OCI in executive positions (EX) or their equivalent as well as EX minus 1 and EX minus 2 positions and their equivalent (e.g., WP-06,WP-05, AS-07, EC-07).

The Correctional Investigator may designate other positions as being subject to these measures (where the position involves official duties that raise post-employment concerns), or exclude positions from the application of the post-employment measures (when the official duties of these positions do not raise concerns for post-employment).

6.4 Before Leaving the Organization

Individuals employed by the OCI must disclose, in a Confidential Report to the Correctional Investigator, all firm offers of employment that could place them in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest situation. They must also disclose immediately the acceptance of any such offer.

6.5 Limitation Period

Former OCI employees shall not, within a period of one year after leaving the organization:

  1. make representations for, or on behalf of, persons to any government department or organization with which they personally, or through their subordinates, had significant official dealings during the period of one year immediately prior to the termination of their service;
  2. give advice to clients using information that is not available to the public concerning the OCI program or policies where they were employed or with which they had a direct and substantial relationship; or
  3. discuss or provide information on the internal management of the organization as well as all information related to financial, contracting, security, access to information and privacy and HR activities.

6.6 Reduction of Limitation Period

The Correctional Investigator has the authority to reduce or waive the limitation period of employment for an individual employed or formerly employed by the OCI. Such a decision should take into consideration the following:

  1. the circumstances under which the termination of their service occurred;
  2. the general employment prospects of the individual employed or formerly employed by the OCI;
  3. the significance to the OCI of information possessed by the individual employed or formerly employed by the OCI by virtue of that individual's position in the organization;
  4. the desirability of a rapid transfer of the individual employed or formerly employed by the OCI and his/her knowledge and skills acquired from the OCI to private, other governmental or non-governmental sectors;
  5. the degree to which the new employer might gain unfair commercial or private advantage by hiring the individual employed or formerly employed the OCI; and
  6. the authority and influence possessed while at the OCI, and the disposition of other cases.

A decision by the Correctional Investigator to waive or reduce the limitation period will be recorded in writing.

6.7 Exit Arrangements

The Correctional Investigator must ensure that an employee who is intending to leave the OCI is aware of these post-employment measures.

6.8 Reconsideration

An individual employed or formerly employed by the OCI may apply to the Correctional Investigator for reconsideration of any determination respecting his or her compliance with the post-employment measures.

Annex A - OCI Employees’ General Responsibilities and Duties at Work

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Consumption of Intoxicants and Smoking

An employee must never report to work under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. He/she is not permitted to consume alcohol or illegal drugs while on duty, operating an official vehicle on travel status or on any premises where the OCI conducts its business.

However, it is recognized that, on occasion, consumption of alcohol may take place on OCI premises in connection with the celebration of special events. Such activities must be authorized by the Correctional Investigator and take place in areas not open to the public. Following these activities, employees must be able to carry out their responsibilities effectively. Impairment due to the use of alcoholic beverages will not be tolerated.

Employees are not permitted to smoke on duty (unless on a rest period) or in the building where the OCI conducts its business.

Contact with the Public and Colleagues - Sensitivity, Respect and Responsiveness

At all times, employees must be courteous and respectful towards the public and people they work with, even under difficult conditions such as in times of personal stress and in the face of provocation.

Employees must never make abusive, derisive, threatening, insulting, offensive or provocative statements or gestures to or about another person. See section 2 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Employees are prohibited from engaging in any discriminatory practices based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted.

An employee must promptly report full details of any incident to his/her Director and cooperate in any subsequent investigation.

Electronic Network Access and Uses

If an employee has access to, or use of the OCI's computer systems, equipment or software, he/she must make every effort to protect the OCI from any possible threats to security by, in particular:

  • guarding against accidental or deliberate destruction of data and equipment; disclosure of sensitive information, access identification and password to his/her system; theft and corruption; and exposure to viruses;
  • following the OCI's (and service providers) policies and procedures regarding the access restrictions to data banks and the posting of information;
  • following the OCIs (and service providers) policies and procedures regarding the purchase and use of software and other systems use, including complying with security restrictions; and
  • reporting any breach of computer security, policies and standards to his/her Supervisor.

OCI's computer systems or those of external agencies accessed via the OCI's network, software, equipment, networks, Internet, and e-mail are for authorized business purposes only. However, limited personal use of the Internet, and e-mail is permitted provided it complies with all related legislation, policies and guidelines, does not affect productivity of the employee or that of his/her colleagues, and imposes no storage burden on the OCI’s computer infrastructure. Examples of acceptable limited personal use include professional activities, career development, or reading or writing a brief e-mail after hours or during a lunch break.

Some examples of misconduct related to the use of electronic networks that are offences under the Criminal Code of Canada are:

  • knowingly viewing, downloading, possessing or distributing child pornographic images or material;
  • communicating images, material or e-mails containing offensive language or inappropriate comments that are likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing that person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or that are designed to insult the person;
  • infringing copyright;
  • accessing and using someone else’s computer for inappropriate or unethical purposes; and
  • hacking and trying to defeat the security features of electronic networks.

Authorized officers from the Service Providers may access restricted sites, such as those with pornography or hate propaganda, when conducting authorized investigations or intelligence probes or when researching and developing OCI -sanctioned training material. Directors may be required to view all types of material to make determinations with respect to admissibility.

Financial Matters

Borrowing or lending money

Employees must not:

  • borrow money from an offender;
  • present a personal cheque to be cashed by an offender; or
  • ask any employee to sign a financial instrument, as an endorser or co-signer, to secure an amount of money being lent or borrowed, unless that employee is a spouse or common-law partner (or relative).

Care of money, credit cards and items having a financial value

Employees must 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 such as phone cards or travel cards in their possession or control. Employees must report immediately to their Director if monies, credit cards or any type of item having a financial value is misplaced, lost or stolen, or used inappropriately while in their care.

Illicit Gambling

Employees are not permitted to gamble on OCI premises or while on duty. The Government Policy on the Use of Electronic Networks prohibits the use of computer systems and electronic networks for the purpose of illicit gambling.

Draws, usually called "50-50" draws, i.e., collections taken up by employees 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 not covered by the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service because they do not constitute solicitation of the private sector. The draws are social and voluntary activities, shared by employees. However, employees should be aware that draws of this type are regulated by provincial authorities and subject to licensing requirements.

Legal provisions and fraud

Employees must 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 and the Criminal Code of Canada.

Employees must inform their Director immediately if they have knowledge of, or are aware of, any violation or fraud.

Employees are prohibited from conspiring or colluding to defraud the Crown, or providing the opportunity to another person to do so, or intentionally permitting a person to contravene the law.

Harassment and Discrimination

Harassment is any objectionable act, comment or display that demeans, belittles or causes personal humiliation or embarrassment, and any act of intimidation or threat.

All employees are entitled to work in an environment free from harassment and discrimination. Harassment and discrimination affect workplace and individual well-being and will not be tolerated.

While senior management is responsible for fostering a work environment free from harassment, it is everyone's responsibility to treat fellow employees with fairness, respect and dignity.

See the Government’s Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace.

Employees are prohibited from engaging in any improper conduct that is directed at and offensive to another person or persons in the workplace, and that you know or ought reasonably to know will cause offence or harm.

Employees are prohibited from engaging in any discriminatory or harassing behaviour, action or inaction that could harm an employee's working relationships, job security or general well-being at work. This includes discrimination or harassment of OCI employees that may happen outside the workplace or outside working hours, that harms an employee's working relationships, job security or general well-being at work. Harassment is a serious matter and the filing of frivolous or unsubstantiated harassment claims is not acceptable.

If an employee witnesses harassment or discrimination or are being harassed, you should speak to your Director and seek his or her support in this situation.

Off-duty Conduct


Employees’ off-duty conduct is usually a private matter. However, it could become a work-related matter if it:

  • harms the OCI's reputation or delivery of its mandate;
  • embarrasses the organization and or its staff;
  • renders you unable to perform a requirement of your duties;
  • leads other employees to refuse, be reluctant or be unable to work with you;
  • renders you guilty of a serious breach of the Criminal Code of Canada and thus renders your conduct injurious to the general reputation of the organization and its employees. For example, the nature of the criminal charges may be incompatible with the functions of an investigator;
  • makes it difficult for the OCI to manage its operations efficiently and/or to direct its workforce.

An employee must report to his/her Director as soon as possible if arrested, detained or charged with a violation in Canada or outside Canada of laws, regulations, a federal statute or the Criminal Code of Canada related to your official duties. He/she must report a traffic violation or highway code ticket received during the use of a leased vehicle (travel status).

Political activity

An employee may engage in any political activity so long as it does not impair, or is not perceived to impair, his/her ability to perform your duties in a politically impartial manner. An employee should consult the Director if you are unsure whether the political activity you want to engage in is appropriate.

See the guidance tools published by the Public Service Commission to help you make reasonable decisions about your involvement in political activities in light of specific circumstances.

When taking part in political activities, an employee must ensure that the nature of the participation does not conflict with his/her ability to:

  • remain loyal to the Government of Canada;
  • maintain an impartial and effective public service; and
  • be politically neutral, in consideration of your position and visibility as an OCI employee.

In order to be a candidate in a federal, provincial or territorial election, an employee must request and obtain a leave of absence without pay from the Public Service Commission.

In order to be a candidate in a municipal election, an employee must request and obtain permission from the Public Service Commission.

Publicly Commenting for the OCI

Only authorized spokespersons can issue statements or make comments about the OCI's position on a given subject. If an employee is asked for the OCI's position, he/she must refer the inquiries, through the Director or Executive Director and General Counsel.

Public Criticism of the OCI

The OCI employees must exercise caution in ensuring that public statements or actions:

  • do not deface OCI property or assets;
  • do not undermine or compromise the integrity or security of the OCI’s operations or national security;
  • do not impair or conflict with their ability to carry out duties;
  • do not call into question their impartiality in carrying out their duties; or
  • do not impair the ability of the OCI in carrying out its mandate.

If in doubt, employees are strongly encouraged to discuss the matter with your Director.

Employees should use internal means to bring any criticisms you may have to the attention of OCI’s senior management.

Safety and Security

While on the job, employees must observe safety and security standards, rules and procedures established for the workplace and the use of equipment. Employees must also report to his/her Director promptly, when there is a threat or any work-related hazard, accident or injury to yourself or other employees.

Annex B - Additional Guidance

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The following outlines in general terms the main standards of conduct to be followed, at a minimum, by all OCI employees. The standards of conduct could naturally evolve over time, in response to and in keeping with changes to the service the OCI provides.

Terms and Conditions of Employment

Employees must observe the OCI’s terms and conditions of employment.


OCI employees must ensure that their appearance and dress reflect the professional image of the organization. Employees are expected to be neat, clean and well groomed. Appearance and dress must be consistent with the duties that are performed and must not interfere with the work performance of other employees.

Care and Use of OCI Property and Valuables

Employees must not use property, equipment, materials or facilities purchased, used or leased by the OCI for other than official purposes, unless you have received proper senior management authorization. This includes, but is not restricted to, building, space, premises, facilities, files and documents, office equipment and supplies, computers, software, video equipment, telecommunications devices such as cell phones, government credit cards, telephone and calling cards. Employees cannot transport anyone in an OCI rented vehicle unless that person's presence is connected with an official assignment, authorized by senior management, or it is in the best interests of the OCI.

Employees are expected to account for and protect any OCI property and valuables in their possession or control, including information. If any item is lost, stolen or damaged, you must immediately report the incident to senior management.

OCI Employee Identification

Employees must carry employee identification for the purposes for which they were intended and in the best interests of the OCI. A government identification card must be displayed on government premises when you are asked to identify yourself as a government representative.

Employees are prohibited from using job title or any other official identification to obtain or appear to obtain any privilege, favour for him/her or others, or to do anything that is illegal, improper or against the best interests of the OCI. Such infractions will be considered serious and will result in disciplinary action.

If official identification is lost, stolen or damaged, employees must immediately report the occurrence to senior management.

Intellectual property

See section 12 of the Copyright Act and section 3 of the Public Servants Inventions Act.

You cannot market or sell anything created, designed, developed or produced as part of your job, even if you, or any other person, have improved or modified it outside working hours.

Original articles, professional and technical papers prepared by a person employed by the OCI, within the scope of his or her employment, shall be retained on appropriate OCI files for the normal life of such files.

In cases where an employee wishes to publish an original article or a professional or technical paper written within the scope of his or her employment:

  • the employee must first obtain the approval of the Correctional Investigator;
  • the Correctional Investigator may suggest revisions to material and may withhold approval to publish.

The OCI shall not unreasonably withhold permission for the publication of such articles or papers. At the delegated manager’s discretion, and where practicable, recognition of authorship shall be given in OCI publications. When a person employed by the OCI acts as a sole or joint author or editor of an original publication, his or her authorship or editorship shall normally be shown on the title page of such publication.

Returning OCI property and valuables when leaving the job

Unless proper senior management authorization is obtained, an employee must return all OCI property and valuables received as part of his/her duties when they leave their position or when they are so requested by a proper authority.

Confidentiality and Disclosure of Information

Employees must ensure they comply with all legislation, directives and procedures relating to the collection, use, sharing, storage, disclosure, distribution and disposal of any personal information pertaining to individuals or commercial information pertaining to businesses.

When a Public Servant or OCI employee takes the Oath of Office and Secrecy/Solemn Affirmation of Office and Secrecy, he/she swears or affirms that he/she will not disclose or make known any matter that comes to his/her knowledge by reason of employment. An employee must keep in strict confidence all information obtained about the OCI's clients and all other official information to which the public does not have access. This includes information about policies, programs, practices and procedures to which the public does not have official access.

An employee may disclose this type of information to clients or designated representatives only if specifically authorized by legislative or OCI guidelines.

An employee may access official information only if authorized and required for work. Under no circumstances may an employee use this information for personal use, gain or financial benefit for him/herself, his/her relatives or anyone else. Employees are required to safeguard official information and must use, process, store and handle designated or classified information only for purposes specified by the OCI. An employee may not remove, hide, change, mutilate, copy or destroy any official information.

An employee is prohibited from destroying, altering, falsifying or concealing a record, or directing 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 or disclosing any personal information without proper authorization as set out in the Privacy Act.

An employee must consult a Director if uncertain about how to treat specific information.

When an employee leaves the employment of the OCI, he/she cannot take with him/her or retain any records or documents, including paper documents, CDs and diskettes with electronic information, video, etc., unless authorized by senior management.