This policy statement applies to all persons and
organizations covered by the Public Service Act.
The policy statement supports the core policy
objective that “public service employees exhibit the
highest standards of conduct.”
Employees will exhibit the highest standards of
the printable version of the Standards of Conduct).
Their conduct must instill confidence and trust and
not bring the BC Public Service into disrepute. The
honesty and integrity of the BC Public Service
demands the impartiality of employees in the conduct
of their duties.
The requirement to comply with these standards of
conduct is a condition of employment. Employees who
fail to comply with these standards may be subject
to disciplinary action up to and including
Public service employees have a duty of loyalty
to the government as their employer. They must act
honestly and in good faith and place the interests
of the employer ahead of their own private
interests. The duty committed to in the Oath of
Employment requires BC Public Service employees
to serve the government of the day to the best of
Confidential information, in any form, that
employees receive through their employment must not
be disclosed, released, or transmitted to anyone
other than persons who are authorized to receive the
information. Employees with care or control of
personal or sensitive information, electronic media,
or devices must handle and dispose of these
appropriately. Employees who are in doubt as to
whether certain information is confidential must ask
the appropriate authority before disclosing,
releasing, or transmitting it.
The proper handling and protection of
confidential information is applicable both within
and outside of government and continues to apply
after the employment relationship ends.
Confidential information that employees receive
through their employment must not be used by an
employee for the purpose of furthering any private
interest, or as a means of making personal gains.
(See the Conflicts of Interest section of
this policy statement for details.)
BC Public Service employees may comment on public
issues but must not engage in any activity or speak
publicly where this could be perceived as an
official act or representation (unless authorized to
Employees must not jeopardize the perception of
impartiality in the performance of their duties
through making public comments or entering into
public debate regarding ministry policies. BC Public
Service employees must not use their position in
government to lend weight to the public expression
of their personal opinions.
BC Public Service employees may participate in
political activities including membership in a
political party, supporting a candidate for elected
office, or seeking elected office. Employees’
political activities, however, must be clearly
separated from activities related to their
If engaging in political activities, employees
must remain impartial and retain the perception of
impartiality in relation to their duties and
responsibilities. Employees must not engage in
political activities during working hours or use
government facilities, equipment, or resources in
support of these activities.
Partisan politics are not to be introduced into
the workplace; however, informal private discussions
among co-workers are acceptable.
Service to the Public
BC Public Service employees must provide service
to the public in a manner that is courteous,
professional, equitable, efficient, and effective.
Employees must be sensitive and responsive to the
changing needs, expectations, and rights of a
diverse public in the proper performance of their
Employees are to treat each other with respect
and dignity and must not engage in discriminatory
conduct prohibited by the Human Rights Code.
The prohibited grounds are race, colour, ancestry,
place of origin, religion, family status, marital
status, physical disability, mental disability, sex,
sexual orientation, age, political belief or
conviction of a criminal or summary offence
unrelated to the individual’s employment.
Further, the conduct of BC Public Service
employees in the workplace must meet acceptable
social standards and must contribute to a positive
work environment. An employee’s conduct must not
compromise the integrity of the BC Public Service.
All employees may expect and have the
responsibility to contribute to a safe workplace.
Violence in the workplace is unacceptable. Violence
is any use of physical force on an individual that
causes or could cause injury and includes an attempt
or threatened use of force.
Employees must report any incident of violence.
Any employee who becomes aware of a threat must
report that threat if there is reasonable cause to
believe that the threat poses a risk of injury. Any
incident or threat of violence in the workplace must
be addressed immediately.
Employees must report a safety hazard or unsafe
condition or act in accordance with the provisions
of the WorkSafeBC Occupational Health and Safety
Conflicts of Interest
A conflict of interest occurs when an employee’s
private affairs or financial interests are in
conflict, or could result in a perception of
conflict, with the employee’s duties or
responsibilities in such a way that:
- the employee’s ability to act in the public
interest could be impaired; or
- the employee’s actions or conduct could
undermine or compromise:
- the public’s confidence in the
employee’s ability to discharge work
- the trust that the public places in the
BC Public Service.
While the government recognizes the right of BC
Public Service employees to be involved in
activities as citizens of the community, conflict
must not exist between employees’ private interests
and the discharge of their BC Public Service duties.
Upon appointment to the BC Public Service, employees
must arrange their private affairs in a manner that
will prevent conflicts of interest, or the
perception of conflicts of interest, from arising.
Employees who find themselves in an actual,
perceived, or potential conflict of interest must
disclose the matter to their supervisor, manager, or
ethics advisor. Examples of conflicts of interest
include, but are not limited to, the following:
- An employee uses government property or
equipment or the employee’s position, office, or
government affiliation to pursue personal
interests or the interests of another
- An employee is in a situation where the
employee is under obligation to a person who
might benefit from or seek to gain special
consideration or favour;
- An employee, in the performance of official
duties, gives preferential treatment to an
individual, corporation, or organization,
including a non-profit organization, in which
the employee, or a relative or friend of the
employee, has an interest, financial or
- An employee benefits from, or is reasonably
perceived by the public to have benefited from,
the use of information acquired solely by reason
of the employee’s employment;
- An employee benefits from, or is reasonably
perceived by the public to have benefited from,
a government transaction over which the employee
can influence decisions (for example,
investments, sales, purchases, borrowing,
grants, contracts, regulatory or discretionary
- An employee accepts from an individual,
corporation, or organization, directly or
indirectly, a personal gift or benefit that
arises out of employment in the BC Public
Service, other than:
- the exchange of hospitality between
persons doing business together;
- tokens exchanged as part of protocol;
- the normal presentation of gifts to
persons participating in public functions;
- the normal exchange of gifts between
- An employee accepts gifts, donations, or
free services for work-related leisure
activities other than in situations outlined
The following four criteria, when taken together,
are intended to guide the judgment of employees who
are considering the acceptance of a gift:
- The benefit is of nominal value;
- The exchange creates no obligation;
- Reciprocation is easy; and
- It occurs infrequently.
Employees will not solicit a gift, benefit, or
service on behalf of themselves or other employees.
Allegations of Wrongdoing
Employees have a duty to report any situation
relevant to the BC Public Service that they believe
contravenes the law, misuses public funds or assets,
or represents a danger to public health and safety
or a significant danger to the environment.
Employees can expect such matters to be treated in
confidence, unless disclosure of information is
authorized or required by law (for example, the
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act).
Employees will not be subject to discipline or
reprisal for bringing forward to a Deputy Minister,
in good faith, allegations of wrongdoing in
accordance with this policy statement.
Employees must report their allegations or
concerns as follows:
- Members of the BCGEU must report in
accordance with Article 32.13;
- PEA members must report in accordance with
Article 36.12; or
- Other employees must report in writing to
their Deputy Minister or other executive member
of the ministry, who will acknowledge receipt of
the submission and have the matter reviewed and
responded to in writing within 30 days of
receiving the employee’s submission. Where an
allegation involves a Deputy Minister, the
employee must forward the allegation to the
Deputy Minister to the Premier.
These reporting requirements are in addition to
an employee’s obligation to report to the
Comptroller General as outlined in Section 33.2 of
the Financial Administration Act.
Where an employee believes that the matter
requires a resolution and it has not been reasonably
resolved by the ministry, the employee may then
refer the allegation to the appropriate authority.
If the employee decides to pursue the matter
- Allegations of criminal activity are to be
referred to the police;
- Allegations of a misuse of public funds are
to be referred to the Auditor General;
- Allegations of a danger to public health
must be brought to the attention of health
- Allegations of a significant danger to the
environment must be brought to the attention of
the Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment.
Employees must not sign affidavits relating to
facts that have come to their knowledge in the
course of their duties for use in court proceedings
unless the affidavit has been prepared by a lawyer
acting for government in that proceeding or unless
it has been approved by a ministry solicitor in the
Legal Services Branch, Ministry of Attorney General.
In the case of affidavits required for use in
arbitrations or other proceedings related to
employee relations, the Labour Relations Branch of
the BC Public Service Agency will obtain any
necessary approvals. Employees are obliged to
cooperate with lawyers defending the Crown’s
interest during legal proceedings.
A written opinion prepared on behalf of
government by any legal counsel is privileged and
is, therefore, not to be released without prior
approval of the Legal Services branch.
Employees involved in a personal relationship
outside work which compromises objectivity, or the
perception of objectivity, should avoid being placed
in a direct reporting relationship to one another.
For example, employees who are direct relatives
or who permanently reside together may not be
employed in situations where:
- A reporting relationship exists where one
employee has influence, input, or
decision-making power over the other employee’s
performance evaluation, salary, premiums,
special permissions, conditions of work, and
similar matters; or
- The working relationship affords an
opportunity for collusion between the two
employees that would have a detrimental effect
on the Employer’s interest.
The above restriction on working relationships
may be waived provided that the Deputy Minister is
satisfied that sufficient safeguards are in place to
ensure that the Employer’s interests are not
Human Resource Decisions
Employees are to disqualify themselves as
participants in human resource decisions when their
objectivity would be compromised for any reason or a
benefit or perceived benefit could accrue to them.
For example, employees are not to participate in
staffing actions involving direct relatives or
persons living in the same household.
Outside Remunerative and Volunteer Work
Employees may hold jobs outside government, carry
on a business, receive remuneration from public
funds for activities outside their position, or
engage in volunteer activities provided it does not:
- interfere with the performance of their
duties as a BC Public Service employee;
- bring the government into disrepute;
- represent a conflict of interest or create
the reasonable perception of a conflict of
- appear to be an official act or to represent
government opinion or policy;
- involve the unauthorized use of work time or
government premises, services, equipment, or
- gain an advantage that is derived from their
employment with the BC Public Service.
Employees who are appointed as directors or
officers of Crown corporations are not to receive
any additional remuneration beyond the reimbursement
of appropriate travel expenses except as approved by
the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
- Provide timely advice to managers and
designated contacts respecting the application
of this policy statement including guidance on
an appropriate employer response to
transgressions of the policy statement; and
- Coordinate the development of awareness,
training, and communication programs in support
of this policy statement.
- Advise employees of the required standards
of conduct and the consequences of
- Designate a ministry contact for matters
related to standards of conduct;
- Promote a work environment that is free of
- Deal with breaches of this policy statement
in a timely manner, taking the appropriate
action based upon the facts and circumstances;
- Waive the provision on working relationships
under the circumstances indicated; and
- Delegate authority and responsibility, where
applicable, to apply this policy statement
within their organization.
- Advise staff on standards of conduct issues;
- Engage the ministry-designated contact as
may be appropriate in the circumstances; and
- Contribute to a work environment that is
free of discrimination.
- Objectively and loyally fulfill their
assigned duties and responsibilities, regardless
of the party or persons in power and regardless
of their personal opinions;
- Disclose and resolve conflicts of interest
or potential conflict of interest situations in
which they find themselves;
- Maintain appropriate workplace behavior;
- Avoid engaging in discriminatory conduct or
- Check with their supervisor or manager when
they are uncertain about any aspect of this
Effective date April 29, 2008