4000-5-4Conflict of Interest Policy

Responsible Executive:
Vice-President, Finance & Administration
Director, People & Organizational Development
Issue Date:
May 22, 2009
Supersedes Date:
May 22, 2009
Replaces:
3000-1-2
Last Review:
October 03, 2019
Last Revision:
October 03, 2019

Upon request, the college will provide a copy of this policy in an alternate format.

The College holds itself accountable to its students, its communities and the Government of Ontario. It is important that these constituencies have confidence that College employees conduct themselves with integrity and in a manner that does not give rise to conflicts of interests.  This policy establishes rules of ethical conduct applicable to College employees and certain former Designated College employees, and is intended to assist College employees to avoid placing themselves in a position of a conflict of interests.

The fundamental tenet of this policy is that members of the College community should, of their own volition, disclose situations that give rise to a real, potential, or perceived conflict of interest.

The mere existence of a conflict or a potential conflict of interest does not necessarily imply that the activity in question should cease; there may be options to limit or mitigate the detrimental effects. 

Conflicts cover a broad spectrum.  There are situations sufficiently complex that opinions or judgments may differ as to whether or not a conflict exists. Accordingly, employees are encouraged to proactively engage in conversation with the College concerning any possible conflict of interests.  

Policy

  1. A conflict of interest arises in any situation where an individual's private interests, including the interests of family members, friends and associates, or others with whom the employee relationship may be incompatible or in conflict with the individual's responsibilities as a College employee.
    1. A conflict of interest or a potential conflict of interest exists when a member of the College is in, or may be in, a position to use research, knowledge, authority or influence for personal or family gain or to benefit others with a personal connection, to the detriment of the institution, its students or its research partners or clients.[1]
    2. A conflict of interest arises when an individual's private, personal or commercial interests may be incompatible, or in conflict, with the individual's responsibilities as an employee of the College or when the individual has the opportunity to advance or protect personal interests, or the interests of others with whom the employee has a personal connection, in a way that is, or potentially is, detrimental to the interests of the College or harmful to the integrity of mission of the College.
     
  2. This conflict of interest policy applies to all Lambton College employees and volunteers. In this policy, all uses of the word employee(s) should be understood to include volunteers.
  3. A Lambton College employee who does not comply with the provisions of this policy may be disciplined as appropriate, up to and including dismissal. Civil action may be taken against an individual, outside entity or organization where failure to comply with the provisions of this policy results in loss of damage to Lambton College or its reputation.

Expectations of Employees

  1. College employees must act honestly and uphold the highest ethical standards in the conduct of College business and activities and in performing their roles as employees.
  2. College employees are obligated to perform their duties and conduct themselves in a manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny. College employees cannot fulfill this obligation simply by acting within the law; they must also be perceived to be acting ethically and within the law.
  3. College employees shall not have private interests, other than those permitted pursuant to this policy, or that are permitted under applicable laws or statutes, that would be affected by College actions which the employee(s) participate or conversely, that would affect the behaviours and decisions of the individual(s) as a College employee.
  4. Lambton College employees must arrange their private interests to prevent real or perceived conflicts of interest. If a conflict does arise between the private interest of an employee and the College duties and responsibilities of that employee, the conflict shall be resolved in favour of the College interest.

Duty to Disclose

The fundamental tenent of this policy is that members of the College community should, of their own volition, disclose situations that give rise to a real, potential or perceived conflict of interest.

  1. A College employee must disclose any existing or potential conflict of interest (or perceived conflict of interest) situations to the employee's supervisor to resolve.
  2. Employees are strongly encouraged to engage in conversation with the College proactively concerning any possible conflict of interests.
  3. Any employee of the College with a concern, question or apprehension of a real or potential or perceived conflict of interests related to College employment has a responsibility to disclose the situation and details, and seek the advice, guidance and directions of the College on the removal, avoidance or mitigation of the conflict.
    1. The employee should initiate the discussion with their immediate supervisor.
    2. The employee may choose to initiate the discussion with the department of People & Organization Development.
    3. The employee, alone or in conjunction with the supervisor, may choose to expand the conversation to the department of People & Organization Development.
     

Private Activities and Interests

  1. A College employee shall not engage in any private work, professional activity or business undertaking:
    1. that is likely to result in a real or potential conflict of interest, or that is in competition, directly or indirectly, with the College (e.g. training, consulting, curriculum design, etc.);
    2. that interferes with the individual's ability to perform his or her duties and responsibilities;
    3. in which an advantage is derived from his or her employment with the College;
    4. that will, or is likely to, influence or affect the carrying out of the individual's duties as an College employee;
    5. that involves the use of the College premises, equipment or supplies without due compensation to the College at prescribed rates; or
    6. during assigned work hours.
     
  2. An employee has the responsibility to undertake and execute the duties and responsibilities of the employee's role or position free of conflicts of interest, and to maintain the freedom of conflicts, including personal conflicts arising from personal, family or friends' interests or a relationship (which would include a romantic interest, sexual relationship, family relationship, or a business or financial relationship).
    1. An employee may not be in a position, or engage in activities, that would allow or cause the employee to have influence over the marks, grades or academic success or progression of an individual with whom the employee has a relationship.
    2. An employee may not be in a position, or engage in activities that would allow or cause an employee, to determine or have influence over the hiring or continuing employment or performance evaluation of an individual with whom the employee has a relationship.
    3. An employee may not be in a position to influence the awarding of contracts or purchase agreements to an individual, or a business concern of an individual with whom the employee has a relationship.
     
  3. Where any private interests result, or may result, in an actual or potential conflict of interest for an employee, or detrimental effect on the College or the achievement of the College mission or the integrity of the College, the activity shall not be undertaken without the written permission of the employee's supervisor. Such permission may include the imposition of certain conditions or modifications to the employee's duties or responsibilities to mitigate against the conflict of interest.
    1. Permission may be granted for the activity, or some form of the activity modified or constrained to eliminate or mitigate conflicts, only when, in the opinion of the supervisor, the activity or the modified activity presents an acceptable level of real potential, or perceived conflict of interests or detrimental effects to the College.
     

Use of College Position and Confidential Information

  1. College employees shall not use, or seek to use, their positions or employment with the College to:
    1. gain direct or indirect financial or material benefit for them or their immediate family or others with whom the employee has a relationship;
    2. solicit or accept favours or economic benefits from any individuals, organizations or entities known to be seeking, or already possessing, business or contracts with the College;
    3. favour any person, organization or business entity;
    4. benefit directly or indirectly in return for, or in consideration for, revealing confidential information;
    5. use confidential College information in any private undertaking in which they are involved; or
    6. disclose any confidential information about any College undertaking, acquired in the performance of duties for the College or as a result of being an employee, to any person or organization not authorized by law or by the College to have such information. 
     

Gifts, Hospitality and Other Benefits

  1. College employees must refuse gifts, hospitality or other benefits that could influence, or be seen to influence, their judgement and performance of official duties.
    1. College employees may accept incidental gifts, hospitality or other benefits associated with their official duties and responsibilities if they are considered a common expression of courtesy or within the normal standards of hospitality and do not cause suspicion about the objectivity and impartiality of the College employee and would not compromise the integrity of the College.
    2. When an employee cannot refuse unauthorized or inappropriate gifts, hospitality or other benefits, the employee must immediately report the matter to their supervisor. The supervisor may require that such a gift be held by the College or given to charity or such other action as the supervisor may determine.
     

Avoidance of Preferential Treatment

  1. A College employee shall not be granted preferential treatment in relation to any official matter to any person, organization, immediate family member or friend, or others with whom the employee has a relationship, or to any organization in which the College employee, immediate family member or friend or others with whom the employee has a relationship has an interest.
  2. A College employee shall not hire or contract, or have hired or contracted, any members of his or her immediate family nor shall any College employee occupy a position in which one immediate family member reports directly or indirectly to another.
  3. College employees involved in the contracting-out process or in the awarding of contracts must ensure that they or their immediate family or friends or others with whom the employee has a financial relationship do not benefit from the process.

Proceurement

  1. A College employee shall not help any outside entity or organization in any transaction or dealings with the College in any way that contravenes the provisions of this policy.
  2. A College employee shall not give confidential information associated with a transaction, except as required for the completion of the transaction, to any outside entity or organization about a College undertaking, or provide any information solely to one party, before the transaction or dealing with the College is completed.

Privatization and Contracting Out

  1. Applying the same principles and processes identified in the previous sections, College employees involved in the privatization or contracting out of any area or function of the College, or any proposed privatization or contracting out undertaking, must not personally benefit, or have any family member or friend benefit, financially or materially, from the privatization or contracting out process. Benefits to such employees must be limited to the remuneration they receive from the College.

Political Activity

  1. The political activity of Crown employees, including College employees, is governed by the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006.

Definitions

College Employee
An individual who is employed on a full-time, part-time or contractual basis with Lambton College as well as volunteers.
Senior College Employee
Includes the College President and individuals in positions reporting to the President (e.g. Vice-President(s).
Confidential Information
Information that is not available to the public and that, if disclosed, could result in loss or damages to Lambton College or could give the person or organization to which it is disclosed an advantage.
Immediate Family
The Lambton College employee's parents, siblings, spouse and children.

References

[1] - Policy 69 - Conflict of Interest, University of Waterloo


For questions or concerns regarding policies, please contact the policy sponsor. See the phone list for contact info.

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