CNSC Conflict of Interest Policy
Table of contents
- 1 Effective Date
- 2 Application
- 3 Definitions
- 4 Policy Statement
- 5 Objectives and Expected Results
- 6 General Requirements
- 7 Specific Requirements
- 8 Resolution
- 9 Consequences
- Appendix A: Definitions
1. Effective Date
This policy takes effect on September 1st, 2022 and replaces the 2012 Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Policy for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).
This policy applies to all CNSC employees. Together with the requirements set out in the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, the CNSC Values and Ethics Code , and the CNSC Directive on Reporting and Managing Financial Conflicts of Interest, this policy forms part of the conditions of employment with the CNSC.
Employees’ duties and responsibilities are detailed in section 4.1 of this document. Where applicable, employees are also expected to observe any specific conduct prescribed by their professional associations.
See Appendix A.
4. Policy Statement
CNSC employees contribute fundamentally to good government, democracy and Canadian society through their loyal, impartial and non-partisan support for the CNSC and its stakeholders. As dedicated professionals, CNSC staff serve the public interest and maintain public confidence by taking all reasonable steps to recognize, avoid, prevent and resolve any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest between their official CNSC responsibilities and their other activities. This policy elaborates on the Values and Ethics Code of the Public Sector and on the CNSC Values and Ethics Code and is aligned with their content. It provides direction and measures to assist the CNSC and its employees in dealing effectively with real, potential and apparent conflicts of interest that may arise during and after their employment at the CNSC.
Conflicts of interest may arise as a result of personal financial transactions, investments, securities and other assets and the transfer of economic benefit, as well as through numerous other situations and events described in this policy. It is important to remember that a prohibited conflict of interest may arise both during and after your CNSC employment.
5. Objectives and Expected Results
The objective of this policy is to minimize the risks associated with conflict of interest and conflict of duties situations to enable CNSC employees to uphold the values and ethics of the CNSC, the public sector and the public interest.
The expected results of this policy are as follows:
- The CNSC has the appropriate mechanisms in place to help individuals identify, report and effectively resolve real, apparent or potential conflict of interest and conflict of duties situations that arise during and after leaving their employment at the CNSC.
- CNSC employees take appropriate action to identify, prevent, report and effectively resolve real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest and conflict of duties situations. and are able to identify and make ethical decisions to resolve conflicts between private and public interests that uphold public trust.
Information concerning the private interests of employees shall be treated in confidence in accordance with the Privacy Act.
6. General Requirements
6.1 Requirements for all CNSC employees
All CNSC employees are responsible for the following:
- Complying with the requirements of this policy;
- Identifying, preventing and resolving conflict of interest or conflict of duties situations
- During their employment with the CNSC, and
- When they leave the CNSC on either a permanent or temporary basis;
- Reporting in writing to the CNSC Ethics Advisor all outside employment and activities, assets, liabilities and interests that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to their official duties and responsibilities;
- Reporting in writing to the CNSC Ethics Advisor when concurrent or competing official responsibilities give rise to a conflict of duties situation;
- Refraining from having private interests and engaging in outside employment or activities that may subject you to demands incompatible with your official duties, or that could be seen to impair your ability to perform your duties and responsibilities in an objective and impartial manner;
- Consulting the CNSC Political Activities Guidelines and reporting in writing to the CNSC Ethics Advisor before engaging in political activities that could constitute a conflict of interest or impair your ability to perform your duties and responsibilities in an objective and impartial manner;
Assets, securities, investments and liabilities
- Reviewing, at least once per year, your assets and liabilities to prevent any real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to your official duties and responsibilities. The types of assets that should be reported and the procedures for divesting such assets are set out in detail in the CNSC Directive on Reporting and Managing Financial Conflicts of Interest and its annexes;
- Completing and/or updating the Declaration of Conflict of Interest including a description of all assets that could put you in a conflict of interest and submitting the Declaration to the Ethics Advisor. Where the Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive determines that any of these assets results in a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest, employees may be required to divest those assets, or to take other measures to resolve the conflict;
- Refraining from investing in private entities, or publicly-traded companies or self-directing or self-managing securities of publicly traded companies that are licensed by the CNSC;
- Refraining from selling or transferring assets to anyone, including family members, or taking any other measures for the purpose of circumventing the requirements of this Policy and the CNSC Directive on Reporting and Managing Financial Conflicts of Interest;
- Reviewing the information on exempt and reportable assets that is included in section 5, Financial Interests, of the Directive on Reporting and Managing Financial Conflicts of Interest and the List of Prohibited Securities, included in Annex 2 of the directive;
Contracts with the Government of Canada
- Seeking the approval of the Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive and your Director and/or Director General before entering into a contractual arrangement with the Government of Canada for which you are receiving any direct or indirect benefit or income;
- Refraining from knowingly taking advantage of or benefiting from information that is obtained in the course of your official duties and responsibilities and that is not available to the public;
- Refraining from assisting outside entities or individuals in their dealings with the government where doing so would result in preferential treatment or advantages to those entities or individuals;
- Refraining from interfering in the dealings of outside entities or individuals with the government in order to inappropriately influence the outcome;
- Refraining from granting preferential treatment or advantages to family members, friends or any other person or entity based on information that is not publically available;
Gifts, hospitality and other benefits
- Refusing gifts, hospitality or other benefits if they may have a real, apparent or potential influence on your objectivity in carrying out your official duties and responsibilities or may place you under obligation to the donor;
- Reporting and seeking written direction from the Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive when you cannot decline gifts, hospitality or other benefits that do not meet the criteria in in this Policy, or where it is believed their acceptance would bring sufficient benefit to the organization;
- For greater certainty, accepting gifts, hospitality or other benefits is permissible if they:
- Are infrequent and of minimal value;
- Are within the normal standards of courtesy or protocol;
- Arise out of activities or events related to your official duties;
- Are an award or honorary degree where no conflict of interest exists;
Financial arrangements, solicitation and use of government property
- Refraining from undertaking any financial arrangements, including procuring goods, contracting services or administering grants and contributions or transfer payments, with outside entities or individuals where there is a risk for a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest or conflict of duties situation;
- Refraining from soliciting gifts, hospitality, donations, prizes, or other benefits or transfers of economic value from outside entities or individuals that have, had or may have dealings with the CNSC, without having received prior written approval from the Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive;
- Refraining from the direct or indirect use of, or allowing the direct or indirect use of, CNSC property of any kind, including property leased to the CNSC, for anything other than officially approved activities;
Relationship with licensees or contractor
- Advising your Director or Director General of any past or present employment with any current or potential CNSC licensee or contractor;
Outside employment, consultancy or volunteering activities
- Refraining from employment, consultancy, volunteer work or Board membership outside your official CNSC duties where these paid or unpaid activities are likely to give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest or would undermine the CNSC’s impartiality or the employee’s objectivity;
- Refraining from engaging in any employment with a foreign government or entity unless permission is granted by the Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive and your Director or Director General;
- Submitting a Conflict of Interest Declaration to the Ethics Advisor that outlines the outside employment or activities in which you are or intend to become engaged, where these may impose demands that are inconsistent with your official duties and responsibilities, or call into question your capacity to perform them;
- Before leaving the CNSC either temporarily or permanently, reporting in writing to the CNSC Ethics Advisor all intended future employment and activities that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to your most recent duties and responsibilities at the CNSC.
- Reporting in writing to your Director or Director General all firm offers of employment and activities that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to your most recent duties and responsibilities at the CNSC;
- Having accepted an offer of employment, recusing yourself from all official dealings with that new employer, while still working for the CNSC.
- Refraining from giving advice to your new clients, employer or other entity by using information obtained as a result of your CNSC duties and responsibilities where that information is not publicly available.
- Refraining from seeking preferential treatment or privileged access to the CNSC after leaving the CNSC.
6.2 Declaration of Conflicts of Interest — Forms I and II
Reporting a conflict of interest involves:
- Submitting a Declaration of Conflict of Interest Form I: In this form, employees are required to declare that they have read the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, the CNSC Values and Ethics Code, the policy, the directive, and the annexes, and state whether they are or not involved in outside activities or have assets or liabilities that may give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to their official duties.
- Submitting a Confidential Report — Form II, if necessary: In this form, employees are to provide information on outside activities, assets or liabilities that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest. This should be done within 60 days of initial appointment to the CNSC, return from an external assignment, or change in personal affairs – such as receiving inheritance with reportable assets.
- Doing an annual review: Employees shall review their obligations under this policy on an annual basis, as well as whenever prompted by the CNSC due to changes in licensees’ activities or ownership, or changes to the policy, the directive or the annexes. Employees should submit a new declaration only if a change has occurred within the year.
- Following the review of these documents, the CNSC may ask employees to distance themselves from certain outside activities and divest their assets. When negotiating financial arrangements with outside parties, employees are to comply with the requirements listed in the CNSC Directive on Reporting and Managing Financial Conflicts of Interest and annexes, as well as other related directives or policies. When in doubt, employees are to immediately discuss the situation with the Ethics Officer in order to seek advice or direction on how to proceed.
7. Specific Requirements
7.1 Management of the Conflict of Interest Program
The CNSC President has designated the Director of the Internal Audit, Evaluation and Ethics Division as responsible for the following:
- Putting in place the infrastructure and controls to:
- effectively administer this policy and ensure that conflict of interest and conflict of duties risks are identified and resolved.
- provide consistent information, advice and assistance about preventing and resolving conflict of interest situations; and
- prevent and resolve conflict of duties situations arising from one or more of someone’s concurrent and competing official responsibilities.
- Identifying and updating the list of reportable assets and liabilities that must be reported by CNSC employees.
- Ensuring that persons offered employment and persons employed are informed about this policy, that compliance is a condition of employment and non-compliance may result in termination of employment.
- Reminding CNSC employees who have indicated their intention to leave of the ongoing application of this policy.
- Reviewing and approving individual financial mitigation strategies including the selection of trustees, managers or agents, including their replacements or additions and any reimbursement of reasonable administration costs incurred by the CNSC employee as a result of implementing a financial mitigation strategy.
7.2 Education and oversight
The CNSC will:
- ensure that employees, and anyone considering joining the CNSC, are informed that the requirements listed in section 66 of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, this policy, the directive, the directive annexes, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, and the CNSC Values and Ethics Code, are a condition of employment (this obligation is fulfilled by having individuals acknowledge these requirements in their initial acceptance of an offer of employment to the CNSC, and whenever required)
- ensure that employees are informed on a regular basis of the requirements of this policy
- provide orientation sessions to new employees and, whenever required, briefings on post-employment to employees leaving the CNSC
- ensure that the operational risks of conflicts of interest related to the CNSC’s specific mandate are identified and managed
- ensure that the delegation of the responsibilities and authorities for the implementation of this policy are clearly communicated to all employees
7.3 Managing conflict-of-interest and post-employment situations
The Internal Audit, Evaluation and Ethics Division will:
- provide accurate, consistent, and timely information to employees regarding the reporting and management of conflicts of interest
- review, in a timely manner, submitted declarations of outside activities, assets or liabilities, requesting further information for the review as needed and communicating the findings to the employees submitting these declarations
- ensure that employees have access to advice and assistance on the reporting of conflicts of interests, when they are unsure if they are in a conflict of interest or when they are considering undertaking any political activity
- ensure that procedures are in place for employees to file a declaration of all situations, activities, assets or liabilities that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest with respect to their official duties. These declarations are to be administered in accordance with the Privacy Act
- ensure that any conflict arising between the private interests and the official duties of an employee is resolved in favor of the public interest, by considering the nature and risk of the conflict of interest in relation to the feasibility and practicality of the measures required to resolve the conflict, and communicating the decision and the reasons for the decision to the employee (a declaration of a possible conflict of interest to the Ethics Officer may often be sufficient, but additional requirements may be necessary)
- ensure that benefits provided or offered to the CNSC by outside entities or individuals with whom the CNSC has past, present or potential official dealings are managed appropriately and that any resulting organizational conflict of interest is resolved in the public interest
- ensure that concurrent outside appointments that are part of an employee’s official duties, such as to a board of directors, are managed appropriately and that any resulting conflicts of duties are resolved in the public interest
- without unduly restricting employees’ ability to seek other employment, review the operations and organizational structure for post-employment situations:
- identifying which positions at the CNSC may be at risk for post-employment concerns because the duties of the position pose a significant risk for post-employment conflicts with one or more outside organizations, and designating them as subject to the requirements set out in section 6. These normally include some positions in: the executive (RLE; MGT, LA) category; contracting, procurement and administration; the issuance or monitoring of licences, grants and other conferred financial or operational benefits; enforcement of CNSC actions or provision of legal services
- when appropriate, reducing or waiving the one-year limitation period, in consideration of the criteria set out in section 6.5
- ensure that decisions made to resolve conflicts of interest and post-employment situations are, where practicable, made in mutual agreement with the employee in question, using fair and effective means to resolve the disagreements
- send annual correspondence to staff to remind them of their responsibilities to submit a Declaration of Conflicts of Interest if a change in their activities, investments or inheritance has occurred within that year, and other correspondence whenever needed
- provide lists of reportable assets and liabilities, and of prohibited securities, reviewing and modifying the lists as required to ensure that they reflect current investment products and practices and the organizational risk analysis of conflicts of interest. The CNSC will:
- include or make reference to these lists on applicable forms
- ensure that employees are informed of these lists and any changes to them
- request employees to report assets and liabilities affected by these changes
- ensure that employees who intend to have official dealings, other than those that consist of the routine provision of service to an individual, with former employees who are or may be governed by the post-employment measures report this to the Ethics Officer who upon receiving a notice, pursuant to subsection 6.4, shall forthwith:
- determine whether or not the former employee is complying with the post-employment measures
- give written instructions to the reporting employee with respect to the matter
- ensure that an employee who receives instructions pursuant to paragraph (l) (ii) shall thereafter comply with those instructions
7.4 Monitoring requirements
The President is responsible for monitoring the performance of the CNSC with respect to the application and administration of this policy. This includes assessing the CNSC’s service delivery structure, resource allocation, human resources competencies, performance indicators, systems, processes and procedures, and reviewing this policy.
It is expected that conflicts of interest will be resolved through discussion and agreement between the employee and the Ethics Advisor or Director or Delegate or President. Disagreements, if any, will be resolved through the appeal and resolution procedures available to the CNSC and its employees.
An employee who does not comply with the requirements set out in this policy, the directive and the annexes may be subject to administrative and disciplinary measures, up to and including termination of employment.
Appendix A: Definitions
Conflict of duties: A conflict that arises, not because of employees’ private interests, but as a result of one or more concurrent or competing official responsibilities. For example, these roles could include their primary employment and their responsibilities in an outside role that forms part of their official duties, such as an appointment to a board of directors, or other outside functions.
Conflict of interest: A situation in which employees have private interests that could improperly influence the performance of their official duties and responsibilities or in which they use their office for personal gain.
- A real conflict of interest already exists.
- An apparent conflict of interest could be perceived by a reasonable observer to exist, regardless of whether it actually exists.
- A potential conflict of interest could reasonably be foreseen to exist in the future.
Declaration of Conflicts of Interest: Declaration of Conflict of Interest Form I and Confidential Report – Form II
Delegate: the Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive to whom the President has delegated her authority to act on her behalf to administer the Conflict of Interest Policy.
Directive: The CNSC Directive on Reporting and Managing Financial Conflicts of Interest. This directive provides direction and instructions on reportable assets and liabilities.
Employees: Persons employed by the CNSC, appointed to indeterminate or term positions and who work on a full-time or part-time basis.
Ethics Advisor: Officer responsible for the application and administration of the Values and Ethics, the Conflict of Interest and Post-employment, and the Internal Disclosure programs.
Family member: Father, mother (or stepfather, stepmother or foster parent), brother, sister, spouse (including common-law spouse resident with the employee), child (including child of common-law spouse), stepchild or ward of the employee, grandparent, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, and relative permanently residing in the employee’s household or with whom the employee permanently resides.
Investment – direct or indirect: A direct investment is under the employee’s control; for example, buying a stock by name from a company or through a broker or sub-broker. An indirect investment is controlled by entities beyond the employee’s control; for example, buying a mutual fund that has this stock in its portfolio.
Liabilities: Debts or obligations.
Policy: The CNSC’s Conflict of Interest and Post-employment Policy.
Post-employment: Depending on the position, the period of work before an employee is hired by the CNSC, is still employed by the CNSC, and after they the CNSC.
President: As an Order-in-Council appointee, the President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is subject to the Conflict of Interest Act, but not to this policy.
Prohibited source: A person or entity seeking official action (permission, transaction, etc) from the CNSC, doing business or seeking to do business with the CNSC, conducting activities regulated by the CNSC, or having interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or non-performance of a CNSC employee’s official duties.
Reportable activities: Activities outside the CNSC that may put an employee in a conflict of interest; for example, volunteering in companies or associations that have a nuclear mandate, giving courses on nuclear energy or the nuclear sector, or selling devices that have a nuclear component.
Reportable assets: Benefits, investments, securities or other that may put an employee in a conflict of interest and that they should declare in the Declaration of Conflicts of Interest.
Securities: All interests in debts or equity instruments, including secured and unsecured bonds, debentures, notes, securitized assets and commercial paper, as well as all types of preferred and common stock. The term encompasses both current and contingent ownership interests, including any beneficial or legal interest derived from a trust. It extends to any right to acquire or dispose of any long or short position in such securities and includes, without limitation, interests convertible into such securities, as well as options, rights, warrants, puts, calls and straddles with respect thereto.
Stakeholders: CNSC employees, the Canadian public, the Government of Canada, CNSC licensees and contractors, national and international organizations involved in the nuclear sector.
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