Values and Ethics Code of the Department of Justice

Annex A: Duties and Obligations

Public Servants

Public servants are expected to abide by this Code and demonstrate the values of the Department in their actions and behaviour. If a public servant does not abide by these values and expectations, he or she may be subject to administrative or disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment.

As provided by sections 12 and 13 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), if public servants have information that could indicate a serious breach of this Code, they can bring this matter, in confidence and without fear of reprisal, to the attention of their immediate supervisor, the senior officer for disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

It is the responsibility of every public servant to review the Code regularly - at least once a year and more often if there is a change in their circumstances (e.g. when changing positions or undertaking a new activity) - and to be familiar with their duties and obligations.


Public servants who are also managers are in a position of influence and authority that gives them a particular responsibility to exemplify the values of the public sector and the Department. Managers are expected to:

  • promote a culture based on the values of the public sector and of the Department, and encourage dialogue on related issues;
  • provide advice and guidance as needed to public servants under their supervision on issues related to values and ethics, including occasions where public servants find themselves faced with a situation that could give rise to a conflict of interest;
  • review submissions from public servants and provide input as requested by the office responsible for values and ethics for the purpose of making a decision relating to conflict of interest and post-employment;
  • monitor public servants’ compliance with decisions or other measures established to prevent or minimize risks related to conflict of interest;
  • notify the office responsible for values and ethics of breaches under this Code and non-compliance with established measures to prevent conflict of interest; and,
  • advise employees departing from the public service of their post-employment obligations.  Discuss their intentions for future outside employment or activities that may give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest situation.

Deputy Minister

The Deputy Minister has specific responsibilities under the PSDPA, including establishing a code of conduct for the Department and an overall responsibility for fostering a positive culture of values and ethics. The Deputy Minister ensures that employees are aware of their obligations under this Code. The Deputy Minister also ensures that employees can obtain appropriate advice within the Department on ethical issues, including possible conflicts of interest.

The Deputy Minister ensures that this Code and the internal disclosure procedures are implemented effectively within the Department, and that they are regularly monitored and evaluated.

The Deputy Minister is responsible for ensuring the non-partisan provision of programs and services by the Department.

The Deputy Minister is subject to the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and to the Conflict of Interest Act.

Director General, Human Resources Branch

The Deputy Minister has delegated responsibility for overseeing activities relating to values and ethics at the Department to the Director General of the Human Resources Branch, who in turn supports the Deputy Minister as part of his or her functions by playing a central role in leading the Department in matters of values and ethics.

In particular, the Director General of the Human Resources Branch is responsible for managing the office responsible for values and ethics and, in accordance with the authority delegated to him or her, for reviewing and dealing with requests for advice and submissions related to conflict of interest and post-employment on behalf of the Deputy Minister.

Workplace Branch

The Workplace Branch is responsible for values and ethics and supports the Deputy Minister, the Director General of the Human Resources Branch, managers and all public servants in the Department.  It is responsible for:

  • providing advice to public servants and managers on issues related to this Code and values and ethics in general;
  • processing and providing recommendations on submissions under this Code related to conflict of interest, post-employment and political activities;
  • providing information, tools and training to ensure that public servants understand their duties and obligations; and
  • working in partnership with key stakeholders and partners on issues related to values and ethics.

Senior Officer for Disclosure

The senior officer for disclosure helps promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing and deals with disclosures of wrongdoing made by public servants in the Department. He or she is responsible for supporting the Deputy Minister in meeting the requirements of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA).

The senior officer's duties and powers also include the following, in accordance with the internal disclosure procedures established under the PSDPA:

  1. Provide information, advice and guidance to public servants regarding the Department's internal disclosure procedures, including the making of disclosures, the conduct of investigations into disclosures, and the handling of disclosures made to supervisors.
  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 person(s) who made a disclosure in writing of the outcome of any review and/or investigation into the disclosure and on the status of actions taken on the disclosure, as appropriate.
  6. Report the findings of investigations, as well as any systemic problems that may give rise to wrongdoing, directly to the Deputy Minister, with recommendations for corrective action, if any.

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat - Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer

In support of the Treasury Board President's responsibilities under section 4 of the PSDPA, the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) is responsible for promoting ethical practices in the public sector.Footnote 6 The OCHRO will work with all relevant partner organizations to implement and promote the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector (VECPS), and will provide advice to Deputy Ministers and designated departmental officials with respect to its interpretation.

The Chief Human Resources Officer may issue directives, standards and guidelines related to the VECPS.

The OCHRO will monitor the implementation of the VECPS in organizations with a view to assessing whether the stated objectives have been achieved.

Public Service Commission

The Public Service Commission is responsible for conducting staffing investigations and audits to safeguard the integrity of the public service staffing system and administering certain provisions related to political activities to maintain the non-partisanship of the public service in accordance with the Public Service Employment Act.

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