The following inquiries represent a selection of questions received by the Integrity Commissioner from Ministers’ staff. The examples are abbreviated and anonymized. The Commissioner’s directions and advice in these summaries were provided based on specific facts. It is expected that Ministers’ staff will contact the Office for their own guidance.
A public servant wished to sit on the board of directors of a new charity. The head of the group intended to ask the provincial government for funding. The requested funding was not from the public servant’s ministry. Could the public servant join the board?
The Commissioner determined that this person could join the board, on three conditions:
1) that he/she inform the Minister and the Minister approved;
2) that he/she recuse himself/herself from any discussions regarding funding, and any other issues that might involve the provincial government; and
3) that he/she not use any government resources.
A public servant wished to write freelance articles on subjects not connected with his ministerial responsibilities. Is this activity acceptable?
The Commissioner determined that this activity was acceptable, provided the individual obtained the minister’s approval, and that the work was done without using any government resources, including time.
A relative of a public servant is employed by a government stakeholder and the public servant’s ministry has direct dealings with the employer. Can the public servant work on the file?
In order to avoid a potential and perceived conflict of interest, the Commissioner directed that the public servant be screened from all files related to the relative and the relative’s employer. Another member of staff was assigned to the file, and the Minister and deputy minister were formally advised of the screens put in place.
A public servant holds stock related to a specific sector that could potentially conflict with his/her work with the Crown. Should the public servant hold or sell the stock?
In order to avoid a real or perceived conflict of interest, the Commissioner directed that the public servant was not to sell or trade the shares in that particular sector, and to not purchase any new stock or mutual funds in that sector until his/her position with the Crown ended. In addition, the Commissioner directed the public servant to provide copies of investment statements at six-month intervals and to notify the Office when his/her employment contract concluded in order to obtain advice about future dealings with the investments.
A former public servant was employed by two ministries in the 12 months preceding her departure from the Crown. What lobbying restrictions will apply?
The former public servant was restricted from lobbying the Ministers, Ministers’ staff and any public servants in both ministries in which he/she worked. The restriction is in effect for 12 months following his/her last day of work.