Every organization should have high ethical and performance standards articulated in a code of conduct.
Here we compile material relating to Metro Vancouver ethics and codes of conduct. It is a bureaucracy with a budget of over $600 million per year and is not directly accountable to the public. Nevertheless, the public should to know the guidelines that officials and staff are expected to follow. MetroVanWatch will update this web page as new information is obtained. (We express appreciation to Metro Van staff for material provided so far.)
- The Metro Vancouver “Sustainability Framework” identifies the core mission and values for the region, as well as the key sustainability principles that guide decision making. http://www.metrovancouver.org/about/publications/Publications/MV-SustainabilityFramework.pdf
- Elected officials are affected by certain statutory provisions that govern their roles, including the following:
* Section 100-109 (Conflict of Interest)
* Section 110-113 (Disqualification)
* Section 114-121 (Council Roles and Responsibilities)
Local Government Act
* Section 210 (Oath)
* Section 218-219 (Powers and Duties of Chair)
- Metro Vancouver Board Directors swear an oath of office (Metro Vancouver Oath_of_Office). Of particular note in the oath are statements that the director will (1) faithfully perform the duties of office, and will not allow any private interest to influence his/her conduct in public matters, (2) as required by the Local Government Act, will disclose any direct or indirect pecuniary interest he/she has in a matter, will not participate in discussion of the matter, and will not vote in respect of the matter, and (3) Electoral Area Directors only declare that they have not knowingly contravened the Local Government Act respecting vote buying or intimidation in relation to my election to the office.
- Metro Vancouver staff are governed by the following policy:
1.01 EMPLOYEE CODE OF ETHICS POLICY
Effective: August 27, 2008
Replaces: October 25, 1999
Chief Administrative Officer
POLICY A conflict exists where the employee could directly influence a decision made in the course of performing his/her job duties, and also where he/she could indirectly influence a decision through the exerting of personal influence over the decision-maker, and where the outcome of that decision might benefit the employee.
Employees shall not grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any citizen beyond that which is available to all, nor place themselves in a position where they are under obligation to any person who might benefit from special consideration or favour on their part, or who might seek in any way preferential treatment.
Employees shall not engage in any business or transaction nor shall they have a financial or other personal employment interest, direct or indirect, which is incompatible with the proper discharge of their duties, or which would tend to impair their independence of judgment or action. Personal interest includes an interest arising from family, marriage or common-law relationships.
USE OF REGIONAL DISTRICT PROPERTY
Employees shall not use or permit the use of regional district owned vehicles, equipment, material or property for their personal gain.
No employee shall make financial gain from the use or sale of Regional District developed computer programs, technological innovations or other patentable items, whether while in the employment of the Regional District, or thereafter. All such property is and shall remain the exclusive property of the Greater Vancouver Regional District.
REWARDS AND BENEFITS
Employees shall not accept commission, reward, advantage or benefit of any value from any person, firm or corporation which is interested directly or indirectly in any manner in business dealings with the Regional District.
It is recognized that moderate hospitality is an accepted courtesy of a business relationship. Recipients should not allow themselves to reach a position where they might be or might be deemed by others to have been influenced in making a business decision as a consequence of accepting such hospitality.
Employees shall not benefit, or appear to benefit, from the use of information acquired as a result of his/her duties with the Regional District unless such information is available to the public generally. Employees shall not disclose information not available to the public without proper authorization.
Employees shall not use information available only to Regional District staff to guide personal investment in real estate, whether by direct means or indirectly through others.
PROCEDURES The Human Resources Department will provide each Regular Full Time employee and all new Regular Full Time employees at the commencement of employment with the Regional District, with a copy of the Employee Code of Ethics.
Employees shall read the Code of Ethics and request clarification from their supervisor if required. Where an employee is uncertain as to possible conflicts of interest, he/she should discuss the matter, entirely and in detail, with his/her supervisor who shall advise as to the correct approach. The employee’s request for clarification and the reply from the supervisor should be documented and retained by both the employee and the supervisor. Employees are responsible for declaring any real or potential conflict of interest by informing their supervisor in writing.
Human Resources is responsible for assisting Departments in resolving difficult, sensitive, or new issues that arise in the administration and application of the Code of Ethics Policy; and for assisting Departments in the development of supplemental policies which address conflict of interest situations unique to the Department.
Undeclared conflict of interest situations, which come to the attention of the supervisor or Department Manager, shall be investigated.
Every democratic public organization should have clear rules for ethics and conduct of elected officials and public servants. Some are better than others. Searching around we can find various examples. Here is some interesting material from the European Parliament. Citizens in the Metro Vancouver may find it interesting to compare what our billion-dollar regional bureacracy has in place with the elements of the European system.