Adjunct Faculty Positions (M13-16/17)

A number of scientific staff in the ministry disclosed to their ethics executive that they held adjunct faculty status at various academic institutions, as a function of their ministry duties. Some of these employees, in their ministry role, supported a ministry science grant funding program by reviewing applications which researchers from various academic institutions had submitted.

The ethics executive determined that the adjunct faculty appointments were, in fact, a function of the employees’ ministry duties, and therefore not subject to the more restrictive rules under section 8, which applies to external undertakings. In view of section 5, the ethics executive considered that most of the employees’ adjunct faculty roles were in a subject matter area that was related to their ministry duties, so the rules regarding the confidential information were highly relevant. In view of sections 6 and 9, the ethics executive considered that given the ministry role of some of the employees in reviewing grant funding applications from academic institutions as part of a ministry science grant program, there was a potential for conflict of interest regarding the provision of preferential treatment, and participating in decision making by the Crown where an employee could stand to benefit from the decision.

The ethics executive determined that the adjunct faculty appointments, as a function of the employees’ ministry duties, were permissible provided that employees complied with the conflict of interest rules and other specific directions. In particular, the employees were restricted from participating in the review and/or assessment of any submissions to the ministry from the academic institution where they held an adjunct faculty position, in particular those relating to grant funding. The employees were also restricted from participating in the preparation of any submissions to the ministry on behalf of the academic institution where they held an adjunct faculty position, in particular those relating to grant funding.

O. Reg. 381/07, s. 5, 8 & 9.