Involvement with Professional Association (M12-16/17)

An employee’s manager disclosed the employee’s ongoing involvement with a professional association as a function of her ministry duties. In the employee’s involvement with the professional association, she sat as a vice-chair of a committee that dealt with subject matter relating to her ministry duties. Additionally, the committee’s mandate included working with the provincial government, and providing input to policy makers.

The ethics executive determined that the employee’s involvement with the committee was, in fact, a function of the employee’s 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 the professional association, and committee on which the employee sat, was concerned with a subject matter area that was related to her ministry duties, so the rules regarding the confidential information were highly relevant. In view of section 9, the ethics executive considered that given the mandate of the committee on which the employee sat, there was a potential for conflict of interest regarding participating in decision making by a body/group where the interests of the body/group could conflict with the interests of the Crown.

The ethics executive determined that the employee’s involvement with the professional association, as a function of her ministry duties, and her role as vice-chair on a committee, was permissible provided that she complied with the conflict of interest rules and other specific directions. In particular, the employee was required to notify the committee and recuse herself from any decision making by the committee where, as a result a decision, she could benefit or the interests of the committee could conflict with the interests of the Crown.

O. Reg. 381/07, s. 5 & 9.