A ministry employee disclosed their intent to undertake a temporary employment opportunity to teach a course at a college as an undertaking outside of their ministry duties. The topic and subject matter of the course was related to their ministry duties. The employee requested direction as to whether, as part of the course that they intended to teach, and with prior approval, they could gain access to, and use, internal ministry documents and examples from their ministry work experience for teaching purposes.
The ethics executive considered that the specific types of documents that the employee was seeking to use in connection with the course were publicly available on the internet, and as such, were not confidential and therefore not subject to the restrictions under section 5 of the rules. In view of section 8 of the rules, the ethics executive considered that the employee did not have regular and ongoing involvement in their ministry duties with the college, and that their employment with the college was limited to a few hours per week. However, the ethics executive considered that a concern could arise that the college, through the employee’s ongoing employment with the ministry, may gain or appear to gain an advantage over other academic institutions in dealing with the government, including accessing government information, experts, or programs, including matters of employment or funding.
The ethics executive determined that in the external employment, the employee reserved the right to employ the skills and experience that they retained as a professional working in the field, including that which they gained through their ministry employment, to the extent that they complied with the conflict of interest rules and other specific directions. In particular, if the employee wished to use any ministry material that was not available to the public for teaching purposes, they were required to request permission from the ethics executive in order to do so. Where speaking of specific ministry experiences in the external employment, the employee was required to refrain from disclosing any confidential information, or information that is otherwise unavailable to the public.
O. Reg. 381/07, s. 5, 6 & 8.