Helping with a Major Sporting Event (C01-16/17)

The public servant is president and CEO of a public body, and as such, maintains a very senior and visible position.  In his spare time, he is involved in certain athletic activities, including volunteering with a local organizing committee for a major sporting event that is planned to be held in Ontario  As part of these volunteer activities, he anticipated being asked to draw on his government relations experience and to assist with provincial grant applications.

A perceived or actual conflict could arise in the event that the public servant participated in any vendor selection processes on behalf of the organizing committee where the vendors could also provide goods or services to the public body.  In addition, given the very senior level held by the public servant at the public body, confusion could be created as to whether there is some sort of relationship between the organizing committee and the public body if he were to become a spokesperson for or be seen to be a public representative of the organizing committee.  This could inadvertently be seen to be an endorsement of the sporting event, and result in a benefit to the organizing committee.  Finally, using his existing government contacts and relationships to push forward applications for provincial grants could result in an advantage being conferred to the organizing committee.

The public servant was advised to refrain from participating in any vendor selections where the same vendors may have, or may make bids for, contracts with the public body.  The public servant was also advised to avoid becoming the “face” of the organizing committee by limiting speaking on its behalf or taking on major promotional actions in support of it.  Finally, the public servant was advised to avoid taking any personal action to persuade or otherwise connect with provincial-level decision-makers on behalf of the organizing committee.

O. Reg. 381/07, s. 6 & 8.