Rules at a glance


  1. Don’t benefit self, spouse or children

Public servants should not use their positions to directly or indirectly benefit themselves, their spouse or children.

  1. Don’t disclose confidential information

Public servants should not disclose or use any confidential information without authorization.

  1. Don’t accept gifts

Public servants should not accept gifts from anyone who (1) receives services from (2) does business with or (3) wants to do business with the Ontario government. Public servants may be able to accept gifts of nominal values that are given as an expression of courtesy or hospitality.

  1. Be cautious before engaging in outside activity

Public servants should not engage in activities (including business, employment or volunteer) outside their public servant roles if doing so would influence or conflict with their duties as public servants.

  1. Don’t give preferential treatment

Public servants should not give preferential treatment and take steps to avoid creating the appearance that such treatment is being given.

  1. Don’t hire or supervise family members

Public servants should not hire, supervise, or enter into contracts with their spouses, children, parents, brothers or sisters.

  1. Be cautious before participating in decisions

Public servants should disclose if they could benefit from a decision and may not be permitted to participate in the decision-making process, including providing advice or voting.

  1. Declare financial interests

Some public servants may have to disclose their financial interests to the commissioner and may be prohibited from acquiring financial interests related to their duties as public servants.

When in doubt – contact your Ethics executive.


  1. Don’t seek preferential treatment

Former public servants must not seek preferential treatment from existing public servants.

  1. Don’t disclose confidential information

Former public servants are not allowed to disclose confidential information without authorization or use confidential information for personal benefit.

  1. Don’t switch sides

Former public servants who advised a ministry or public body on a proceeding, negotiation, or other transaction cannot provide advice or otherwise assist others on that matter after they cease to be public servants.

Some public servants may have additional restrictions

Former public servants who held designated senior positions may also be restricted from accepting employment with certain entities or lobbying the Ontario government for twelve-months after they cease to be public servants.

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This summary is provided for information only. For the authoritative text, refer to the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 and regulations.

See also:

Information Sheet: Post-Service Conflict of Interest Rules