Public Administration and Ethics
McCallion’s conflict of interest http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/
“Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion engaged in a very real conflict of interest when she secretly promoted a land deal that could have put millions of dollars into her son’s pocket. “
Ethics and Public Administration In Canada, and other liberal democracies, the
1970s saw the rise of concerns about public sector ethics.
Ethics and Public AdministrationNew Public Management raises new concerns.
Civil servants responsible for results not process, has led to focus on values rather than rules.
Alternative service delivery raises question of whether private partners share public sector values.
The public service has many responsibilities and commitments:
to the public to the laws that govern its powers and
management; to the Ministers who are the political heads of
These multiple responsibilities can create tensions between the duty of the public service to serve the government and its ethical obligation to promote the public interest.
conflicts of interest confidentiality of information political partisanship
How can we, or should we, encourage ethical behaviour in the public service?
Strengthening public sector ethics codes of conduct training and education role models an attentive public (citizens, NGOs, mass
However, it is clear that rules and guidelines about process still will need to play a role.
Tait Report: A Strong FoundationTask Force on Public Service Values and
called for development of public service code of conduct
Values and Ethics Code for the Public ServiceIn 2003 a Values and Ethics Code for the
Public Service was prepared by the Treasury Board, and it came into force on September 1, 2003.
The Code sets out Public Service values as well as Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Measures.
Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service
Public Service Values Democratic Values Professional Values Ethical Values People Values
IPAC, “A Public Servant’s Commitments”Institute of Public Administration of Canada
A strong Commitment to Personal Integrity
A strong Commitment to Democratic Governance
A strong Commitment to Respectfulness
A strong Commitment to Continual Learning and Innovation
A strong Commitment to Critical Reflection on Ethics and Values
What was the “sponsorship scandal”?
How was it uncovered?
CBC Archives, May 8, 2002 CBC News In-depth:
Federal Sponsorship Scandal
“then former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, his chief of staff, Jean Pelletier, the deputy minister of public works and government services Canada, Ranald Quail, a hands-on minister of public works and government services Canada (hereafter PWGSC), Alfonso Gagliano, and a middle-level entrepreneurial manager in charge of advertising in that same department, Charles (Chuck) Guité, were all responsible for allowing the sponsorship program to be run irresponsibly and without proper accountability safeguards” (Greene and Shugarman, 2006: 220).
Gomery Final Report
Recommendation: The Government should adopt legislation to entrench into law a Public Service Charter.
statement of the essential values that all public servants could be expected to embrace
a charter of the rights and obligations of public servants and as a symbol of the Government’s undertaking to give new respect to the public service
Federal Ethics Counselor
First appointed 1994 To report to Prime Minister’s Office
Federal Ethics Commissioner
Appointed in 2004 Greater independence from Prime Minister Reported directly to Parliament Bernard Shapiro appointed as first
Commissioner in 2004, resigned in 2007.
Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Created in 2007, replacing the Ethics
Commissioner created in 2004. Mary Dawson was appointed as the first
Commissioner in 2007. Office administers the Conflict of Interest Act
and the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons.
Conflict of Interest Act
Passed in 2006, coming into force in 2007. A summary of the Act for public office holders including
ministers, parliamentary secretaries, ministerial staff and all full-time Governor in Council appointees such as deputy ministers, heads of Crown corporations and members of federal boards.
“Conflict of Interest: public office holders are in a conflict of interest when they exercise an official power, duty or function that provides an opportunity to further their private interests or those of their relatives or friends, or that improperly furthers another person’s private interests.”
Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act Passed in 2005, came into force in 2007. “The Act provides a means for employees in the
federal public sector to disclose information that they believe could show that a wrongdoing has been committed or is about to be committed in the federal public sector, or that they were asked to commit a wrongdoing. The Act protects public servant disclosers against reprisal.”
Created the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada (replacing the former Public Service Integrity Officer created in 2001).
Public Sector Integrity Commissioner The Commissioner is an Agent of Parliament
appointed by resolution of the Senate and House of Commons. He/she reports directly to Parliament.
Under investigation by the Auditor General, Public Sector Integrity Commissioner Christiane Ouimet resigned in 2010.
December 2010, AG released her report critical of Integrity Commissioner.
Controversy over the Integrity Commissioner“Former Integrity Commissioner Christiane Ouimet modeled many
of the behaviours that she was charged with driving out of the public service:
abusing her staff, taking reprisals against a former employee, and demonstrating 'reluctance' to find wrongdoing;
failing to do her job. The Auditor General reported that Ouimet failed to fulfill her mandate: in three years she found zero cases of wrongdoing and failed to protect a single whistleblower from reprisals;
when the Auditor General's investigation into her conduct was nearing completion, Ouimet negotiated a $500,000 settlement, including a gag order seemingly designed to protect her (and the government) from criticism or consequences;
displaying a disregard for our democratic institutions by refusing for months to respond to a Parliamentary committee as it tried to summon her to explain her actions.”
Protection for whistleblowers? Despite the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act and the
creation of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, many complain that there is still not sufficient protection for whistleblowers in the civil service.
Critics include: FAIR (Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform) Canadians for Accountability
For a critique of the act, see: http://fairwhistleblower.ca/psdpa/psdpa_critique.html
One example of the lack of protection: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1038934--effectively-silencing-canada-s-whistleblowers
Conservative Government and Ethics http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/
Transparency International – Corruption Perceptions Index
Global Integrity – Global Integrity Report