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GDO Ethics and Business Conduct

Adopted: December 1, 2009
Amended: November 25, 2013

Policy

The Board of Trustee believes that our Ethics and Business Conduct requires our trustees, managers, employees and volunteers to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. As a representative of the District, we must practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling our responsibilities and comply with all applicable laws and regulations. In return all should expect a positive supportive environment where they can seek advice and if necessary disclose wrong doings without fear of reprisal knowing such disclosure will be taken seriously.

Guidelines

  1. Fort McMurray Public School District will investigate any possible wrongdoings, fraudulent or dishonest use or misuse of Fort McMurray Public School District resources or property by management, staff, volunteers, or members. Anyone found to have engaged in wrongdoings, fraudulent or dishonest conduct is subject to disciplinary action by Fort McMurray Public School District up to and including civil or criminal prosecution when warranted.
  2. Day-to-day workplace issues that fall short of “wrongdoings” should be dealt with using existing District policies and practices.
  3. All members of the Fort McMurray Public School District community are encouraged to report possible wrongdoings, fraudulent or dishonest conduct (i.e., a whistleblower). An employee should report his or her concerns to a supervisor. If for any reason an employee finds it difficult to report his or her concern to a manager or supervisor, the employee can report it directly to Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and Administration and/or Superintendent of Schools.
  4. Managers or supervisors are required to report suspected and/or reported wrongdoings, fraudulent or dishonest conduct to the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and Administration and/or Superintendent of Schools.
  5. An investigation may involve both internal and external sources to assist in determining whether a wrongdoing has occurred and what corrective action may be appropriate.
  6. The Superintendent of Schools is designated the Chief Officer for the purpose of the overall administration and reporting required under the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistle Blower Protection Act (“the Act”).
  7. The Associate Superintendent Human Resources and Administration is Designated Officer for the purpose of administering and investigating disclosures under the Act.

For more information about definitions, rights and responsibilities, and procedures read the following.

Definitions

Baseless Allegations: allegations made with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity. People making such allegations may be subject to institutional disciplinary action and /or legal claims by individuals accused of such conduct.

Fraudulent or Dishonest Conduct: a deliberate act or failure to act with the intention of obtaining an unauthorized benefit. Examples of such conduct include, but are not limited to:

  • forgery or alteration of documents
  • unauthorized alteration or manipulation of computer files
  • fraudulent financial reporting
  • pursuit of a benefit or advantage in violation of the Fort McMurray Public School District Organization’s conflict of interest policy
  • misappropriation or misuse of Fort McMurray Public School District Organization resources, such as funds, supplies, or other assets
  • authorizing or receiving compensation for goods not received or services not performed
  • authorizing or receiving compensation for hours not worked

Wrongdoings: in or relating to schools, departments and employees that involve:

  • a contravention of an Act of Alberta or Canada or the Regulations related to those acts, or
  • an act or omission that creates
    • substantial and specific danger to the life, health or safety of individuals other than a danger that is inherent in the performance of the duties of functions of an employee or
    • A substantial and specific danger to the environment, or
  • Gross mismanagement of public funds or a public asset, or
  • Knowingly directing or counseling an individual to commit one of the wrongdoings listed above

Whistleblower: an employee who informs a manager, supervisor or the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and Administration and or Superintendent of Schools about an activity which that person believes to ba wrongdoing or fraudulent or dishonest.

Rights and Responsibilities

Managers or Supervisors

Managers or supervisors are required to report suspected wrongdoings, fraudulent or dishonest conduct to the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and Administration and/or Superintendent of Schools. In addition, managers or supervisors are responsible for maintaining a system of management controls, which detect and deter wrongdoings, fraudulent or dishonest conduct. Failure by a manager or supervisor to establish management controls or report misconduct within the scope of this policy may result in adverse personnel action against the manager or supervisor, up to and including dismissal. The Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and Administration and/or Superintendent of Schools is available to assist management in establishing management systems and recognizing improper conduct.

Reasonable care should be taken in dealing with suspected misconduct to avoid:

  • baseless allegations
  • premature notice to persons suspected of misconduct and/or disclosure of suspected misconduct to others not involved with the investigation
  • violations of a person's rights under law
  • Accordingly, a manager or supervisor faced with a suspected misconduct:
    • should not contact the person suspected to further investigate the matter or demand restitution
    • should not discuss the case with anyone other than the Associate Superintendent of  Human Resources and Administration and or Superintendent of Schools, or a duly authorized law enforcement officer
    • should direct all inquiries from any attorney retained by the suspected individual to the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and Administration and/or Superintendent of Schools.
    • should direct all inquiries from the media to Fort McMurray Public School District Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and Administration and or Superintendent of Schools.

Whistleblower Protection

Fort McMurray Public School District will use best efforts to protect whistleblowers as defined below.

  • Fort McMurray Public School District will use best efforts to protect whistleblowers against retaliation, as described below. It cannot guarantee confidentiality, however, and there is no such thing as an "unofficial" or "off the record" report. Fort McMurray Public School District will keep the whistleblower's identity confidential, unless (1) the person agrees to be identified; (2) identification is necessary to allow Fort McMurray Public School District or law enforcement officials to investigate or respond effectively to the report; (3) identification is required by law; or (4) the person accused of Fraud Policy violations is entitled to the information as a matter of legal right in disciplinary proceedings.
  • Fort McMurray Public School District employees may not retaliate against a whistleblower with the intent or effect of adversely affecting the terms or conditions of employment (including but not limited to, threats of physical harm, loss of job, punitive work assignments, or impact on salary or wages). Whistleblowers who believe that they have been retaliated against may file a written complaint with the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and Administration and or Superintendent of Schools a proven complaint of retaliation shall result in a proper remedy for the person harmed and the initiation of disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, against the retaliating person. This protection from retaliation is not intended to prohibit managers or supervisors from taking action, including disciplinary action, in the usual scope of their duties and based on valid performance-related factors.
  • Whistleblowers must be cautious to avoid baseless allegations (as described earlier in the definitions section of this policy).
  • An employee may make a written complaint to the Public Interest Commissioner if the employee alleges that a reprisal has been taken or directed against the employee. Such a written complaint must, according to the Act, be made on the Complaint of Reprisal Form, found in Section 3 of the Regulation to the Act.
  • Reasonable human resource management decisions made in good faith do not constitute a reprisal.

Timelines

  • A disclosure of a wrongdoing or complaint of reprisal shall be acknowledged not more than five (5) business days from the date on which the disclosure of wrongdoing or complaint of reprisal is received.
  • The employee who submitted a disclosure of wrongdoing or complaint of reprisal shall be advised no more than ten (10) business days from the date of which the disclosure of wrongdoing or complaint of reprisal is received of whether an investigation will be made.
  • An investigation must be concluded not more than one hundred and ten (110) business days from the date on which the disclosure of wrongdoing or complaint or reprisal is received.  The employee who submitted a disclosure of wrongdoing or complaint of reprisal shall be advised of the results of the investigation in writing.
  • These timelines may be extended by up to thirty (30) days by the Superintendent, or for a longer period of time if approved by the Public Interest Commissioner.

References

Legal Reference:

Alberta School Act: Sections 45(8)

Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act and Regulation

Cross Reference:

AE Safe and Caring Schools

GBEB Harassment in the Workplace

GDQ CUPE Discipline

GBCB CUPE Code of Conduct

GCN Evaluation of Teachers

GCAG Teachers

 

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