The Conflict of Interest and Post Employment Code: Canada's Principles-Based Approach

09/16/2001

In recent decades, public trust in government has declined steadily throughout the developed world. In Canada, polling research indicates that this decline is a complex phenomenon involving economic, social and political behaviour, as well as increased scrutiny by the media into government affairs. While declining trust is a challenge for governments in and of itself, more troublesome is the fact that it undermines the legitimacy of government and reflects how existing structures have not fully adapted and responded to the changing needs and interests of citizens.

The issue of conflict of interest is a significant factor in this situation. As governments strive toward greater transparency and accountability to the public, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure that politicians and public servants do not conduct their affairs in such a way that they receive or give to others inappropriate benefits that result from their position of power and influence.

This document provides an overview of how the Government of Canada, through the office of its Ethics Counsellor and the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders (the Code), deals with issues relating to conflict of interest and ethics. Central to this are the philosophy and principles that underpin the current conflict of interest framework in Canada, and these, along with the challenges and opportunities associated with the framework, are discussed in detail in the report.