Key references for Public Servants

When you are hired for a GoC position, you sign the Agreement that you will abide by the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector (VECPS). Additionally, each Agency/Department may have their own Code of Conduct, which you agree will to follow.

Below are provided quotes from some of those documents. 

The paragraphs which you can refer to, when contributing to better transparency, accountability, and democracy in Canada are marked bold.

Clause commonly used in Employment Contract with the Gov't of Canada: 

"I would like to bring to your attention that public servants are required to observe the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service. This Code is a key policy for the management of human resources and is part of your conditions of employment. By accepting this offer, you certify that  you have received a copy of the Code, and that you undertake to comply with it. The Code may also be viewed at the following website: . If after having read the Code, you feel you may be in a real, perceived or potential conflict of interest, you must complete the Confidential Report 610-30 form of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat within 60 days. A designated official will rule on the conflict situation and advise you accordingly. The form can be obtained from your Human Resources Advisor or at the following website:  

"J'aimerais vous signaler que les fonctionnaires fédéraux sont tenus d'observer le Code de valeurs et d'éthique de la fonction publique. Ce Code est une politique fondamentale de la gestion des ressources humaines et fait partie de vos conditions d'emploi. Le Code peut être consulté à  l'adresse suivante : . En acceptant la présente offre, vous attestez que vous avez pris connaissance du Code. Si, après avoir lu le Code, vous pensez que vous risquez de vous trouver en situation de conflit d'intérêts réel, perçu ou potentiel, vous devez remplir dans les 60 jours le formulaire Rapport confidentiel 610- 30 du Secrétariat du Conseil du Trésor du Canada. Un fonctionnaire désigné prendra une décision concernant votre cas et vous informera en conséquence. Le formulaire peut être obtenu auprès de votre conseiller(ère) en ressources humaines ou à l'adresse suivante :"

Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector

Source: Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector: -

Expected Behaviours

Federal public servants are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the values of the public sector and these expected behaviours.

CBSA Code of Conduct

Source: Unprotected document available from CBSA

Summary (Quoted from 2020)

Our CBSA Values


·        We serve the public interest through non-partisan support of our Minister.

·        We show the utmost appreciation for the dignity, diversity and worth of all people and uphold the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

·        We develop and sustain mutual trust with our colleagues.


·        We exercise our authority in an honest, open and fair manner.

·        We accept responsibility for our actions in order to build and maintain a reputation of trustworthiness and accountability.


·        We employ public resources wisely and properly.

·        We provide efficient, competent and excellent service.

·        We set high standards of achievement and accountability both individually and collectively.

Specifically (Quoted from 2024)

A. Our Values:

a. Respect: Our Values in Action 

i. providing impartial, objective and factual information, advice and support  in a timely manner to further Agency objectives. 

b. Integrity: Our Values in Action 

i. making decisions and behaving in ways that maintain public confidence  and preserve CBSA’s reputation in light of its high visibility;

ii. ensuring that our off-duty and private activities and our private financial  affairs do not conflict with our official duties;

iii. refraining from making derogatory comments regarding the Agency, its  employees (including its managers) or the Government of Canada,  especially in public spaces.

C. Accountability and Professional Conduct: 

i. we are responsible for acting at all times in such a way as to uphold the  public interest and for exhibiting conduct in keeping with the Values and  Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the CBSA Code of Conduct;

ii. we recognize that CBSA's policies, standards, procedures and practices  provide the boundaries within which we demonstrate professional  conduct.

D. Expected Standards of Conduct

3. Social Media: 

i. When commenting in social media fora: we are mindful of our duty of  loyalty and remain non-partisan. 

4. Private, Off-Duty Conduct and Outside Activities: 

i. We understand that our outside activities and off-duty conduct are usually  private matter, they could become work-related matters, however, if they  have negative consequences on the Agency.

5.2. Public Criticism of the CBSA and/or the Government of Canada: 

i. We refrain from making public criticisms of the CBSA and/or the  Government of Canada including posting critical comments on social  media fora.

12. Neglect of Duty: 

ii. Carry out policies, procedures, or assignment or instructions from our  managers without delay (Insubordination) 


Political activities 

(Note that this section relate only to  activities during election time)

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides all Canadians with “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression” and “freedom of association” and states that any restriction should be “only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”

The Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) recognizes your right to engage in political activities while maintaining the principle of political impartiality in the federal public service.

A political activity is defined by the PSEA as:

·        carrying on any activity in support of, within or in opposition to a political party

·        carrying on any activity in support of, or in opposition to a candidate before or during an election period

Political activities not related to candidacy include, but are not limited to:

·        door-to-door canvassing on behalf of a political party or candidate

·        attending political party or candidate events such as meetings, conventions or rallies

·        using social media, blogs or displaying political material in support of, or in opposition to a political party or candidate