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Conflict of Interest Policy

Area Responsible for Administration: Finance
Approval Authorities: Senior Executive Committee
Approval Date: November 2016
Revision History: None
Review Timeline:
Every 3 Years

Purpose

To define standards of conduct that support Seneca’s mission and to assist employees in recognizing real and/or perceived conflict of interest situations so that they can take the initiative to disclose, manage and resolve such situations.

Scope

This policy applies to all Seneca employees.

Key Definitions

Business

Individuals, corporations, limited partnerships, general partnerships, joint stock companies, joint ventures, associations, companies, trusts or organizations that have a business relationship with Seneca.

Conflict of interest

When a Seneca employee makes a decision or participates in making a decision that they should reasonably know may result in a real or perceived opportunity to further their private interests.

Employee

Full-time, part-time and contract faculty, support staff and administrators of Seneca.

Related persons

As defined in subsection 251(6) of the Income Tax Act, this includes individuals connected by blood relationship, marriage common law partnership, or adoption.

Supplier

A person, corporation, partnership or business entity that sells goods or services to Seneca.

Policy

1. Policy Statement

1.1 Seneca employees are obligated to comply with the following requirements during the performance of their duties and responsibilities:

1.1.1 An employee shall avoid making/participating in a decision or engaging in any activity that creates a conflict of interest for them.

1.1.2 Full- and/or part-time employees cannot be supervised directly or indirectly by a member of his/her family or by an individual with whom they have a personal relationship. Supervisory activities include the granting or denying of a benefit; assignment of work; providing direction or instructions to members of a work group; assigning or coordinating projects; or engaging in disciplinary or evaluative functions. Exceptions may be considered in extenuating circumstances by the Associate Vice President, Human Resources.

1.1.3 An employee shall not use or permit the use of Seneca property for activities not associated with the proper performance of their duties. This includes facilities, equipment, supplies and other resources.

1.1.4 An employee shall not use privileged information that is gained during the course of their employment with Seneca to seek to influence a decision made by another person that may further the employee’s private interest or benefit the employee and/or their related persons.

1.1.5 Seneca shall not conduct business with suppliers who are also employees or accept former employees as suppliers or as supplier representatives for a period of two (2) years after their employment ends with Seneca. This includes if they are in a direct negotiating position with Seneca, have a relationship with Seneca decision makers, or have had access to significant information that was not fully disclosed to all suppliers. For more information, refer to Seneca’s Procurement Policy.

1.1.6 An employee shall not exercise influence for the benefit of, or provide preferential treatment to, related persons or friends.

1.1.7 An employee shall not accept a fee or personal benefit that is connected directly or indirectly with their performance as an employee.

1.1.8 An employee shall not refer to Seneca’s name, address, or telephone number in any business when it does not fall within the scope of their responsibility at Seneca.

1.1.9 All Seneca employees shall be familiar with the requirements and expectations for dealing with lobbyists as outlined in Part II of the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act.

2. Disclosure of Non-Compliance with this Policy

2.1 An employee who has reasonable grounds to believe that they are non-compliant with the requirements of this policy must file a statement of disclosure describing the nature of the non-compliance and shall withdraw from making decisions or engaging in activities related to the matter.

2.2 An employee must file a disclosure statement if they are engaged in a business or employed by another organization apart from Seneca. The disclosure statement shall contain the exact name of the business or employer and the employee’s interest in the business or organization.

2.3 During the period of assigned workload, employees in the academic bargaining unit must not take any employment, consulting, or teaching activity outside Seneca without the prior written consent of the appropriate supervisor. The consent of the supervisor must not be unreasonably withheld (Ontario Public Service Employees Union – Academic and Support, Article 11.06).

2.4 Human Resources shall require a job applicant to file a disclosure statement if they have a business or will continue to be employed by another organization apart from Seneca. The disclosure statement must contain the exact name of the business or employer and the applicant’s interest in the business or organization.

2.5 All disclosure statements must be filed with Seneca’s Senior Manager, Compliance. A copy of the statement shall be sent to the direct supervisor of the employee concerned.

2.6 If appropriate approval is obtained, a disclosed matter shall no longer be considered non-compliant.

3. Non-Compliance

3.1 Where Seneca finds that an employee has violated the requirements as described in this policy, disciplinary actions on the employee may be taken. These may include the dismissal of the employee from their employment with Seneca and, in certain circumstances, legal proceedings.

4. Roles and Responsibilities

4.1 Employees shall:

  • File a disclosure statement with the Senior Manager, Compliance when engaged in a business or employed by another organization apart from Seneca. Their direct supervisor should be copied when filing the statement
  • Recognize possible non-compliance with this policy and file a disclosure statement with the Senior Manager, Compliance that describes the nature of the non-compliance. Their direct supervisor should be copied when filing the statement
  • Establish, together with the Senior Manager, Compliance and their direct supervisor, solutions to monitor and manage any issues of non-compliance.

4.2 The Senior Manager, Compliance shall:

  • Investigate and evaluate non-compliance issues as reported
  • Establish, together with employees and their direct supervisors, solutions to manage and monitor issues of non-compliance
  • Obtain approval from the Vice President, Finance and Administration for the recommended solution.

4.3 Supervisors shall:

  • Establish, together with the employee and Senior Manager, Compliance, solutions to monitor and manage issues of non-compliance
  • Monitor implementation of the approved solution and provide status updates to the Senior Manager, Compliance.

4.4 The Vice President, Finance and Administration shall:

  • Investigate and evaluate situations as reported
  • Make final decisions on recommended solutions
  • Escalate situations to the President and/or obtain legal advice when deemed necessary.

Supporting Documentation

  • Appendix A: Examples of Non-Compliance

Related Seneca Policies

Related Materials


Appendix A: Examples of Non-Compliance

The following list is a set of examples of employee non-compliance and should not be considered comprehensive of all potential situations in the course of an employee’s responsibilities and duties:

  • Entering into a contract with a supplier with whom an employee or one of their related persons has a personal interest
  • Purchasing or influencing the purchase of goods and services for Seneca from a supplier with whom an employee or one of their related persons has a personal and/or financial interest
  • Accepting significant gifts or special favours for personal gain from suppliers or organizations with which Seneca does business
  • Hiring Seneca vendors for personal work without filing a disclosure statement and receiving the appropriate approval
  • Receiving payment from an outside source for work that is part of an employee’s duties and responsibilities
  • Influencing a related person’s admission to Seneca or academic grades once a student at Seneca. Participating in the decision to award scholarships, bursaries, or other similar activities a related person may register for while attending Seneca
  • Selection of textbooks or other instructional aids for a course that is based on an employee’s personal interest
  • Unauthorized use of Seneca’s resources or facilities to benefit a private matter in which the employee has a personal interest
  • Using confidential information acquired as a result of an employee’s duties and responsibilities for personal gain or other unauthorized purposes. Privileged information may include knowledge of forthcoming developments, such as contractor selection and bulk purchases
  • Disclosing information; sharing technology; or selling, licensing and/or distributing proprietary research and intellectual property without the appropriate authorization
  • Undertaking external consulting activities, professional or other, which prevents an employee from fulfilling their obligations to Seneca due to the time commitment involved
  • Failure to file a disclosure statement and obtain the appropriate approval for professional activities as required by this policy
  • Participating in the hiring, performance evaluation, or promotion of a related person or an individual with whom the employee has, or recently had, a close personal relationship
  • Disposing Seneca’s assets for personal and financial benefit