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Building a Strong Public Sector Through Values and Ethics (FON3-V02)


This video explains the origin, purpose and enduring nature of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.

Duration: 00:03:45
Published: March 1, 2024
Type: Video

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Building a Strong Public Sector Through Values and Ethics

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The Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector was enacted in 2012 and since then has become a guidepost for the professional conduct of employees in the public sector.

[0:03-0:10 An icon of Parliament Hill appears on screen, followed by 2012 and the Values and Ethics Code book cover. This transitions into a guidepost.]

But how was it created and why? Let's uncover its roots.

[0:15-0:18 A question mark appears and then a magnifying glass hovers over it.]

The origins of the Code can be traced back to the mid-nineties, when then Clerk of the Privy Council, Jocelyne Bourgon, established nine task forces.

[0:20-0:22 A timeline illustrating how the Code goes back to the 1990s. Then an image of Jocelyne Bourgon with the numbers one to nine appearing below her.]

Their role was to investigate the challenges that had emerged following spending reductions and changes to the Government of Canada's operating model.

[0:29-0:34 A magnifying glass hovers over coins and bills that reduce in number.]

Former Deputy Minister of Justice John Tait was asked to lead the Task Force on Values and Ethics.

[0:35-0:40 An image of John Tait and below him the numbers one to nine appear; the fifth one changes to represent Values & Ethics.]

In 1996, Tait and his team released a report titled "A Strong Foundation: Report of the Task Force on Public Service Values and Ethics".

[0:41-0:50 The year 1996 appears, followed by the report title cover.]

The report established the elements still fundamental to public service values and ethics today: integrity, impartiality, transparency, accountability, and respect for diversity. It also identified four categories of public service values: democratic, professional, ethical, and people.

[0:51-1:12 The text "Values & Ethics" appears in a circle in the middle, and then emerging from it are the five elements each inside a circle and highlighted when mentioned. The circles then morph into four squares, each containing a public service value that is highlighted when mentioned.]

In 2003, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service was introduced in response to the Tait Report.

[1:12-1:18 The year 2003, followed by Code's title cover.]

The Code outlined the values and ethics guiding public servants in their professional activities and set out conflict of interest and post-employment measures. It aimed to maintain confidence in the integrity of the public service and strengthen respect for its role in Canadian democracy. It became a condition of employment for employees in the core public administration, regardless of their level or position.

[1:19- An image of the Code shifts to the side as descriptive text appears next to it, matching the narration.]

In 2012, the Code was updated to become the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. This was pursuant to the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, which required the Treasury Board of Canada to extend the application of the Code to the entire federal public sector.

[1:41-1:55 A book opens, with 2012 written on the left page and scrawled text on the right.]

This included all crown corporations and public organizations, but excluded the Canadian Forces, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Communications Security Establishment, which have separate requirements.

[1:56-2:08 Icons representing crown corporations and public organizations, as well as accompanying text.]

At the heart of the Code are five enduring values:

[2:09-2:10 An image of the Values and Ethics Code book cover.]

  • Respect for Democracy: We must uphold parliamentary democracy through impartial duty execution, adherence to the rule of law, and unbiased decision-making.

[2:11-2:22 An icon an amphitheatre appears, along with text describing this value.]

  • Respect for People: We must value diversity, treat everyone with respect, dignity and fairness, and foster safe, healthy workplaces.

[2:23-2:30 Individuals hands all stacked up on top of another appear, in diverse skins tons, along with text describing this value.]

  • Integrity: We must act with honesty, transparency, and accountability, always prioritizing the public's best interest.

[2:31-2:40 A scale, moving side to side appears, along with text describing this value.]

  • Stewardship: We must use public resources responsibly, ensuring sustainability, and preserving and sharing knowledge.

[2:41-2:48 A white woman with grey hair in a wheelchair appears, smiling looking at her laptop, while a brown-skinned older woman stands next to her looking at her phone, alongside text describing this value.]

  • Excellence: We must provide efficient services that respect Canada's official languages, foster teamwork, learning, and innovation, and improve the quality of our work.

[2:50-3:00 An arrow hits a target, alongside text describing this value.]

Together with the Financial Administration Act and the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, the Code creates a framework that fosters ethical behaviour, accountability, and integrity in the federal public sector. It promotes a culture of trust, fairness, and transparency in all aspects of government operations.

[3:01-3:06 The text Values & Ethics appears in a circle and then on either side of it are written the names of the two Acts.]

[3:07-3:18 Then Values & Ethics appears again in a circle, but this time with the words "ethical behaviour", "accountability" and "integrity" in circles extending out from it and rotating. This transitions into a background image of hands on top of one another with the words "fairness", "transparency" and "trust" in circles, rotating on top.]

The Code is a living framework that remains highly relevant to this day, offering public sector employees a North Star as they navigate today's complex challenges.

[3:19-3:28 The title image of the Code appears above a timeline, with the years 1993, 2006, 2012 and the word Today on it; the Code moves from the year 2012 to Today.]

Learn more by visiting the Treasury Board Secretariat website.

[3:29-3:34 The Value and Ethics section of the website scrolls on a laptop screen.]

[3:35-3:45 The CSPS logo appears on screen. Text appears on screen: The government of Canada logo appears on screen.]

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