Code of Conduct for Members of the Agency

A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Purpose

(1) The Code establishes the standards that govern the conduct of members of the Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) as decision-makers of a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal.

(2) The Code is intended to supplement, and should be read in conjunction with, any applicable conduct requirements set out in the Canada Transportation Act (the Act), as well as any requirements regarding conflicts of interest, ethics and political activities that are established for Governor in Council (GIC) appointees, and set out in legislation, guidelines, codes or other instruments.

Application

(3) The Chairperson is responsible for the administration of the Code, including any matters regarding its interpretation. Members are accountable to the Chairperson for their compliance with the Code.

(4) The Code applies to all full-time and temporary members of the Agency.

(5) The Code is effective from April 1, 2008.

Scope

(6) The Code is based on the Agency's dedication to the following values in the decision-making process – independence, impartiality, fairness, transparency, integrity, respect and discretion.

(7) The standards of conduct set out in the Code are based on and recognize two fundamental principles: (i) the public confidence and trust in the impartiality of the Agency proceedings; and (ii) the independence in decision-making.

(8) These standards address members' responsibilities to the Agency itself, including colleagues and staff, to the parties and their counsel who appear in person or on paper before them, and to the public.

B. MEMBERS' RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE AGENCY

Compliance with Laws

(9) Members shall comply with the provisions of the Act, all applicable rules established under the Act, and all other relevant legislation and policy instruments that apply to their work and the work of the Agency.

Consistency

(10) Members, in their decision-making, must take into account decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Federal Court that apply to the case at hand.

(11) Members have a responsibility to promote the institutional interest of the Agency of ensuring consistency of its decisions, and must provide reasons if they intend to depart from past precedent setting cases.

(12) Members should ensure that decisions are prepared in accordance with the Agency's guidelines and procedures on drafting and meet the Agency's standards for quality and consistency in the Agency's decision making.

Collegiality

(13) Members should foster a collegial working environment and conduct themselves in a manner that reinforces the integrity and professionalism of the Agency among other Members and with staff.

(14) Members should conduct themselves in a manner that demonstrates respect for the views and opinions of colleagues, and should not comment publicly on another member's decision or conduct.

(15) Members should share their knowledge and expertise with other members as requested and appropriate, and not with a view to influence the decision-making process of a member.

Communications

(16) Members shall not communicate with the news media or publicly express any opinion about any case or other issue relevant to the work of the Agency, or that may create a bias or a reasonable apprehension of bias. Inquiries from the media or members of the public shall be referred to the Communications Directorate which is responsible for communications with external stakeholders.

(17) Members shall not communicate with other government departments or agencies regarding a case that is before the Agency.

(18) Members shall not disclose or make known, either publicly or privately, any information of a confidential nature that was obtained in their capacity as a member.

Expertise

(19) Members have a responsibility to maintain a high level of professional competence and expertise required to fulfil their duties and responsibilities. Members are expected to pursue the development of knowledge and skills related to their work, including participation in ongoing training provided by the Agency.

C. MEMBERS' RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE PARTIES

Rules of Natural Justice

(20) Members shall comply with the rules of natural justice and procedural fairness.

Impartiality

(21) Members must approach each case with an open mind and, at all times, must be, and must be seen to be, impartial and objective.

Fairness and Transparency

(22) Members must ensure that proceedings are conducted in a manner that is transparent, fair and seen to be fair.

Conduct of Hearings

(23) Members shall conduct hearings in a courteous and respectful manner while ensuring that the proceedings are orderly and efficient.

(24) Members must be sensitive to potential needs for accommodation.

(25) Members should conduct hearings such that those who appear before the Agency understand procedures and practice and can participate equally, whether or not they are represented by counsel.

Communication with Participants in a Proceeding

(26) Members shall not communicate directly or indirectly with any party, counsel, witness, interpreter or other non-Agency participant appearing before them in a proceeding with respect to that proceeding, except in the presence of all parties or their counsel.

(27) Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Chair of the Agency may, from time to time, confer with counsel or parties frequently involved in Agency proceedings to discuss matters unrelated to any specific proceeding or to address general operational or administrative concerns arising from the functioning of the Agency.

Decision-Making

(28) Members shall render decisions on the merits of the case, based on thorough preparation and the application of the relevant legislation to the evidence presented during the proceeding.

(29) Adjudicative responsibility shall not be delegated.

(30) Members shall not be influenced by extraneous or improper considerations in their decision-making. Members shall make their decisions free from the improper influence of other persons, institutions, interest groups or the political process.

(31) Members shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that proceedings are concluded in a timely manner, avoiding unnecessary delays and postponements of proceedings, but always complying with the rules of natural justice and procedural fairness. Members shall render decisions as soon as possible after closure of pleadings.

(32) Members are expected to render their reasons in accordance with any standards that may be established by the Agency regarding quality decision-making.

(33) Members shall not disclose information about a case or discuss any matter that is in the process of being, or has been, decided by them, except as required in the performance of, and in the circumstances appropriate to, the formal conduct of their duties.

D. MEMBERS' RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE PUBLIC

(34) Members shall conduct themselves with integrity and avoid impropriety, or the appearance of impropriety.

Bias

(35) Members shall conduct themselves in a manner that will not cast doubt on their ability to perform their duties objectively.

Conflict of Interest

(36) Members shall disqualify themselves from any proceeding where they know or reasonably should know that, in the making of the decision, they would be in a conflict of interest, or that their participation may create a reasonable apprehension of bias. In such case, they shall immediately inform the Chair of the Agency and provide reason for their self-disqualification.

(37) Members shall arrange their private affairs in a manner that will prevent them from being in a conflict of interest, as set out in the applicable legislation, guideline, code or other instrument established for GIC appointees.

(38) Members shall not accept gifts or other advantages, including hospitality or other benefits, as set out in the applicable legislation, guideline, code or other instrument established for GIC appointees.

Outside Activities

(39) Members may take part in outside activities that are not inconsistent or incompatible with their official duties and responsibilities, or call into question their ability to perform their duties objectively. Such activities may include participation at conferences and training seminars, volunteer activities, public speeches and similar other activities.

(40) Members shall obtain any required prior written approval for such outside activities, as set out in the applicable legislation, guideline, code or other instrument established for GIC appointees.

E. ACKNOWLEDGMENT

(41) Each member must adhere to this Code of Conduct and commit to supporting standards set out in applicable legislation, regulations, guidelines and practices.

(42) Members should review and reaffirm their commitment to and compliance with the Agency's Code of Conduct upon initial appointment and thereafter every year on their appointment anniversary date to the Agency.

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