Manitoba Government Code of Conduct


Annex A: Code of Conduct for Political Staff

Expected Behaviours


Political staff demonstrate the values for an ethical public service through their actions and behaviours. The following section outlines expected behaviours of political staff, in which these values are embedded. These behaviors are also derived from the values for both ethical and effective public service in The Public Service Act.

Political staff are also expected to follow the workforce management policies which apply to political staff as outlined in the Public Service Regulation Section 6.4(1)).

The Code does not attempt to set rules addressing every situation. In cases where appropriate conduct is unclear, it is the employee's responsibility to seek the advice and direction of their supervisor.


Citizen-Centred Service

Political staff must ensure their contact with the public is prompt, courteous, respectful, and that all Manitobans have equal access to goods and services. This includes recognizing and affirming the Treaty rights of Indigenous peoples in the Constitution, and advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples as laid out in the Reconciliation Strategy. The Path to Reconciliation Act, Accessibility for Manitobans Act and Accessibility Standards,Manitoba Government Accessible Customer Service Policy, Employment Equity Policy, Diversity and Inclusion Policy, French Language Services Policy, Respectful Workplace Policy: Addressing and Preventing Sexual Harassment, Harassment and Bullying, and The Human Rights Code provide further information on providing citizen-centred service.


Confidentiality

Political staff must maintain the confidentiality of information gained, in any form, as a result of their work and ensure that the privacy of individuals and their information is maintained, including after the employment relationship ends. Information that is not generally shared with the public should not be disclosed or commented on, including to the media or on social media. They must be aware of, and observe the confidentiality provisions of theOath or Affirmation of Office for Political Staff Member, The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA), and the Use of Technology Policy Statement that governs digital conduct.


Conflict(s) of Interest

As outlined in the Conflict of Interest Policy, political staff must resolve any conflict between their official duties and their personal or private interests, in favour of the public interest. This includes outside employment and volunteer activity, as well as the interests of immediate family, friends, and relatives.


On and Off-Duty Conduct

To maintain public confidence, whether on or off-duty, political staff are expected to obey all laws, and carry out their duties in accordance with legislative requirements, government policy, and directives. When off-duty, they are expected to use discretion to ensure that any personal activities do not bring disrepute to the Manitoba government, which includes activities or actions that could negatively affect the government's interests, property, security, reputation, or employee health and safety. Further information is included in policies such as the Criminal Charges, Oath or Affirmation of Office for Political Staff Member, Conflict of Interest, Respectful Workplace Policy: Addressing and Preventing Sexual Harassment, Harassment and Bullying, and Use of Technology Policy Statement.


Performance Standards

In order to provide quality services and programs that meet the needs of Manitobans, political staff must possess the abilities, skills, training and competence to perform their position duties. Managers must encourage and support ongoing learning, and political staff must be open to, and strive for continuous development.


Political Impartiality and Political Rights

Although political staff share the governing party's political commitment, and are not required to operate in a politically neutral way, they do share the responsibility of maintaining a non-partisan public service. Where they interact with other government employees, they must ensure any interactions are free from political influence. Further information on non-partisanship is available in the Guidelines for elected officials and political staff on ensuring a non-partisan Public Service (intranet access required).

Political staff have the right to be politically active. However, they must exercise political rights appropriately. When an election has been called, political staff must be especially vigilant with respect to the distinction between official government business supported by departmental and portfolio resources, and partisan political activities.

As outlined under the public resources section below, all public resources are to be used in an accountable manner and only for government business. During an election period, political staff must take care to avoid even the appearance that departmental resources are being used for campaign purposes. This includes government premises, supplies, equipment, email or services. Further information on political rights is found in The Public Service Act and in the Guidelines on the conduct of government and public servants prior to and during a general provincial election (intranet access required).

In addition to the resources listed, the Public Service Regulation - Part 6 (Political Staff, Section 6.6(1)) provides direction on acceptable political activities and political rights.


Public Resources

Political staff are accountable for public resources and must ensure they are using these resources in an efficient, responsible, and accountable manner. Public resources are to be used for government business only, and include human, financial, and technological resources, and government property, information, and equipment. Further information is available in the Government of Manitoba Employee Network Usage Policy (intranet access required), Oath or Affirmation of Office for Political Staff Member, Use of Technology Policy Statement, and policies and procedures that safeguard the use of public resources.


Respectful Workplaces

It is the collective responsibility of all employees to contribute to, and maintain, a respectful workplace environment that is free from all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment and discrimination. Political staff must treat with respect and courtesy all those with whom they have contact during the course of their employment. They must cooperate, be supportive and value the diversity of their fellow colleagues and the public.

It is recognized that employees may interact with colleagues and the public outside of the workplace and outside of working hours. Where such interactions occur, political staff are expected to refrain from any conduct that could negatively affect the workplace, or the reputation of the Manitoba government. Further information is outlined in the Respectful Workplace Policy: Addressing and Preventing Sexual Harassment, Harassment and Bullying, the Diversity and Inclusion Policy, and The Human Rights Code.


Safe Workplaces

It is the employer's responsibility to ensure that Manitoba government workplaces are safe for their employees and the public. Political staff must follow the policies and procedures established by their office to eliminate or minimize occupational safety and health risks at their workplace. See The Workplace Safety and Health Act,Workplace Safety and Health Policy (intranet access required), and the Workplace Impairment Policy for more information..