Conflict of Interest

Effective date: September 30, 2011

Revised January 2018

Relevant Legislation:

Not applicable to this policy.

Intent:

A higher standard of due diligence and care is required for non-profit organizations where even the perception of a conflict of interest can be as damaging to its reputation and credibility as an actual conflict. The organization must treat, and be seen to be treating everyone equally, fairly and objectively. For this reason, the zone of personal responsibility of the individual is extended to include immediate family members by birth and marriage (e.g. father/mother, brother/sister, son/daughter and in-laws) when judging whether a conflict exists or could exist.

Definitions:

Conflict of interest is any decision-making situation where the personal or business interests of a Director, officer or staff member of LOFT are in conflict with the best interests of the Agency. This can involve the individual, close family member or personal friend, directly or indirectly giving and/or receiving a personal benefit, gain, privilege or advantage through an insider relationship. The individual is, or can be seen to be “serving two masters”, his/her own interests and that of LOFT.  In such situations, independent judgment and objectivity are threatened. Management and staff must strive to make organizational and business decisions based solely on the organization’s requirements and best interests. The goal is for all inside parties to operate at arm’s length with all outside parties with which LOFT does business.

Policy:

Administrative Matters

All management and staff with the authority to make decisions or advise on contracts, purchases and hiring/promotion must equally avoid conflicts of interest.  This may be achieved by employing such objective business practices or ethical standards such as:

• All staff with a conflict of interest shall absent themselves from discussions or decisions on the contract, purchase or hiring in question.

• Procedures for all contracted (goods, services, employment) should be based on a standard set of job specifications or a current job description as appropriate. Reviews of submissions or applications/interviews shall treat all bidders/applicants equally and objectively. Contracts for goods and services shall be awarded to the lowest bidder, all other relevant criteria being rated as equal.

• Offers of employment shall be made to the most qualified applicant, consistent with relevant organizational policies and fair employment practices.

•Appropriate to the amount of the contract and periodically for recurring supply or service contracts, a process of competitive tendering or invitational bidding should be initiated to avoid any appearance of bias or favouritism.

Any instance of failure to declare a conflict of interest when discovered shall be investigated by the appropriate level of management. Violation of the conflict of interest policy may render the effected individual liable to disciplinary action up to and including termination, in keeping with the nature of the offence.

 

Nepotism

Close family relationships strain staff ability, or perceived ability, to render neutral and objective decisions. Ongoing relationships between individuals, positive or negative, must be kept as separate as possible from organizational and business decisions at LOFT.

To ensure effective and accountable management, supervision and support between supervisors and staff, no supervisor shall have a close family member reporting regularly to her/him. Family relations shall not be hired into the same Program or administrative unit. Equally, no staff may directly supervise or co-ordinate the work of a consultant or contractor who is a close family member.

 

Procedures:

See program manual.