Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Corrections - Code of Conduct and Professionalism Policy Summary

Ontario Correctional Services
Code of Conduct and Professionalism

Policy Summary

What is the Correctional Services Code of Conduct and Professionalism Policy?

The broad principles set out in the Correctional Services Code of Conduct and Professionalism Policy (the Policy) are intended to guide Correctional Services employees in actions and decisions and to provide a tool to enhance understanding of the many Ontario Public Service (OPS) wide policies and standards that govern the work we do in providing a consistent level of service excellence to the citizens of Ontario.

The Policy outlines the behaviours expected of all employees, regardless of position or rank and also defines behavioural standards and infractions in accordance with internal, OPS and/or provincial procedures, policies and legislation. The Policy summarizes and provides links to the many pieces of legislation and policy governing Correctional Services employees, including but not limited to:

  • Public Service of Ontario Act
  • Ministry of Correctional Services Act
  • Criminal Code of Canada
  • Ontario Human Rights Code
  • OPS Respectful Workplace Policy
  • Systemic Change Program
  • Human Rights Project Charter

The Policy provides an overview and highlights of legislation, corporate directives, policies and guidelines that are applicable to on-duty and off-duty conduct. It is not an exhaustive or definitive source of information, interpretation or guidance in every situation.

Queries related to the Correctional Services Code of Conduct and Professionalism Policy should be directed to the employee’s manager/supervisor or

Section I: The Code of Conduct and Professionalism Policy (On-duty)

As employees of Correctional Services, we have a professional responsibility to provide care and to ensure the well-being of those in our custody or serving a sentence in the community, and to maintain a respectful, safe and healthy work environment. The standards listed below set out ministry expectations for employee behaviour and conduct in the workplace.

  1. Perform our duties with honesty and integrity.

Public servants are accountable to the citizens of Ontario through the minister and the Legislature. As public servants, we are therefore required to conduct ourselves in a responsible and law abiding manner that creates and maintains respect for the Government of Ontario and renders us worthy of the public’s trust.

  1. Fulfil our duties in a diligent, capable, and courteous manner.

The responsible discharge of duties means that employees will:

  • Act with honesty, courtesy, fairness, dignity, respect and impartiality in the conduct of professional duties. Under no circumstances shall any person be subject to threatening, humiliating, bullying or degrading treatment, including hate or hate activity.
  • Respect the dignity and human rights of colleagues and clients, other employees, all visitors, contractors and members of the public in a fair and equitable manner.
  • Perform work professionally, accurately, thoroughly and in a timely manner.
  • Present a professional image in appearance, actions and words.
  • Participate in decision making through positive, innovative and constructive means.
  1. Fulfil our responsibility to colleagues and clients by fostering and maintaining working relationships based on mutual respect, dignity and cooperation.

Respectful, positive and collaborative behaviours honour the individuality and dignity of persons and contribute to the quality of work life and service delivery. Balancing conflicting interests and exercising impartiality, objectivity, equity and equality in interpersonal relationships, and being aware of our province’s rich diversity, promotes a fair and inclusive working environment.

  1. Contribute to and maintain a workplace that is fair, inclusive and free from all forms of discrimination and harassment.

The ministry and its employees have legal obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Respectful Workplace Policy. The ministry values and promotes human rights, inclusion, accessibility and diversity. Correctional Services embraces these values and is committed to fostering and sustaining workplaces and service delivery that are professional, respectful and honour the human rights principles.

  1. Promote the principles and support the practices of achieving a healthy and safe workplace and work environment.

The establishment, promotion and maintenance of a healthy and safe workplace are a legislated requirement. Every employee shares in the responsibility to ensure and maintain and safe and healthy work environment for co-workers, clients, visitors and contractors, and is expected to contribute towards improving the health and safety of the workplace.

  1. Maintain the privacy and confidentiality of information acquired through our employment, consistent with relevant legislation and protocols.

In fulfilling the ministry’s mandate, employees may have access to confidential information about other staff, clients, persons and agencies associated with the ministry as well as ministry programs and operations. It is essential that the information be collected, used, maintained and disclosed in a manner consistent with the principles, purposes, and oaths of confidentiality and requirements of the legislation, information policies and practices of the ministry, the Government of Ontario and other professional bodies. This provision is expected to continue when public service employment ends.

  1. Use government resources to support the ministry’s business vision of providing a modern, more accessible and more effective justice system.

Government resources are solely for the purpose of government business by employees and will not be used for personal benefit or gain.

  1. Ensure that any business or private ventures are neither in conflict nor appear to be in conflict with our duties as employees and overall responsibilities as public servants.

Employees must conduct themselves in compliance with OPS values and in a manner that in no way jeopardizes operational security and/or safety. The OPS recognizes the right of public service employees to be involved in activities as citizens of the community; however, all employees must separate their role as private citizens from their responsibilities as public servants and thereby avoid conflict of interest situations.

  1. Respect all professionals within the criminal justice system and work to improve cooperation with each other.

As active participants in the system who share a mutual concern for public safety, the administration of justice and effective services to clients, it is vital to cooperate with individuals in all other segments of the justice system. A collaborative team approach within the ministry, between ministries, and with external agencies, contributes to service excellence and job satisfaction.

Section II: The Code of Conduct and Professionalism Policy (Off-duty)

Employees should be aware that inappropriate off-duty behaviour can have consequences in the workplace. They may be disciplined for acts committed while off-duty, including improper use of social media networking and online postings, if the act:

  • prejudices the employer’s ability to continue business
  • negatively impacts the employer’s reputation
  • renders the staff member unable to discharge her/his employment obligations
  • leads to the refusal, reluctance or inability of other employees to work with you
  • involves unreported staff/inmate or client interactions outside work
  • creates a poisoned work environment

Section III: Defined Infractions

The following is a list of the types of defined infractions that can occur:

  • irresponsible discharge of duties
  • conduct and appearance
  • relationships with other employees
  • relationships with clients
  • conflict of interest
  • protection and sharing of information
  • improper use of the employer’s information technology and ministry property

This is not an exhaustive list. If an employee has committed an infraction, this can result in corrective or disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Each situation is unique and therefore the outcome will depend on a number of specific factors.

Section IV: Complaints and Corrective or Disciplinary Action

Everyone is expected to act in a manner consistent with the law. Accordingly, those who find themselves charged with offences will have their employment status considered within the framework of the principles set out in the Policy. This applies to both on-duty and off-duty conduct for:

  • All offences under the Criminal Code
  • Indictable offences under any other federal statute
  • Ontario Human Rights Code violations
  • Summary conviction offences requiring an appearance before any Court

Printable PDF version available on demand.