Members Code of Conduct
Table of contents
Mandate of the Agency
- The Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) is an independent, quasi-judicial, expert tribunal and regulator which has, with respect to all matters necessary for the exercise of its jurisdiction, all the powers of a superior court.
- The Agency has three core mandates:
- Helping ensure that the national transportation system runs efficiently and smoothly in the interests of all Canadians: those who work and invest in it; the producers, shippers, travellers and businesses who rely on it; and the communities where it operates.
- Protecting the fundamental human right of persons with disabilities to an accessible transportation network.
- Providing consumer protection for air passengers.
Roles of the Agency’s Chair, Vice-Chair, Members, and staff
- The Agency is comprised of up to five regular Members appointed by the Governor in Council (GIC), including the Agency’s Chair and Vice-Chair, and up to three temporary Members appointed by the Minister of Transport from a roster approved by the GIC.
- Members make adjudicative decisions and regulatory determinations1. Their responsibilities in these regards cannot be delegated.
- The Chair, who has the dual role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and a Member, is responsible for overall leadership of the Agency. He or she sets the Agency’s strategic priorities, serves as its public voice, reports on its plans and results to Parliament through the Minister of Transport, and handles relations with Ministers, Parliamentarians, Deputy Ministers, and analogous bodies in other jurisdictions. He or she assigns cases to Members, supervises and directs their work, and chairs regular Members meetings. As CEO, he or she is the most senior manager of the public servants working in the organization, serves as Deputy Head and Accounting Officer with a broad range of related responsibilities under the Financial Administration Act and other statutes, and chairs the Executive Committee.
- The Vice-Chair, who is also a Member, sits on the Executive Committee and assumes the responsibilities of the Chair if the Chair is absent or incapacitated.
- Members other than the Chair and Vice-Chair do not have any managerial functions within the Agency.
- All Members are supported in the discharge of their decision-making duties by the Agency’s public servants, who are responsible for giving Members frank, impartial, evidence-based advice; fully implementing Members’ direction; and other tasks assigned to them by the Chair, their managers, or legislation.
B. GENERAL PROVISIONS
Purpose, guiding principles, and application of the Code
- This Code establishes the standards for the conduct of Members and applies to all regular and temporary Members. It supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, any applicable requirements and standards set out in the Canada Transportation Act; other legislation establishing ethical and conduct obligations, such as the Conflict of Interest Act; relevant regulations, policies, and guidelines; other relevant codes; and letters of appointment.
- The Code reflects:
- the Agency’s commitment to independent, impartial, fair, transparent, credible, and efficient decision making; and
- the Agency’s organizational values of respect for democracy, respect for people, integrity, stewardship, and excellence.
- Members shall:
- adhere to all elements of the Code and other applicable instruments listed in Appendix "A";
- uphold the highest ethical standards at all times;
- arrange their private affairs in a manner that ensures they have no conflicts of interest;
- conduct themselves with integrity, avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety, and eschew any action that could cast doubt on their ability to perform their duties with impartiality;
- not accept gifts, hospitality, or other advantages or benefits from any party that has an interest in matters handled by the Agency;
- recuse 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 where their participation might create a reasonable apprehension of bias. In such case, they shall immediately inform the Chair and provide the reason for their recusal. Members are encouraged to seek the advice of the Chair and the Senior General Counsel when dealing with any situation where recusal is contemplated; and
- immediately inform the Chair if they become aware of a situation that may adversely affect the integrity or the credibility of the Agency, including possible non-compliance with the Code.
- The Chair is responsible for the administration of the Code and its interpretation. Members are accountable to the Chair for their compliance with the Code.
Members’ expertise and work arrangements
- Members have a responsibility to maintain the highest levels of professional competence and expertise required to fulfil their duties. Members are expected to pursue the development of knowledge and skills related to their work, including participation in training provided by the Agency.
- Regular, full-time Members must devote at least 37.5 hours per week to the performance of their duties during their term of appointment. If a regular Member is authorized by the Chair to continue to hear one or more matters before them upon expiry of their term, they shall only request remuneration for actual time worked during the period of continuation.
- When temporary Members are appointed on a full-time basis, they must devote at least 37.5 hours per week to the performance of their duties. When temporary Members are appointed on a part-time basis, they shall only request remuneration for actual time worked.
- Members’ designated workplace is at the Agency’s head office. They shall only work from home or other off-site locations with the prior written approval of the Chair.
C. DECISION MAKING
- Members must approach each case with an open mind and must be, and be seen to be, impartial and objective at all times.
Natural justice and fairness
- Members must respect the rules of natural justice and procedural fairness.
- Members must ensure that proceedings are conducted in a manner that is transparent, fair, and seen to be fair.
- Members shall render each decision on the merits of the case, based on the application of the relevant legislation and jurisprudence to the evidence presented during the proceeding.
- 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 any other person, institution, stakeholder or interest group, or political actor.
- Members shall carefully review and consider relevant material – including applications, pleadings, briefing notes, and draft decisions – before attending case-related briefing sessions, meetings, or oral hearings.
- Members shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that proceedings progress in a timely fashion, avoiding unnecessary delays but always complying with the rules of natural justice and procedural fairness. Members shall render decisions as soon as possible after pleadings have closed and do their part to help ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that statutory timelines and internal service standards for the issuance of decisions are met.
- Members shall ensure that their decisions are written in a manner that is clear, logical, complete without being unnecessarily repetitive or lengthy, and consistent with any guidelines or standards established by the Agency regarding the quality and format of decisions.
- Members shall, in fairness to the parties that appear before the Agency, consider principles well-established in previous decisions and shall provide well-articulated reasons if they decide to depart from those principles.
Respect for parties and participants
- Members shall conduct proceedings, including oral hearings, in a courteous and respectful manner, while ensuring that proceedings are orderly and efficient.
- Members shall conduct proceedings such that those who have cases before the Agency understand its procedures and practices and can participate meaningfully, whether or not they are represented by counsel.
- Members must be responsive to accessibility-related needs and implement reasonable accommodation measures to facilitate meaningful participation of parties and other participants with disabilities in Agency hearings.
- Members shall be responsive to diversity, gender, and other human rights considerations when conducting proceedings; for example, in the affirmation/swearing in of witnesses and the scheduling of oral hearings. Members shall avoid words, phrases, and actions that could be understood to manifest bias or prejudice based on factors such as disability, race, age, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status, and shall never draw inferences on a person’s credibility on the basis of such factors.
- Members shall not communicate directly or indirectly with any party, counsel, witness, or other non-Agency participants appearing before them in a proceeding with respect to that proceeding, except in the presence of all parties or their counsel.
- Members shall not disclose information about a case or discuss any matter that has been or is in the process of being decided by them or the Agency, except as required in the performance of, and in the circumstances appropriate to, the formal conduct of their duties. Members shall refrain from discussing any case or Agency-related matter in public places.
WORKING RELATIONS AND INTERACTIONS
Relations with other Members
- Members shall foster civil, collegial relations with other Members.
- Members should have frank discussions and openly debate issues, while showing respect for one another’s expertise, opinions, and roles. Members shall not comment on another Member’s views, decisions, or conduct, except directly and privately to that Member them self, or to the Chair pursuant to subsection 11.g of this Code.
- Members assigned together to a Panel should strive to reach consensus decisions whenever possible, but respectfully agree to disagree and prepare a decision which includes a dissenting opinion where consensus cannot be achieved within a reasonable time period.
- Members should share their knowledge and expertise with other Members as requested and appropriate, without attempting to influence decisions in cases to which they are not assigned.
Relations with Agency staff
- Members shall at all times treat Agency staff with courtesy and be respectful of their views and recommendations, recognizing that staff are professional public servants who are required to offer their best advice to Members, who make the final decisions.
- Any concerns about staff performance should not be communicated directly to working-level employees but rather should be shared with the relevant Branch Head if the concerns are relatively minor and with the Chair if they are significant or systemic.
Interactions with non-Agency individuals and organizations
- Members shall not communicate with the news media on matters related to their role as Member. Enquiries from the media or members of the public shall be referred to the Chair’s Office.
- Members shall not communicate with politicians or officials of other federal departments and agencies, provincial or foreign governments, or international organizations regarding a matter that is, was, or could be before the Agency.
- Members shall not publicly express an opinion about any past, current, or potential cases or any other issue related to the work of the Agency, and shall refrain from comments or discussions in public or otherwise that may create a reasonable apprehension of bias.
- 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.
- Members shall not use their position or the Agency’s resources (e.g., an Agency email account or letterhead) for personal gain.
E. OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES
- Members shall not accept invitations to attend social events such as receptions or dinners with stakeholder representatives or with persons who are, or may become, a party, counsel, witness, or other non-Agency participants in an Agency proceeding, except in rare instances where there is a compelling justification and the Chair provides prior written approval.
- Members may take part in other outside activities that are not incompatible with their official duties and responsibilities and do not call into question their ability to perform their duties objectively, with the prior written approval of the Chair. Such activities may include participation in conferences and training seminars, speeches, teaching assignments, and volunteering.
- Requests for the Chair’s approval of participation in social events or other outside activities must be made in writing at least two weeks before those events or activities begin, and must fully disclose all relevant details. Members are also responsible for obtaining any other approval required by applicable legislation, guidelines, codes, or other instruments.
- Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Chair may, from time to time, confer with stakeholder representatives, counsel, or other parties in their role as the head of a regulatory organization, to discuss matters unrelated to any specific dispute or determination.
F. SOCIAL MEDIA
- Members are free to use social media, but they must use good judgment if they decide to follow people and organizations or post comments where the public can see them. Members must understand that what they do on social media is in the public domain.
- Members must refrain from using social media to talk about or comment on the Agency. Members must not comment on cases before the Agency on social media.
- Members shall review and affirm their commitment to and compliance with the Code upon initial appointment and every year thereafter on or near the anniversary of their appointment.
(Paragraph 11 – Applicable codes)