Code of Conduct for Members of the Social Security Tribunal

Standards of conduct that members are expected to comply with in support of the Tribunal’s commitment to provide fair, transparent, credible and impartial appeal processes that are efficient and effective.

Last updated: April 2017

1. Purpose

All members of the Social Security Tribunal of Canada (Tribunal), including the Chairperson and Vice-chairpersons, are appointed by the Governor in Council and are subject to the Conflict of Interest Act, the Ethical Guidelines and Statutory Standards of Conduct and the Guidelines for the Political Activities of Public Office Holders.

The Code of Conduct (Code) is meant to complement the requirements in the above-noted instruments by providing guidance on appropriate standards of conduct that pertain specifically to members of the Tribunal as independent and impartial decision makers.

The requirements of the Code support the Tribunal’s commitment to provide fair, transparent, credible and impartial appeal processes that are efficient and effective.

2. Application of the Code and accountability to the Chairperson and Vice-chairpersons

3. Principles guiding the conduct of members

3.1 Compliance with legislation, guidelines, etc.

3.2 Conflict of interest

In addition to the Conflict of Interest Act, which requires members to disclose conflicts of interest to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, members of the Tribunal are expected to:

3.3 Fairness and proper conduct

Members will make every effort to:

3.4 Collegiality

3.5 Expertise

3.6 Work expectations

4. Conduct during Tribunal proceedings

5. Etiquette during a hearing

6. Decision making

7. Protection of personal and confidential information

8. Security

PROTECTED “A”

PROTECTED “B”

PROTECTED “C”

Information contained in documents that Members may print

Information contained in documents that Members cannot print

Definition: Sensitive information whose unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause a low risk of injury to individuals, organizations or government.

Examples: Correspondence which may contain one* of the following personal information data elements, such as: a person's name, gender, date of birth, Social Insurance Number (SIN), Personal Record Identifier (PRI), Basic information on individuals participating in departmental programs.

* bold added

Definition: Particularly sensitive information whose unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause serious injury to individuals, specific public or private interests or government.

Examples: Client or employee files that include detailed personal information with more than one* personal data elements (e.g. name, date of birth, gender, SIN, PRI, etc.) pertaining to but not limited to: Program client files, such as but not limited to, CPP, CCB, OAS or EI; eligibility for social benefits or determination of benefit levels; Personal matters - pay, discipline, staffing, grievance; harassment, personal opinions or character references, official languages results, conflicts of interest, performance evaluation; Racial, ethnic, religious or political beliefs/associations /lifestyles; Medical, psychiatric, psychological evaluations; Assets, liabilities, bank balances, credit worthiness, information obtained from an income tax return or a similar source; Information pertaining to an investigation into a possible violation of law, criminal information/histories; Business or third-party information such as agreements, recommendations or advice to a departmental program whose disclosure could cause loss of reputation and/or competitive advantage; Threat and Risk Assessments and Reports; Solicitor-client privilege.

* bold added

Definition: Extremely sensitive information includes information whose unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause extremely grave injury to an individual, organization or government, such as loss of life, significant financial loss, liability and embarrassment to the department. Such information could prove detrimental if disclosed to highly motivated and skilled individuals or organizations and therefore special enhanced security measures are adapted.

Examples: Correspondence which may contain information with regard to: Name of an informant under the protection of a law enforcement agency; Name of an individual or individuals involved in domestic violence; Information on departmental programs/operations involving mandates/agreements/ partnerships on life-threatening situations.

Table based on the Information Classification Guide of ESDC

9. Tribunal property, equipment, information technology, premises, supplies, etc.

10. Communications

10.1 Media and General Public

10.2 Communicating with government officials

10.3 Social Media

11. Gifts

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