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Conflict of Interest Policy

About the policy

Conflict of interest policy

Our Conflict of Interest policy provides rules and guiding principles to help employees avoid a conflict of interest situation. A conflict of interest might occur if you have, or are perceived to have, influence on City decisions that might benefit you, a relative, a friend, or a connected party like another employer.

It might also occur if you have a private or personal interest that can influence, or even appear to influence, the impartial exercise of your City duties. Conflicts of interest can affect The City’s overall reputation.

There are six parts to this policy that you should know about:

  1. Outside interests
  2. Gifts, favours, and services
  3. Furthering private interests
  4. Using City assets
  5. Using confidential information
  6. Political activity

Let’s take a closer look at two:

Gifts, Favours and Services

Gifts, favours or services that are connected directly or indirectly to your performance or work at The City.

What is allowed? General hospitality among people conducting business is acceptable. Tokens exchanged as part of protocol, festivities and normal presentations to an employee at a public function are also allowed.

Example: A City employee receives a discount on goods or services because the service provider has a contract with The City. This discount does not apply to all City employees.

Guide me: You cannot receive a gift that would appear as if you are obligated to an individual or organization. Additionally, the gift, favour, or service should not convey that this is an acceptable or required method to obtain work or consideration from City employees.

Furthering Private Interests

A conflict of interest exists when there are competing interests between your role as a City employee and your off-duty interests or activities. This includes:

  • using your public role to influence a City decision that could benefit your private interest, or that of a relative, business associate or friend;
  • taking part in a decision that could benefit the private interests of you, a relative, a business associate or friend.

Example: I am a leader who has responsibility for setting schedules, assigning work and reviewing performance. My brother-in-law has been successful on a competition and will soon be reporting to me.

Guide me: A conflict of interest, and/or perception of favouritism, can arise from direct or indirect supervisory relationships. Leaders and employees need to advise Human Resources of supervisory relationships if an employee is related to, or involved in a relationship with, a leader or supervisor so that other options can be explored.

Questions about this policy?

  • Talk to your supervisor or HR Business Partner to request clarification.
  • Management can contact LR for policy interpretation.

Policy download

Download the full policy below.

Case studies

Click to expand the following case study.

Case study: Outside interests

Outside Interests

An outside interest may include secondary employment, business undertakings, teaching and/or involvement with charitable, political, community service and professional organizations.


Your job at the City involves performing work on City property but not in homes. You might be trimming or removing trees or working on water, gas main or electrical jobs. Homeowners are responsible for getting this work done from the City property line to (or into) their house. You, your friend or family member also runs a private business that is capable of doing the work for the homeowner. On City time, you give the homeowner contact information or a business card for your (or your relative’s or friend’s) company. 

What, if anything, is concerning about this example?

Talking Points:

  • This is an example of where your outside interest (a private business) puts you in a situation where there is an appearance of a conflict of interest and depending on your role, a real conflict of interest since you (or your relatives or friends) are getting a monetary advantage because of your work as a City employee.
  • The homeowner sees you as a City of Calgary employee because you are there with City equipment and possible in clothing with City identifiers.
  • The homeowner may perceive or believe that The City has approved the private business you are recommending, when that isn’t really the case.
  • The City needs to be transparent in all of its dealings. 
  • What happens if the homeowner decides to use the company in which you have an interest and it doesn’t meet the homeowner’s expectations?
    • Because the private business appears to be related to The City (through your suggestion), the homeowner might contact the City and/or try to extend liability to the City.

What should you do?

The City expects that your outside interests would not conflict with your role at work. If there may be a real or perceived conflict of interest you should talk to your supervisor immediately. It is much better to talk about it than to continue on and potentially have a large conflict that could result in discipline up to and including termination.

Policy resources

  1. Download: Conflict of Interest Policy
  2. Download: Policy tip sheet

View the complete Code of Conduct policy library