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Social Media, Media Relations and Public Statements Policy

About the policy

With conversations about The City happening 24/7 on multiple channels, it is more important than ever that our organization communicate with One Voice. As City employees, our behaviour is held to a higher standard. While most City employees are not designated spokespeople, this policy provides you with a better understanding of your role as a City ambassador when interacting with media, making public statements or using social media for work or personal use.

This policy is an extension of The City’s value of individual responsibility and collective accountability and will help:

  • Protect The City’s reputation.
  • Promote consistency and professionalism in how employees interact with the media and members of the public.
  • Provide clarity and standards for both City and personal use of social media.
  • Provide clarity about making public statements on behalf of The City.
  • Help protect employee reputations.

Remember:

  • You are accountable for your personal use of social media in the same way you are accountable for your off-duty conduct.
  • Spokespersons must be designated by the Director of Customer Service & Communications and complete the required training.
  • If you are approached by media, please direct all inquiries to The City’s 24-hour media relations line via 311.

Do you have questions about this policy?

  • Please talk to your supervisor or your communications businesses partner.


Policy download

Download the full policy below.


Scenarios and frequently asked questions

Click to expand the following scenarios and frequently asked questions.

Scenarios

You are walking down Stephen Avenue at lunch one day and a CBC reporter asks you to comment on the election results. How should you respond?

You are not a designated spokesperson. Even though this question directly relates to your work, you should refer them to your communications business partner or The City’s 24-hour media relations line via 311.

You are the designated spokesperson on a transportation project. While providing information at an open house, a member of the media asks for your opinions on a City matter unrelated to your project. How should you respond?

Although you are a designated spokesperson for your project, this question is unrelated to your area of expertise. Refer them to your communications business partner or to The City’s 24-hour media relations line via 311.

While at home you notice a Facebook post from The City sharing a story about a new program in recreation. You think your friends might like to know about it. What do you do?

Employees are valuable ambassadors and are encouraged to share the great work of City employees and programs. It would be appropriate to share this post with your friends or comment on it.

Frequently asked questions

When I’m not at work, can I post anything I want on my social media accounts?

As City employees, our behaviour is held to a higher standard. What we say, write or post on any public forum has an impact on the citizens of Calgary and how we work with each other.

While you may express your views as a private citizen, you are accountable for your personal use of social media in the same way you are accountable for other off-duty conduct. If you engage in public criticism, which is detrimental to The City’s legitimate business interests or reputation, you are violating your duty of loyalty as a public servant.

What is considered a public statement?

The City defines a public statement as anything an employee says, writes or posts on a public forum that relates to The City, City business or employees. Public forums include: Council or Committee presentations; community forums (open houses, information sessions and engagement events); media interviews; online or print forums; and social media posts.

Where should I direct calls from the media?

If you’re not a designated City spokesperson, please direct media inquiries to your communications business partner or The City’s 24-hour media relations line via 311.


Policy resources

  1. Download: Social Media, Media Relations and Public Statements Policy
  2. Download: Social Media Standards
  3. Download: Media Relations Standards
  4. Download: Public Statement Standards



View the complete Code of Conduct policy library