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Public Statements and Media Relations Policy

About the policy

You are a City employee, and as part of our shared values on individual responsibility, you are also a City ambassador. We work collectively for the benefit of the people of Calgary. And together we are responsible for protecting The City’s brand and reputation.

Although we are all encouraged to share positive news on The City’s programs, successes and services, most of us are not City spokespeople. Our Public Statements and Media Relations Policy describes the circumstances in which employees are designated to officially represent The City in any public conversation.

Designated spokespersons must:

  • Be designated by their General Manager or Director
  • Complete the required training



Also, remember:

  • When making a public statement as a private citizen on matters not related to your work, do not identify yourself as a City employee.
  • If you are speaking on behalf of a project or issue, you must be a designated spokesperson who has completed training through the current City media training course.
  • If you are not a City spokesperson for a project or issue, direct media inquiries to The City’s 24-hour media relations line at (403) 828-2954

Do you have questions about this policy?

  • Talk to your supervisor or your Department’s communications support
  • Contact the City’s 24-hour media relations line at (403) 828-2954


Policy download

Download the full policy below.


Scenarios and frequently asked questions

Click to expand the following scenarios and frequently asked questions.

Scenarios

You were walking down Stephen Avenue Mall at lunch one day and a CBC reporter stops you to ask for your comments on the recent City election results.  How should you respond?

This question from the media is directly related to your work. If you are not a designated spokesperson on election results, you should not answer this question. Appropriate action would be to decline answering this question. Should the reporter persist, refer them to your Business Unit’s communicator or to The City’s 24-hour media relations line at (403) 828-2954.

You have been designated as a spokesperson on a transportation project. While providing information at a public community 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. You should tell the reporter that this is not your area to speak about, and refer them to your Business Unit’s communicator or to The City’s 24-hour media relations line at (403) 828-2954.

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 encouraged to share the great work of City employees and programs. It would be appropriate to share this post with your friends.

Frequently asked questions

What is defined as a public statement?

The City defines a public statement as anything an employee says, writes or posts on any public forum (including in the media, on social media platforms or open houses) that impacts The City, City business or employees.

Can I speak to the media as a private citizen on an issue that is related to my community?

Yes. When making a public statement as a private citizen on matters not related to your work, do not identify yourself as a City employee. Although you are not required to identify yourself as an employee of The City, you are still required to respect work confidentiality and refrain from engaging in any conduct that would reflect poorly on you as an individual.

Where should I direct calls from the media?

If you’re not a designated City spokesperson, direct media inquiries to your Business Unit’s communicator or to The City’s 24-hour media relations line at (403) 828-2954.


Policy resources

  1. Download: Public Statements and Media Relations Policy
  2. Download: Policy tip sheet



View the complete Code of Conduct policy library