Policy 33 - Ethical Behaviour (Draft for Consultation)

***Draft for Consultation***

***Version: 18 September 2019***

The policies found on the website of the Secretariat are compulsory rules for the University community. The authoritative copies of the policies are held by the Secretariat and bear the seal of the University. The online version accessible through the website of the Secretariat is available for information purposes only. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the authoritative copy held by the Secretariat, the authoritative copy shall prevail. Please contact the Secretariat for assistance if necessary.

Established: 19 May 1982
Revised: XX Month 20XX
Mandatory Review Date: XX Month 20XX
Supersedes: N/A
Class FS
Responsible/Originating Department: Secretariat
Executive Contact: University Secretary

Related Policies, Guidelines & Procedures

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction and Purpose
  2. Scope
  3. Legal Framework
  4. Ethical Principles
  5. Roles and Responsibilities
  6. Options for Resolving Ethical Misconduct
  7. Confidentiality and Privacy
  8. Procedural Matters
  9. Resources
  10. Policy Review
  11. Definitions

    Appendix A: Jurisdiction
    Appendix B: Examples of Ethical Misconduct
    Appendix C: Procedural Fairness

1. Introduction and Purpose

This Policy articulates the University’s core ethical principles and supports its commitment to preventing and addressing Ethical Misconduct in its work and learning environments. The objectives of this Policy include: promoting Ethical Behaviour through education and other proactive measures; establishing and maintaining a culture in which all members of the community enjoy a safe and respectful work and learning environment; providing support for those affected by Ethical Misconduct; and responding to Disclosures and Complaints of Ethical Misconduct in an effective and timely way.

The appendices to this Policy are an integral part of the Policy.

2. Scope

This Policy applies to all Members of the University Community and Visitors in regard to incidents that take place within the University’s Jurisdiction. (see Appendix A: Jurisdiction).

3. Legal Framework

In addition to the Related Policies, Guidelines and Procedures, the Policy will be construed in accordance with applicable Canadian Law, in particular:

  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, S.O. 2005, c. 11.
  • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Criminal Code R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46
  • Employment Standards Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 41.
  • Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.31.
  • Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19.
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. o.1.
  • Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004, S.O. 2004, c. 3, Schedule A.
  • Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act, 2016, S.O. 2016 C.2
  • The University of Waterloo Act 1972, S.O., 1972, c. 200.

If any of these legal provisions are modified, abrogated, superseded, or added to, the Policy will be interpreted in accordance with the new legal framework.

4. Ethical Principles

The University is an autonomous community that exists to further the pursuit of learning through scholarship, teaching and research within a spirit of free enquiry and expression. The University fosters a work and learning environment of dignity and respect, and believes that the right of individuals to advance their views openly must be upheld.

4.1 Core Ethical Principles

All Members of the University Community are expected to adhere to the following Core Ethical Principles:

4.1.1

Academic Freedom: The University is committed to supporting and defending academic freedom for all Members of the University Community who participate in scholarly fora. Academic freedom is freedom to teach, learn, conduct research, disseminate one’s findings, and criticize the University, and it is freedom from censorship of materials collected and curated for scholarly purposes. Academic freedom is fundamental to the University’s scholarly mission and carries with it the duty to use that freedom in a manner consistent with the obligation to base teaching and research on an honest and ethical quest for knowledge. The University endorses the principles set out in the Universities Canada and Canadian Association of University Teachers statements on academic freedom. Academic freedom of faculty is defined in the Memorandum of Agreement between the University and the Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo.

4.1.2

Academic Integrity: Honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility, together with the courage to act upon them, are the values on which academic integrity is based at the University of Waterloo. It applies to all academic endeavours: teaching, learning, research and scholarship. Members of the University Community are responsible for demonstrating behaviour that is honest and ethical in their academic work.

4.1.3

Equity: Creating equitable work and learning environments are critical for future success. Equity is based on the fundamental notion that all human beings are worthy of respect, and grounded in the recognition of the dignity and worth of all individuals irrespective of their age, ancestry, colour, racialization, ethnicity, place of origin, creed, citizenship, (dis)ability, family status, marital status, gender identity/expression, sex, sexual orientation and other categories protected by the Human Rights Code. It also includes efforts to improve the conditions of historically disadvantaged groups.

4.1.4 Ethical Supervision and Evaluation: Managers and other Members of the University Community with supervisory authority are to use and be seen to use such authority solely for the purposes explicitly stated or implied by University policies and with regard to the overall aims and purposes of the University.
4.1.5

Freedom of Expression: The University of Waterloo is an autonomous community that exists to foster the pursuit of learning through scholarship, teaching, and research within a spirit of free enquiry and expression. Communication, enquiry, and the free exchange of ideas are fundamental to a university education, and require an environment of dignity and respect.

4.1.6

Safety: The University complies with, and expects Members of the University Community to comply with applicable legislation governing health and safety. Members of the University Community are expected to take responsibility for their own safety and actions, and the impact of their actions on others. This includes proactively reporting situations that impact the health and safety of other Members of the University Community.  

4.2 Ethical Behaviour

Ethical Behaviour under this Policy includes:

  • Respecting the dignity, rights and property of others;
  • Promoting and upholding the Core Ethical Principles;
  • Allowing for the peaceful and safe enjoyment of the University campus and facilities;
  • Avoiding Conflict of Interest; and
  • Complying with Canadian Law and University Governing Documents (including policies, procedures and guidelines as defined in s.11: Definitions).

4.3 Ethical Misconduct

Ethical Misconduct under this Policy is behaviour that:

  • Unduly interferes with the work or learning environment of other Members of the University Community or any aspect of another’s University activity;
  • Does not meet a reasonable standard of Ethical Behaviour as described above. See Appendix B: Examples of Ethical Misconduct for specific instances.

5. Roles and Responsibilities

The University and all Members of the University Community share responsibility for supporting and promoting a work and learning environment that is free from Ethical Misconduct. 

5.1 The University

The University will provide sufficient resources to resolve Disclosures and Complaints of Ethical Misconduct in a timely, fair and effectual manner, and to ensure that individuals are treated with dignity and respect in all aspects of the institutional response.

The University will address Disclosures and Complaints of Ethical Misconduct in accordance with the principles of Natural Justice and Procedural Fairness (see Appendix C). This includes providing opportunities for early and informal resolution, and timely and effectual formal investigation and decision-making processes.

The University is responsible for providing education on how to recognize and prevent harmful attitudes and behaviours such as Harassment and Discrimination, Workplace Harassment, Sexual Violence, and other forms of Ethical Misconduct. It is also responsible for making training available to Responsible University Administrators on their roles and responsibilities to recognize and address behaviours that may constitute Ethical Misconduct.

5.2 Responsible University Administrators

Responsible University Administrators are: members of the Executive Council, Managers, Supervisors, and undergraduate and graduate associate deans and associate chairs/directors. They bear the primary responsibility for creating and maintaining a work and learning environment free from Ethical Misconduct, including the responsibility to:

  • inform those under their authority of their responsibilities to foster a work and learning environment free of Ethical Misconduct;
  • monitor activities within their jurisdiction and deal effectively with concerns of Ethical Misconduct whether or not they are in receipt of a specific Complaint (this includes following up after a situation has been resolved and taking action to prevent Reprisals);
  • ensure that anyone who Discloses or makes a Complaint of Ethical Misconduct is made aware of available resolution options, support services, and advocacy support from Employee and Student Representative Associations;
  • respect the individual’s right to choose the services and response mechanisms they feel are most appropriate, including what and how much they wish to Disclose about their experience and whether to initiate a formal Complaint; and
  • make every effort to respect the confidentiality and privacy of all individuals involved and to ensure that they are made aware of the limits to confidentiality and privacy described in this Policy (see s.7: Confidentiality and Privacy). 

5.3  All Members of the University Community

All Members of the University Community share the responsibility for creating and maintaining a work and learning environment free from Ethical Misconduct. This includes the responsibility to:

  • uphold the Core Ethical Principles through their own behaviour;
  • foster a working and learning environment free from Ethical Misconduct;
  • participate in education and training programs, when appropriate;
  • Disclose or Report incidents of potential Ethical Misconduct through the options described in s.6: Options for Resolving Ethical Misconduct; and
  • participate in investigations under this Policy, if requested to do so.

6. Options for Resolving Ethical Misconduct

6.1 Information and Advice

Individuals are encouraged to seek information and advice as soon as possible after becoming aware of or experiencing an incident of potential Ethical Misconduct. Section 9: Resources provides a list of University resources with specific expertise to help identify and access supports, and to explore options for resolution.

6.2 Disclosing Ethical Misconduct

An individual may Disclose an incident of potential Ethical Misconduct to the University by informing a Responsible University Administrator (as defined in s.5.2) or any of the resources listed in s.9.1: Advice and Support for Disclosure, Complaints and Procedural Guidance.

A Disclosure can be made without proceeding to a formal Complaint; however, before Disclosing, individuals are encouraged to review s.7: Confidentiality and Privacy and/or consult their Employee or Student Representative Associations regarding the levels of confidentiality and privacy that can be expected. Disclosing does not initiate a formal process by the University, except in situations where the University has a legal duty to act (see s.8.1: University Initiated Processes).

6.3 Informal Processes

The University provides both informal and formal processes to address Ethical Misconduct as quickly as possible in a fair, constructive and respectful manner. Informal processes offer the possibility of resolving issues while maintaining relationships. These approaches empower the parties to focus on solutions that meet their individual needs and often lead to the re-establishment of a respectful work or learning environment. Benefits include greater timeliness, flexibility, control over the process, confidentiality, and outcomes that are negotiated rather than imposed by the University. Individuals are encouraged to pursue informal processes wherever possible. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Direct communication: Individuals who have experienced unwelcome behaviour are encouraged to make the situation known to the other person as constructively as possible in order to resolve the matter. Support is available from the Conflict Management and Human Rights Office (CMHRO), Human Resources partners (for employees), and Employee and Student Representative Associations to help prepare for meaningful conversations, and to facilitate conversations, if desired.

  • Assistance from a Responsible University Administrator: If the parties involved cannot resolve the issue on their own, the individual who has experienced the unwelcome behaviour should seek assistance. University employees may seek assistance from their Manager or Supervisor and students may seek assistance from their applicable undergraduate or graduate associate dean or associate chair/director to help remedy the situation. If the Responsible University Administrator is the subject of the concern, assistance should be sought from a more senior individual (the Resources in s.9 can help to identify an appropriate individual to approach). Support is available from CMAHRO and Human Resources Partners for Responsible University Administrators responding to such requests.

  • Facilitated resolution: If assistance from a Responsible University Administrator is not successful, or if the individual who has experienced unwelcome behaviour wishes, a facilitated resolution may be sought. An impartial facilitator or mediator will promote discussion and negotiation, and help parties to reach creative and collaborative solutions. CMAHRO and Human Resources Partners (for employees) provide support for facilitated resolution processes.

Facilitated informal processes are administered by staff who are fully independent from those responsible for administering formal processes, meaning that both their roles and their reporting lines within the University are separate. Anyone engaged to facilitate an informal process may not participate in or provide information to a formal process involving the same parties or subject matter. Discussions, negotiations and documentation used in an informal process are confidential to the individuals involved, and will not be disclosed by the University except where required by
Canadian Law.

Informal processes require commitment and participation by both parties in good faith to try to reach a resolution. However, individuals may withdraw from an informal process at any time, and they maintain the right to make a formal Complaint. In the event that the matter is not resolved through an informal process, or if informal resolution is not appropriate under the circumstances, the individual who has experienced the unwelcome behaviour may wish to make a formal Complaint.

6.4 Formal Processes

A Complaint of Ethical Misconduct can be made by and/or against any Member of the University Community or a Visitor. Filing a Complaint causes the University to: initiate a formal process, conduct an investigation appropriate to the circumstances, inform parties of the results of the investigation as required by Canadian Law, and take Corrective Action, including the imposition of Discipline if there has been a breach of this Policy.

Complaints should be filed with the Director of Complaints Management, who will identify to whom the Complaint should be addressed, together with the applicable policy and/or procedure. The table below identifies University policies and procedures for handling Complaints based on the relationship of the Respondent to the University and the nature of the Ethical Misconduct alleged. The University will adhere to principles of Natural Justice and Procedural Fairness in all processes relating to Ethical Misconduct, regardless of the specific policy or procedures applied. Appendix C describes the University’s commitment to Procedural Fairness in dealing with Ethical Misconduct.

Forms of Misconduct Relationship of Respondent to the University
  Employees Students Visitors and Others
Health & Safety Violations Policy 34 - Health, Safety & Environment
Violence Policy 34 - Health, Safety & Environment
Sexual Violence, including Sexual Harassment Procedures to Policy 33 Policy 42 – Prevention of and Response to Sexual Violence Campus and/or Regional Police Services will be engaged
Harassment and Discrimination Procedures to Policy 33 Policy 71 – Student Discipline Campus and/or Regional Police Services will be engaged
Other violations of law, University policies, and forms of Ethical Misconduct Procedures to Policy 33 Policy 71 – Student Discipline Campus and/or Regional Police Services will be engaged

6.5 External Processes

Individuals retain the right to pursue criminal, civil, or other legal actions or remedies, including complaints under the Human Rights Code and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, despite any action taken in accordance with this Policy.

A decision to pursue an external process does not alter the University’s responsibility to take appropriate action to address alleged violations of this Policy. If a formal Complaint of Ethical Misconduct has been initiated, the University will determine, based on the circumstances and in consultation with the external forum where appropriate, whether proceedings will continue, discontinue, or be suspended until proceedings in the other forum are concluded. Where there is an ongoing criminal investigation, the University will cooperate with police.

7. Confidentiality and Privacy

Information provided to individuals responsible for implementing this Policy will be treated with utmost discretion and confidentiality. It may not be shared with others, except as necessary to protect the health and safety of the Members of the University Community, investigate a Disclosure or Complaint, take Corrective Action, or as otherwise required by Canadian Law.

In order to protect the health and safety of Members of the University Community and meet legal obligations, confidentiality cannot be assured in the following circumstances:

  • An individual is at risk of self-harm;
  • There are reasonable grounds to believe that others in the University Community or the wider community are at risk of harm.

In instances where confidentiality cannot be maintained, the Disclosing individual will be notified as to who has been told and what information has been shared, provided that doing so would not create undue risk in the circumstances. A breach of confidentiality and privacy under this section may constitute Ethical Misconduct.

8. Procedural Matters

8.1 University Initiated Processes

There are circumstances where the University has a legal duty to act, even if an individual Disclosing Ethical Misconduct does not wish to initiate a Complaint or consent to participate in a formal process. These include:

  • Where the University believes there is a potential threat to the safety and well-being of an individual or the University Community
  • Where reporting is required by Canadian Law (such as where a legal minor is involved)
  • Allegations of Sexual Violence
  • Allegations of Workplace Harassment

Under these circumstances, the University may be required to initiate an investigation appropriate to the circumstances and/or inform local police of the need for a criminal investigation.

Any University employee who receives a Disclosure that they believe might necessitate a University Initiated Process should immediately seek advice and direction from one of the University Resources listed in s.9.1: Advice and Support for Disclosure, Complaints and Procedural Guidance.

8.2 Withdrawing a Complaint

An individual who has filed a formal Complaint may withdraw it at any time; however, the University may continue to act on the issue identified in the Complaint in order to comply with its obligations under this Policy and/or Canadian Law.

8.3 Unsubstantiated Complaints

If an individual, in good faith, files a Complaint of Ethical Misconduct that is not supported by the results of an investigation, that Complaint will be dismissed.

8.4 Bad Faith Complaints

Complaints that are found, following investigation, to be frivolous, vexatious, or in bad faith (for example, claims brought forward to cause annoyance and/or made with an ulterior motive, including ill will, hostility, personal animosity, lack of fairness or impartiality, and/or dishonesty) may result in Corrective Action, including Discipline, against the Complainant. Making a Complaint in bad faith is a form of Ethical Misconduct.

8.5 Protection from Reprisals, Retaliation or Threats

It is a form of Ethical Misconduct under this Policy for anyone to retaliate, engage in reprisals, or threaten to retaliate against an individual for having: pursued rights, participated or cooperated in an investigation, or associated with someone who has pursued rights under this or any other University Governing Document, or Canadian Law.

This protection applies to any individual involved in a dispute resolution process, including without limitation: Complainants, Respondents, witnesses, investigators, facilitators and decision-makers, as well as their representatives or advisors. Acts and threats of retaliation and reprisal are considered Ethical Misconduct under this Policy and anyone found to have engaged in such conduct may be subject to Corrective Action.

8.6  Interim Measures and Accommodations

When a Disclosure or Complaint of Ethical Misconduct is made, the University may grant Accommodations and/or put Interim Measures in place to address the well-being and safety of those involved, and to ensure they have continued access to educational and employment programs and activities. Interim Measures are conditions that may be imposed on a person alleged to have committed Ethical Misconduct, while Accommodations are adjustments that an individual may request to their own academic, workplace, or residence arrangements. Interim Measures and Accommodations are confidential to the individuals involved and will only be disclosed to others on a “need to know” basis in order to facilitate their implementation.

A Member of the University Community who Discloses an incident of Ethical Misconduct under this Policy may request Accommodations regardless of whether they file a Complaint. However, in the absence of a Complaint or a University Initiated Process, the University will not impose Interim Measures that relocate or alter the activities of a potential Respondent.

The measures available and their duration depend on the nature and severity of the alleged Ethical Misconduct, the stage of the process, and the impact on both the Complainant and Respondent. They may include, but are not limited to:

  • rearrangement of academic/employment responsibilities or oversight,
  • extensions on academic assignments,
  • discontinuing contact between Complainant and Respondent by altering work, study or residence location, and
  • imposition of no-contact orders.

Interim Measures do not constitute Discipline, and may not be used under employee performance review and/or performance management processes. However, breaching an Interim Measure may be Ethical Misconduct under this Policy. Interim Measures will: (i) be proportionate to the seriousness of the Ethical Misconduct that has been alleged or found; (ii) continue no longer than necessary; and (iii) take into account impacts on terms and conditions of employment (including rights under agreements with the Employee Representative Associations).

8.7 Corrective Action

The University will take Corrective Action to address findings of Ethical Misconduct under this Policy. Investigations may also reveal systemic issues to be addressed whether or not there has been a finding of Ethical Misconduct. In such instances, appropriate educational or preventative measures and/or changes to policies or practices may be put in place to prevent a reoccurrence of Ethical Misconduct.

Corrective Action includes, but is not limited to:

  • Discipline;
  • education and training;
  • counselling;
  • supervision, oversight or monitoring of the working, learning or residence environment concerned;
  • limitation of supervisory privileges over students (including teaching and research assistants);
  • no contact orders; and
  • structural measures, such as the requirement that an academic or administrative unit undergo a climate review or workplace restoration by one or more persons with relevant expertise from outside the unit concerned, with a view to improving the working or learning environment.

8.8 Discipline

Discipline resulting from the application of this Policy will be taken in accordance with the following:

Respondent Governing Document
CUPE 793 members Collective Agreement between the University and CUPE Local 793
Represented faculty members the Memorandum of Agreement between the University of Waterloo and the Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo
Staff members Policy 18 – Staff Employment
Employees not covered by the policies and agreements listed above Employment terms and conditions, and the Employment Standards Act, 2000
Students Policy 71 – Student Discipline (unless the student is also an employee of the University and the discipline relates to their employment)
Visitors and others These individuals are not subject to Discipline, but Corrective Action may be taken to protect the health and safety of the University Community, including court orders, contract termination and banning from campus.

Factors to be considered when determining Discipline include: the presence of mitigating or aggravating circumstances, the nature and seriousness of the Ethical Misconduct, and accumulated past disciplinary action by the University. The University will apply progressive discipline with regard to employees, except under exceptional circumstances described in the University Governing Documents listed above.

8.9 Grievances and Appeals

Individuals may appeal or grieve Corrective Action, including Discipline and other administrative decisions resulting from the application of this Policy, in accordance with their rights and as permitted under the following University Governing Documents:

CUPE 793 members Collective Agreement between the University and CUPE Local 793
Represented faculty members the Memorandum of Agreement between the University of Waterloo and the Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo
Staff Policy 36 – Dispute Resolution for University Support Staff
Students Policy 72 – Student Appeals
Employees not covered by the above policies and agreements, visitors, and others May have recourse to the Ontario Ombudsman

8.10 Record Keeping and Statistical Reporting

All records generated pursuant to this Policy will be maintained by the University as prescribed by Canadian Law and Policy 46 – Information Management

The Director of Complaints Management is responsible for providing an annual, anonymized, aggregate report to the Board of Governors on: (i) inquiries, Disclosures, Complaints and outcomes under this Policy managed by the University Resources listed in s.9.1: Advice and Support for Disclosure, Complaints and Procedural Guidance; (ii) training, awareness and prevention activities undertaken in relation to this Policy; and (iii) any other related data that the University is required to gather and report on by Canadian Law.

9. Resources

The University provides resources to support its commitments under this Policy, including:

9.1  Advice and Support for Disclosure, Complaints and Procedural Guidance

  • Director of Complaints Management: manages the University’s formal Complaint and Investigations processes to ensure that they are addressed in a timely, effective and consistent manner in compliance with University policies and procedures. Provides neutral procedural guidance and referrals to all Members of the University Community in matters relating to Ethical Misconduct. 
  • Conflict Management and Human Rights Office (CMAHRO): is a resource to all Members of the University Community on matters involving Ethical Behaviour and human rights. CMAHRO provides information, advice, support and referrals in matters relating to Ethical Misconduct, ensures that individuals are made aware of the resolution options available, and facilitates informal resolution processes.
  • Sexual Violence Response Coordinators: support all Members of the University Community who have experienced or been impacted by Sexual Violence (including the University Colleges and individuals accused of perpetrating Sexual Violence). The Sexual Violence Response Coordinators provide information, advice, support and referrals in matters relating to Sexual Violence and will ensure that individuals are made aware of the resolution options that available to them.

9.2 Confidential Support and Advocacy

The following Employee and Student Representative Associations provide confidential support and advocacy to their members:

  • CUPE 793
  • Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo
  • Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association
  • Graduate Student Association
  • University of Waterloo Staff Association

9.3 Health and Wellness

  • Campus Wellness: provides primary medical care, counselling and mental health services to all students using an inclusive, connected and collaborative approach. It also provides urgent help and emergency contacts on and off campus, and advice to University employees about how to help students.
  • Employee and Family Assistance Program: provides confidential counselling services as well as career, health and work-life balance assistance to University employees and their family members. 
  • Occupational Health Nurses: provide integrated occupational health services to employees.

9.4 Informal Resolution Processes

  • Conflict Management and Human Rights Office: offers informal conflict resolution support to all members of the University Community.
  • Human Resources Partner Team: works with all employees to resolve conflict using alternative dispute resolution techniques.

9.5 Other

  • Safety Office: provides consultation and support services relating to environmental and occupational health and safety. Oversees the University’s workplace violence and workplace harassment programs
  • Secretariat: provides guidance and information pertaining to interpretation of University policies and procedures.
  • UW Police Services: in situations involving violent, aggressive, or threatening behaviour, individuals are strongly advised to contact Police Services (ext. 22222 or 519-888-4911; Commissary). UW Police are committed to treating individuals with respect and are on duty 24 hours a day every day of the year.

10. Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed annually for compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It will be reviewed every three years in accordance with the Sexual Violence and Harassment Plan Act.

11. Definitions

Accommodation” refers to adjustments that an individual may request to their own academic, workplace, or residence arrangements to ensure they have continued access to educational and employment programs and activities.

Canadian Law” means legislation, regulations, by-laws, ordinances, and orders or decisions of tribunals or courts of competent jurisdiction.

Complainant refers to the person who is making a Complaint.

Complaint” means an allegation of Ethical Misconduct pursued under this policy. A Complaint is made when an individual notifies the Director of Complaints Management of the allegation, and requests a formal response from the University.

Conflict of Interest” – see Appendix B: Examples of Ethical Misconduct.

Corrective Action” – see s.8.7: Corrective Action.

Director of Complaints Management” – see s.9.1, Advice and Support for Disclosure, Complaints and Procedural Guidance.

Discipline” is a form of Correction Action imposed on an employee to correct or prevent behaviours that have contributed to Ethical Misconduct.

Disclose/Disclosure” means to share information about an incident of Ethical Misconduct with a University employee for the purpose of learning about and/or receiving support and resources, including about informal resolution and formal Complaint options.

Employee and Student Representative Associations” means collectively, CUPE 793, Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo, Federation of Students, Graduate Student Association and University of Waterloo Staff Association.

Ethical Behaviour” – see s.4.2.

Ethical Misconduct” – see s.4.3: Ethical Misconduct and Appendix B: Examples of Ethical Misconduct.

Interim Measures” refers to measures that may be imposed on a person alleged to have committed Ethical Misconduct.

Jurisdiction” – see Appendix A: Jurisdiction.

Manager” means any individual who has responsibility for monitoring and measuring the performance of any individual employed by the University.

Member of the University Community” means a student currently registered at the University or an individual currently employed by the University.

Procedural Fairness” – see Appendix C: Procedural Fairness.

Report” refers to the submission of a formal complaint concerning an allegation of Ethical Misconduct.

Reprisal” – see Appendix B: Examples of Ethical Misconduct.

Respondent” refers to the person against whom a Complaint has been filed.

Responsible University Administrator” – see s.5.2.

Sexual Violence” – see Appendix B: Examples of Ethical Misconduct.

Sexual Violence Response Co-ordinator” – see Appendix B: Examples of Ethical Misconduct.

Supervisor” means a person who has charge of a workplace or authority over a worker as defined in Policy 34 – Health, Safety and Environment.

"University Community" means all Members of the University Community in aggregate.

University Governing Documents” means the University of Waterloo Act, 1972, by-laws of the governing bodies of the University, written agreements with the affiliated and federated institutions of Waterloo, written agreements with the recognized representatives of the employee and student groups, as well as policies, procedures, and guidelines housed on the website of the Secretariat.

University Resources” – see s.9: Resources.

Visitors” means individuals on University Property who are not University employees or students.

Workplace Harassment” – see Appendix B: Examples of Ethical Misconduct.

Appendix A: Jurisdiction

Who can make a Disclosure or Complaint

Disclosures or Complaints may be made about alleged Ethical Misconduct involving any Member of the University Community.

  • If an individual alleged to have committed Ethical Misconduct is not currently a University student or employee, the University has no jurisdiction to take disciplinary action. However, the University retains the right to take appropriate steps to safeguard the University Community. Sanctions may include, without limitation, pursuing court orders, banning individuals from University premises, and/or terminating contractual relationships.
  • If an individual who is not currently a Member of the University Community is directly affected by the conduct of a Member of the University Community, they may make a Disclosure or Complaint alleging Ethical Misconduct. In such cases, the Director of Complaints Management will use their discretion to determine whether the conduct is sufficiently connected to University activities to proceed under this Policy.

All external agencies, third-party service providers, and independent contractors who do business on the University campus and/or are considered agents of the University will be informed of this Policy and of the University’s expectation that they govern themselves accordingly while doing business with the University.

Locations Covered

The University’s Jurisdiction covers all activities that take place on University owned, rented and/or controlled premises. It also extends to include:

  • Incidents that occur off campus where there is a University-organized event and/or a clear association between the activity and the work or learning environment of the University;
  • Incidents where the potential consequences may adversely affect the Complainant’s course of work or learning environment at the University;
  • Incidents or Conduct that occur on electronic and social media.

Off-campus Programs and Co-operative Education

The University has a responsibility to address issues of alleged Ethical Misconduct that take place during the course of off-campus work and learning activities such as fieldwork, clinical placements, exchange programs and co-operative education work-terms. 

In order to address such incidents, the University may need to share information with third-parties on a need-to-know basis. This could include notifying the off-site entity of the outcome of an investigation or coordinating a joint investigation. The University does not have the jurisdiction to impose discipline on a third party unless there is a specific agreement in place to do so, but may impose sanctions as described above.

University Colleges

Conrad Grebel University College, Renison University College, St. Jerome’s University, and St. Paul’s University College are separate legal institutions with their own policies and procedures to receive Disclosures and deal with Ethical Misconduct within their respective jurisdictions. However, this Policy applies to:

  • Incidents occurring in the context of University of Waterloo courses, programs, events and activities offered on University College premises;
  • Allegations by or against University College faculty when acting in their capacity as adjunct faculty at the University of Waterloo;
  • Situations where University Colleges and the University of Waterloo have entered into arrangements for University of Waterloo policies and procedures to apply (e.g., see Policy 71 – Student Discipline).

Jurisdictional Conflicts

If a jurisdictional issue arises between the University and an off-site entity or other third party, the University will attempt to negotiate a resolution, which may include a joint investigation or an agreement to share relevant outcomes with the other party. In the absence of any agreement to the contrary, the University will proceed with an investigation according to the University Governing Documents.

Appendix B: Examples of Ethical Misconduct

The following are examples of Ethical Misconduct, considered to be contrary to the Ethical Principles and expectations of conduct outlined in Appendix B and may also be violations of the Human Rights Code, the Occupational Health and Safety Act or other Canadian Law. The list is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather illustrative of the typical categories of offences.

  • Abuse of Power or Authority: means the act of using one’s position in an improper manner. This can take many forms such using authority for personal gain, denying information or resources, or manipulating others with the threat of punishment if they don’t comply.
  • Discrimination: results from making stereotypical assumptions based on a person’s presumed traits without individually assessing the person’s unique merits, capacities and circumstances. Discrimination can take the form of Harassment, it can be systemic (based in seemingly neutral policies or practices) or it can be the result of failing to accommodate needs related to the Human Rights Code.
  • Conflict of Interest: A conflict of interest (or a potential conflict of interest) exists when a Member of the University Community is or may be in a position to use research, knowledge, authority or influence for personal or family gain or to benefit others to the detriment of the University. This includes undisclosed personal relationships between Members of the University Community where one of the parties has direct or indirect academic or supervisory authority over the other[1] . Conflicts of Interest are addressed under Policy 62 – Conflict of Interest in the Employment and Supervision of Personnel, and Policy 69  – Conflict of Interest.
  • Harassment: is a course of vexatious comments or conduct where a person knows or ought reasonably to have known the behaviour is unwanted. It can include, for example: offensive or intimidating comments or jokes, bullying or aggressive behaviour, displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials, inappropriate staring, isolating or making fun of someone because of gender identity, and Sexual Harassment.
  • Poisoned Environment: is an environment in which harassing and/or discriminatory conduct is sufficiently severe and/or pervasive to cause significant and unreasonable interference to an individual’s work or learning environment. Although an individual may not be the target of the conduct, they may still experience the effects of harassing or discriminatory conduct in their work or learning environment.
  • Reprisal: is an action, or threat of action, against making a claim or enforcing a right under Canadian law or University policy. Members of the University Community are protected from reprisal when they raise incidents of Ethical Misconduct, workplace issues, accommodation needs, human rights violations or Complaints under any University Governing Document in good faith.
  • Sexual Harassment: means comments or actions based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression that are unwelcome to you or should be known to be unwelcome. They may include humiliating or annoying conduct. Sexual Harassment requires a “course of conduct,” which means that a pattern of behaviour or more than one incident is usually required to meet this definition. However, a single significant incident may be offensive enough to be considered Sexual Harassment.
  • Sexual Violence: means any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent, and includes sexual assault, Sexual Harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism and sexual exploitation.
  • Workplace Harassment: means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. The definition of Workplace Harassment includes workplace Sexual Harassment. Reasonable action taken by an employer or Supervisor relating to management and direction of workers or the workplace is not Workplace Harassment.
  • Workplace Sexual Harassment: means (i) engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome; or (ii) making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the individual and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome.
  • Workplace Violence: is the exercise or attempted exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker, or a statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.

Appendix C: Procedural Fairness

The University will adhere to the principles of Natural Justice and Procedural Fairness in all aspects of decision making regarding Ethical Misconduct, regardless of the specific policy or procedure applied.

“Natural Justice” includes rights to adequate notice, a fair hearing, and an unbiased process.

  • Adequate Notice: individuals affected by a decision will be told about the important issues and be given enough information to participate meaningfully in the decision-making process.
  • Fair Hearing: affected individuals will be given a reasonable opportunity to present their case and to know and respond to all of the evidence presented by others, and the decision-maker will consider all of the material presented when making the decision.
  • Unbiased Process: the investigator, decision-maker and others in a position to influence the outcome of the process must act impartially and not be in conflict of interest or have any relationships that could lead someone to reasonably doubt their impartiality.

“Procedural Fairness” refers to rules and conventions that ensure the principles of Natural Justice are upheld. the University will apply the following elements of Procedural Fairness in dealing with Ethical Misconduct:

  • Support: all parties to a Complaint have a right to seek advice from and be accompanied by a support person. Where the applicable University policy and/or procedure permits an individual to be accompanied by legal counsel, it is the individual’s responsibility to inform the University in advance that legal counsel will be present.
  • Timeliness: the University will make all efforts to resolve Complaints in the most expeditious, effective and fair manner possible, recognizing that ongoing Ethical Misconduct, investigations, and resolutions cause stress in the work and learning environment.
  • Transparency: procedures for making Complaints will be clearly defined and accessible to all Members of the University Community. The University will inform both parties of the procedures it intends to follow and of any material changes to those procedures, such as a decision to initiate or terminate an investigation. The University will provide both parties with information about the status of an investigation or decision-making process at the request of either party.
  • Evidence: Complainants and Respondents have a right to know any evidence or allegations that could be used in the decision-making process, and both parties will be given full and fair opportunity to present their side of the dispute.
  • Independence and Impartiality: every individual involved in administering a formal Complaint resolution process will be impartial and independent of the parties, and will not be in conflict of interest or have any relationships that could cause a reasonable concern about bias. This includes individuals with previous involvement in a Complaint (for example, by supporting an informal resolution process), but excludes individuals whose role is to provide guidance of a purely procedural nature. If such a relationship or conflict is discovered, the individual will immediately withdraw from participation in the process.
  • Good Faith Decision-Making: decisions will be made in good faith, based on arguments and evidence presented in accordance with the applicable policies and/or procedures. While a decision-maker may seek advice from others before making a final decision, they are ultimately responsible for assessing the relevant factors and coming to their own conclusions. Decisions with reasons will be communicated clearly to both parties in writing and done so in accordance with Canadian Law.

The P33 has drafted a separate document on personal relationships that didn’t easily fit within the policy. We would like the University to consider adopting it as a guideline.