CIHR Code of Conduct


Purpose of the CIHR Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct flows from and is inspired by CIHR's mandate and organizational values. The President, along with the Extended Executive Management Committee, has approved this Code of Conduct and it now constitutes a condition of employment at CIHR.

CIHR's Code of Conduct aligns with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service. It reflects consultations with CIHR employees, other public sector organizations and representatives from the bargaining agent (Public Service Alliance of Canada - PSAC). The Code describes specific behaviours that are expected of all our employees. To this end, all employees and in particular those with Executive Authority at CIHR, have a responsibility to exemplify the actions and behaviours contained in this document.


Compliance with this Code is a condition of employment at CIHR. A copy of this Code will be provided to all new employees with the Letter of Offer and orientation package. Employees must always abide by it, and demonstrate its values in their actions and behaviours.

While this Code does not formally apply to Governing Council members, Scientific Directors, staff hired and located at the Institutes, Institute Advisory Board members and Peer Reviewers, these individuals are asked to consider the spirit of the CIHR Code of Conduct when undertaking activity at the behest of CIHR.

Coming into Force

This Code is effective April 19, 2010.

CIHR's Mandate

The mandate of CIHR is "to excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened Canadian health-care system" (CIHR Act, 2000).

Achieving Our Mandate

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's agency responsible for funding health research in Canada.

CIHR promotes a problem-based, multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to health research. Its unique structure brings together researchers from across disciplinary and geographic boundaries through its 13 Institutes. Currently, CIHR supports more than 13,000 health researchers and trainees in universities, teaching hospitals and other health organizations and research centres across the country. The agency supports health research in a transparent process that meets the highest international standards of excellence and ethics in four research areas: biomedical; clinical; health systems and services; and the social, cultural and environmental factors that affect the health of populations.

Bringing Our Values to Life

The manner in which we achieve our mandate is as important as the results we attain.

CIHR's organizational values (Appendix A) permeate all aspects of our work and will come to life through our actions and behaviours. The behaviours listed in this Code of Conduct are not so much rules as they are principles that are intended to guide us in our day-to-day work. These behaviours have been grouped together under five headings for purposes of clarity:

  1. People
    We respect human dignity and the value of every person.
  2. Professionalism
    We carry out our responsibilities efficiently and effectively.
  3. Public
    We act at all times in such a way as to uphold trust and confidence in the organization and in the government.
  4. Processes
    We assist our President and Governing Council in fulfilling our mandate.
  5. Partnerships
    We promote openness, responsibility, fairness and mutual respect in working together.

Principles for this Code of Conduct

1. People

We respect human dignity and the value of every person.

  1. Treat every person with dignity, fairness and courtesy regardless of differences.
  2. Address conflict in a professional manner.
  3. Work together in a spirit of openness that encourages participation, allows for creativity and promotes respectful communication.
  4. Respect the privacy of others.
  5. Foster a safe and healthy workplace for all.

2. Professionalism

We carry out our responsibilities efficiently and effectively.

  1. Comply with government legislation, policies and guidelines.
  2. Carry out duties in a competent manner.
  3. Demonstrate the competencies established for CIHR employees (Appendix B) and meet any professional and occupational standards that apply.
  4. Strive to improve the efficiency and quality of services provided.

3. Public

We act at all times in such a way as to uphold trust and confidence in the organization and in the government.

  1. Carry out our duties in a manner that bears the closest public scrutiny.
  2. Avoid and prevent conflicts of interest or situations that could jeopardize our ability to carry out our work-related responsibilities.
  3. Ensure that money and entrusted resources are used in the public interest.
  4. Avoid tarnishing the reputation of CIHR and the Government of Canada.

4. Processes

We assist our President and Governing Council in fulfilling our mandate.

  1. Respect the authority of the President and Governing Council.
  2. Provide leaders at CIHR with sound advice and the best available information to make decisions.
  3. Consult with and inform CIHR employees on matters that affect them.

5. Partnerships

We promote openness, responsibility, fairness and mutual respect in working together.

  1. Partner with organizations and individuals that are in alignment with CIHR values.
  2. Treat all partners fairly and objectively.
  3. Dialogue with partners in a timely fashion on issues of common concern.


The President and all managers at CIHR have a special duty to exemplify our values, complying at all times with the spirit and the letter of the Code. Managers, in addition to their responsibilities as employees, have a special duty to uphold CIHR's reputation for honest and ethical conduct.

CIHR President

The President is responsible for:

Senior Officer for Disclosures of Wrongdoing within CIHR
(Chief Financial Officer - CFO)

The Senior Officer for Disclosures is responsible for:


All persons appointed at CIHR are responsible for:


All managers, in addition to their responsibilities found in the employees section, are responsible for:


When faced with a difficult situation that is not addressed in this Code, a few questions may help us determine the appropriate course of action:

Failure to Comply

Failure to comply with this Code and the Principles set out in it may result in administrative or disciplinary actions up to and including termination of employment.

Avenues for Resolution

This Code of Conduct does not attempt to anticipate every situation that might arise in the course of an employee's daily work. When situations arise that are not covered by the Code, employees are encouraged to discuss and resolve them with their supervisor, director or the designated official responsible for values and ethics and disclosures of wrongdoing at CIHR - the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

If an employee becomes aware of a breach of the CIHR Code of Conduct, or feels that they are being asked to act in a way that violates CIHR values, they should bring it to the attention of their immediate supervisor or director, the Senior Officer for Disclosures at CIHR, or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

When an employee has information that he or she believes could show that there may be a breach of this Code, he or she may make a disclosure in good faith to any of these individuals and be protected from reprisal.

Appendix A

CIHR's Organizational Values

To assure Canadians that their investments in health research are used wisely, CIHR embraces values that permeate all aspects of the organization's activities and relationships with others. These core values are:

Appendix B

Competencies for CIHR Employees

A) Organizational Awareness

Committing to Excellence
To meet or exceed internal and external standards for products and services through:

B) Self-Management

Demonstrating Flexibility
To adjust one's behaviour to meet the demands of a changing work environment by:

Being Proactive
To pursue new opportunities that are beneficial to the organization and to achieve desired results through:

C) Work Relationships

To solicit and provide work-related information to increase clarity and understanding by:

Building Partnerships
To interact with clients, suppliers, stakeholders, employees and other groups in a manner which furthers the organization's ability to provide products and services through:

Being a Team Player
To contribute to group objectives in a team environment through:

D) Managerial Roles and Responsibilities

Employees with staff management responsibilities are expected to demonstrate these additional competencies.

Organizing Resources
To plan and organize resources for maximum efficiency and effectiveness by:

Developing Others
To maximize team members' performance and development through:

Executives are furthermore responsible for the following competencies.

Leading Change
To initiate change and capitalize on emerging trends through:

Developing a Vision
To develop and shape a vision for the future of the organization by:

For further information about this publication, please contact:

Lynn Frappier
Labour Relations
Human Resources Branch
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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