Code of conduct
Policy Owner: Human Resources
Approval: Board of Directors
First Approved: December 3, 2015
Effective Date: January 1, 2016
Toronto Community Housing is committed to enhancing public confidence in what we do. In carrying out their duties and responsibilities, employees are expected to promote core values and observe the highest possible standards of professionalism and service.
The purpose of this Code is to identify the standards Toronto Community Housing expects from employees in all dealings with residents, commercial tenants (‘tenants’), co-workers, visitors, contractors, suppliers, vendors (and potential contractors, suppliers, and vendors), and other members of the public.
This Code shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with governing legislation, including but not limited to the Ontario Human Rights Code.
This Code applies to every employee and director of Toronto Community Housing. This Code also applies to volunteers, contractors, and vendors when they have regular dealings with residents, tenants, employees, and members of the public on behalf of Toronto Community Housing (the word ‘employee’ in this Code will be modified where necessary).
Any employee who is in a position to make or influence decisions of the organization, such as a senior leadership role, will be held to a higher standard under this Code.
This Code does not replace any policy, procedure, or directive unless specifically stated by Toronto Community Housing. This Code replaces the existing Code of Conduct.
This Code is a companion to other policy, procedures, or directives that are in full force and effect at Toronto Community Housing.
Compliance with the Code
This Code cannot anticipate every possible situation. Employees shall use proper judgment and act in the spirit of this Code at all times. Employees are also expected to consult with their supervisor or a manager should they have any questions about this Code or need any clarification about what is expected of them.
Contravention of this Code can lead to serious consequences. For employees, non- compliance with this Code may lead to discipline, up to and including dismissal for cause. In the case of a contractor or vendor, non-compliance can lead to termination of their contract. In some cases, non-compliance can lead to legal action on the part of Toronto Community Housing.
All Toronto Community Housing policies, procedures, and directives, including this Code, are based on our core values. The core values guide our decision-making and inform our behaviour in all dealings related to our work.
Our core values are:
- Respect. We respect people as individuals and create environments where fairness, trust, and equitable treatment are hallmarks of how we work.
- Accountability. We are accountable for our actions, accept responsibility for our performance, and operate in an open, honest, and transparent manner.
- Collaboration. We recognize we can do more together than alone, and seek out partnerships and opportunities to collaborate in pursuit of common goals.
- Integrity. We perform our duties with the utmost regard to the high standards expected of a corporation established to deliver social housing.
While carrying out job duties, employees of Toronto Community Housing are expected to:
Promote the best interests of Toronto Community Housing;
Become familiar with and abide by all policies, procedures, and directives;
Follow any legislation that applies to their work;
Be accountable: if an issue comes your way, take ownership over the problem, try to deal with it as best as you can, and ask for help when needed;
Follow lawful directions of management;
Refrain from condoning acts which are against the law or contrary to company policy, procedures, or directives;
Be at work (unless on vacation or an authorized leave);
Strive for customer service excellence;
Use a professional tone of voice when interacting with others;
Show care, diligence, and attention to detail in their work;
Treat everyone with whom they have dealings with respect; and
Be as helpful, professional, and courteous as possible.
This list is not exhaustive of the standards expected by Toronto Community Housing. Employees should also be mindful that Toronto Community Housing is a public sector employer and their actions, both during working hours and in their off-duty time, can affect the reputation of Toronto Community Housing within the community.
Interactions with residents and the public
Residents, tenants, and other members of the public can form impressions of Toronto Community Housing based on their interactions with employees of the organization. An employee’s individual actions reflect on Toronto Community Housing as an organization. Employees of Toronto Community Housing must work together to build and maintain relationships within the organization and in the community.
Residents, tenants, and all others who contact Toronto Community Housing may depend on us for information and the services we provide. Residents, tenants, and members of the public deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. In all dealings with residents, tenants, or the public, employees are expected to be as professional, helpful, and courteous as possible. The issues being faced by residents are important, and we must demonstrate through our words and actions that we take these issues seriously.
Toronto Community Housing is committed to providing a safe work environment for employees and will not tolerate violence or harassment in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy. This includes when employees are interacting with residents, tenants, and the public on behalf of the company during their working hours.
Interactions with colleagues
Toronto Community Housing is committed to fostering a workplace in which employees treat each other with courtesy, sensitivity, respect, and dignity. At Toronto Community Housing we must maintain professionalism in the workplace and try to be as helpful as possible in all dealings with each other.
Employees are expected to work collegially and resolve conflicts with each other in a constructive and professional manner during their working hours. Harassment, discrimination, or bullying under the Human Rights Code, Occupational Health and Safety Act, or company policy, are strictly prohibited.
Employees are also expected to avoid behaviors which a reasonable person would find inappropriate in a professional and productive workplace. This includes, but is not limited to the following: profane language; name calling; behaviour which is unnecessarily disruptive or intimidating; threats, jokes, gestures, and statements which could be offensive to another person; statements or other actions designed to be harmful, hurtful, or demeaning to another person (or which could be reasonably perceived that way by another person); insulting or derogatory comments; unnecessary shouting; withdrawal of work, favouritism, or the unnecessary exclusion of others for an improper reason (ie. a non-work related reason or a reason that is not justified by law); and/or making up or circulating rumours which could be harmful or hurtful to another person.
Please note that legitimate management direction and performance reviews are generally not seen by Toronto Community Housing as improper conduct on the part of management. However, employees should seek assistance if they believe they are the victim of harassment, discrimination, or bullying under company policy or the law.
Toronto Community Housing property
Toronto Community Housing owns, controls, leases, or operates facilities, materials, resources, and assets, which includes (but is not limited to) buildings, land, money, vehicles, phones, phone system, records, files, documentation, office equipment, cell phones, passcards, computers, computer tools and network, supplies, cheques, and equipment (‘Toronto Community Housing Property’).
Employees are expected to use Toronto Community Housing Property reasonably and responsibly, and take all possible steps to protect such property from misuse, loss, or damage. This includes safeguarding property that has been entrusted to their care, such as cell phones, money, or company files. Deliberately causing damage to such property (or deliberately allowing someone else to cause damage) is prohibited.
Employees are also expected to use Toronto Community Housing Property lawfully, and only for a purpose directly associated with their job at Toronto Community Housing. For example, employees should not circulate any e-mail messages which could be offensive on the basis of a prohibited ground under the Human Rights Code, or use a fob/passcard to access areas for personal reasons which are not related to their work.
The exception to personal use is limited and occasional use of company computers, networks, internet, e-mail, and phones, as permitted by the Acceptable Use of Information Technology Policy (Please note: communications over Toronto Community Housing Property are not private and may be monitored by the company). For further information, please see the applicable policy and procedures.
Fraud and theft
Employees are strictly prohibited from engaging in any type of fraud as defined in the Fraud Prevention Policy, or any action by an employee intended to conceal or avoid detection of activity prohibited by this policy. Employees are expected to immediately report, in writing and in accordance with company policy, instances of suspected fraud and any knowledge of activity which is prohibited by this clause. All confirmed incidents may be viewed as acts of a criminal nature and may be treated accordingly.
Property of others
Employees are expected to respect and treat with care the property of other employees, residents, tenants, former residents, co-workers, guests, visitors, vendors, volunteers, contractors, and suppliers, which are brought onto the premises of Toronto Community Housing owned, controlled, leased, or operated buildings.
Employees cannot ask to borrow or use the property of a resident. Employees cannot borrow, use, or take the property of a resident after they move out or the resident disposes of the property, unless the employee is authorized as part of their job to do so. If the property of a visitor to a Toronto Community Housing building is left behind, the employee must tell their supervisor or manager and return the property.
Licenses and professional designations
When an employee is required to have a license or professional designation for their job, the employee must immediately report any loss or potential loss of that license or professional designation to their supervisor or manager. For example, employees who drive company vehicles as part of their job must immediately report any suspensions of that license to their supervisor or manager.
Alcohol and drugs
It is strictly prohibited for an employee to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs during working hours. The exception is over the counter or physician-prescribed medication and drugs, unless the use will risk the health and safety of the employee or any other person. An employee must disclose to their supervisor or a manager if they are under the influence of any alcohol or drugs during working hours (or expect to be under the influence during working hours in the case of over the counter or physician- prescribed medication and drugs) where there could be any risk to the health and safety of the employee or any other person.
If a situation covered by this clause is brought to the attention of an employee’s supervisor or manager, the employee’s supervisor or a manager (or other management) will review the circumstances and take the appropriate action. The appropriate action shall include reasonable accommodation as required by the Ontario Human Rights Code. Toronto Community Housing has the right to request reasonable information or documentation to support an accommodation under this clause.
Information about Toronto Community Housing
In performing their duties and responsibilities for the organization, employees will learn information about Toronto Community Housing and its operations. This includes information in verbal conversations and information in writing, formal documents, files, e-mails, computers, data records, etc. In most cases, this information is not known to the public. Examples include information related to our financial affairs, marketing plans, tenants, residents, resources, contractors, proposed initiatives, strategy, members of the public, employees, etc.
This information is confidential and is Toronto Community Housing’s property. Employees must take all reasonable steps to ensure this information is not used or disclosed without proper authorization, and in accordance with company policy and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
This includes securing and safeguarding information which has been entrusted to the employee’s care, such as locking cabinets and securing documents when not in use. Employees must also be mindful of what information can be overheard in conversations or seen on their phone, both during working hours and when they are in public during their private time. Employees must not deliberately try to access such information when the information is not associated with their work. Employees are also expected not to use or disclose such information for their own personal gain or for any purpose that is not associated with their work (unless authorized by their division head or when required by law). For more information, please see the Acceptable Use of Information Technology Policy, Records Management Policy, and Conflict of Interest Policy.
These rules concerning using or disclosing information do not apply where the employee is reporting wrongdoing under company policy or participating in an internal investigation. Employees should use proper internal channels, rather than a public setting, to address any concerns they have about Toronto Community Housing.
For more information about how to report wrongdoing and the protections available to employees who report wrongdoing, please see the Fraud Prevention Policy.
Communications with the media must be conducted so that all information originates from a qualified, informed, and approved spokesperson of Toronto Community Housing. All media requests for interviews or information must be referred to the media relations team in the Strategic Communications Unit. For more information, please see the Media and Issues Protocol.
Relationships with residents
Employees may not enter the home of a resident or tenant, unless authorized by law and/or without authorization from Toronto Community Housing, unless they are invited by the resident, the visit takes place outside of the employee’s working hours, and the visit does not otherwise violate this Code. Employees must also comply with the Conflict of Interest Policy.
Governing and applicable legislation
- Employment Standards Act
- Human Rights Code
- Occupational Health and Safety Act
- Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act