Canadian Council for International Co-operation

The Council is a coalition of Canadian voluntary sector organizations working globally to achieve sustainable human development.

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History of CCIC's Code of Ethics

Creating a Code of Ethics: Many factors propelled the Council to originally develop the Code in the early 1990s.  Changes in the nature of development work, in the structure of civil society organizations and in the relationships between Northern and Southern organizations had transformed development into a complex enterprise, replete with management, administrative and communications challenges undreamt of 30 years before.  The original sections of the Code, resoundingly approved at the 1995 CCIC Annual General Meeting (AGM), outline the principles of development and standards for governance, organizational integrity, financial management, fundraising communications, management practice and human resources.  By the very act of adopting the Code, members confirmed their desire to work together towards higher and higher levels of ethical understanding and practice.

The history of the creation of the initial CCIC Code of Ethics is documented in Creating a Code of Ethics: Developing ethical standards for a sector (PDF 98 Kb)

Progress through Partnership: The political climate had once again begun to change by the time members came together for 2002 CCIC AGM.  A global atmosphere of stricter state security, including tough anti-terrorism legislation in Canada, placed the CCIC membership at a crossroads.  They were concerned about increased demands for more control on and by Northern civil society organizations.  Following this path would fundamentally change established development practices and undermine work toward equitable partnerships with Southern CSOs.  Instead, members chose to see the new climate as an opportunity.  The swift changes highlighted the need to set down their collective understandings about equitable partnerships that had been developed over many years of solidarity work.  Once again they looked to the Code of Ethics as a place to articulate their desire to reinforce ethical approaches to international cooperation.  Members chose to work together to provide an understanding of the vision and ethical principles that guide our partnerships with Southern civil society organizations.  At the May 2004 AGM, CCIC members solidified their commitment made in May 2002 “to defining a set of partnership principles to be incorporated into the Code of Ethics” by approving a new set of Partnership Principles and Standards

Read more about the addition of the Partnership sections in A Story of Partnership and Progress (PDF 154 Kb)

Keeping it simple but meaningful: At the May 2009 AGM, CCIC members approved a revised Code of Ethics and Operational Standards. The revised version more clearly distinguished between the ethical principles of the Code and the standards to guide practice, and updated both to reflect current thinking and learnings from CCIC members’ experience. Explanation charts outline the changes to the Code of Ethics and Operational Standards.  An updated Guidance Document assists members to interpret and apply the standards. 

In 2010, CCIC’s 40-year partnership with the Canadian International Development Agency came to an end.  As a consequence, the Council had to drastically reduce spending on various program areas, including its ethics program. It was no longer possible to maintain the Ethics Review Committee (ERC). Therefore, in 2011, the mandate of the CCIC Membership Committee was revised to include key functions of the ERC, including reviewing situations where ethical concerns are raised about a CCIC member or members.

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