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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Conflict of Interest Situations

Dear Ms Ethics is a communication vehicle to disseminate the answers to questions about organizational ethical dilemmas that relate to the CCIC Code of Ethics and Operational Standards.

1. Paying Board Members for Services
One of our Board members received a cheque for professional services from our organization.  She chose to donate the amount of the payment back to the organization and issued us a cheque.  Can that Board member receive a receipt for income tax purposes for the amount s/he has been donated?

2. Funding Connections
I am the Executive Director of our organization and I have been asked to sit on the Board of another NGO. This second organization sometimes requests funding assistance from our organization. In order to avoid a conflict of interest, must this organization be prevented from applying for funding while I am on their Board?

3. Coalitional Boards
Our NGO is a coalition made up of people who come from the organizations that provide some of our core funds. They are very active in decisions about the programming that is funded with their contributions. Are they all in a conflict of interest situation?

4. When to Resign
One of our Board members is a consultant. Our organization wishes to bid on a contract being offered by another organization. This board member will probably benefit by being hired as a consultant for the project. Will she need to resign her position on our Board to avoid contravening the conflict of interest requirements of the Code of Ethics and Operational Standards?

5. Gifts from Villagers
I travel overseas regularly for my work to visit and monitor projects and I also meet the villagers who benefit from these projects. Sometimes our Southern NGO partners and the villagers offer me gifts, mostly locally made crafts. Is it a conflict of interest (as per item S3.5 of the Code of Ethics and Operational Standards) to accept such gifts? Wouldn’t it be worse, and offensive, to refuse? I have to admit that it’s very nice to receive such mementos to display in my home and they are good conversation pieces that let me explain our work to others.

6. If in Doubt Go Dutch
I was wondering if there is a set policy for the case of business meetings, dinners, etc, with one's CIDA Project Officer. For example, is it appropriate to become friends with them and go to dinner at their house?  In the case of going to dinner with them, should each pay for their own meal?

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