DAOD 7021-3, Acceptance of Gifts, Hospitality and Other Benefits

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 2000-04-17

Date of Last Modification: 2015-05-06

Application: This DAOD is a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND employees) and an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members).

Supersession: CFAO 19-35, Acceptance of Gifts and Hospitality

Approval Authority: Chief Review Services (CRS)

Enquiries: Director Defence Ethics Programme (DDEP)

2. Definitions

conflict of duties (tâches conflictuelles)

A conflict that arises, not because of a DND employee’s or CF member’s private interests, but as a result of one or more concurrent or competing official responsibilities. For example, responsibilities associated with their primary official duties compete with their responsibilities in a role outside of DND or the CF, such as an appointment to a board of directors, or other outside function, when that role is also part of his or her official duties. (Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Code of Values and Ethics)

foreign source (source étrangère)

A foreign sovereign, state or functionary. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 43075)

organizational conflict of interest (conflit d’intérêts organisationnel)

A situation in which the action or decision of a DND employee or CF member calls into question the integrity, objectivity, impartiality or non-partisanship of the DND or the CF. As a result, the situation could be perceived by a reasonable observer as placing the DND or the CF in a conflict of interest with the public interest. A real organizational conflict of interest is defined as existing at the present time in a situation; an apparent organizational conflict of interest could be perceived by a reasonable person to exist in the situation, whether or not it is the case; and a potential organizational conflict of interest could reasonably be foreseen to exist in the future. An apparent organizational conflict of interest is just as serious as a real or potential organizational conflict of interest. (Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Code of Values and Ethics)

personal conflict of interest (conflit d’intérêts personnel)

A situation in which a DND employee or CF member has private interests that are not an integral part of their public role and that could improperly influence the performance of his or her official duties and responsibilities or in which the DND employee or CF member uses his or her office for personal gain. A real conflict of interest is defined as existing at the present time in a situation; an apparent conflict of interest could be perceived by a reasonable observer to exist in a situation, whether or not it is the case; and a potential conflict of interest could reasonably be foreseen to exist in the future. Conflicts of interest may arise in the following circumstances: outside activities (including political activities); acceptance of gifts, hospitality and other benefits; post-employment activities; and any other activity or decision incompatible with the official duties and responsibilities of a DND employee or a CF member. An apparent personal conflict of interest is just as serious as a real or potential personal conflict of interest. (Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Code of Values and Ethics)

3. Overview

General

3.1 It is often business or diplomatic practice to offer gifts, hospitality and other benefits to customers, potential customers or foreign representatives. The DND and the CAF are affected by such business or diplomatic practice since it is a major purchaser of goods and services and a significant player in the international sphere. DND employees and CAF members may be beneficiaries of such gifts, hospitality or other benefits, which may create a conflict of interest (COI) or potential for adverse public perception. Such benefits may range from a promotional item of minimal value such as a calendar, mug, pen or T-shirt to, in the case of a gift from a foreign source, a cultural article, figurine or other culturally representative artwork, to a lunch or invitation to an event, and more lavish and expensive gifts and hospitality.

Note – In this DAOD, a COI is an organizational COI, a personal COI or a conflict of duties, as applicable.

Purpose

3.2 The purpose of this DAOD is to ensure that the acceptance of such offers does not compromise or appear to compromise the integrity and impartiality of DND employees and CAF members, or that of the Government of Canada (GC), the DND or the CAF, and that non-acceptance does not disregard foreign customs or diplomatic protocol. This DAOD provides direction to DND employees and CAF members in respect of soliciting or accepting gifts, hospitality and other benefits from sources external to the DND and the CAF, including from foreign sources.

Compliance

3.3 In addition to the principles, rules and procedures set out in this DAOD, DND employees and CAF members are also required to comply with the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Code of Values and Ethics. DND employees are also required to comply with the Treasury Board (TB) Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the TB Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment. CAF members are also required to comply with QR&O article 19.39, Dealings with Contractors, QR&O article 19.40, Acceptance of Gifts from Foreign Sources, and QR&O article 103.49, Miscellaneous Offences.

3.4 Compliance with this DAOD by DND employees and CAF members is also necessary to ensure that the acceptance of any gift, hospitality or other benefit is not contrary to paragraph 121(1)(c) of the Criminal Code.

Notification of Non-Compliance

3.5 The DDEP is responsible for notifying the CRS of any non-compliance with this DAOD.

4. General Application

Offers

4.1 A DND employee or CAF member must not, in their public roles, accept any gift, hospitality or other benefit for themselves or their organization, except in accordance with the provisions set out in this DAOD. This includes:

  1. free or discounted admission to sporting, cultural or recreational activities;
  2. events arising out of an actual or potential business interaction related to their official duties; and
  3. gifts-in-kind or monetary exchanges for the benefit of their organization.

Attendance at Events

4.2 The issue of COI or potential for adverse public perception resulting from attending an event with a person, group or organization, having actual or prospective dealings with the DND and the CAF, may not be fully addressed by a DND employee or CAF member purchasing their own ticket or paying their own fees for the event.

5. Accepting an Offer without Written Approval

General Discounts and Free Access

5.1 A DND employee or CAF member may accept individually, without written approval, a discount or preferential rate normally offered to the public at large, the public sector as a whole, or DND employees or CAF members and their families at large. This includes, for example, discounts to amusement parks or free access to transportation by a Crown corporation, offered as support to the DND or the CAF.

Necessary Conditions

5.2 In all other cases, a DND employee or CAF member, who is offered, individually or in a small group, a gift, hospitality or other benefit, may only accept it, without the written approval of an approving authority, if the gift, hospitality or other benefit meets all the following conditions:

  1. it is of minimal value;
  2. it arises out of an activity or event related to the official duties of the DND employee or the CAF member;
  3. it is within the normal standards of courtesy, hospitality or protocol;
  4. it does not compromise or appear to compromise in any way the integrity of the DND employee or the CAF member concerned or the integrity of the DND or the CAF; and
  5. the offer is infrequent in nature.

Note – Repeated offers of gifts, hospitality or other benefits should not be routinely accepted from a single source even if the conditions for acceptance without written approval are otherwise met.

Examples

5.3 The following are examples of items of a minimal value that may be accepted by a DND employee or a CAF member without written approval:

  1. a promotional item or incidental gift of minimal value, such as a mug, pen, T-shirt, ball cap or other general article;
  2. an occasional dinner or lunch at the expense of a contractor or foreign representative to discuss business or defence affairs, as long as the associated costs are reasonable;
  3. an invitation to a corporate or association reception at the expense of the event organizer, if the hospitality provided is modest, such as a happy hour, and a representational cross-section of the private sector and of the GC is invited;
  4. an invitation to a conference or professional development activity if there is a mutual benefit that respects the criteria in paragraph 5.2, particularly as to value, frequency and the business context; oran invitation to a government-sanctioned event, such as the Vimy Award, if there is a significant benefit to the GC, the DND or the CAF.

6. Accepting an Offer with Written Approval

Conditions and Process for Written Approval

6.1 A DND employee or CAF member must not accept a gift, hospitality or other benefit of more than minimal value without the prior written approval of an approving authority as listed in paragraph 6.7.

6.2 An approving authority may only approve the acceptance of an item requiring written approval if satisfied that acceptance meets all the following conditions:

  1. it would not place the recipient in a COI that compromises or appears to compromise the integrity of the DND or the CAF, nor create potential for adverse public perception; and
  2. there exists either:
    1. a broader GC, DND or CAF interest, such as the promotion of public support or a strategic alliance in support of the DND or the CAF, the promotion of Canadian industry at an event hosted by an industry association or, in the case of an offer from a foreign source, the promotion of a strategic foreign alliance in support of the DND or the CAF; or
    2. a broader societal interest, such as the donation of proceeds to a recognized charity.

Examples

6.3 The following are examples of items above a minimal value that may only be accepted by a DND employee or a CAF member with the prior written approval of an approving authority:

  1. transportation and accommodation expenses to attend a conference or presentation, when such attendance will provide clear benefits to the DND or the CAF;
  2. a culturally representative artwork which has or may have more than a minimal value;
  3. an invitation to a sporting, cultural or other recreational event if recognition of the DND or of the CAF is the primary factor in the invitation being extended; and
  4. any gifts-in-kind for a number of members of an organization if the total value is above a minimal value or may create adverse public perception.

Contractor or Association Receptions

6.4 In the case of an invitation to a reception at the expense of a contractor or association, the total value of the hospitality to be provided is determinative of the need for written approval. When determining the total value, a DND employee or CAF member must consider not only the actual food or drinks provided, but also the venue and any form of entertainment offered, as well as the inclusion of family members or any other personal advantages related to the proposed hospitality. If the total value is determined to be above a minimal value, such hospitality may only be accepted if approved in accordance with paragraph 6.2 by an approving authority.

Request in Writing for Approval

6.5 A DND employee or a CAF member who requires the approval of an approving authority to accept or retain a gift, hospitality or other benefit must submit a request in writing to their supervisor, manager or commanding officer (CO).

Process for Written Approval

6.6 The process for obtaining written approval to accept or retain a gift, hospitality or other benefit is as follows:

The …must …
supervisor, manager or CO who receives the request from a subordinate
  • review the request as soon as practicable and either:
    • advise the DND employee or CAF member in writing to decline or accept the gift, hospitality or other benefit based on the instructions in this DAOD;
    • if unsure about the appropriate course of action to take concerning the declining or acceptance, consult the chain of command or the DDEP and advise the DND employee or CAF member in writing; or
    • refer the matter to the appropriate approving authority for a decision.
CRS
  • inform a DND employee, CAF member, supervisor, CO or approving authority as to the permissibility of accepting the gift, hospitality or other benefit; or
  • recommend that a matter be referred to an appropriate approving authority for a decision if acceptance with written approval is required under this DAOD.
appropriate approving authority
  • direct in writing that any gift, hospitality or other benefit, which requires written approval under this DAOD, be declined or approved; or
  • in the case of any improper gift, hospitality or other benefit that has been accepted, direct in writing as appropriate:
    • its return;
    • its retention; or
    • its disposal in accordance with DAOD 3013-1, Disposal of Surplus Materiel.

Note – If unsure about the appropriate course of action to take concerning the acceptance or disposition of the gift, hospitality or other benefit, an approving authority should consult the CRS.

Approving Authorities

6.7 The following are approving authorities responsible for the acceptance of a gift, hospitality or other benefit:

The …for …
Deputy Minister and the Chief of the Defence Staff
  • level one (L1) advisors, and the level two (L2) advisors outside the National Capital Region (NCR).
L1 advisor in the NCR
  • their respective organizations within the NCR.
L2 advisor outside the NCR
  • their respective organizations outside the NCR.

Exceptional Circumstances

6.8 A DND employee or CAF member who, in exceptional circumstances such as when employed in a civil-military relations or embassy role, is compelled to accept a gift, hospitality or other benefit without obtaining prior written approval, for example, in circumstances that might otherwise disregard diplomatic or foreign protocol, must accept the gift, hospitality or other benefit in the name of the DND or of the CAF, and then disclose the matter as soon as practicable, preferably in writing, to their supervisor or the CO. The supervisor or the CO must then, in accordance with the table in paragraph 6.6, direct the DND employee or the CAF member as to retention or disposition of the item, or refer the matter to the appropriate approving authority for final determination.

7. Consequences

Consequences of Non-Compliance

7.1 Non-compliance with this DAOD may have consequences for both the DND and the CAF as institutions, and for DND employees and CAF members as individuals. Suspected non-compliance will be investigated. The nature and severity of the consequences resulting from actual non-compliance will be commensurate with the circumstances of the non-compliance.

Note – In respect of the compliance of DND employees, see the TB Framework for the Management of Compliance for additional information.

Failure by a DND Employee to Comply

7.2 A DND employee who fails to comply with this DAOD, or the provisions of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Code of Values and Ethics in respect of the acceptance of gifts, hospitality or other benefits, may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment under DAOD 5016-0, Standards of Civilian Conduct and Discipline.

Failure by a CAF Member to Comply

7.3 A CAF member who fails to comply with this DAOD or the provisions of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Code of Values and Ethics in respect of the acceptance of gifts, hospitality or other benefits may be subject to one or more of the following:

  1. change of duties;
  2. release or other administrative action as set out in the Administrative Review (AR) Decisions paragraph of DAOD 5019-2, Administrative Review; and
  3. disciplinary action under the National Defence Act.

Recourse

7.4 Any DND employee or CAF member who disagrees with a decision on the appropriate arrangements necessary to achieve compliance with this DAOD, the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Code of Values and Ethics or, additionally in the case of a DND employee, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment, may have recourse by submitting a grievance in accordance with established processes.

8. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other References