The Equality Fund strives to uphold feminist values in service of greater gender equality. We recognize that how we conduct ourselves as staff both reflects how we are living into these values and has an impact on the quality, sincerity and impact of our work. Our feminism is resolutely anti-racist, anti-oppressive, human rights-based, and welcoming of all abilities, sexual identities, ages and faiths. We recognize that building an organization that espouses and invokes these values is a journey of learning and unlearning, and we are determined to forge a more equitable and just organization.
The Code of Conduct applies to all Equality Fund (EF) personnel. For the purpose of the Code of Conduct, EF personnel include employees, volunteers, consultants, and board members. EF personnel observe the highest standard of ethics during the course of their duties and responsibilities. EF personnel demonstrate honesty and integrity in fulfilling their responsibilities. At a minimum, we expect compliance with all applicable local and international laws, policies and regulations. We also encourage all personnel to engage in reflection of what a feminist code of conduct means to them.
The Code represents the minimum standards regarding conduct and obligations. Additional relevant policies are noted at the end.
Honesty and Integrity
At EF, all personnel take full responsibility for their actions and take proper course of action towards correcting mistakes and/or poor decisions through the appropriate channels.
Personnel maintain honesty and integrity and conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the best interests of the EF.
Personnel uphold and comply with all applicable laws and regulations, and do not knowingly engage in, facilitate or benefit from any illegal transaction or activity. A person who is charged with or found guilty of a criminal offence may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Personnel are to report any concerns about suspicious behaviour relating to the honesty and integrity of colleagues, partners, employees or any vendors, government representatives or other third parties involved. This includes reporting any situation where they believe, in good faith, that any of the parties mentioned above have violated or are about to violate a law or regulation. Concerns should be raised by the manner as set out in this Code (see “Reporting a Concern”).
All personnel maintain civility in their daily conduct and communications, and present themselves in a professional manner.
All personnel are mindful in their conduct and avoid perceptions of conflict of interest, bias, favouritism or wrongful use of authority.
Personnel protect EF’s property and assets, and/or the property of our stakeholders.
Respect in the Workplace
As a feminist organization, our individual and collective behaviour and conduct is directly related to our work to shift power and challenge systems of inequality. Therefore, EF is committed to providing a workplace free from all forms of harassment, discrimination and violence, in which all personnel are valued, respected and treated equally and with dignity.
EF personnel demonstrate respect in the workplace through:
- Respecting and promoting fundamental human rights without discrimination of any kind and regardless of social status, race, ethnicity, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, national origin, political affiliation or disability.
- Treating all persons fairly and with respect, courtesy, dignity, and according to the respective national law, international law and local customs.
- Conducting themselves in a non‐threatening way, and reporting any incident and threat of violence that may affect the workplace.
- Committing to an ongoing process of examining, challenging and learning about how privilege and bias shape our views and perceptions, and surfacing any concerns about bias/ discrimination.
- Reporting all alleged or suspected threats or acts of violence and harassment to the Department of Human Resources.
- Treat all grantee partners fairly and with respect, courtesy, dignity, and according to the respective national law, international (humanitarian, human rights and refugee) law and local customs.
- Create and maintain an environment that prevents sexual exploitation, abuse of power and corruption, and promotes the implementation of the Code of Conduct.
- Never commit any form of harassment that could result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to organizations and communities we support, especially women and children.
- Never exploit the vulnerability of any target group, especially women and children, or allow any person to be placed in a compromising situation.
- Never engage in any sexual activity with persons under the age of 18, regardless of local law about the age of majority or of consent. Mistaken belief in the age of the child is not a defence.
- Never engage in sexual exploitation or abuse of any target group (men, women, girls and boys).
- Never trade money, employment, goods or services for sex, including sexual favours. All forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour are prohibited. This includes trading of assistance that is due to grantee partners.
- Never abuse your position to withhold assistance, to give preferential treatment, or to solicit sexual favours, gifts, payments of any kind, or advantage. The employee should consciously avoid taking advantage of their position and may not accept gifts (except small tokens of appreciation) or bribes.
- Personnel are strongly discouraged from engaging in sexual relationships with members of partner organizations in situations where the person or their organization is in a perceived or real power relationship with EF. This includes being reliant on EF for financial or other support. Should such a relationship occur, the EF representative must immediately disclose it to EF HR so that appropriate steps can be taken to avoid a real or perceived conflict of interest or exploitation. If such a relationship is not disclosed, the presumption will be that it is exploitative.
- Personnel are strongly discouraged from engaging in sexual relationships with members of communities that directly benefit from the work of grantee partners supported by EF. Should such a relationship develop, the EF representative must disclose it to EF HR so that appropriate steps can be taken to avoid a real or perceived conflict of interest or exploitation. If such a relationship is not disclosed, the presumption will be that it is exploitative.
- Never accept, solicit, or profit from sexual services.
- Being mindful of situations that may pose as threats to children and take reasonable precautions to ensure that these threats are minimized.
- Respecting a child’s boundaries and help them develop knowledge about their rights for personal safety, and the steps they can take to protect themselves in the face of threat.
- Never condone, or participate in behaviour with a child that is illegal, abusive or exposes the child to danger.
- Share passwords, post them in view of others, or compromise them in any way.
- Make unauthorized attempts to access or use an email account other than their own.
- Use their business emails for personal interests such as: advertising material, sending chain letters or any other personal forms of communication beyond the context of their work.
Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest is a situation where the personnel of EF will benefit personally (themselves, friends, family or relatives) from their professional decisions made within their job context, such as using organizational assets for personal gain.
Members of the EF should avoid situations which could or may interfere with their ability to make sound judgements when making decisions to serve the best interest of the EF. For more information, please refer to our Conflict of Interest Policy.
Due to the nature of our work, EF personnel are exposed to the personal information of donors, grantee partners, employees and other external stakeholders. It is of significant importance that all personnel protect these parties who trust us with their information, their critical work, and, in some cases, their wellbeing. Therefore, all EF personnel adhere to the highest privacy and data protection standards. Personnel are responsible for the protection, control, and proper use of information and property under their care.
All personnel exercise strict control over information, including that which is confidential, which may come into their possession in the course of their duties. Such information is not disclosed to persons who are not authorized by EF to receive it.
Any personal information gathered in the course of work must be kept confidential; the member of personnel is authorized to access personal information based only upon his/her need to deal with the information and only for the reason(s) for which it was obtained. The individual should ensure that the information is not disclosed or shared more widely than is necessary and must take measures to ensure that the integrity and safekeeping of this information is maintained.
If breach of privacy or confidentiality occurs, personnel must report to the appropriate channels to ensure a corrective course of action.
Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
As a feminist organization, our work acknowledges and addresses abuses of power in all its forms. Unequal gender dynamics and power relationships provide the basis for sexual exploitation and abuse. Due to their unequal status, women, girls, and non-binary people are particularly at risk of sexual exploitation and abuse. As we support women, girls, and non-binary people from a diversity of backgrounds and identities we recognize that gender inequalities also intersect with other inequalities (age, disability, nation of origin, social-economic status, race, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs). As an organization based in Canada working internationally, we must be particularly aware of these intersecting power dynamics and the harm that can arise from them. EF promotes responsibility, respect, honesty, and professional excellence and we will not tolerate harassment, coercion and sexual exploitation and abuse of any form.
Members of EF agree to protect children from harm or any form of cruelty.
All personnel must increase awareness of child safety and promote the implementation of child protection practices, these may include but are not limited to:
Members of EF comply with applicable legislation, regulations, policies and standards when managing email and when using social media to ensure that communication is appropriate and consistent.
Personnel shall not:
To ensure protection of EF’s reputation and to maintain general consistency, only selective personnel will be authorized to respond to media inquiries.
Reporting a Concern
All staff have a responsibility to help ensure that EF and its personnel are held to the highest standards. This includes reporting any concerns about suspicious behaviour relating to the honesty and integrity of EF personnel. This also includes reporting any situation where you believe, in good faith, that EF or any of the other parties mentioned above violated or are about to violate a law or regulation, or are not respecting the EF Code of Conduct and values.
You may report any violations or incidents, without fear of reprisal, by sending an email to [email protected]. Disclosures are confidential and EF will do everything within its control to protect the identity of the whistleblower.
EF will investigate the reported allegation and will endeavour to deal with disclosures as sensitively and quickly as possible. To the best of our ability, EF will attempt to validate the complaint to ensure that complaints made about EF personnel are adequately responded to and addressed as appropriate. The Department of Human Resources shall determine investigation procedures on a case by case basis.
Breach of Code
The conduct of EF personnel is critical to achieving the mission and ambitious mandate of the organization. Any breaches of this Code will be taken seriously and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of contract for cause, in addition to possible civil, criminal or regulatory action.
Being accountable to each other and to EF means that each of us has an obligation to report all Code violations. Workplace supervisors who condone the violation of the Code of Conduct by employee(s) by encouraging and/or approving violation of or failing to report the violation of the Code of Conduct is also considered to be in violation of the Code of Conduct and is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
No one may retaliate or take adverse action against an individual who, in good faith, reports a real or potential contravention of this Code of Conduct, or who provides information or assistance for an investigation.
Any member of personnel purposely making false accusations on any action by another staff member or volunteer will be subject to disciplinary action at the discretion of the organization.