CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY FOR MEMBERS OF THE OGLCC BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Directors of the Ontario Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce have been entrusted by the Chamber’s members to promote and protect its interests. Inasmuch as the Chamber’s principles recognize the need to foster values described as balanced, ethical, collaborative, transparent, and open, it is important that directors be seen always to place the interests of the Chamber above their own when engaged in Chamber business. The following points are intended to provide guidance for the board and for individual directors in cases where real, apparent, or potential conflicts of interest may arise.
Conflicts of interest include situations:
- where directors’ private affairs or financial interests are in conflict with their duties and responsibilities or result in a perception that a conflict exists;
- where a director’s actions compromise or undermine the trust which the public and members place in the Chamber; and
- which could impair or appear to impair the directors’ abilities to act in the Chamber’s interest.
Conflicts of interest can include both financial and material interests. In addition to actual conflict of interest, there can also be apparent or potential conflict of interest. An apparent conflict of interest occurs when the answer to the following question is “yes”:
Would a reasonably informed person perceive that the performance of the director’s duties and responsibilities could be influenced by their financial or material interests?
For example, any time a director is also directly engaged in a project sponsored or supported by the Chamber there is the possibility of an apparent conflict of interest.
A potential conflict of interest is a situation that may develop into a real conflict of interest.
The following guidelines direct all actions and decisions regarding potential and actual conflict of interest in activities sponsored or supported by the Chamber.
- the directors act in the best interests of the members of Chamber;
- the directors do not participate in decisions from which they could benefit financially or materially;
- the directors regard benefits accruing to immediate family as if the director in question were to benefit;
- the directors do not use their positions or information obtained therefrom to provide an unfair advantage to themselves, including cases involving grants for funding and other approvals and appointments.
Types of conflict of interest:
- Self-dealing: In the director’s role, the individual makes decisions that financially or materially affect the director as a private citizen or the director’s immediate family.
- Accepting benefits: In the director’s role, the director accepts substantial gifts, bribes, services, or other significant benefits that may be perceived to influence the director.
- Influence peddling: The director accepts benefits in exchange for exerting influence or giving preferential treatment to the giver of the benefit.
- Using Chamber property: The director uses Chamber property (e.g. photocopies, telephones) for non-Chamber business.
- Using confidential information: The director uses confidential information acquired because of Chamber work for private gain.
- Post-appointment: Confidential information that has been gained in the director’s role is used for private advantage after leaving the Chamber.
Procedure when a conflict of interest arises:
- It is the responsibility of each director to immediately disclose in writing to the chair of the board of directors the existence of any conflict of interest.
- It is the duty of the board of directors of the chamber to decide whether such individual may participate in any discussions or vote on the issue that has given rise to the conflict.
- Directors must withdraw from participation in any way in decisions in which they have a financial or material interest.
- Directors who are in a conflict of interest shall absent themselves without comment prior to any discussion or voting in respect of the application or other issue. However, if such persons must remain in meetings in order to fulfill their administrative responsibilities, they shall not participate in any discussion regarding the application or other issue that has given rise to the conflict of interest.
- Any proposal for funding submitted by directors in which they, their relatives, or their friends have a financial interest must be forwarded to a minimum of two external reviewers for independent evaluation.
- Should a director be found to be in conflict of interest that has not been disclosed to the board as required in point 1 above, the board may:
a. require the director to provide full disclosure of the nature of the conflict of interest; and
b. remove said director from the board.