Public Code of Conduct
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) seeks to provide a constructive, positive, and inclusive environment in which our services can be effectively delivered in response to the needs of Ontarians. A positive working environment means everyone feels safe, welcome, and respected.
All IPC staff members are expected to act professionally in accordance with the IPC’s service standards and its duty to accommodate others as set out in our Customer Service Standards Policy, but they too have the right to feel safe and secure, while providing services on behalf of the IPC. This means that members of the public who interact with the IPC are expected to treat IPC staff with respect and adhere to the IPC’s Public Code of Conduct. The IPC will not tolerate unacceptable behaviour and will take appropriate action where necessary to protect the safety and security of staff and deal with these incidents accordingly.
Standards of Behaviour
All members of the public who interact or contact IPC staff are expected to:
- Follow all applicable laws regarding their conduct or behaviour.
- Treat IPC staff and the other parties with dignity and respect, especially when there is disagreement.
- Respect the rights of others, and treat others fairly, regardless of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, creed, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, or disability.
- Respect the requirement of staff to work in a safe and secure environment that is conducive to carrying out the mandate of the IPC.
Unacceptable behaviours by members of the public may include, but are not limited to, the following actions:
- Harassing, bullying, verbally abusing, or seeking to intimidate staff.
- Making excessive, unreasonable or aggressive demands or enquiries of staff.
- Without justification, repeatedly challenging the findings or decisions of a staff member or repeatedly insisting on a different outcome outside of the established IPC procedures.
- Demanding special treatment from staff.
- Creating a disturbance through physical action.
- Shouting or yelling at staff.
- Physically assaulting or threatening a staff member.
- Throwing any object at a staff member.
- Aggressive approaches to a staff member or another individual.
- Attempting to incite violence.
- Sexually assaulting or harassing a staff member.
- Using profanity and/or obscene language when addressing staff or others.
- Theft or vandalism.
- Causing unsafe/unsanitary conditions.
- Refusing to leave the IPC’s office when directed.
- Making statements, wearing attire, or displaying material that is intolerant of human rights or qualifies as hate speech.
- Discriminatory comments, including racial, gender, or ethnic slurs.
- Illegal consumption of alcohol or drugs.
- Bringing a weapon into the IPC’s office.
Actions to Address Unacceptable Behaviour
Actions available to IPC staff when dealing with unacceptable behaviour from a member of the public may include, but are not limited to:
- Providing a verbal and/or written warning to the individual about their unacceptable behaviour(s) and the possible consequences should they continue.
- Professionally, politely, calmly, and firmly notifying the individual that their conversation will be terminated if they continue to engage in unacceptable behaviour(s), and ending the conversation with the individual if they do not comply.
- Limiting the individual’s communication with staff to a particular format (e.g., email only), time (e.g., telephone calls only at specific times and days of the week), and/or duration (e.g., conversations may last no longer than ten minutes).
- Limiting the individual to a particular point of contact at the IPC.
- Requiring any face-to-face interactions between the individual and staff to take place in the presence of an appropriate witness.
- Moving the file to Adjudication for consideration of a formal order to have the individual declared a vexatious litigant.
- Where the unacceptable behaviour is extreme, dangerous, or represents a pattern of conduct, managers may instruct staff not to respond to further communications from the individual beyond what is necessary to process their file; or in the appropriate circumstances, instruct staff to severely reduce or completely cease responses to further complaints and/or communications from the individual.
- Contacting the police for assistance where there is an immediate or serious threat to the safety of staff or other persons, or where an individual refuses to leave the IPC’s office.
Concerns about Service
If you have any concerns about your treatment or the way that the IPC has provided its services to you, please consult the IPC’s Public Complaints Policy and Process.
This post is also available in: French