Our Ethical Standards

In order to become a member of EPAC, you must agree to adhere to the following Ethical Standards. Note: these standards were developed when the members were mainly external consultants and experts supporting organizations as clients. The standards will be revised to reflect how EPAC’s membership has evolved – for example, including ethics officers within organizations.


As set out in its by-laws, the object of the Association is to support ethical behaviour in organizations by enhancing the quality and availability of ethics advice and services across Canada. In doing so, the Association is:

  • promoting ethical practices in Canadian organizations, including but not limited to private, public and non-profit corporations, charities, government entities, and industry and professional associations;
  • providing practitioners and potential practitioners with information and education about organizational ethics, and opportunities to discuss and debate best practices;
  • promoting awareness of the role of ethics practitioners and how to find them;
  • maintaining and improving the qualifications and standards of the profession;
  • cooperating with other organizations in the achievement of these objectives; and
  • carrying out other complementary purposes not inconsistent with these objectives.

The membership of the Association consists of individuals, corporations and other organizations interested in furthering this object who satisfy the membership criteria established by the board of directors and who have paid the prescribed dues. The board may also approve members in other classes (i.e., honorary, patron).

The board may set professional standards, including training standards and requirements regarding certification of practitioners, in respect of Individual Members in good standing who practise as “ethics services” providers.


Client: Any recipient of ethics services including but not limited to private, public and nonprofit corporations, charities, government entities, and industry and professional associations.

Core Values

The core values of individual members of EPAC are caring, fairness, respect, responsibility and trustworthiness (including honesty, integrity, reliability and loyalty).

Code of Ethics

Being in compliance with all applicable laws, members of EPAC are committed to maintaining a high standard of conduct, both professionally and personally. To that end, members accept the following principles:

  • Responsibility to Clients
    • Serve the long-term well-being of our clients and their stakeholders.
      • Recognize the personal, organizational, and cultural beliefs and values relevant to serving our clients
      • Be particularly sensitive to diversity when serving clients in multicultural and international environments.
      • Be prepared to make explicit our beliefs, values and ethics as ethics practitioners.
      • Be prepared to help clients provide ethics services for themselves.
      • Inform clients if there is serious doubt that they can benefit from our continuing services, or if our services cannot be provided in the letter and spirit of this code.
    • Conduct any professional activity, program or relationship in ways that are honest, responsible, and appropriately open.
      • Strive for professional behaviour that meets the test of the highest internationally available ethical standards.
      • Inform those with whom we work about the implications and risks, if any, of their participation.
      • Be prepared to provide for our own accountability by evaluating and assessing the effects of our work.
      • Establish fair contracts, ensuring mutual understanding and agreement about services to be performed and remuneration.
      • Encourage transparency and frankness wherever possible, as an important adjunct to ethical behaviour.
    • Respect the confidentiality of information when transparency is not appropriate.
      • Never divulge confidential or private information without consent of the parties concerned, unless the disclosure is required by law or necessitated by public health and safety.
      • Make the limits of confidentiality clear to clients and participants.
    • Avoid conflicts of interest.
      • As may be reasonable under the circumstances, inform the client at the earliest opportunity when serving similar organizations.
      • Never use inside or non-public information about a client for our own financial or other advantage without the client’s consent.
    • Ensure the full accuracy of our public statements about any aspect of our work, including promotion and advertising.
    • Avoid undertaking to achieve results which are beyond our capacity to deliver.
    • Refrain from accepting or offering gifts, other than customary hospitality, that could in any way be construed as solicitations of favours.
  • Personal Responsibility   
    • Act with integrity and candour.
    • Recognize personal needs and interests, and assert them in ways that are fair to all concerned.
    • Develop and maintain our individual competence and expertise.
    • Establish co-operative relations with other professionals.
  • Responsibility to the Profession
    • Contribute to the continuing professional development of other ethics practitioners, and to the development of the profession as a whole in Canada and abroad.
    • Promote the sharing of professional knowledge and skill, giving credit for the ideas and production of others.
    • Work actively to ensure ethical practices by individuals and organizations engaged in ethics activities.
    • Accept, where possible, some clients who cannot pay full fees.
    • Act in ways that bring credit to the ethics profession, and with due regard for colleagues in other professions.
    • Avoid actions that may be considered as denigrating the work of professional peers or EPAC.
    • No member will engage in a review of the work of another EPAC member without notifying both the member involved and EPAC.
  • Application of this Code   
    • Questions relating to the interpretation of the Code of Ethics shall be referred to the board of directors which shall make appropriate arrangements to provide a response.
    • Members shall place on file with the secretary of the Association a signed document certifying their agreement to abide by the Code of Ethics as a condition of remaining as members in good standing.

For assistance in implementing this document, see the Application Guide for EPAC’s Ethical Standards.


EPAC - Ethics Practitioners’ Association of Canada | APEC - Association des praticiens en éthique du Canada

Promoting Ethical Knowledge, Wisdom and Competency in Canadian Organizations

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