Recently, a memo was sent to some employees informing them that the Corporation needed to be informed if an employee was planning to volunteer or assist with the resettlement of Syrian refugees. According to the memo, this applied if they intended to volunteer their time, effort and money in order to assist.
The memo explained that because it’s a story the region was covering in depth, anyone who is on staff there and also involved in helping the newcomers is in a conflict of interest situation.
Where’s the line?
As one member remarked “If I drop them $10, or knit a scarf for the welcome project, does that mean I can’t report on the story at all?”
Simply put, there is no justification for requiring mandatory reporting of donations or assistance. Employees are free to engage in outside activities as long as that will not adversely affect their work.
It is up to the member to decide if their assistance interferes with them performing their job. If in the view of the member, their assistance or donation has the potential to undermine their impartiality or to create the impression of partisanship or of advocacy for a cause, then and only then should they report a conflict of interest.
If you have any questions regarding your right to take part in activities outside the workplace, we recommend you call the National CMG office for advice.
We will continue to discuss this matter with CBC senior management.