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U of C Code of Conduct changes to affect employment on campus

By James Falls and Jason Herring, October 24 2018 —

The University of Calgary is implementing changes to its Code of Conduct that will require U of C staff, including students employed by the university, to obtain approval from their manager before taking another job — whether that job is at the university or not.

“If you want to take another job, you have to get your manager to approve that before you can take any other employment,” said U of C general counsel Karen Jackson at the Oct. 9 meeting of the Students’ Legislative Council.

The changes come in response to amendments to the provincial Conflict of Interest Act, passed in December 2017.

Jackson added that there’s no room for revision, despite many university stakeholders such as the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) being critical of the changes.

“Unfortunately with the code, we don’t have much room to really do any changes. A lot of what’s in the material [of the Code of Conduct revisions] was dictated by the Office of the Ethics Commissioner,” said Jackson.

Jackson also clarified that students currently employed elsewhere will have to disclose their employment and have it approved when the code comes into effect. Students are exempt from the policy, however, if they accept a job that starts after their employment with the university ends.

Students’ Union president Sagar Grewal asked Jackson if internships and practicums would fall under the policy. Jackson said that they would not, as long as the job is part of an academic requirement.

Kevin Barry is the chair of AUPE – Local 52, the branch of the AUPE that represents workers at the U of C. He said AUPE is largely frustrated with directives passed down by the Ethics Commissioner, not with U of C policy.

“[The U of C and AUPE] are both concerned that the Ethics Commissioner continues to go down this route. We’re not sure why they’re reaching as far and as wide as they are,” Barry said. “We recognize that the university is being dictated to on this and they really don’t appear to have a whole lot of choice on this matter.”

Barry added that the AUPE considers the changes to the Code of Conduct to be “definitely problematic.”

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