Policy 2.2.17: Political Activity

Effective date: January 1, 2003
Revised: November 26, 2013

STATEMENT

Independence and impartiality are fundamental to CBC/Radio-Canada’s credibility. Not only must the Corporation be independent, impartial, fair and honest, but it also must be perceived as such. It is essential that CBC/Radio-Canada not take a position on controversial issues. Consequently, some employees, owing to the nature of their job or duties, are restricted from engaging in certain political activities.

Members of the Senior Executive Team (SET), the Executive employees reporting directly to them, as well as Communications employees representing CBC/Radio-Canada in its relations with its various audiences (“restricted management group”) may not engage in certain political activities, including for example: (1) standing for nomination or being a candidate for public office in federal, provincial, territorial and municipal elections; (2) publicly supporting a candidate or political party; (3) attending a partisan political event, except as required in the performance of CBC/Radio-Canada duties; (4) organizing or attending a fund-raiser for a candidate or political party, except as required in the performance of CBC/Radio-Canada duties (“designated political activities”).

As for donating to a candidate or political party, since in many instances donations are or can become public, each employee’s specific circumstances, such as hierarchical level, nature of job and duties, must be assessed to determine whether such donations could have a potential negative impact on CBC/Radio-Canada’s impartiality, independence and credibility. The employee in question must inform their manager at the earliest opportunity of any issues in this regard.

News, current affairs and public affairs personnel who are subject to CBC/Radio-Canada’s Journalistic Standards and Practices (“JSPs”) may not engage in designated political activities.

General programming on-air personalities dealing with controversial issues must adhere to the values of fairness and balance provided for in the JSPs, which state, among other things, that individuals and organizations must be treated even-handedly. During an election or referendum period, all content related to the campaign, parties or candidates, regardless of the department concerned, is subject to the JSPs, including the values of impartiality and integrity.

All other employees are not restricted in their political activities (“non-restricted employees”). However, should they decide to stand for nomination or be a candidate for public office, they must provide their manager and their component vice-president with prior written notice. They may also apply for a leave of absence without pay for this purpose.

APPLICATION

All CBC/Radio-Canada employees.

RESPONSIBILITY

All questions pertaining to the interpretation or application of this policy should be referred to the Vice-President, People & Culture or the Corporate Secretariat.

HISTORY

Policy 2.2.17 dated January 1st, 2003, revised June 19, 2013.

REFERENCES


PROCEDURES:

Restricted Management Group

All members of the restricted management group must inform their manager, the component vice-president and the President and CEO before standing for nomination or being a candidate for public office, copying the Vice-President, People & Culture. They must also apply for a leave of absence without pay until the election date or request a suspension of their contract. The decision’s potential impact will then be discussed.

If elected, the employee shall immediately resign from CBC/Radio-Canada or shall immediately terminate their contract; if not, in keeping with operational needs and to avoid any potential negative impact on CBC/Radio-Canada’s independence, impartiality and credibility, they may be assigned new or different responsibilities upon their return or have their contract renegotiated. If the new assignment is refused or the parties fail to reach an agreement, the employee shall be considered to have resigned from CBC/Radio-Canada or, if applicable, have terminated their contract.

The spouse of a member of the restricted management group engaging in designated political activities could have a potential negative impact on CBC/Radio-Canada’s impartiality, independence and credibility. In these cases, the employee in question must inform their manager, the component vice-president and the President and CEO at the earliest opportunity so that action can be taken to mitigate any potential negative impact. A copy of any evidence of such action should be sent to People & Culture.

Personnel Subject to JSPs

News, current affairs and public affairs personnel must inform the General Manager and Editor in Chief, the component vice-president and the President and CEO in writing before standing for nomination or being a candidate for public office, copying the Vice-President, People & Culture. The person must also apply for a leave of absence without pay until the election date or request a suspension of their contract. The decision’s potential impact will then be discussed.

If elected, the person shall immediately resign from CBC or shall immediately terminate their contract; if not, in keeping with operational needs and to avoid any potential negative impact on CBC’s independence, impartiality and credibility, they may be assigned new or different responsibilities upon their return or have their contract renegotiated. If the new assignment is refused or the parties fail to reach an agreement, the person shall be considered to have resigned from CBC or, if applicable, have terminated their contract.

The spouse of a news, current affairs or public affairs employee engaging in designated political activities could have a potential negative impact on CBC’s impartiality, independence and credibility. In these cases, the person in question must inform their manager, the General Manager and Editor in Chief, the component vice-president at the earliest opportunity so that action can be taken to mitigate any potential negative impact. A copy of any evidence of such action should be sent to People & Culture.

If general programming on-air personalities who deal with controversial issues consider engaging in designated political activities, they should inform program management beforehand so that the decision’s potential impact can be discussed. In the event that a designated political activity is undertaken, the on-air personality will, where appropriate, clearly inform the public that they are doing so in a purely personal capacity and that their actions and opinions are strictly their own. They must never exploit their connection with CBC nor engage in activities likely to compromise the Corporation’s independence and credibility.

In the event that one of these on-air personalities decides to stand for nomination or be a candidate for public office, they must provide program management with prior written notice, copying the component vice-president and the Vice-President, People & Culture. They must also apply for a leave of absence without pay until the election date or request the suspension of their contract. The decision’s potential impact will then be discussed.

If elected, the on-air personality shall immediately resign from CBC or immediately terminate their contract; if not, in keeping with operational needs and to avoid any potential negative impact on CBC’s independence and credibility, they may be assigned new or different responsibilities upon their return or have their contract renegotiated. If the new assignment is refused or the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the on-air personality shall be considered to have resigned from CBC or, if applicable, have terminated their contract.

Non-Restricted Employees

After being informed that a non-restricted employee has decided to stand for nomination or be a candidate for public office, the component vice-president must decide whether the employee can maintain their regular CBC/Radio-Canada duties while campaigning and retain their full-time position if successful. The decision must be conveyed to the employee as soon as possible so that the required arrangements can be made.

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