Accountability and Policies
Code of Conduct and Whistleblowing
World University Service of Canada (WUSC) requires that its personnel and affiliates observe high standards of ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. Employees, volunteers, consultants and partners must demonstrate honesty and integrity in fulfilling their responsibilities and comply with all applicable local and international laws as well as the WUSC Code of Conduct, policies and regulations.
We are committed to duty of care and best practices to mitigate risks to health, environment, safety, security, dignity and life of individuals. Our commitments include the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, protection of children, prevention of modern slavery, mutual respect, diversity and inclusion, compliance with all legal obligations and regulations, and proper use of public funds and assets.
How to report a concern
You may report any concerns about suspicious behavior relating to the honesty and integrity of WUSC, its employees, contingent workers, volunteers, or any vendors, partners, government representatives or other third parties involved, directly or indirectly, in dealings with WUSC. This includes reporting any situation where you believe, in good faith, that WUSC or any of the other parties mentioned above violated or are about to violate a law or regulation, or are not respecting the WUSC Code of Conduct and values.
You may report any unlawful or unauthorized activities or incidents, without fear of reprisal, by sending an email to [email protected]. Disclosures are confidential and WUSC will do everything within its control to protect the identity of the whistleblower.
WUSC will investigate the allegation and will endeavor to deal with disclosures as sensitively and quickly as possible. An appropriate person nominated by the WUSC Chief Human Resources Officer, or where necessary the WUSC Executive Director, will investigate the allegation within two weeks of the disclosure having been made. The whistleblower may be asked for further information during the course of the investigation.
When reporting an incident to [email protected], please include the following information:
Description of the incident/misconduct:
People involved in the incident/misconduct:
Your contact details (if you want WUSC to contact you regarding the investigation of this complaint)
WUSC will protect the whistleblower, and not permit any retaliatory action to be taken against him/her, where a concern has been reported in good faith and is not knowingly false or materially inaccurate.
Excerpts from our key safeguarding policies
For more information, you may request the extended versions of WUSC’s policies related to protection and safeguarding.
WUSC personnel are also required to uphold and comply with the law and any other requirements, policies, procedures and standards endorsed by WUSC and must not knowingly engage in, facilitate or benefit from any illegal transaction or activity. An employee or contingent worker who is charged with or found guilty of a criminal offence must immediately notify his/her manager who, in turn, must notify the Director of Human Resources.
Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
WUSC works with target groups (including refugees and IDPs), our activities seek to balance inequities and create sustainable development around the globe; the work ethic of our staff, volunteers, representatives and partners shall correspond to the values and mission of the organization. WUSC promotes responsibility, respect, honesty, and professional excellence and we will not tolerate harassment, coercion and sexual exploitation and abuse of any form.
- Treat all refugees, IDPs, beneficiaries, affected communities, target groups and other persons fairly and with respect, courtesy, dignity, and according to the respective national law, international (humanitarian, human rights and refugee) law and local customs.
- Create and maintain an environment that prevents sexual exploitation, abuse of power and corruption, and promotes the implementation of the Code of Conduct.
- Uphold the highest standards of accountability, efficiency, competence, integrity and transparency in the provision of goods and services.
- Never commit any form of harassment that could result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to individuals/beneficiaries, especially women and children.
- Never exploit the vulnerability of any target group, especially women and children, or allow any person to be placed in a compromising situation.
- Never engage in any sexual activity with persons under the age of 18, regardless of local law about the age of majority or of consent. Mistaken belief in the age of the child is not a defence.
- Never engage in sexual exploitation or abuse of any target group (men, women, girls and boys). This constitutes acts of gross misconduct and is grounds for termination.
- Never trade money, employment, goods or services for sex, including sexual favours. All forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour are prohibited. This includes trading of assistance that is due to beneficiaries.
- Never abuse your position to withhold assistance, to give preferential treatment, or to solicit sexual favours, gifts, payments of any kind, or advantage. The employee should consciously avoid taking advantage of their position and may not accept gifts (except small tokens of appreciation) or bribes.
- Do not engage in sexual relationships with beneficiaries. Such relationships are strongly discouraged since they are based on inherently unequal power dynamics. Such relationships undermine the credibility and integrity of humanitarian aid work. This applies both during and after working hours.
- Members of personnel may not accept, solicit, or profit from, sexual services. This rule applies both within and outside of working hours.
WUSC believes that all children, regardless of gender, culture, religion and socio-economic background, have the right to grow up in a safe environment. WUSC is committed to safeguarding children from harm or from any form of cruelty.
In the context of our work, we take this responsibility very seriously and we have put in place standards and mechanisms to ensure that we:
- Prevent and/or respond to child abuse;
- Create an environment where issues of child protection are discussed openly and are understood;
- Promote open lines of communication both internally and externally to improve awareness and implementation of child protection practices;
- Create a framework to deal openly, consistently and fairly with reported cases of both direct and indirect abuse.
WUSC is a multi-cultural organization of diverse backgrounds, origins, political beliefs, gender, ages, sexual orientation and physical abilities. Our programming activities and everyday interactions are enriched by our acceptance of one another; and, as WUSC personnel, we strive to learn from one another in an atmosphere of positive engagement and mutual respect.
WUSC is committed to preserving a workplace that is free of all forms of harassment, discrimination and violence, in which all individuals are valued, respected and treated with dignity. In particular, it is dedicated to implementing the principles contained in the Ontario Human Rights Code, which prohibits harassment and discrimination. WUSC’s policy is that its personnel will be free from harassment and discrimination.
Prevention of Workplace Violence
WUSC is committed to providing and promoting a workplace where violence or threat thereof is not tolerated and will be subject to discipline up to and including termination.
This policy requires that all alleged or suspected threats or acts of violence in the workplace be reported to the employer. Members of personnel are responsible for preventing and reporting acts of violence that threaten or perceive to threaten their personal safety and the safety of their colleagues.
WUSC will take all reasonable and practical measures to prevent reprisals, threats of reprisal, or further violence against individuals, acting in good faith, who report incidents of workplace violence or act as witnesses.
Our commitment to Gender Equality and Inclusion
WUSC is committed to taking an intersectional approach that includes gender, age, and diversity, to advance gender equality and social inclusion for all.
- We embrace gender equality and social inclusion for their transformative potential in promoting the equitable enjoyment of rights for all, especially women.
- We mainstream gender, age, and diversity considerations within our policies, programs, and practices to better understand the opportunities and obstacles in achieving positive outcomes for gender equality and social inclusion. This includes integrating gender equity into all of our work.
- We commit to respond meaningfully to those considerations whenever possible, including working to understand the root causes of inequality in order to transform unequal power relations and build a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable world.
For more information, read our Policy and Guidance on Gender, Age, and Diversity .
WUSC is committed to protecting the privacy of personal information collected from its employees, donors, volunteers, alumni, members, and all other stakeholders. We value and respect the trust placed in us to uphold the privacy of this information and recognize that maintaining this trust requires that WUSC is both transparent and accountable in how we treat the information shared with us.
During the course of our various projects and activities, we gather and use personal information. Anyone from whom we collect such information is entitled to and can expect that it will be carefully protected and that any use of this information is subject to consent.
Personal information gathered by WUSC is kept in confidence. Our personnel are authorized to access personal information based only upon their need to deal with the information and only for the reason(s) for which it was obtained. Safeguards are in place to ensure that the information is not disclosed or shared more widely than is necessary to achieve the purpose for which it was gathered. WUSC also takes measures to ensure the integrity of this information is maintained and to prevent it from being lost or destroyed.
WUSC is committed to ensuring equal access and participation for people with disabilities. We are committed to treating people with disabilities in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence.
WUSC has established, implemented, and maintains a multi-year accessibility plan to remove and prevent barriers to accessibility. This plan, and our accessibility policies, are available upon request in accessible formats.
The Customer Service Accessibility Policy (CSAP) outlines WUSC’s accessibility standards for customer service. It is based on the core principles of independence, dignity, integration, and equality of opportunity for people with disabilities and complies with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).
The WUSC CSAP applies to all personnel (employees, interns, volunteers, and contractors) who provide services within WUSC, or on its behalf. WUSC personnel are expected to respond to people requiring accessible customer service in a respectful and timely manner and with the appropriate accessibility tools that WUSC has available.
We welcome any feedback or comments on the accessibility of our services. This includes face-to-face service at our office or virtual services you have received on our website, email, or on social media.
Please address any comments or questions to:
WUSC will try to respond within 30 days to any accessibility request.
WUSC is required to provide a copy of any requested document or resource in an accessible format under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). We will try our best to provide a document or information from within a document in a format that takes into account a person's disability.
Collaboration with the Private Sector
WUSC believes the private sector plays an important role in contributing to social, cultural, and economic development. Furthermore, private sector entities have a responsibility to be a positive force in the development of the communities in which they operate.
WUSC is willing to enter into collaborations with private sector entities on projects that help WUSC meet the goals and objectives outlined in the WUSC strategic plan. Before establishing a collaboration with a private sector entity WUSC will undertake a rigorous process of evaluation to ensure that:
- the potential project has goals and objectives consistent with those of WUSC; and
- the potential collaborator meets rigorous standards of practice in their respective industry as assessed by independent industry leading analysis.
The establishment of private sector collaborations will be reported publicly. Upon completion, the outcomes of each project will also be reported.
WUSC will develop the procedures necessary to operationalize this policy and share these with the public.