Code of Conduct
Code of Conduct
The provisions of this code as set forth in sections 1 to 15 are mandatory, and full compliance is expected under all circumstances.
Every director and every employee is responsible for complying with this code. Directors/Employees uncertain about the application or interpretation of any legal requirements should refer the matter to their supervisor or to the Board, who, if necessary, should seek appropriate legal advice.
Failure to comply with the code could result in severe consequences for both the individual and the company. The company will impose appropriate discipline which may include discharge for violation of the code. Furthermore, conduct that violates the code may also violate federal or provincial law and could subject both the company and the individual to prosecutions and legal sanctions.
Conflicts of Interest
The Company expects that directors/employees will perform their duties conscientiously, honestly, and in accordance with the best interests of the Company. Directors/Employees must not use their positions or the knowledge gained as a result of their positions for private or personal advantage. Regardless of the circumstances, if directors/employees sense that a course of action they have pursued, or are presently pursuing, or are contemplating pursuing may involve them in a conflict of interest with their employer, they should immediately communicate all the facts to their supervisor or to the Board.
Gifts and Entertainment
Employees shall not on behalf of the company, furnish directly or indirectly, expensive gifts or provide excessive entertainment or benefits to other persons.
Employees whose duties permit them to do so, may furnish modest gifts, favors and entertainment to persons other than public officials, provided all of the following criteria are met:
The gifts are not in form of cash, bonds or other negotiable securities and are of limited value so as not to be capable of being interpreted as a bribe, payoff or other improper payment; they are made as a matter of general and accepted business practice;
they do not contravene any laws and are made in accordance with generally accepted ethical practices; and if subsequently disclosed to the public, their provision would not in any way embarrass the company or the recipients. For example, reasonable expenses of the entertainment of current or prospective business associates or customers are permissible by employees whose duties embrace the providing of such entertainment, provided prior approval from the supervisor is obtained and proper accounting is made.
Relationships With Clients and Suppliers
Employees should avoid investing in or acquiring a financial interest for their own accounts in any business organization that has a contractual relationship with the Company, or that provides goods or services, or both, to the Company if such investment or interest could influence or create the impression of influencing their decisions in the performance of their duties on behalf of the Company.
All dealings between employees or directors of the company and public officials should be transparent.
Even the appearance of impropriety in dealing with public officials is improper and unacceptable. Any participation directly or indirectly, in any bribes, kickbacks, illegal gratuities indirect contributions or similar payments is expressly forbidden, whether or not they might further the business interest of the company. Maintenance of a high standard of integrity is of the utmost importance to the company.
Since the furnishing, on behalf of the company, of even an inexpensive gift or a modest entertainment or benefit to a public official may be open to the interpretation that it was furnished illegally to secure the use of his/her influence as public official, no such gift, entertainment or benefit may be furnished by an employee or director.
The use of the company’s funds, goods or services as contributions to political parties, candidates or campaigns is specifically forbidden. Contributions include money or anything having value, such as loans, services, entertainment, trips and the use of the company’s facilities or assets.
Employees and Directors shall not use their status to obtain personal gain from those doing or seeking to do business with the company.
Except as hereinafter provided, employees and directors should neither seek nor accept gifts, payments, services, fees, special valuable privileges, pleasure or vacation trips or accommodations or loans from any persons (except, in the case of loans, from persons in the business of lending and then only on conventional terms) or from any Company or group that does or is seeking to do business with the company or any of its affiliates, or from a competitor of the company or any of its affiliates. However, employees and directors may accept modest gifts, favors or entertainment upto the maximum limits prescribed by the Board of Directors of the Company from time to time provided that doing so is consistent with the tests relating to the furnishing of gifts set forth in Section 3.
Employees and Directors shall not use for their own financial gain or disclose for the use of others, inside information obtained as a result of their position within the company. Employees and Directors may find themselves in violation of the applicable securities laws if they misuse information not generally known to the public and either trade or induce others to trade in the stock of the company or in the stock of another company. Specific confidential information would include financial information, information concerning acquisitions or dispositions of properties and proposed acquisition or mergers with other companies.
In furtherance of this policy, the company has adopted a statement of policy regarding insider trading, which each director, officer and employee who has access to material non-public information will be requested to sign.
Disclosure of confidential Information
certain records, reports, papers, processes, plans and methods of the company or to which the company has been permitted access are considered to be secret and confidential by the company or the party who has permitted access thereto, and employees and Directors are prohibited from revealing information concerning such matters without proper authorization. Directors, individuals, clients, agencies, investors and the public should have information about the company as is necessary for them adequately to judge the company and its activities. The company believes that full and complete reporting to governmental agencies and the provision of information to the public as required constitutes a responsible and workable approach to disclosure. However, the company except as required by law, will not disclose information important to its competitive effectiveness or which might violate the private rights of individuals, enterprises or institutions. Employee and Directors are therefore prohibited from discussing or disclosing any secret or confidential information about the company or in the possession of the company unless such disclosure has been authorized by the Board of Directors.
Employees shall comply with departmental policies and procedures relating to the retention and orderly destruction of the company’s documents.
Authorization and Recording of Transactions and safekeeping of Assets
The company’s books and records must reflect, in an accurate, fair and timely manner, the transactions and disposition of assets of the company. Employees responsible for the company’s books and records must ensure that this occurs.
All transactions must be authorized and executed in accordance with the instructions of management and the Board of Directors. They must be recorded so as to permit the accurate preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles and other generally accepted laws applicable to such statements and to maintain accountability for assets.
Access to assets is permitted only in accordance with the authorization of management.
The use of company funds or assets for any unlawful or improper purpose is strictly prohibited and those responsible for the accounting and record keeping functions are expected to be vigilant in ensuring enforcement of this prohibition. The recorded accountability for assets will be compared with the existing assets at reasonable intervals and appropriate action will be taken with respect to any differences.
Discrimination-Free Work Environment
The policy of the company is to provide a working environment free of discrimination and harassment in which individuals are accorded equality of employment opportunity based upon merit and ability.
Discriminatory practices based on race, sex, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, marital status, family status, age or disability will not be tolerated. Employees are entitled to freedom from sexual and all other forms of personal harassment in the work place.
It is not a discriminatory practice to make a distinction between persons based on bona fide occupational requirements. Since bona fide occupational requirements are narrowly defined, such distinctions should not be undertaken without first obtaining express authorization.
Protection of the Environment
The company and its directors and employees shall treat the protection of the environment as an integral factor in all decision making.
The company is committed to the protection of the environment. To comply with this commitment, the company’s policy is to meet or exceed all applicable governmental requirements. Employees must report to their superior all circumstances in which toxic substances are spilled or released into the environment. Violations of environmental laws, even if unintentional, can carry severe penalties, and could result in the prosecution of the company or the employees involved or both.
Failure to comply with the company’s instructions for the protection of the environment may result in disciplinary actions.
Competition and Trade Practice Standards
The company shall compete vigorously and creatively in its business activities, but its efforts in the marketplace shall be conducted in a fair and ethical manner in strict compliance with applicable competition and trade practice laws and regulations.
Under no circumstances shall any employee or Director of the company be a partly to any collusion or concerted effort of any type involving any competitor vendor, supplier, customer or other party, which is in restraint of trade or violation of laws and regulations designed to foster competition. Because laws relating to competition are complex, employees and Directors should refer matters about what they are in doubt to their superior or should seek the advice of the company’s counsel.
Standards of Conduct
Although the various matters dealt with in this code do not cover the full spectrum of employee or Director activities, they are indicative of the company’s commitment to the maintenance of high standards of conduct and are to be considered descriptive of the type of behavior expected from employees and Directors in all circumstances.
Each director and each employee of the company who has executive, managerial or supervisory responsibilities, or deals with governmental officials or political parties or candidates on behalf of the company, or who has access to confidential information, will be provided with a copy of this code. To ensure proper understanding of the code, any questions as to its application to the area of responsibility and jurisdiction of the Director or employee will be explained fully by his / her superior or by the audit committee.
At commencement of employment and at least once a year thereafter each such employee shall sign the prescribed from of acknowledgement which will be retained by the Chief Financial Officer or the Chairman of the audit committee that each such individual under his / her jurisdiction has completed the required form acknowledging that he / she has read or reread, as the case may be, the current version of the code of ethics & business policies and has complied with its terms.
Each director shall sign such an acknowledgment to the audit committee at the commencement of his or her term.