Conflict of Interest - Members of Staff

Approved Administrative Committee 9.1



1. The objectives of this Policy are to avoid conflicts of interest between the University and members of its staff, and to maintain sound and equitable relationships with its staff and with members of the business community.



2. A member of the University staff is not permitted to offer his services to the University other than for work to be remunerated in accordance with Policies Nos. 3, 5, 12, 66 and 85.

3. No member of staff shall enter into commercial transactions with the University except as provided for by this Policy. Any agreement, transaction or contract which is contrary to the terms of this Policy shall for all purposes be considered null and void.

4. No members of staff shall receive a benefit directly or indirectly from any contract with the University, excepting provisions in paragraph 2 above, unless authorized in writing by the Vice-rector, Academic or by the Vice-rector, Resources, after full and complete disclosure of all pertinent facts.

5. All contracts with the University for the purchase and sale of goods or services or for rentals in which a member of staff might receive a benefit directly or indirectly shall be authorized only by the Vice-rector, Academic or the Vice-rector, Resources.

6. A member of staff who fails to disclose circumstances of conflict of interest or who enters into such a contract with the University without the written authorization of the Vice-rector, Academic or the Vice-rector, Resources, shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action and shall be required to reimburse to the University the monetary value of any benefit received directly or indirectly.

7. Members of staff shall withdraw from decision-making situations concerning any University relationships affecting a company in which they or members of their immediate family have a substantial personal or professional interest.

8. Prior to accepting a grant or contract, the principal investigator shall disclose to the University all relationships through kinship, marriage, or business association, with persons whom the investigator knows or may reasonably be expected to know have a direct financial interest in the products of the investigator's research. In the case of the professorate, disclosure is to the Dean of the Faculty. In all other cases, disclosure is to the appropriate Vice-rector or Secretary of the University.

9. Financial returns from intellectual property are governed by Policy 29 on Patents and the relevant articles of collective agreements.


10. Without limiting the generality of those sections of the policy applicable to all staff members, the following apply more specifically to members of the professorate.

11. It is understood that regular professors are employed either on a full-time basis or on some agreed-upon fixed proportion of a full-time basis by the University of Ottawa. They are professionals whose employment obligations encompass not only scheduled duties but also their scholarly activities, administrative duties and service to the academic community. Conflict of interest situations arise when professors engage in outside activities that interfere with the fulfilment of their contractual obligations to the University.

12. Professors shall notify their dean in writing in advance of the nature and scope of any non-trivial proposed outside professional activity. After consultation with the professor, the dean shall determine whether such activity is in conflict with the professor's obligations to the University. A professor shall not proceed with an activity determined to be in conflict of interest without the dean's written authorization.

13. Where the dean has determined that a conflict of interest exists and has not given the professor written authorization to proceed with the activity on an exceptional basis and the professor proceeds with the activity, the professor is subject to discipline.

14. a) The University considers as a non-trivial activity:

  • i) all teaching for another institution or in the context of a professional development program, with the exception of occasional lectures;
  • ii) any project or consultation service necessitating more than a few days work per year.

b) The University normally regards as trivial a project or consultation service necessitating less than a few days work. However, where past history shows that a professor engages in such activities on a fairly regular basis, the University considers as non-trivial a series of such activities or services, related or unrelated.

c) Where the professor fails to notify the dean that he or she wishes to undertake activities such as those referred to in the preceding paragraphs, the member is subject to disciplinary measures.


15. Members of the Board of Governors shall withdraw from decision-making situations where they have a conflict of interest, including but not limited to situations concerning University relationships affecting a company in which they or members of their immediate family have a substantial personal or professional interest.


16. Investments of University cash surpluses are governed by the provisions of Policy 56. Pension fund investments are the responsibility of external fund managers appointed by the Board.


17. No exception may be made to this Policy without the written consent of the Administrative Committee.

Revised March 14, 1995

(Office of the Vice-President, Resources)