Standards of Ethical Conduct for SFU Employees

As a public institution that receives a significant amount of funding from both the provincial and federal governments as well as tuition revenues directly from our students, it is important that employees across the University demonstrate high standards of ethical behaviour to safeguard the integrity and good reputation of SFU.


To this end, the University has in place a number of measures to provide guidance to employees. Please ensure that you are familiar with and adhere to them:


Conflict of Interest Policy – GP 37

The policy addresses the various forms of real or perceived conflicts of interest, including private or familial financial gain, conflict of commitment, inappropriate faculty/student relationships, improper use of information, receipt of gifts or gratuities, use of position to influence others, making decisions based on personal rather than institutional interests, inappropriate use of University resources and running for public office. There is an explicit duty of disclosure placed on employees.


Conflicts of Commitment are a form of conflict of interest.

The Outside Activities Policy (A 30.04) provides further guidance to members of the Faculty Association about conflicts of commitment.


Political Leave

SFU encourages its employees to seek and hold public office. The Political Leave Policy (GP 02) sets out a process for handling any conflict between the duties of the public office and the employee’s responsibilities to the University.


Ownership of Intellectual Property developed at the University

The University is committed to the open exchange of ideas, the dissemination of the results of scholarly activity and the commercialization of research. The rules regarding intellectual property rights are set out in the Intellectual Property Policy (R 30.03)


Use of Resources and Ownership of Equipment

University resources should be used appropriately. Permission must be sought to use University resources for a non-University purpose and reimbursement may be required. The rules around the ownership of equipment purchased with University funds or from research grants are set out in the Release of Equipment Policy (A 30.08)


Business Expenses

The nature and scope of business expenses that will be reimbursed by the University are set out in the Business and Travel Expense Policy (AD 3.02). One of its key principles is the prudent and judicious use of University-administered public funds.

In relation to travel expenses, an employee may join loyalty programs and retain the benefits offered, provided there are no costs to the University other than those that would normally be reimbursed.


Protection of Privacy

Employees are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of general and personal information to which they have access during the course of their employment at the University. This obligation continues even after the employment relationship with SFU comes to an end and they are required to ensure that personal information is maintained in a secure environment. The details related to this responsibility are found in the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Policy (I 10.04) .



Faculty Code of Ethics

Additional ethical guidelines for faculty members can be found in the Code of Faculty Ethics and Responsibilities (A30.01)   


Post-employment Expectations

The University is primarily an educational institution. However, it serves a subsidiary role as a business operation. Consequently, any employee on the business side of the University who accepts a position with a private enterprise that does business with SFU and that may benefit financially from the employee’s inside knowledge, is expected to observe a 12 month “cooling off” period before taking up such employment.


The University also enjoys charitable status and solicits philanthropic donations from private donors.  An employee who has access to donor information in order to perform their duties who is offered employment in a similar capacity with another organization is expected to keep SFU’s donor information confidential and not to use that information in their subsequent employment.


Legal Compliance


In carrying out their duties for the University, employees must comply with all applicable laws and regulations.




An employee wishing to report a potential violation of these standards of conduct shall use the process set out in the Protected Disclosure of Wrongdoing Policy (GP 41)