Transcript - Post-Employment Rules

In this video, I provide some guidance for public office holders on their obligations under the Conflict of Interest Act after they leave office.

As a public office holder, you continue to have obligations under the Act after you leave office.

All former public office holders are subject to the following rules for life:

You must not:

  • Take improper advantage of your previous public office.
  • Switch sides. That is, do not act for or on behalf of any person or organization if you previously acted for or provided advice to the government on the same matter.
  • Finally, you must not provide advice to a client, business associate or employer using information you obtained while in office that is not available to the public.

If you're a former reporting public office holder, you must also follow some additional rules.

You must observe what is commonly called a "cooling-off period" following your last day in public office. The cooling-off period is two years for former ministers and ministers of state, and one year for all other former reporting public officers.

During your cooling-off period, you must not:

  • Work for, contract with or serve on the board of directors of an entity, including a public sector entity, with which you had direct and significant official dealings in your last year in public office.
  • Make representations to a department, organization, board, commission, tribunal or public sector entity with which you had direct and significant official dealings in your last year in public office.
  • And for former minister and ministers of state: during your cooling-off period, you must not make representations to a current minister who was in cabinet at the same time as you were.

During your cooling-off period, you must report to the Commissioner certain communications and meetings arranged with any public office holder as defined under the Lobbying Act. Be aware that the definition of a public office holder is different under the Lobbying Act and includes, for example, most federal public servants. Communications that must be reported could include a variety of things from the introduction of a bill or resolution to the awarding of a contract.

You must also report any meetings you have arranged between a public office holder and any other person, regardless of whether the meeting actually took place or whether or not you attended the meeting.

You must file a section 37 return for which a form is available on our website. You are encouraged to file the return as promptly as possible.

If the Commissioner has reason to believe that you have failed to comply with your post-employment obligations, he can launch an examination and will issue a public report. The Commissioner can also order current public office holders not to have any official dealings with any former reporting public office holder he determines is not complying with these obligations. 

For more detailed information on this subject, please consult the information notice on post-employment obligations on our website. You may also speak directly to your advisor in our Office for specific advice and guidance.