Hello everyone,

Ethics involves knowing what is right and wrong, and then doing the right thing -- but "the right thing" is not always straightforward . Many workplace ethical dilemmas are not simple and like most organizations, we have found that we need standards, supporting guidelines and a process to assist us in working through ethical issues.

With the input of many of you, we have developed a Code of Workplace Ethics for UHNThe Code provides direction and advice on how each and every one of us is expected to act at UHN, guidance on how to handle ethical dilemmas, and information on how to report ethical concerns. If you find yourself facing a workplace ethical dilemma and you are asking yourself, "how do I proceed?" The Code of Workplace Ethics will provide you with direction in managing ethical dilemmas such as those involving employee relationships, accounting practices, supplier relationships, conflicts of interest, and fulfilling job responsibilities.

There are several compelling reasons for introducing a Code of Workplace Ethics at UHN and I want to highlight a few. The Code will:

  • Bolster UHN's commitment to building an ethical culture that emphasizes personal integrity at every level of our organization;
  • Foster greater understanding and compliance with UHN's six ethical principles;
  • Provide the opportunity for employees to confidentially and anonymously seek advice on workplace ethical issues though the UHN Integrity Line and a tool for confidential and anonymous reporting through the Workplace Ethics Reporting Line;
  • Position UHN as a leader in workplace ethics in the hospital sector.

We have several services that provide assistance in managing ethical issues at the workplace. Legal Affairs, Risk Management, Human Resources, Bioethics, and the Privacy Office all provide expertise and assistance to deal with issues in our complex environment. The Code of Workplace Ethics expands our commitment to building a culture of integrity and empowers all staff to apply ethical standards when making decisions everyday.

  • Ethical Issue : I think that my supervisor has started her own business in addition to the work she does at UHN and that she is using hospital property, time and equipment for this personal business. Direction: Employees may not use UHN tools, materials or facilities for personal gain. Please report this immediately to a senior member of your leadership team, through the confidential and anonymous Workplace Ethics Reporting Line, or to HR. They will investigate and take appropriate action if that is found to be necessary.
  • Ethical Issue : I am the Payroll Timekeeper for my department and my job is to input scheduling information for payroll purposes. I have been asked by other employees to change information. I am concerned because I suspect some of these changes did not accurately reflect time worked.
  • Direction: As Timekeeper, UHN trusts that you will only enter authorized and accurate pay information and not be influenced by the demands of others. It is, therefore, your obligation to bring any concerns to the attention of your manager.
  • Ethical Issue: I have been taking shortcuts to complete my work and not completely following procedures. I didn't think anything bad would happen. Yesterday there was a big problem in my department that I think I might be responsible for. I don't want my colleagues or manager to get into trouble because of my actions but I am afraid to come forward. What should I do? Direction: It is very important for us to talk about the shortcuts we take to complete our work. If we don't talk about our drift away from defined procedures, then we can't fix the system and it's likely the problem that you experienced will occur again. UHN advocates a culture of reporting unsafe acts in order to improve. While staff will be held accountable for reckless behaviour, when harmful acts are intended, we don't blame staff for human error or unintentional risk taking. We support a Just Culture where staff are encouraged and supported to report unsafe acts or errors, without fear of punishment.

There are various ways to report this, including speaking with your manager, completing a Patient/Visitor Incident Report Form or contacting a Human Resource Advisor for advice.

For more information please visit the new Workplace Ethics website located on the left hand column of the Intranet home page. Copies of the Code will be distributed to employees through their managers.


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