Important information: Conflict of Interest

With processes for renewal of probation, tenure and promotion underway, we want to draw your attention to new language in the Collective Agreement regarding conflict of interest (Article 10.9), which may have an impact on those eligible to participate in these collegial decisions. 

It is not possible to enumerate all of the situations which could be construed as conflicts of interest; however, for the purposes of interpreting Article 10.9, the following definitions shall apply: 

Personal relationship means any relationship to persons of a faculty member’s immediate family; any relationship of an intimate and/or financial and/or commercial nature either current or past; a student-supervisor relationship; or any other relationship that may give rise to a conflict of interest. 

Conflict of interest means a conflict between a faculty member’s duties and responsibilities with regard to collegial processes, and the faculty member’s private, professional, business, or public interests. 

There may be a real, perceived, or potential conflict of interest when the faculty member: 

i) would receive professional or personal benefit resulting from a collegial process; or 

ii) would have a direct or indirect financial interest in the outcome of a collegial process; or 

iii) would benefit from a decision being made with respect to a person with whom the faculty member has a personal relationship. The responsibility for identifying conflict of interest rests with the Employer, the committee, and individual faculty member.

If you see a conflict of interest, raise it before substantive questions are considered. We (the employer, the committee, and the individual faculty members) are all responsible for identifying conflict of interest. We should be aware of any conflicts we may have and withdraw from deliberations and voting. Committee members are required to withdraw if they have a conflict of interest or when it is drawn to their attention, and may choose to withdraw if there is a potential or perceived conflict of interest. 

If a real, potential or perceived conflict of interest issue arises and a committee member does not voluntarily withdraw, the committee is required to determine whether “a conflict sufficient to compromise the integrity of the collegial process exists.” Collective Agreement committees “have the right to rule a member ineligible to vote or to require the member’s withdrawal from the deliberations of the committee if it considers a serious conflict of interest to exist.” 

A faculty member who has a conflict of interest shall not take part in the collegial process and shall not vote on the matter. 

A faculty member may make a written appeal to the Provost within a week of a committee determining they have a conflict of interest and the Provost shall decide the matter.

In certain situations, a committee might view the following as a conflict of interest: 

  • an ongoing dispute involving the candidate and a member of the committee
  • close and recent collaboration on research or teaching with a candidate
  • recent supervisory relationship with a candidate
  • providing a reference for a candidate
  • a committee member feels for any reason they, or another committee member, are unable to provide an impartial review of the candidate
  • a supervisor or a trainee of the candidate

Ultimately it is the committee’s decision and best practice is for those decisions to be consistent over time. 

Questions? Let us know in a reply to this email and someone will contact you.