As a reputable child/youth-serving organization, Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre (WNC) has developed the following Code of Conduct to guide our employees/volunteers which is in addition to the City of Toronto’s Employee’s Conflict of Interest Policy which all employees of WNC must abide by.
While every employee/volunteer is valued and unique, we come together as an organization in the best interests of individuals, children, youth and their families. The safety, rights and well-being of the individuals we serve are at the core of our daily operations. We nurture supportive relationships with children/youth while balancing and encouraging appropriate boundaries.
And in keeping with this Code, WNC employee/volunteer misconduct will not be tolerated, especially as it relates to the well-being of the children/youth in all of WNC’s child and youth programs.
Misconduct refers to inappropriate behaviour in the organization and includes but is not limited to any/all of the following:
- Communication that goes beyond the employee/volunteer’s employment responsibilities with the child/youth and/or does not occur within the context of their duties and responsibilities such as:
- Writing personal letters or text messages to a child/youth.
- Making personal phone calls to a child/youth.
- Having personal Social Media exchanges with a child/youth (email, instant messaging, chatting, social networking, etc.).
- Sending personalized gifts to a child/youth.Note: It is not misconduct to give a contextually appropriate thank-you card, birthday card, seasonal card, or other nominal gift to a child/youth, where such a gesture would be considered reasonable in the circumstances provided that all gestures, taken together, are not excessive in number and any such exchanges are carried out within the workplace, in the presence of others and with the knowledge of the organization.
- Offering unauthorized rides to a child/youth.
- Spending time with a child/youth outside of designated work times and activities (except where such activity results from a parent-initiated request and the activity has been disclosed to and approved by the organization in advance via your direct supervisor).
- Favouring a child/youth.
- Telling sexual jokes to a child/youth.
- Showing a child/youth sexually explicit or sexist material, signs, cartoons, calendars, literature, photographs, or displaying such material in plain view.
- Taking pictures/recording of a child/youth, except when specifically requested to do so by the organization and provided that only cameras owned or under the control of the organization are used to take such pictures/recording.
Note: Under no circumstances may an employee/volunteer use his/her cellular phone or personal camera to take pictures of/record a child/youth, nor upload or copy any pictures/recordings he/she may have taken of a child/youth to the Internet/Social Media or to any personal storage device (except where such activity has been disclosed to and approved by the organization in advance via your direct supervisor).
Employees/volunteers of Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre must:
- Always adhere to the organization’s policies and procedures in dealing with children/youth.
- Treat children/youth with respect and dignity.
- Treat all allegations or suspicions of sexual misconduct seriously. It is an employee/volunteer’s responsibility to report allegations or suspicions as per WNC’s reporting procedure.
- Follow established procedures when reporting any allegations of misconduct or potential policy violations.
- Consider the final outcomes of any behaviour, as well as a child/youth’s reaction to any activities, conversations, or interactions so as to avoid embarrassing, shaming, or humiliating the child/youth.
- Establish, respect, and maintain boundaries with all children and youth.
Employees/volunteers of Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre must not:
- Engage in any activity that endangers a child/youth or makes a child/youth feel uncomfortable.
- Engage in any activity that goes against the organization’s mandate, policies, or code of conduct.
- Make any sort of remark, comment, or joke to/regarding a child/youth that is in any way suggestive, explicit, or sexual.
- Engage in any sort of physical contact with a child/youth that may make the child/youth feel uncomfortable, or that violates reasonable boundaries.
- Conduct their own investigation into allegations or suspicions of sexual misconduct — it is an employee/volunteer’s duty to report, not to investigate.
- Place a child/youth in danger from anyone, either within or outside of the organization.
- Offer any child/youth “special” treatment that falls outside of the organization’s mandate, or that may (or may appear to) place a child/youth at risk of exploitation.
Employees/volunteers of Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre should consider whether:
- The activities they are engaging in with a child/youth are known to, or approved by, supervisors and/or parents.
- Child/youth interactions should not be kept secret. They should be transparent.
- Activities would raise concerns in the mind of a reasonable observer as to their appropriateness.
- The organization may be detrimentally affected by the employees/volunteers activities.
- The activity may be reasonably regarded as posing a risk to the personal integrity or security of a child/youth.
- The activity may contribute to a child/youth’s discomfort.
- The activity may appear inappropriate to the organization, the child/youth’s family, or the public.
Failure to adhere to Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre’s Code of Conduct by any employee/volunteer will result in an investigation and disciplinary action if necessary. Appropriate consequences and/or disciplinary actions are to be determined by management and could include discipline up to and including termination of employment and/or volunteer position, and will be based on the nature and severity of the incident.