Political activities guidance

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Are you member of the Defence Team who is considering involvement in a political activity?

Then you need to be aware of what is permissible for whom and at which levels of government.

Here’s a breakdown:

DND employees can be candidates and participate in municipal, provincial, territorial and federal elections but they must seek approval from the Defence Ethics Programme (DEP) and the Public Service Commission (via the Assistant Deputy Minister Human Resources – Civilian).

Regular Force members are permitted to participate in municipal level political activities with the permission from the Chief of the Defence Staff, delegated to the Assistant Deputy Minister of Review Services (ADM(RS)). A Confidential Report must be submitted to the DEP. However, as per QR&O – 19.44 Political Activities and Candidatures for Office, they cannot take an active part in the affairs of a political organization or party, and cannot make a political speech to electors, or announce or allow themselves to be announced as a candidate, or prospective candidate, for election to the Parliament of Canada or a provincial legislature.

Reserve Force members are not prohibited from engaging in political activities in the same way as Regular Force members are. However, Reserve Force members should remember that they remain subject to the general rules set out in QR&O (and other orders and instructions issued to the CAF) at all times when they are subject to the Code of Service Discipline, including QR&O 19.14 – Improper Comments and 19.36 – Disclosure of Information or Opinion. Consequently, members of the Reserve Force are encouraged to submit a Confidential Report to ADM(RS). 

In order to avoid any perceived or real conflict between their obligations of service and their political activities, members of the Reserve Force may also wish to request to be exempt duty and training for the duration of their political activities under CMP Military Instruction 20/04, at its paragraph 3.11.

Defence Team members who wish to volunteer for the non-partisan electoral agencies at the federal, provincial, territorial or municipal levels need to submit a Confidential Report.

During campaigns, everyone must respect the impartiality of the public service and neutrality of the DND and CAF, as well as their obligations or loyalty towards the Government of Canada. All comments in social media and letters to the editor must be well considered before they are published or submitted for publication.

Voting in an election is your fundamental right as a Canadian citizen.

You can consult the political activities diagram for matters related to volunteering, working for a political campaign and running for office. All questions related to political activities can be directed to the DEP:

Email: COIDEP-CIPED@forces.gc.ca
Phone: 613-901-1090
Website: http://ethics-ethique.mil.ca/index-eng.aspx
CANFORGEN : http://vcds.mil.ca/apps/canforgens/default-eng.asp?id=094-19&type=canforgen

DGM-15319-LL1_Political_Activities_Diagram_v6_1-1

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