Code of Conduct
WUSC is a Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to improving education, employment, and empowerment opportunities for underprivileged youth, women, and refugees around the world. With over 70 years of experience, we work with an established and diverse network of students, volunteers, institutions, governments, and businesses. Together, we foster youth-centered solutions to overcome inequality and exclusion.
The WUSC Local Committee Code of Conduct is an annual agreement between WUSC and WUSC Local Committee members, and between Local Committee members, to uphold and adhere to WUSC’s organizational policies, outlined in this document. The WUSC Local Committee Code of Conduct applies to all members of a WUSC Local Committee and to conduct both between each Local Committee member and with WUSC staff who work with Local Committees.
For the purpose of this Code of Conduct, WUSC Local Committee members include:
Any person who participates in the WUSC Local Committee activities as general or executive members on their campus (inclusive of staff and faculty)
Any person who registers for the WUSC Local Committee through WUSC’s online registration platform
Any person in the community who participates in the Student Refugee Program (SRP) as part of the sponsoring group or who provides support or interacts officially with the SRP students
Any currently sponsored SRP student and any former sponsored SRP student who remain involved with the WUSC Local Committee for events or activities
All WUSC Local Committee members are to respect the provisions of this Code. WUSC is proud to be an equal opportunity organization. We welcome and encourage the participation of qualified individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, status as an individual with a disability, or other identity factors.
Please read all of the following sections.
Section 1: Introduction
1.1 What is a Local Committee?
WUSC Local Committees and their members represent WUSC. WUSC Local Committees are collaborative, campus-based groups of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members* who support WUSC’s global development awareness-raising efforts and participate in the WUSC Student Refugee Program.
A Local Committee and its members are considered active if any of the following conditions apply:
Has at least two (2) members
Raises funds on behalf of WUSC (including securing waivers or private donations, or organizing referenda campaigns in the name of WUSC)
Holds at least one public-facing activity within the current academic year
Holds or participates in WUSC leadership activities or training
Holds any WUSC-related meetings, training, or activities
Has sponsored an SRP student who is still within their first 12 months in Canada
Will be sponsoring an SRP student in the upcoming academic year
Local Committees that are SRP sponsoring groups must also adhere to the Student Refugee Program Roles and Responsibilities Tripartite Agreement and the Student Refugee Program Code of Ethics.
In many cases, Local Committee members are also members of their institutions' student union clubs, student union staff, or institution staff and faculty. WUSC requires Local Committee members to adhere to this Code of Conduct as well as any other applicable policies and Codes of Conduct in accordance with their respective institution.
*A community member is inclusive of any person who does not consider themselves a student, staff or faculty at an institution where the Local Committee is, who is providing ongoing or regular support to the Local Committee related to any public engagement activity or the SRP sponsorship.
1.2 Roles and Responsibilities
All Local Committee members must ensure that the principles of the WUSC Local Committee Code of Conduct are respected by their own actions and by that of other Local Committee members.
WUSC staff will respond to concerns raised by Local Committee members regarding the WUSC Local Committee Code of Conduct and support the implementation of the WUSC Local Committee Code of Conduct through ensuring the Code is signed by members, providing training as necessary and monitoring conduct of Local Committee members. WUSC management staff will assist front-line WUSC staff and Local Committees in applying the Code of Conduct as and when needed.
1.3 Adhering to Standards of Conduct, Induction and Annual Training
The Code of Conduct is approved by WUSC’s Management Committee and is reviewed regularly.
The WUSC Local Committee Code of Conduct represents the minimum standards regarding conduct and WUSC’s obligations as a Canadian international development organization and as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder involved in the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, which is governed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
As part of WUSC’s mandatory induction, all Local Committee members will be required to review the WUSC Local Committee Code of Conduct and must attest* to their familiarity with, and commitment to adhere to the principles of the Code of Conduct. All Local Committee members are required to attest to the Code of Conduct each school year they are involved with WUSC. Furthermore, Local Committee members may be required to complete annual training pertaining to select sections of the WUSC Local Committee Code of Conduct.
*Attesting will be an electronic acknowledgement that the Local Committee member has reviewed the Code of Conduct.
Section 2: Conduct Standards
2.1 Respect and equality
WUSC is a multicultural organization of people with diverse backgrounds, ethnic origins, migration statuses, political beliefs, religious faiths, genders, ages, sexual orientations and identities and physical abilities. Our programming activities and everyday interactions are enriched by our acceptance of one another; and, our national network of WUSC Local Committees will strive to learn from one another in an atmosphere of positive engagement and mutual respect.
WUSC works with vulnerable target groups (including refugees and Internationally Displaced Persons), our activities seek to balance inequities and create sustainable development around the globe; the work ethic of our staff, volunteers, representatives and partners shall correspond to the values and mission of the organization. WUSC promotes responsibility, respect, honesty, and professional excellence and we will not tolerate harassment, coercion and sexual exploitation and abuse of any form.
When participating in any WUSC Local Committee or WUSC led events, training or meetings, all Local Committee members must adhere to the Local Committee Inclusivity Guidelines.
2.2 Preventing harassment, discrimination, violence and bullying
WUSC requires all Local Committees and their members to create and maintain an environment that is free of all forms of harassment, sexism, racism, discrimination, violence and bullying, in which all individuals are valued, respected and treated with dignity. Local Committees are asked to actively enforce the principles contained in the Canadian Human Rights Act, which prohibits harassment and discrimination. Local Committee members will be free from all forms of harassment, sexism, racism, discrimination, violence and bullying both in-person and online. Online behavior, whether on behalf of the Local Committee or as a member of the WUSC network, must be consistent with the Local Committee Code of Conduct, organizational values and ethics.
As a WUSC ambassador, it is the role of all Local Committee members to take any complaint related to harassment, racism, sexism, discrimination, violence and bullying seriously. As part of your responsibility, there is an imperative to protect the victim, to connect this individual to any resources on campus and to try to prevent any other similar events.
2.3 Professional Conduct
WUSC Local Committee members are expected to conduct themselves, and to be seen to conduct themselves, in a manner consistent with the WUSC Local Committee Code of Conduct, as reflected in the policies adopted and commitments approved by WUSC.
WUSC Local Committee members are ambassadors of WUSC in the community and on campus. It is instrumental that Local Committee members are knowledgeable about WUSC’s mission and values to represent them accurately. WUSC Local Committee members are required to review WUSC’s mission and values: https://wusc.ca/about/#mission
2.4 WUSC Anticorruption Statement
WUSC Local Committee members are required to uphold and comply with the law and must not knowingly engage in, facilitate or benefit from any illegal transaction or activity. Examples of corrupt practices may include: Using Local Committee funds for personal gain; requiring payment for a Local Committee activity that should not have a fee; etc.
2.5 Whistle Blowing Policy
WUSC Local Committee members are required to report any concerns about suspicious and unethical behaviour of Local Committee members, WUSC, its employees, or any vendors, partners, government representatives or other third parties involved, directly or indirectly, in dealings with WUSC. This includes reporting any situation where a Local Committee believes, in good faith, that Local Committee members, WUSC or any of the other parties mentioned above have violated or are about to violate a law or regulation.
Concerns can be reported to the listed WUSC Local Committee Code of Conduct Focal Point staff in Section 4.2 or through the firstname.lastname@example.org email. More information can be found on the WUSC website: https://wusc.ca/accountability/.
WUSC will make every effort to prevent or mitigate any retaliatory action to be taken against a Local Committee who does report a concern in good faith. Local Committee members that do retaliate against those members who have reported concerns or are cooperating with an investigation will be asked to remove themselves from the Local Committee involvement at that time, either temporarily or permanently. Local Committee members who maliciously and falsely report misconduct and cooperate with an investigation (or otherwise not report concerns or suspicions), will be removed from the Local Committee involvement either temporarily or permanently*.
*Please note that IRCC’s rules under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program require that the sponsorship group, i.e. the WUSC Local Committee, provides social support to the sponsored person for the full duration of the 12 month sponsorship period. If removal of a currently sponsored SRP student from the Local Committee is recommended or required, then a separate process must be undertaken that formally severs the sponsorship group from their obligations to provide social support to the sponsored person. Please contact WUSC staff for further guidance for this situation.
2.6 Local Committee environment: illegal drugs and abuse of other controlled substances
The use of illegal drugs and abuse of other controlled substances, when acting in the capacity of a Local Committee member, is inconsistent with the expectations of character that WUSC holds for all of its Local Committee members. As WUSC ambassadors, Local Committee members are not to be under the influence of any controlled or illegal substance while hosting events in WUSC’s name. WUSC prohibits the organization of Local Committee events and activities that promote the consumption of controlled substances.
Abuse of controlled substances while participating in any WUSC activity put on by your Local Committee or by the WUSC Head Office, regardless of location, and the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of illegal drugs, is absolutely prohibited. Violations of this policy will result in removal from the Local Committee*, and may have legal consequences.
In the event of an activity organized by a WUSC Local Committee, it is permitted that guests or audience members consume alcohol or other legal recreational use substances, i.e. cannabis, during the event, provided that this complies with local laws and venue license requirements. Free distribution of alcoholic beverages or cannabis products at WUSC Local Committee events is prohibited.
* See section 2.5 footnote regarding removal of a currently sponsored student from the Local Committee.
2.7 Confidentiality and Privacy
WUSC gathers and uses personal information of its Local Committee members such as contact details and notes on member roles and activities. This data is kept in confidence and only accessible by authorized WUSC staff. Safeguards are in place to ensure that the information is not disclosed or shared more widely than is necessary to achieve the purpose for which it was gathered. WUSC also takes measures to ensure the integrity of this information is maintained and will prevent it from being lost or destroyed before the end of it’s planned data lifecycle.
WUSC collects, uses and discloses personal information only for purposes that a reasonable person would consider appropriate in light of the circumstances. In instances where it is possible that information may be used for other purposes, we offer individuals the opportunity to opt not to have their information shared for purposes beyond those for which it was explicitly collected.
Local Committees that are sponsoring SRP students are required to maintain confidentiality and privacy standards of any personal information they receive pertaining to the SRP student(s) and their sponsorship. This information may include: their personal life, academic standing, finances and physical and mental health. If an SRP student shares information with one Local Committee member, the Local Committee member should not share this information with other Local Committee members unless the SRP student gives consent for this information to be shared. If there is a serious concern by a Local Committee member for the safety or wellbeing of an SRP student during their sponsorship year, Local Committees are required to share this information with a WUSC staff member so that we can assist with support and referrals for the SRP student. A serious concern refers to the risk that an SRP student may harm themselves or others.
If you have concerns regarding the protection of information, or become aware of a breach of confidentiality or privacy, you will immediately communicate those concerns to the Focal Point staff identified in Section 4.2.
Local Committee members that are given access to the MyCommittee portal are required to keep their access credentials confidential at all times. This means that members with accounts must protect their passwords and take care not to log in on unsecure devices. If a member suspects that their account could have been compromised, they are required to notify WUSC staff immediately.
2.8 Photo and Video protocol
WUSC is committed to respecting copyrights, as well as protecting personal information from improper use or distribution, including an individual’s image, likeness, voice, or other attributes. WUSC Local Committees must have copyright owner’s permission to use the photo/video and whenever possible, obtain a model release/permission from any identifiable person in a photo. In cases where it is impossible to obtain permission from the individuals in the photo/video, Local Committee members are to use good judgment and discernment in weighing the benefit of using the material. But in no circumstances will a Local Committee member publish a photo or video that is:
Somehow causing damage to the individual*, or injuring their reputation
Somehow “misrepresenting” the people in the photo/video, or/and adding an incorrect or misleading caption
Publishing a photo/video of people under 18 years of age, without their guardian’s permission – (this is legislated by law)
Invading someone’s privacy by publishing a photo/video of them in a place where they have reasonable expectation of privacy
(Regardless of province, you may photograph and publish a photo of anyone who is newsworthy, doing newsworthy things, or is a public figure, politician, or celebrity.)
*This includes instances where the publication of a photo can endanger the individual, especially those with refugee backgrounds where the publication of their photos can identify their location and potentially endanger them.
Section 3: Upholding the WUSC Brand
WUSC Local Committees must review and adhere to the Local Committee Brand Guidelines.
3.1 Responsible Public Engagement
All WUSC Local Committee members who engage the public or communicate about WUSC's work must be respectful and mindful of the cultures, stories and realities of the communities and people WUSC’s programs work with. Local Committee members should act as allies of the populations we work with, and not as representatives or spokespersons of those communities. All communications, whether they are verbal, written, visual, in-person or online must be inclusive and empowering, and contribute to creating lasting positive change. Local Committees should strive to provide platforms for those with lived experiences. Local Committees must review and adhere to the Responsible Awareness Raising Guidelines.
3.2 Non Partisan Political Engagement and Public Statements
Local Committee members who communicate or engage the public about WUSC or on behalf of WUSC must follow standards to ensure that messages inspire and empower individuals to contribute to lasting, positive change in an inclusive and non-partisan manner.
Elections Canada has strict standards for charitable organizations like WUSC to communicate and fundraise during an election period that must be adhered to at all times during said period. Those standards, which apply equally to Local Committee communications and fundraising activities, seek to ensure that charitable organizations do not advocate for or promote messages related to individual candidates, federal political parties, party platforms, voter registration, or get-out-the-vote movements.
3.3 Holding Events and Conducting Activities
Events and activities that are held on campus or in the community by a WUSC Local Committee (alone or in partnership with another group/organization) must accurately and appropriately represent the WUSC brand and its values.
3.4 Fundraising and Financial Integrity
WUSC Local Committees that are raising funds for WUSC initiatives or the SRP on their campus must review and adhere to the Local Committee Fundraising Guidelines.
Local Committees that are coordinating or participating in fundraising activities on behalf of WUSC are obligated to be transparent to donors (and to WUSC) regarding how their donations will be used. This includes the development of financial partnerships with stakeholders, such as those related to waivers for the Student Refugee Program.
3.5 Use of Social Media
Social media forums and emerging communications technologies present opportunities as well as risks for any organization. WUSC recognizes that social media can support the engagement of stakeholders and the public, can drive fundraising and benefit the WUSC brand recognition. The social media protocol applies but is not limited to all blogs, wikis, forums, and social networks (whether or not hosted or sponsored by WUSC), personal blogs or sites, and postings on external sites about WUSC’s business, and videos related to WUSC.
WUSC encourages the use of social media to broaden our programming reach and promote the organization, but reserves the right to prevent any misuse or misconduct that may be harmful to WUSC’s reputation or to the organization’s relationships with stakeholders or partners.
Any online behavior should be consistent with the WUSC Local Committee Code of Conduct, organizational values and ethics. Local Committees should make sure that what they publish online is consistent with the principles of this Code. Local Committees and their members are not authorized to speak on behalf of WUSC, unless explicitly given permission.
Local Committee members should never post confidential information about WUSC (personal information, confidential or proprietary information about WUSC, upcoming projects and proposals, finances, organizational strategy, employee statistics or any other information that has not been publicly released by WUSC).
Local Committee members should act professionally and according to applicable laws.
Section 4: Violations of the Code of Conduct
4.1 Violation of the Code
Violation of any provision of the WUSC Local Committee Code of Conduct by a WUSC Local Committee member may result in any of the following:
- Informal or formal investigation by WUSC
- Requirement to participate in relevant training offered by WUSC or third party
- Removal from the Local Committee (temporarily or permanently)
- Ban (temporarily or permanently) from participation in WUSC Local Committee events and activities
- Ban (temporarily or permanently) from participation in WUSC head office events and activities
- Possible civil or criminal action
4.2 Local Committee Obligation to Report Code Violations
As part of being accountable to each other and to WUSC, each of us has an obligation to report all Code violations: by speaking to your Focal Point person at WUSC or by using the reporting procedures as outlined on the WUSC website: https://wusc.ca/accountability/. Focal Point staff are:
- Manager, Canadian Programming, Durable Solutions for Refugees
- Manager, Overseas Programming, Durable Solutions for Refugees
The Focal Point staff play a central role as the Code of Conduct Focal Points and act as national contacts and authorities to communicate and reinforce WUSC policies and standards related to WUSC Local Committees conduct and safety.
Any report of concern about conduct that may contravene WUSC Local Committee’s Code of Conduct will be treated confidentially to the extent possible and in a manner consistent with WUSC’s responsibility to address the issue raised.
4.3 Protection from Retaliation
No one may retaliate or take adverse action against a Local Committee member who, in good faith, reports a real or potential contravention of this Code of Conduct, or who provides information or assistance for an investigation. If you believe that you are being adversely treated as a result of reporting a violation, you should immediately contact your WUSC Focal Point.
Agreeing to the Code of Conduct
We ask that all Local Committee members review and agree to the WUSC Local Committee Code of Conduct.
How to Agree* to the Code of Conduct:
Each Local Committee member listed on your MyCommittee account will receive an email prompting them to agree to the Code of Conduct.
Each member must forward that email to email@example.com to indicate their agreement.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are an active Local Committee member but did not receive the Code of Conduct email.
*By agreeing to the Code of Conduct, you are indicating that you have read, understand and agree to abide by the WUSC Local Committee Code of Conduct and you understand that such adherence is a condition of your membership with the WUSC Local Committee. You understand that you are expected to behave in a way that upholds WUSC's values and adheres to WUSC's standards of behaviour as outlined in the Code of Conduct. You understand that a violation of the Code of Conduct may be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including removal from the Local Committee.