The purpose of this Code of Practice (the ‘Code’) is to identify those professional obligations that serve to protect the public in general, the client in particular, and the reputation of the profession of Institutional and Government Relations Practitioners (the 'Profession”). The Code also clearly identifies each National Association’s expectations of their Members with respect to the Profession and to other Members. National Associations and their Members are bound by the terms of this Code and acknowledge that a breach of this Code may lead to disciplinary action on their part. The Guidelines hereafter are intended to help National Associations in general and their Members in particular understand the requirements of the Code. They should assist National Associations and their Members in determining how to apply the Code in particular circumstances- and so to act knowledgeably in compliance with it. Admittedly, with the passage of time, the evolution of professional thought and the gaining of experience with the Code will produce a need for added or modified Interpretations.

Legal Responsibilities to the Public

  • Practitioners shall be aware of and comply with all applicable legislation and laws at all times.
  • Practitioners shall not cause any person or persons to contravene any applicable legislation or laws at any time.
  • Practitioners shall not serve or act on behalf of any person or persons who cause(s) or will cause the Practitioner to contravene any applicable legislation or laws at any time.


  • Practitioners shall not make public statements on behalf of their Association or its Members unless authorized in writing to do so.
  • Practitioners asked by another person or party to make a representation on behalf of their Association or its Members shall, as appropriate, either:
    • Refer the request to a designated spokesperson(s) of the Association ; or
    • Ask the Association for written authorization.
  • Practitioners who wish to speak on behalf of their Association shall secure the proper written authorization before doing so.

Public Protection

  • The public has the right to have confidence in Practitioners (individually and collectively) and, therefore, any actions of the Practitioner that jeopardize such trust will be considered “acting in a manner unbecoming to the Profession,” including: 

    • A violation of any applicable legislation or laws.
    • A breach of this Code; and/or
    • Any actions inside or outside of the context of the Profession that may be or, may be perceived to be, detrimental to the Profession.
  • Practitioners who breach this Code shall be liable for suspension or expulsion from membership in their Association or other penalties, in accordance with the terms of the disciplinary procedures established by their Association.

Responsibilities to the Profession


  • Practitioners shall maintain their knowledge and understanding of this Code including any amendments or updates to it.
  • Practitioners shall develop their skills and knowledge beyond the fundamentals particularly in their area(s) of practice, to a level that is consistent with the needs of their clients and comparable to the services provided by other practitioners in the same field.

Self Discipline

  • Practitioners shall strive to discipline themselves to maintain the high standards of professional and ethical practice reflected in this Code.
  • Practitioners have the right to trust that other Practitioners will conduct themselves appropriately and, therefore, any actions, which mitigate that trust, will be considered acting in a manner unbecoming to the Profession.
  • Practitioners who act in a manner unbecoming to the Profession are subject to being reported to their Association by other Members.
  • Practitioners shall report to their Association and/or encourage those clients or members of the public affected to so report, the behaviour of any Practitioner they perceive to constitute acting in a manner unbecoming to the Profession.

Responsibilities for Others

  • In addition to being responsible for their own advice and actions, Practitioners shall ensure that any and all practitioners, who work under their leadership on institutional and government relations assignments, understand and comply with this Code. These practitioners  include the Practitioner’s peers, employees, and/or subcontracted associates.
  • Practitioners shall be responsible for any breach of this Code reported to their Association with respect to any Practitioner of his or her team and will be liable to the same actions and consequences that would apply if the Practitioner alone failed to comply with the Code where it is determined that the Practitioner was aware, or ought to have been aware, of the breach.


  • Practitioners shall ensure that their behaviour is consistent with and reinforces a positive public image of the Profession.
  • Practitioners shall ensure that their activities will not conflict or be seen to conflict with their integrity, objectivity, or independence.
  • Practitioners shall ensure that their physical and emotional state is consistent with the requirements of client work, particularly when developing or providing professional advice.
  • Practitioners shall ensure that all their business affairs as advisors in institutional and government relations and otherwise shall comply with all applicable legislation and laws, as well as this Code.

Responsibilities to Other Members

  • A Practitioner’s work shall be deemed to be under critical review if a client, or the client’s representative or advisor, asks another Practitioner to review and comment on any of the Practitioner’s written reports, memoranda, or working files.
  • Practitioners shall not accept a request to conduct a review of another Practitioner’s work if they have a conflict of interest.
  • Practitioners shall inform other Practitioners in writing whose work they have been asked to review.
  • The results of a review of a Practitioner’s work shall be communicated with the Practitioner in question unless such discussion would jeopardize client confidentiality or other obligations to the client.
  • At the request of their Association’s Professional Conduct and Discipline Committee, if one exists, the Association may request one or more Practitioners to review the work of another Practitioner . In such cases, the Committee shall establish the terms of reference for the review.

Responsibilities to the Client

  • Subject to compliance with applicable legislation and this Code, Practitioners shall recognize the interests of the client organization overall as paramount in every assignment.
  • Practitioners shall not promote services, accept engagements, conduct work, or provide advice to clients that is in any way to the Practitioner’s advantage or potential advantage while to the client’s, or the public’s disadvantage or potential disadvantage.
  • Practitioners shall not accept or conduct work that is in the interest of any individual or group within the client organization if the work would, in any way, be detrimental or not serve the best interests of the overall organization.
  • Practitioners shall not accept or conduct work that is in the interest of any individual or group external to the client organization if the work would in any way be detrimental or not serve the best interests of the overall organization.
  • Practitioners shall always provide objective and independent advice. Practitioners must not allow their objectivity and independence to be influenced by any individual or group either within or external to the client organization.
  • Practitioners shall not guarantee specific quantitative results that are beyond their direct control.
  • Practitioners shall respond to client requests for quantification of intended benefits or results, or for risk-sharing approaches, where the total fees for the member will be related to the benefits or results realized, by specifying as a minimum:
    • The client’s responsibilities related to the intended benefits or results.
    • Identifying the risks and assumptions associated with realizing the intended benefits or results.
    • Identifying the measures to be used; and
    • Clearly communicating these elements to the client.

Business Development

  • Practitioners shall not criticize other Practitioners, either directly or indirectly, in an attempt to secure business or in any other aspect of their professional work.
  • Practitioners shall not participate in misleading advertising, pressure tactics, or other unprofessional methods of obtaining business.


  • Practitioners shall not present themselves as qualified to conduct an assignment without having both the relevant education and practical experience to do so.
  • Practitioners shall not undertake assignments for which they do not have relevant qualifications including education and experience even if a client, aware of this limitation, specifically requests that they do so.
  • Practitioners shall specify in writing their relevant qualifications and those of any and all other practitioners proposed for the engagement.
  • Practitioners shall describe how their qualifications will be applied in the engagement as well as how the qualifications of each member of their team will be applied.
  • Practitioners shall also describe their role in the engagement and the role of each member of their team.

Informed Client

  • Practitioners shall confirm in writing the terms of reference for an assignment.
  • Written terms of reference shall confirm:
    • Assignment objectives.
    • Steps, milestones, and deliverables in the proposed work plan.
    • Timeline of steps, milestones, deliverables, and completion date.
    • Names, relevant qualifications, and role of each Practitioner  proposed.
    • Fees; and
    • Billing arrangements, including how all expenses, disbursements, and applicable taxes will be handled.
  • Practitioners shall not begin an assignment until the client has accepted the written terms of reference.

Fee Arrangements

  • Practitioners shall confirm in writing the budget and billing arrangements related to professional fees, expenses, disbursements, and applicable taxes.
  • Should the terms of reference change during the course of the assignment, Practitioners shall ensure that any corresponding impact on fees, expenses, disbursements, taxes, or billing arrangements are communicated to the client and agreed to in writing.
  • Practitioners shall not permit for budget or time management purposes, a reduction in consulting time or in senior consulting involvement in an assignment if, as a result, the quality of service will be below that described in the terms of reference.
  • Practitioners shall not undertake assignments of a scale or magnitude where the proposed fee arrangements are such that they represent a substantial business risk for the client.


  • Practitioners shall not accept assignments with their clients’ competitors or with other organizations where the assignments would conflict with the interests of their clients’ without the permission of all of the parties involved.
  • Subject to any confidentiality obligations to a client, Practitioners shall disclose to a client or prospective client any personal, professional, or other business interests that may jeopardize the client’s confidence in their integrity or objectivity or their capacity to provide independence.
  • Practitioners shall follow the instructions of a client within applicable legislation, laws and this Code, with regard to the client’s interests. If this is not possible, Practitioners shall withdraw from the assignment.
  • Practitioners shall not recruit to their own firm, or refer to other firms, any employee with whom the Practitioner is working as part of an assignment for a client unless the client has been informed and has granted consent in advance.


  • Practitioners shall not disclose any confidential client information without the specific consent of the client and shall, if exposed to any personal information of a third party, comply with the privacy policies of the client at all times.
  • Practitioners shall store confidential client information and third party personal information in accordance with the policies of the client and, in any event, in such a fashion that through diligence and normally accepted administrative practices, it is possible to safeguard the information at all times.
  • Practitioners must treat any and all information obtained from a client as confidential unless otherwise directed by the client, but in no circumstances shall the Practitioner Member disclose information to another party that is protected by applicable legislation and laws.
  • Upon terminating an assignment, Practitioners shall offer to return to the client any and all material pertaining to the engagement and any third party personal information obtained from the client.
  • If confidential client information that has been obtained by a Practitioner or if any third party personal information obtained from the client is, at any point in time, exposed to individuals beyond the Practitioner’s direct authority to control, the Practitioner shall inform the client immediately and take appropriate action to protect the client’s interests.
  • Practitioners shall encourage clients to classify sensitive information and if at all possible, shall refrain from taking possession of sensitive information.
  • Practitioners shall keep the client informed as to the location and condition of storage of any and all information that has been deemed to be confidential or contains third party personal information.
  • Practitioners shall refrain from making public statements that may directly or indirectly lead to the disclosure of confidential client information or third party personal information obtained from the client.
  • The rules pertaining to confidential client information shall not apply to compliance with a validly issued and enforceable subpoena and summons as long as disclosure of the information is not in violation of applicable legislation and laws.


  • In advance of undertaking assignments, Practitioners shall ensure that they do not accept any terms or conditions that may affect their ability to conduct the assignments in a fair, independent, and objective manner.
  • When events or circumstances arise that affect a Practitioner’s objectivity, or perceived objectivity, the Practitioner shall either:
    • Discuss and attempt to rectify the matter with the client immediately; or
    • Withdraw from the assignment. 

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