JIBC is committed to upholding the highest standards of ethics and integrity. As you review our Code of Conduct policy, again note the expectation that you be familiar with relevant policies and regulations. You are encouraged to seek guidance should you have any questions whatsoever about how best to comply with Institute policies, procedures and/or applicable laws.
A key component of adhering to our Code of Conduct policy is being careful to avoid conflict of interest.
Here is how JIBC defines conflict of interest:
- “A conflict of interest situation arises where a personal interest of an employee is sufficient to influence or appear to influence the objective exercise or proper discharge of his/her duties as an employee of the Institute.
- Conflict of interest applies to situations where there is actual, potential or an appearance of conflict of interest;
- An actual conflict of interest refers to a situation where an employee exercises a power or performs a duty or responsibility, at the same time knowing that in doing so, there is the opportunity to further his or her private or personal interest(s).
- A potential conflict of interest refers to a situation where a private or personal interest of an employee could influence the exercise of the employee’s power or performance of his or her duties or responsibilities, provided that he or she has not yet exercised that power or duty.
- An apparent or perceived conflict of interest refers to a situation where informed people might reasonably hold the apprehension that a conflict of interest exists on the part of the employee.”
As a JIBC evaluator, you may face several potential conflict of interest situations. For example, perhaps you are the Chief, and it is your department’s fire fighters who need to be evaluated; or maybe your nephew is a recruit training in your department. There are numerous situations that could arise in which you need to remember to act with transparency and impartiality.
In order to address conflict of interest, accredited entities are typically required to demonstrate that “…proctors/evaluators shall not be the same person who instructed a given prerequisite course of instruction.” Our Accreditation Operational Guidelines state, “Proctors of written examinations may not be the same person who instructed the course of instruction leading to certification of level.” In addition, “the evaluator for all levels of certification shall not be the same individual who has trained the candidate in the subject being examined.”
So what are your responsibilities? Like with other JIBC employees, JIBC evaluators “…are expected to recognize possible conflict of interest situations and use good judgment to avoid situations that constitute or create the appearance of a conflict of interest.” Note that “a conflict of interest situation may arise even where there is no intention of acting unfairly or dishonestly. Where employees are in doubt about a particular set of circumstances, they should discuss the situation with their manager/supervisor prior to engaging in the activity.” In the context of supporting student evaluation, your manager/supervisor would typically be the JIBC Program Manager or Coordinator who has hired you to conduct that evaluation.
The Institute’s Code of Conduct policy also addresses expectations around the protection of confidential information. An example of the type of confidential information that JIBC evaluators may have access to includes our cognitive test instruments (i.e., written exams). As a proctor, it is imperative that you maintain the confidentiality of our written tests and certification exams. This includes guarding against loss, theft, misuse and/or improper disclosure.
You may think that it is no big deal to allow someone (the buddy in your department, for example) unauthorized or inappropriate access to certification exam questions. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Not only does it compromise your buddy’s actual learning but given the high-stakes nature of fire fighting, it also potentially compromises your future safety, the safety of your team, and ultimately the lives of the citizens you serve.