18.10.0 - Conflict of Interest

Volunteer Conflict Of Interest Policy &   Guidelines

Policy: Conflict of Interest – Volunteers

Purpose:  All Volunteers must at all times ensure that they are acting in the best interest of the incorporated charity and our mission purpose that Special Olympics Ontario is dedicated to providing sport and competition opportunities for people with an intellectual disability.  


Special Olympics Ontario Volunteers will declare an actual or apparent conflict of interest before discussions or decisions about any matters in which they or anyone with whom they have a close personal relationship could directly or indirectly benefit or where such a benefit could be perceived.

The following guidelines describe and clarify the expectations that are in place for Special Olympics Ontario Volunteers.  A Special Olympics Ontario (SOO) Volunteer is a registered volunteer member who has been assigned a key role within either the local sport program, the community council, district administration team, a sport specific role, or as a games organizing member. 

The following guidelines are meant to enhance the Volunteers’ understanding of their obligations in relation to conflict of interests and assist them in identify when they could be in conflict. It is the purpose of these Guidelines to ensure that the best interests of the public, and the Special Olympics community are served by all that we do. We believe that the credibility and reputation of SOO, and its communities, are shaped by the collective conduct of our Program Leaders and Volunteers. We also believe that these Guidelines will assist us in making wise decisions, particularly when faced with difficult situations where we may be asked to compromise our integrity or our values.

 Maintaining Non-conflicted Loyalty.  Volunteers must conduct themselves with non-conflicted loyalty to the interests of SOO and its stakeholders. This accountability supersedes any conflicting loyalty, such as loyalty to other advocacy or interest groups, family members, membership on other organizations’ boards, participation in affiliated and professional responsibility to an employer. It also supersedes the personal interests of any program volunteers. 

 Avoiding Conflict of Interests.  Volunteers must not breach their responsibility to SOO as a volunteer and must avoid conflict of interests, as well as the appearance of any conflict of interests, with respect to the following:

  1.         An SOO Volunteer may not be involved in any decisions regarding discipline or endorsement for individual family members who may directly benefit from their input. From time to time it is recognized that SOO volunteers may have a family member in the sport program they are involved in and when this occurs they must apply non-conflicted loyalty in the best interest of the SOO application of sport policy, procedures and the volunteer infrastructure and decision making process. 
  2.          Without disclosure, there must be no self-dealing, self-promotion nor any private business activity, nor personal services between SOO and the volunteers regardless of whether or not the services or products comprising the business activity are rendered for free or for compensation, including expenses without. If a SOO volunteer considers any contract or transaction between SOO and either (a) that SOO volunteer, (b) a member of that SOO volunteer’s Family, or (c) any organization which is Affiliated with that SOO volunteer, then that SOO volunteer shall promptly notify SOO of the relationship or interest as soon as he/she becomes aware of the contract or transaction. 
  3.          No SOO volunteer who has a conflict of interest, or who has been found to have a conflict of interest by the volunteer leadership or staff shall vote or otherwise participate in any final deliberation or decision on SOO’s behalf regarding the contract, transaction or other matter in which the SOO volunteer is deemed to have, or was found to have, a conflict of interest. The preceding sentence does not prohibit the affected SOO volunteer from providing SOO with information which he or she believes is relevant to the contract, transaction or other matter under consideration.
  4.          When the SOO volunteer is to provide, advise, or render other services as part of his/her duties upon an issue in which he/she has an unavoidable conflict of interest, that individual shall excuse herself or himself, without comment, from all activities or discussions relating to that event and shall immediately advise the program leadership, or staff member of the conflict. This applies to both existing and future engagements. 
  5.          SOO volunteers must not use their volunteer positions to obtain employment (contracted or permanent) or employment with an affiliate for themselves, family members, or close associates. Should an individual desire such an employment offer, he or she must first resign from the position of SOO volunteer. This stipulation can be waived by formal written consent submitted and signed by the appropriate staff leadership. Formal approval of this exception will be communicated in writing by the Vice President, SOO.
  6.          Volunteers may not engage in any outside business, professional or other activities that would directly or indirectly materially adversely affect SOO or the local or district programs.
  7.          SOO volunteers will annually disclose their involvement with other organizations, vendors, or any other associations that might produce a potential conflict under these Guidelines.
  8.          SOO Volunteers must abide by the province-wide policies. Please refer to the SOO Information Portal and in particular the Conflict of Interest training materials in the volunteer resource section of the informational Portal.

Right to Request Determination

Any SOO volunteer who is uncertain about the existence of a possible conflict of interest may request that SOO leadership or staff determine whether such a conflict exists. Such requests shall be submitted in writing to the appropriate Leader or staff member.

Community Councils – business meeting requirements - declaration of conflict

Volunteer Members of the Community Council must declare and recuse (remove) themselves from voting on any question in which they have a direct, personal, financial or beneficial interest. This includes any direct or indirect benefit to themselves, their family or their professional interests.


Avoiding Individual AuthoritySOO volunteers may not attempt to exercise individual authority over their respective volunteer groups nor represent SOO or their respective volunteer groups, except as explicitly set forth within the confines of their volunteer position and respective programs.

When supported by and representing their SOO volunteer role at any event or activity, the SOO volunteer will perform and represent himself/herself in that role and avoid alternate representations or activities that may appear as a conflict of interest. 

 Maintaining Confidentiality. SOO volunteers will respect any confidential information concerning SOO and their respective volunteer and athlete groups.

This Policy is currently in process to be adapted into the Conflict of Interest Pan Canadian polices in 2019 

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