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Canadian Organizations Not Meeting Ethics Expectations.

According to the recent findings of the KPMG's Ethics Survey 2000, Canadian organizations say they recognize the need to promote ethical workplace practices, but few are committing the resources to do so, despite increased public demand for such practices in both the private and public sectors.

The KPMG Ethics Survey -- released annually by the professional services firm -- assesses the extent of ethics initiatives within the Canadian organizations. This year it focused on the time and resources allocated to their efforts, and on certain specific initiatives such as: confidential reporting mechanisms; ethics training provisions; pre-employment screening; performance evaluation criteria related to ethics; and international practices, including monitoring international supplier labour practices.

Some of the key findings included:

* Close to two-thirds of respondents say they are implementing initiatives to promote positive organizational values and ethical practice, but the same amount of time and effort they allocate is often inadequate

* Nearly four out of 10(39%) respondents say they provide ethics training, but almost one-third of these provide less than one hour of training per year to managers

* Only about 10% of Canadian organizations provide more than eight hours of ethics training per year

* Nearly six out of 10(58%) of respondent organizations do not have designated senior mangers responsible for ethical issues. Of those that do, most of these managers spend less than 10% of their time yearly on ethical issues

* The issues considered to be of growing concern in the next few years are security of information, employee and client privacy, environmental issues, governance, and conflicts of interests

* For 88.5% of respondents who regularly conduct organizational risk assessments, ethical risks are included to some extent in those assessments

* Only 14.3% of respondents have performed an evaluation of their ethics-related performance -- a suprisingly low rate of organizations that wish to effectively manage their ethical risks and want to know if their initiatives are successful in enhancing ethics in the workplace

"Organizations are just not meeting the public's high expectations in making ethical practices a strategic priority," says Diane Girard, senior manager, ethics & integrity services at KPMG. "For example, considering the number of ethical issues resulting from managerial decisions, it seems surprising that many organizations would offer so little training in helping managers develop awareness and ethical decision-making abilities.

"Responses to the survey indicate that although a growing number of organizations in both the private and the public sectors have been implementing initiatives to promote ethical practice in the past few years, ethics is not a priority," concludes Girards. "Now that Y2K is a thing of the past, maybe organizations will start devoting more efforts to other strategic issues, such as ethics."
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Publication:CMA Management
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 1, 2000
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