Corporate Policies & Procedures

With a strategic priority of creating a city where people come first, Hamilton City Council has made a commitment to communicate clearly and effectively with the public. To provide a municipal government which is open and accessible, the City of Hamilton offers full information about our civic administration, city services, their costs, and how well they meet performance targets.

On June 22, City Council approved the move to include Anti-Nepotism under the Code of Conduct. Schedule E: Anti-Nepotism eliminates the influence of nepotism in City hiring and employment related decisions.

For the Anti-Nepotism policy, review the Code of Conduct (found below).

The City of Hamilton’s Business Travel, Seminars and Conferences Policy defines what business travel expenses are eligible for reimbursement for members of Council and City staff. The policy:

  • Outlines the authorization, documentation and registration required for travel and attendance at seminars and conferences.
  • Outlines the allowable travel advances and expense coverage.
  • Sets the terms and conditions for transportation, accommodation and per diems.
  • Establishes unallowable claims for reimbursement.

Read the full Business Travel, Seminars & Conferences Policy (PDF, 212 KB)

The City of Hamilton’s City-Wide Cash Handling Policy is in place to avoid fraudulent activity and to prevent or minimize the risk to City employees while handling City cash. The policy:

  • Promotes proper and consistent cash handling practices across the organization
  • Establishes a system of internal controls for cash handling
  • Assists in strengthening the security over cash receipts within the City of Hamilton

It applies to:

  • City of Hamilton departments with employees
  • Staff
  • Volunteers
  • Students
  • Elected officials
  • Contractors
  • Consultants
  • Boards
  • Agencies
  • Commissions
  • Business partners who accept cash on behalf of the City and whose financial transactions are captured within the City’s financial system

The City of Hamilton has a Code of Conduct for Employees Policy because residents and businesses are entitled to have fair, ethical and accountable local government administration. In serving the public interest, City staff are entrusted with access to a wide range of information, resources and responsibilities. The City expects its employees to perform their duties in a manner that maintains and enhances public confidence and trust in the integrity, objectivity and impartiality of the City.

The policy outlines the City’s expectations regarding real and apparent conflicts of interest between an employee’s personal interests and the best interests of the City of Hamilton.

The City of Hamilton’s Commercial Advertising and Sponsorship Policy acknowledges that commercial advertising and sponsorships benefit a community by offsetting the cost of municipal programs. It recognizes that partnerships provide valued support for City programs and events. The policy:

  • Ensures that advertising and sponsorship abide by all applicable laws and City policies and does not adversely affect public safety or the City’s image or interests.
  • Outlines the conditions where the City permits commercial advertising and sponsorships on City-owned or City-controlled assets and public property, at City events and in City publications.

Read the Commercial Advertising and Sponsorship Policy (PDF, 461 KB)

The City of Hamilton’s Communications Policy for Media Relations develops and maintains professional working relationships with the media to promote public awareness and understanding of:

  • Council decisions
  • City policies
  • Issues facing the City
  • Services and programs
  • New and emerging initiatives

The policy:

  • Ensures professionalism and consistency in how the City works with the media.
  • Provides staff with general principles and protocol for dealing with the media on behalf of the City of Hamilton.
  • Ensures media enquiries are responded to in a timely, accurate and clear manner by the most appropriate City spokesperson.
  • Encourages appropriate and proactive media relations that provide residents, businesses, and visitors with timely, accurate and newsworthy information about programs, services and issues of public interest.

The City of Hamilton values the role that the media has in communicating City news and information to the public and to report on the public’s views and opinions of the City of Hamilton.

Read the full Communications Policy for Media Relations (PDF, 104 KB)

The City of Hamilton’s Equity and Inclusion Policy ensures that Council, management, staff and volunteers embed the principles of equity and inclusion into the way that the City does business, delivers services and programs and provides opportunities. The policy:

  • Applies the principles of equity, inclusion, diversity and public engagement to all City of Hamilton’s processes, policies, practices, programs, services, opportunities, actions, corporate strategic plans and departmental goals.
  • Ensures beneficial outcomes and improved quality of life for all of the City’s internal and external stakeholders.
  • Enhances and strengthens Council’s decisions.

Read the summary Equity and Inclusion Policy - Revised February 2016 (PDF, 96 KB)
Read the full Equity and Inclusion Policy (PDF, 108 KB)

The City of Hamilton’s Fraud Policy and Protocol protects City revenue, property, information and other assets from any attempt, either by members of the public, contractors, vendors, agents or its own employees, to gain financial or other benefits. It is designed to protect staff from false allegations. The policy and protocol:

  • Establishes specific guidelines and responsibilities for appropriate actions in detecting, reporting and investigating fraud.
  • Supports the identification and investigation of any potentially fraudulent or dishonest activities against the City of Hamilton and, when appropriate, pursues legal remedies available under the law.
  • Clarifies acts that are considered to be fraudulent and describes the steps to take when fraud or other activities are suspected or have occurred. It includes the procedures to follow in accounting for missing funds, restitution and recoveries.

Read the full Fraud Policy and Protocol (PDF, 166 KB)

The City of Hamilton’s Meal Allowance Expenses Policy sets the terms and conditions for eligibility of meal expenses and employee reimbursement for staff working overtime or attending conferences or seminars where no meals are provided. 

Read the Meal Allowance Expenses Policy (PDF, 30.4 KB)

The Meal and Hospitality Expense Guidelines help determine when to use City funds to pay for food and beverages consumed by employees and authorization of purchases.  Circumstances where it is appropriate to pay for food and beverages include:

  • When a supervisor or manager requires unexpected work be completed by a fixed deadline, necessitating substantial unplanned overtime and/or working through regular meal times.
  • Team projects with tight deadlines requiring work beyond regular hours and/or through regular meal times.
  • When staff are required to work beyond their regular leaving time to respond to unusual or emergency events.
  • When negotiations during the bargaining process or arbitrations continue through meal times.
  • When workday meetings or training sessions continue through meal times.
  • When early morning or late evening meetings interfere with an employee’s usual meal times.

The City recognizes occasions when it is appropriate for City funds to be used to entertain or offer hospitality as part of employee’s official duties and functions. These occasions include: 

  • When an employee is conducting City business with persons who are not City employees such as representatives from other levels of government, industry or public interest groups.
  • When the City sponsors conferences.
  • Protocol events when persons visiting the City are members of international or national organizations or delegations.
  • When the City hosts special recognition events.
  • When an organization, or a person who is not a City employee renders a service without remuneration.

The following provisions apply to the purchase of food in the circumstances described above:

  1. Directors, Managers and Supervisors may authorize payment for meals and non-alcoholic beverages at mealtimes only to employees required to continue working through or shorten their regular meal breaks. This should be restricted to times where the dispersal of participants during a break period or meal period is not desirable (i.e. workshops or departmental meetings). The purchase of beverages and food must be within approved budgets.
  2. Directors, Managers and Supervisors may authorize payment for meals and non-alcoholic beverages for employees who work beyond their usual leaving time and have worked sufficient additional hours to comply with the meal allowance provisions in the appropriate collective agreement or Non-Union Compensation Policy. Payment for the total cost of the meal may not exceed the amount allowed by the Policy for Business, Travel, Seminar and Conference for meals.
  3. City employees may provide food and beverages on business occasions or other special events for external individuals, only when they have prior approval from the employee’s supervisor or manager and the General Manager of the department or his or her designate and is within approved budgets.
  4. If Procurement Cards are used for the purchases noted above, those purchases must be in accordance with the requirements of the current Purchasing Policy.  When meals and non-alcoholic beverages are purchased for employees, the most senior employee present must pay.
  5. Managerial discretion and regard for economy should be used when identifying appropriate occasions for ordering food and beverages. Managers should ensure that food and beverages are not offered on a regular basis during meetings of close colleagues.
  6. Employees may not charge meal expenses to the City for meals outside City premises such as restaurants, except in accordance with this Policy and the Policy for Business, Travel, Seminar and Conference.  
  7. Employees must obtain approval in writing, in advance from the City Manager or designate, for any meal or hospitality expenses which do not fall within these guidelines.

Hamilton’s Procurement Policy By-law No. 21-215 is in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001, requiring that municipalities adopt and maintain a policy with respect to its procurement of goods and services. The By-law describes:

  • Vendor eligibility
  • Approval authority
  • Specifications
  • Prequalification of vendors
  • Determining the procurement process - low dollar value procurements, Request for Quotations,  Request for Tenders, Request for Proposals
  • Unsolicited proposals
  • Construction contracts
  • Vendor performance evaluation
  • Consulting and professional services
  • Emergency procurements
  • Non-competitive procurements
  • Cooperative procurements
  • Authority to execute contracts
  • Standardization
  • Participation of elected City officials in the procurement process
  • Disposal of surplus and obsolete goods
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Vendor complaint resolution
  • Non-compliance with the Procurement Policy
  • Review of the Procurement Policy
  • Anti-Sweatshop procurement
  • In-House bid submissions
  • Statement of Ethics for Public Procurement
  • Exemptions

Read Hamilton’s Procurement Policy By-law No.21-215 

The City is committed to enhancing equity and inclusion through the provision of City services and within the workplace. In accordance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code), the City recognizes the dignity and worth of every person such that each person feels a part of our community and is able to contribute fully without harassment or discrimination.  The City also recognizes that transgender and gender non-conforming persons constitute one of the most disadvantaged groups in our society, and routinely experiences discrimination, harassment and violence because of their gender identity or gender expression.

In order to ensure that all employees and members of our community, especially transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, feel safe and welcomed, the City has developed this protocol specifically to set out guidelines to ensure the equitable, fair, and respectful treatment of all persons who work at or otherwise interact with the City as a resident or service user. 

Read Hamilton’s Protocol for Gender Identity and Gender Expression (PDF, 378 KB)

The City of Hamilton recognizes and supports the use of sacred medicines by Indigenous peoples in City facilities for ceremonial or spiritual practices such as smudging or pipe ceremonies. The City has a policy and a procedure in place to support and respect Indigenous ceremonies using sacred medicines such as cedar, sage, sweetgrass and tobacco.

Read the full Use of Indigenous Medicines Policy (PDF, 285 KB)
Read the full Use of Indigenous Medicines Procedure (PDF, 275 KB)

Hamilton’s Whistleblower By-law No. 19-181 protects employees who report serious wrongdoing from job-related reprisals.

By-law highlights include:

  • A serious wrongdoing is one of the following acts or omissions committed by an employee or a member of Council:
    • A contravention of the Criminal Code, federal or provincial statute or regulation or City By-law
    • An act or omission that results or is likely to result in the misappropriation or misuse of City funds or assets
    • A contravention of the City’s Code of Conduct for Employees that results or is likely to result in profit, payment or compensation to the employee(s)
    • An act or omission that creates or is likely to create a substantial and specific danger or harm to the life, health or safety of any person
    • An act or omission that creates or is likely to create a substantial and specific danger or harm to the environment
    • A reprisal
  • The By-law prohibits any employee or member of Council from dismissing, suspending, demoting, disciplining, harassing, denying a benefit of employment or otherwise disadvantaging an employee, or threatening any of these things, when an employee has a made a disclosure of serious wrongdoing that, as determined by the Director of Audit Services, is a qualifying disclosure.
  • The By-law obligates all employees or members of Council with supervisory or management responsibilities to ensure that an employee is not subject to reprisal and that employees under their direction are made aware of the By-law.
  • The By-law requires all persons, including employees or members of Council, to co-operate with any investigations or alternative actions and not to obstruct the Director of Audit Services or his or her delegate in carrying out their responsibilities under the By-law. Failure to comply may result in discipline, up to an including dismissal for an employee or a complaint, inquiry and penalty under the Integrity Commissioner By-law for a member of Council.
  • No person, including an employee or member of Council, who is advised of an investigation under the By-law, is to destroy, conceal, mutilate, falsify or otherwise alter a relevant document or thing either themselves or through another person.
  • The By-law recognizes and does not change the fact that other laws and policies may apply depending on the circumstances. Nothing in the By-law limits the responsibilities of employees to carry out their job duties, including responsibilities to make reports or take action with respect to wrongdoing. Correspondingly, it does not limit the actions which may be taken by the City as a consequence of employees not carrying out their job duties. Access to information and protection of privacy legislation continues to apply, including the City’s accountability and transparency responsibilities under the Municipal Act, 2001.
  • The proposed By-law does not provide for disclosures of serious wrongdoing made by Council members, nor does it give Council members protection from reprisal.
  • An employee who is found to have committed a serious wrongdoing may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. An employee who is found to be guilty of theft or fraud is likely to be terminated.
  • There is no time limit outlined in the By-law for reporting a serious wrongdoing; however, if a substantial length of time has gone by since the wrongdoing occurred, the Director of Audit Services may determine that an investigation or alternative action would serve no useful purpose.
  • Members of the public may continue to report wrongdoing to staff or members of Council as is currently the case.

Read the full Hamilton’s Whistleblower By-law No. 19-181.