Standards of Ethical Conduct

Ethical professionals should be governed by two basic concepts: 

They must be competent.  This means:
  • they must know the competencies for their area of practice, and
  • they must be able to successfully apply the competencies.
2. They must have integrity.  This means:
  • they must have a keen sense of responsibility to their client or employer and to their profession and the public,
  • they must retain that sense of independence that will enable them to exercise their professional judgement without restriction or bias, and
  • they must act at all times in an accordance with this ethical code of conduct.
In order to comply with these two basic concepts the following Standards of Ethical Conduct apply to the Certified Aboriginal Financial Managers (CAFM) members of the AFOA Canada. These standards serve to enhance the public’s confidence in the integrity of services provided by CAFMs. These Standards are not in any order of priority; rather, they are to be used as required by the specifics of each situation.

Be exemplary, courteous and tactful in all interactions.

Ensure the communications of rights, responsibilities and information to foster informed decision-making.

Respect the customs and beliefs of others, consistent with the mission of the organization.

Respect the confidentiality of information, unless it is in the public interest or required by law to divulge information.

Promote competence and integrity with individuals associated with the organization.
Act in an ethical manner at all times.


2.1 Strive to provide quality services.

2.2 Communicate truthfully and avoid misleading or raising unreasonable expectations in others.

2.3 Use sound management practices and ethical use of resources.

2.4 Understand that there is a duty of loyalty owed to the organization.


3.1 Serve the public interest in an ethical fashion and consider the effects of decisions on the community and society.

3.2 Abide by the laws of government and foster an environment where fairness applies and discrimination, harassment or abuse of any sort is opposed.

3.3 Contribute to improving the climate for aboriginal financial management.

3.4 Endeavour to be a role model to others in the area of ethics.


4.1 Develop and maintain competence in aboriginal financial management and practice within one’s abilities.

4.2 Support AFOA Canada in its efforts to enhance the profession of aboriginal financial management.

4.3 Practice with honesty, integrity, respect, and good faith.

4.4 Assist others to develop competence in aboriginal financial management and practice ethically.
Understand these Standards and report to AFOA Canada when there are reasonable grounds to believe a member has violated these Standards.

   5.1 Conflict of interest exists when the CAFM uses their position, authority or privileged information to: 
    a) Obtain an improper benefit, directly or indirectly, or 
    b) obtain an improper benefit for a friend, relative or associate, or
    c) make decisions that they know will negatively affect the organization.
  5.2 The CAFM Shall:
    a) conduct all relationships in a way that assures those affected that decisions are not compromised by a conflict of interest;
    b) disclose to the appropriate authority any direct or indirect personal or financial interest, or appointment or election to a position which might create a conflict of interest;
neither accept nor offer personal gifts or benefits with the expectation or appearance of influencing a decision; and
    d) refrain from using CAFM membership and credentials to promote or endorse commercial products or services where it would be perceived as an endorsement by CAFM.

Certified Aboriginal Financial Managers are members of AFOA Canada and are required to comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct and the administration thereof. Failure to comply may be cause for termination of membership in the AFOA Canada.

CAFM Standards of Ethical Conduct – Administrative Policy

In the interpretation of this policy, words in the singular include the plural and vice-versa, words in one gender include all genders, and "person" includes an individual. 

The AFOA Canada has adopted Standards of Ethical Conduct for its members. The intent of this policy is to provide a reasonable and fair process for the administration of the standards.  

Any AFOA Canada member may lodge a complaint by notifying the President and CEO of the AFOA Canada that a Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager's (CAFM) conduct appears to be contrary to these Standards. Complaints must be in writing, dated and signed.  For complaints from a CAFM against a fellow CAFM, AFOA Canada will communicate to both CAFMs in writing to determine whether or not an informal process can be undertaken so that the matter can be resolved without pursuing the complaint process further.

AFOA Canada may formulate a complaint where information is received from a non- member or information comes to its attention which suggests that conduct has occurred by a CAFM which appears to be contrary to the Standards.

The AFOA Canada shall provide the member concerned with a copy of the complaint within sixty (60) days of receipt or formulation by AFOA Canada.

The President of the AFOA Canada shall appoint a senior, experienced CAFM investigator to conduct a preliminary investigation of the complaint. The CAFM shall not be a member of the Board or an employee of AFOA Canada.

A Special Ethics Committee of the Board will be established by the President or his designate to consider the complaint.

The CAFM investigator shall conduct an investigation into the allegations against the member and shall interview the complainant and any third parties with relevant information regarding same. The CAFM investigator must invite the member concerned to present information including documentation with regard to the complaint.
The CAFM Investigator shall submit a full written report of his investigation to the Special Ethics Committee within one hundred and twenty (120) days of the receipt of the complaint where possible. An extension may be granted by the Special Ethics Committee on a case by case basis. The report should indicate whether or not a hearing is recommended.
The Special Ethics Committee shall determine whether or not to proceed by way of hearing or whether to make its decision based on the report itself.

A CAFM investigator appointed by the President will undertake a fact-finding mission regarding the conduct of the member accused of violating these standards. The investigator shall:

investigate any other conduct that comes to the attention of the CAFM investigator in the course of the investigation, whether or not connected with the complaint under investigation;

require the person under investigation to provide information and answers to questions that relate to all matters under investigation be in writing. Where they do not respond, the investigation will proceed and a notice that the investigation will proceed will be issued to the person;

upon reasonable notice, enter the business premises of the person under investigation during reasonable business hours or at such other time as may be agreed to by the person under investigation.  Consent must be given by the employer and/or partners before entering business premises or upon consent if the member is self-employed. If the person under investigation is employed by a third party, the investigator shall seek the consent of the employer before entering the premises;
request from the member or from other parties the production of and the examination of any documents, files, records, storage devices or receptacles or other information that relates to matters under investigation;
make copies of, or remove, for making copies, any item referred to in the preceding section; where  the item is removed a receipt shall be given; and
return the items borrowed for purposes of copying with reasonable dispatch, giving recognition to the volume and complexity associated with the copying.
The investigator shall complete the investigation within one hundred and twenty (120) days for the scope and circumstances of the investigation and shall prepare and submit a report to the Special Ethics Committee at the completion of the investigation. An extension may be granted by the Special Ethics Committee on a case by case basis.

  4.1 The Special Ethics Committee shall receive the CAFM investigator’s report. No further action will be taken about the complaint if the committee finds that no possible breach of the Standards has occurred.  Both the member and the complainant will be so informed.  An appeal of the decision may be granted by the Special Ethics Committee should new or additional evidence be presented.

4.2 Where the committee determines that the findings of the report warrant that a hearing occur the Special Ethics Committee will notify the member and complainant that a hearing will be held.

4.3 Notification shall specify that the member and complainant may be present, in person, by telephone or video conferencing, may be represented and may examine documentation and evidence received by the Special Ethics Committee. The notice shall also indicate the date and place of the hearing.
  4.4 If the member whose conduct is the subject of the hearing does not attend, the hearing may proceed in the absence of the member.
  4.5 Legal counsel may attend the hearing and /or represent the member or the hearing can be heard by telephone or video conferencing by the member and legal counsel, subject to approval by the Special Ethics Committee.
  4.6 The hearing is not a judicial process. The principal of fairness shall characterize the hearings.
  4.7 The Special Ethics Committee should issue a decision to the member and the complainant, if applicable, within sixty (60) days of the completion of the hearing.  An extension may be granted by the Special Ethics Committee on a case by case basis. The decision shall be reported to the Board at their next scheduled meeting.  
  4.8 Any party may appeal to the Board. The Board shall set the procedure for the appeal.  

Should the Special Ethics Committee determine that a breach of the Standards has occurred, the Special Ethics Committee will decide upon the sanctions to be imposed, which may include the following:
Letter of Admonition
Suspension and Probation
Bar from re-admission
    5.1.6 Impose a fine
    5.1.7 Order the payment of hearing costs
      Failure to pay a fine within the time frame set by the Special Ethics Committee will result in the Special Ethics Committee imposing a different sanction without further representations from the member.
  5.2 The sanction shall be in writing and placed in the member’s file.  Where the sanction is suspension or expulsion, AFOA Canada shall publish, for the protection of the public, the member’s name and the decision.  Additionally, the suspension or expulsion shall be recorded in a notice to that effect which shall be published in a local newspaper, the newsletter or magazine of AFOA Canada and AFOA Canada’s website.
  5.3 In cases where the sanction is other than a suspension or expulsion and where the Committee believes the membership as a whole might benefit from hearing about compliance or interpretation on matters pertaining to the Standards, the Committee may publish information in the newsletter without revealing the individual or location that prompted the interpretation.
  5.4 Should the need arise, the Special Ethics Committee may at any time in the process issue an emergency suspension based on serious accusations that have come to their attention.
A member or complainant may be allowed to appeal the Special Ethics Committee decision. The appeal shall be made to the Board of AFOA Canada and must be within 30 days of notification of the hearing’s final decision. After due notice to all parties concerned, the Board of AFOA Canada shall hear the appeal and make a decision. The decision of the Board is final.


Administration of Oath
  • The investigator, respondent, and complainant will be put under oath.
  Presentation by Investigator
  • The investigator will be given an opportunity to make a presentation of the documents and oral evidence to the panel.
  • Panel members may ask questions of the investigator.
  • Cross examination by the Respondent.
  • Cross examination by the Complainant.
  • Panel members may ask additional questions.
Presentation by Complainant
  • The complainant will be given an opportunity to make a presentation of the documents and oral evidence to the panel.
  • Panel members may ask questions of the complainant.
  • Cross examination by the Respondent.
  • Cross examination by the Investigator, if warranted.
  • Panel members may ask additional questions.
  Presentation by Respondent
  • The respondent will be given an opportunity to make a presentation of the documents and oral evidence to the panel.
  • Panel members may ask questions of the respondent.
  • Cross examination by the Complainant.
  • Cross examination by the Investigator, if warranted.
  • Panel members may ask additional questions.
  • The investigator will be given an opportunity to make a final submission to the panel.
  • The Complainant may now make a final submission to the panel.
  • The Respondent may now make a final submission to the panel.