Acceptance of Gifts by Employees, Guideline on

Acceptance of Gifts by Employees, Guideline on

Legislative History:

Issued in accordance with the authority prescribed in the University Policy on Procurement of Goods and Services. Approved by President and Vice-Presidents, December 15, 2009.

Approval Authority: President and Vice-President Finance and Administration

Signature: Gary Brewer

Description: Guideline for employees’ acceptance of gifts or hospitality from current or potential University suppliers.


Employees in certain positions have the ability to influence procurement and contractual decisions. Persons in these positions have a particular responsibility to avoid situations that will constitute a conflict of interest, or have the appearance of a conflict of interest. No such employee shall pursue his or her own interest at the expense of the University.

In order to promote appropriate standards of conduct, this guideline is designed to assist employees to recognize possible and/or perceived conflicts of interest that may arise with respect to the acceptance of gifts or hospitality from suppliers or other contractors so that they can, in good faith, disclose, manage and resolve such situations.

A conflict of interest can occur when a personal interest interferes with the independent judgment required by employees in order to perform their duties and responsibilities in the best interests of the University. All employees have a duty of honesty and loyalty to the University.

This guideline is intended to establish a minimum standard for all York University employees. Certain departments such as Procurement Services and Campus Services & Business Operations may apply a higher standard in order to keep their employees free of any obligations and thereby avoid potential conflict of interest or commitment.


The acceptance of significant material gifts or special favours by an employee of the University from anyone doing business with, or soliciting business from, the University is not permitted. The only exceptions to this are minor gifts and token courtesies that do not place, or do not have the appearance of placing, the recipient under any obligation when making decisions on the University’s behalf. In no event should an employee accept a gift or hospitality on the understanding that his/her position will be used to influence an academic decision. Employees shall disclose to their manager or departmental head the offer or receipt of such gifts or favours.



When an employee is offered a gift or hospitality, he/she shall discuss the offer with his/her manager or department head. The manager or department head will then decide whether the acceptance of the gift or hospitality places, or appears to place, the employee under any obligation. In making the determination, a variety of factors shall be considered, including but not limited to:

1. Whether the gift or hospitality is provided before or after the employee makes a decision concerning, or provides a service to, the party who is offering the gift.

2. The value of the gift or hospitality is greater than $250.00.

3. The frequency of the offers to or acceptance of token gifts or hospitality by the employee concerned.

4. Whether the offering or receipt of a gift or hospitality is a matter of cultural or diplomatic protocol.

Acceptable Gifts and Hospitality

The following guidelines describe the circumstances in which gifts or hospitality will normally be deemed to be acceptable.

1. An employee may accept gifts of small intrinsic value to a maximum value of $250 per vendor per year.

2. An employee may keep a gift/prize if it is offered to attendees at a conference, seminar or trade show.

3. An employee may accept plaques or similar recognition awards.

4. An employee may accept gifts of social entertainment when the host or the beneficiary or host of the event is York University (e.g., the Annual Chair’s Cup Golf Tournament, the Brazilian Ball, Tennis Canada, etc.)..

5. An employee may, with the approval of his/her manager, accept a gift of social entertainment (e.g., tickets to attend a cultural or sports event) from a vendor when it does not obligate the employee. The acceptance of such gifts should normally be restricted to a maximum of one event per year per vendor.

6. An employee may, with the approval of his/her manager, accept an invitation from a supplier or potential supplier to attend an educational seminar where the event presents educational value to the employee. The frequency of such acceptances should be considered to avoid appearances of conflict of interest or commitment.

7. Attendance with suppliers’ representatives at luncheons, dinners or business organization meetings which have been discussed with and approved in advance by the employee’s manager or department head and provided that employee uses caution with respect to the frequency of these associations.

Declining Gifts or Hospitality

1. If an employee is offered or receives a gift which falls outside of these guidelines, it should be declined or returned in a tactful manner.

2. If the nature or value of an offered gift or hospitality is such to raise concern as to the good faith of the party offering it, the employee shall advise his/her manager or department head and the Director of Procurement Services.