Code of Ethics

 

Note For more information of the Code of Ethics or other Houle policies, please contact Amber Roberts, Human Resources Manager. 604.434.2681 | aroberts@houle.ca

 

Safety

Houle assures that the safety of its employees, the employees of others on the job site, and the general public at large, is given the highest priority in all aspects of the company’s activities. Houle will strive to provide its employees with the proper training and education required to enable the company to meet the stated goals of a safe workplace.

 

Build Trust and Credibility

The success of our business is dependent on the trust and confidence we earn from our employees and customers. We gain credibility by adhering to our commitments, displaying honesty and integrity and reaching company goals solely through honorable conduct. It is easy to say what we must do, but the proof is in our actions. Ultimately, we will be judged on what we do.

When considering any action, it is wise to ask:

  • Will this build trust and credibility for Houle?
  • Will it help create a working environment in which Houle can succeed over the long term?
  • Is the commitment I am making one I can follow through with?
  • The only way we will maximize trust and credibility is by answering “yes” to those questions and by working every day to build our trust and credibility.

 

Respect for the Individual

We all deserve to work in an environment where we are treated with dignity and respect. Houle is committed to creating such an environment because it brings out the full potential in each of us, which, in turn, contributes directly to our business success. We cannot afford to let anyone’s talents go to waste.

Houle is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to providing a workplace that is free of discrimination of all types from abusive, offensive or harassing behaviour. Any employee who feels harassed or discriminated against should report the incident to their manager or to Human Resources. In addition, a complete policy on Workplace Respect can be found on HouleCentral/Safety.

 

Create a Culture of Open and Honest Communication

At Houle, everyone should feel comfortable to speak his or her mind, particularly with respect to ethical concerns. Managers have a responsibility to create an open and supportive environment where employees feel comfortable raising such questions. We all benefit tremendously when employees exercise their power to prevent mistakes or wrongdoing by asking the right questions at the right times.

Houle will investigate all reported instances of questionable or unethical behaviour. In every instance where improper behaviour is found to have occurred, the company will take appropriate action. We will not tolerate retaliation against employees who raise genuine ethical concerns in good faith.

Employees are encouraged, in the first instance, to address such issues with their managers or the HR manager, as most problems can be resolved swiftly. If for any reason that is not possible or if an employee is not comfortable raising the issue with his or her manager or HR, Houle’s President does operate with an open-door policy.

In addition, Houle has adopted a hotline for such matters called “Ethics Alert”.

Note To contact our Ethics Alert Hotline, call 1.866.529.9589 or email ethics.alert@mnp.ca.

 

Set Tone at the Top

Management has the added responsibility for demonstrating, through their actions, the importance of this Code. In any business, ethical behaviour does not simply happen; it is the product of clear and direct communication of behavioural expectations, modeled from the top and demonstrated by example. Again, ultimately, our actions are what matters.

To make our Code work, managers must be responsible for promptly addressing ethical questions or concerns raised by employees and for taking the appropriate steps to deal with such issues. Managers should not consider employees’ ethical concerns as threats or challenges to their authority, but rather as another encouraged form of business communication. At Houle, we want the ethics dialogue to be a natural part of daily work.

 

Uphold the Law

Houle’s commitment to integrity begins with complying with laws, rules and regulations where we do business. Further, each of us must have an understanding of the company policies, laws, rules and regulations that apply to our specific roles. If we are unsure of whether a contemplated action is permitted by law or Houle policy, we should seek the advice from the resource expert. We are responsible for preventing violations of law and for speaking up if we see possible violations. This includes potential theft from Houle as well as fraudulent behaviour (deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain personally or professionally).

 

Proprietary Information

It is important that we respect the property rights of others. We will not acquire or seek to acquire by unethical or unlawful means, a competitor’s trade secrets or other proprietary or confidential information. We will not engage in unauthorized use, copying, distribution or alteration of software or other intellectual property.

 

Competition

Houle competes fairly for contracts. Houle will not participate in any practice that might be construed to be in violation of the letter or spirit of federal or provincial competition or unfair business practices legislation. The company does not seek nor accept information concerning a competitor’s bid unlawfully or unethically prior to bid closing. The company avoids any activity that could be construed as bid shopping, a reverse bid auction or bid peddling.

 

Qualifications

Houle seeks to perform contracts only for projects for which the company has the technical competence and experience. The company does not accept contracts for which it is not qualified. The company assigns staff to projects in accordance with their qualifications and commensurate with the demands of the services to be provided under the contract.

 

Standards of Practice

Houle provides materials and services in a manner consistent with the established and accepted standards of the construction industry and with the laws and regulations that govern it including the use of standard industry documents wherever feasible. The company performs its contracts with competence, reasonable care and diligence. The company establishes prices that are commensurate with its services.

 

Environment /Sustainability

Houle will endeavour to promote sustainable building practices and environmental considerations in all its operations and in the services it provides to its clients. Houle will strive to provide its employees with the proper training and education required to enable the company to meet the stated goals of a more sustainable built environment and more environmentally friendly business practices.

 

Service Providers and Suppliers

Houle treats its service providers, sub-contractors and suppliers in an equitable manner, avoiding any activity that could be construed as bid shopping, a reverse bid auction or bid peddling. It assures that they are advised as soon as it is reasonable subsequent to bid closing as to whether or not their bid was successful. Houle awards contracts to the successful subcontractor or sub-subcontractor with the proper low bid or tender. Houle provides clear direction and prompt payment for services provided.

 

Selective Disclosure

We will not selectively disclose (whether in one-on-one or small discussions, meetings, presentations, proposals or otherwise) any material non-public information with respect to Houle, its securities, business operations, plans, financial condition, results of operations or any development plan. We should be particularly vigilant when making presentations or proposals to customers to ensure that our presentations do not contain non-public information that will compromise Houle’s competitiveness.

 

Avoid Conflicts of Interest

We must avoid any relationship or activity that might impair, or even appear to impair, our ability to make objective and fair decisions when performing our jobs. At times, we may be faced with situations where the business actions we take on behalf of Houle may conflict with our own personal or family interests. We owe a duty to Houle to advance its legitimate interests when the opportunity to do so arises. We must never use Houle property or information for personal gain or personally take for ourselves any opportunity that is discovered through our position with Houle unless expressed consent is provided from your Regional Manager or a member of the Executive team.

Below are some ways in which conflicts of interest could arise:

  • Being employed (you or a close family member) by, or acting as a consultant to, a competitor or potential competitor, supplier or contractor, regardless of the nature of the employment, while you are employed with Houle.
  • Hiring or supervising family members or closely related persons.
  • Serving as a board member for an outside commercial company or organization without the expressed consent of Houle’s President.
  • Owning or having a substantial interest in a competitor, supplier or contractor
  • Placing company business with a company owned or controlled by a Houle employee or his or her family without the expressed consent of Houle’s President.
  • Accepting gifts, discounts, favors or services from a customer / potential customer, competitor or supplier, unless equally available to all Houle employees (see Gifts policy).

Determining whether a conflict of interest exists is not always easy to do. Employees with a conflict of interest question should seek advice from management. Before engaging in any activity, transaction or relationship that might give rise to a conflict of interest, employees must seek review from their managers or the HR department.

 

Do the Right Thing

At times, we are all faced with decisions we would rather not have to make and issues we would prefer to avoid. Sometimes, we hope that if we avoid confronting a problem, it will simply go away.

At Houle, we must have the courage to tackle the tough decisions and make difficult choices; secure in the knowledge that Houle is committed to doing the right thing. At times this will mean doing more than simply what the law requires. Merely because we can pursue a course of action does not mean we should do so.

Although Houle’s guiding principles cannot address every issue or provide answers to every dilemma, they can define the spirit in which we intend to do business and should guide us in our daily conduct.

Several key questions can help identify situations that may be unethical, inappropriate or illegal. Ask yourself:

  • Does what I am doing comply with Houle’s core values, Code of Conduct and company policies?
  • Have I been asked to misrepresent information or deviate from normal procedure?
  • Would I feel comfortable describing my decision or actions at a staff meeting?
  • How would it look if it made the headlines?
  • Am I being loyal to my family, my company and myself?
  • What would I tell my child to do?
  • Is this the right thing to do?

 

Accountability

Each of us is responsible for knowing and adhering to the values and standards set forth in this Code and for raising questions if we are uncertain about company policy. If we are concerned whether the standards are being met or are aware of violations of the Code, we must contact the HR department. Houle takes seriously the standards set forth in the Code, and violations are cause for disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

 

Confidential and Proprietary Information

Integral to Houle’s business success is our protection of confidential company information, as well as non-public information entrusted to us by employees, customers and other business partners. Confidential and proprietary information includes such things as pricing and financial data, customer names/addresses or non-public information about other companies, including current or potential supplier and vendors. We will not disclose confidential and non-public information without a valid business purpose and proper authorization.

 

Use of Company Resources

Company resources, including time, material, equipment and information, are provided for company business use. Nonetheless, occasional personal use is permissible as long as it does not affect job performance or cause a disruption to the workplace.

Employees and those who represent Houle are trusted to behave responsibly and use good judgment to conserve company resources. Managers are responsible for the resources assigned to their departments and are empowered to resolve issues concerning their proper use.

Generally, we will not use company equipment such as computers, copiers and fax machines in the conduct of an outside business or in support of any religious, political or other outside daily activity, except for company-requested support to non-profit organizations. We will not solicit contributions nor distribute non-work related materials during work hours.

In order to protect the interests of the Houle network and our fellow employees, Houle reserves the right to monitor or review all data and information contained on an employee’s company-issued computer or electronic device, the use of the Internet or Houle’s intranet. We will not tolerate the use of company resources to create, access, store, print, solicit or send any materials that are harassing, threatening, abusive, sexually explicit or otherwise offensive or inappropriate. Questions about the proper use of company resources should be directed to your manager.

 

Media Inquiries

Houle is a high-profile company in our community, and from time to time, employees may be approached by reporters and other members of the media. In order to ensure that we speak with one voice and provide accurate information about the company, we should direct all media inquiries to the Marketing Department. No one may issue a press release without first consulting with the President.

 

Financial Disclosure

Houle strives to ensure that all financial information provided to its principals, partners, shareholders, lending institutions, bonding and, insurance providers, and the general public where so provided, is an accurate and true representation of the company’s financial status.

 

Image of the Construction Industry

Houle avoids actions that promote its own self-interest at the expense of the construction industry and upholds the standards of the construction industry with honour and dignity.

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About Houle

Founded in 1944, Houle is highly sought, not only for electrical construction and service, but also for security and life safety, network systems, industrial capability, power quality, and building controls automation.  

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Since 2012, Houle has been named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies for our role in embracing innovation, seizing opportunities, and inspiring talent.

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