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Social Media Guidelines

For BC Public Service Employees

Social media is a part of life that continues to evolve. These guidelines will help BC Public Service employees make appropriate choices when using social media for personal use and understand the impact of these choices in the context of their employment and the BC Public Service values.

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Why These Guidelines Were Created

Purpose and Scope

Social media is a part of life that is not going away and continues to evolve. These guidelines will help employees make appropriate choices about the use of social media for personal use both in and out of the workplace and understand the potential impacts of its use in the context of their employment.

There’s no new policy in these guidelines: the guidelines’ purpose is to alert BC Public Service employees to key considerations, as public servants, when using social media for personal use to ensure conduct remains in keeping with the Standards of Conduct and other already-existing policies and guidelines.


 What’s the Same – Making Thoughtful Choices

 What’s Different?

 What Do These Guidelines Cover?

 Other Guidance on Social Media


When applying the Standards of Conduct and other policies to our social media use, use these principles as guidance.

 Shared Commitment

 Guiding Principles

What you need to know

Employees are responsible for keeping the Standards of Conduct and other policies and guidelines in mind when using social media.

 The Standards of Conduct and the BC Public Service Ethics Framework

 Other Legislation, Policies and Guidelines

Scenarios to consider

Make informed choices

Choices we make and habits we develop in our personal lives with regard to social media may not be appropriate in the work setting. Employees are trusted to make ethical choices. You’re responsible for using your best judgment and reaching out for help when unsure.

 Personal habits and the workplace

 Be on the safe side – it’s up to you

 Trust and Consequences

Think about

Considering some practical features of social media, like how sites typically work and how people use them, can help guide your choices as technologies and people’s habits evolve.

 Profile Choices

 Audience and Permanence

Ask yourself

When you use social media, consider the questions below. They will help you apply the Standards of Conduct and other policies to your activities in the workplace and outside of work.

 Questions about impartiality, loyalty, political activity and separating your personal and work interests

 Questions about the impact your activities may have on your work and on others in the workplace

 Questions about confidentiality, using social media on government equipment or posting images of your work or colleagues

Looking more closely — special topics

Conflict of interest

The Standards of Conduct, the Oath of Employment, and the conflict of interest guidelines provide explicit direction that public servants must avoid all conflicts of interest. Learn where social media fits in.

 Your Responsibilities

 Social Media Use – What to Keep on Your Radar

Political Expression, Public Dialogue and Public Service Impartiality

As a public service employee, how you engage in public dialogue on topics such as political parties and government policy has to take into account some special considerations because of the Oath of Employment and the Standards of Conduct.

 Your Responsibilities

 Making Public Comments – Some Tips

 During an Election

Using your own social media accounts on work time

Be conscious of whether the time used for personal social media during the work day is your own time or the employer’s, and correct as necessary.

 Take Steps to Ensure Reasonable Use

 Other Considerations

Cyber safety and harassment

The BCPS takes bullying, harassment, and threats to employee safety very seriously, including those which occur over social media.

 Your Right to Safety

 Take Steps to Protect Yourself

 If You’re a Supervisor

Quick links to resources

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