Code of Ethical Practices

It is the policy of the Association to provide our Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct which will serve as a guide to proper Professional Conduct for all AIRS Members. We expect all AIRS Members to observe the highest standards of ethics and integrity. This means following a basic code of ethical behavior that includes the following.

Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for AIRS

AIRS Code of Conduct

Maintain Trust and Credibility

The success of our Association is dependent on the trust and confidence we earn from our AIRS Members and their engagements with others. We gain credibility by fulfilling our commitments and reaching Association goals through monitoring, observing, and implementing professional conduct for all members.

Uphold the Law

Our 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 Association 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 Association 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.

Demonstrate a Culture of Open and Honest Communication

At AIRS community everyone should feel comfortable to speak his or her mind, particularly with respect to ethics concerns. AIRS have a responsibility to create an open and supportive environment where AIRS Members feel comfortable raising such questions. We all benefit tremendously when AIRS Members exercise their power to prevent mistakes or wrongdoing by asking the right questions at the right time, challenge inappropriate or unfair conducts, laws, rules of the association.

The members are also encouraged to report any misconduct or unprofessional behavior of other members so that the association can take appropriate actions within the rules and regulations of professional conduct of AIRS.

AIRS will investigate all reported instances of questionable or unethical behavior. In every instance where improper or unprofessional behavior is found to have occurred, the Association will take appropriate action. We will not tolerate retaliation against AIRS Members who raise ethics concerns in good fair.

AIRS Management Team Responsibility

Management has the fiduciary responsibility for demonstrating, through their actions, the implementation of this Code on them as an ethical behavior example; this behavior will be implemented through clear and direct communication with their members and their issues – this policy will be modeled from the top by example.

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

Ethical Policies

  • We are dedicated to ethical, fair and objective Association policies. We will sell AIRS products and services based on their merit and sense of pride for our Members. We will make independent pricing and marketing decisions and will not improperly cooperate or coordinate our activities with our competitors.
  • We will not offer or solicit improper practices or accept any gratuities in connection with the operations, rules, regulations and policies of AIRS, nor will we engage or assist in unlawful practices in contravention of non-profit associations laws of Canada and its provinces.
  • At AIRS we will provide equal opportunities to employees, management staff and all members and associates irrespective of age, gender or sexual preferences.
  • At AIRS we maintain the highest level of integrity, ethics, good governance and uphold the sanctity and prestige of this Institution as is expected by our members, clients of the Member researchers, the government institutions and the general public.

We will 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 AIRS may conflict with our own personal or family interests because of the course of action that is best for us personally may not also be the best course of action for AIRS. We owe a duty to AIRS to advance its legitimate interests when the opportunity to do so arises. We must never use AIRS property or information for personal gain or personally take for ourselves any opportunity that is discovered through our position with AIRS.

Determining whether a conflict of interest exists is not always easy to do. AIRS Members 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, AIRS Members must seek review from their managers or the Human Resources department.

Selective Acceptance of Business Courtesies

Most business courtesies offered to us in the course of our duties are offered because of our positions at AIRS. We should not feel any entitlement to accept and keep a business courtesy. Although we may not use our position to obtain business courtesies, and we must never ask for them, we may accept unsolicited business courtesies. AIRS Members who award contracts or who can influence the allocation of business, who create specifications that result in the placement of business or who participate in negotiation of contracts must be particularly careful to avoid actions that create the appearance of favoritism or that may adversely affect the Association’s reputation for impartiality and fair dealing. The prudent course is to refuse a courtesy from a supplier when AIRS is involved in choosing or reconfirming a supplier or under circumstances that would create an impression that offering courtesies is the way to obtain AIRS business.

Offering Business Courtesies

Any AIRS Member who offers a business courtesy must assure that it cannot reasonably be interpreted as an attempt to gain an unfair business advantage or otherwise reflect negatively upon AIRS. A Member may never use personal funds or resources to do something that cannot be done with Association resources. Accounting for business courtesies must be done in accordance with approved Association procedures.

Other than to our government customers, for whom special rules apply, we may provide non-monetary gifts (i.e., Association logo apparel or similar promotional items) to our Members. Further, AIRS Board/Management may approve other courtesies, including meals, refreshments or entertainment of reasonable value provided that:

  • The practice does not violate any law or regulation or the standards of conduct of the recipient’s organization.
  • The business courtesy is consistent with industry practice, is infrequent in nature and is not lavish.
  • The business courtesy is properly reflected on the books and records of AIRS.

Set Metrics and Report Results Accurately

Accurate Public Disclosures

We will make certain that all disclosures made in financial reports are full, fair, accurate, timely and understandable. This obligation applies to all AIRS Members, including all financial executives, with any responsibility for the preparation for such reports, including drafting, reviewing and signing or certifying the information contained therein. No business goal of any kind is ever an excuse for misrepresenting facts or falsifying records.

AIRS Members should inform the Vice President of Human Resources and Compliance if they learn that information in any filing or public communication was untrue or misleading at the time it was made or if subsequent information would affect a similar future filing or public communication.

Corporate Recordkeeping

We create, retain and dispose of our Association records as part of our normal course of business in compliance with all AIRS policies and guidelines, as well as all regulatory and legal requirements.

All corporate records must be true, accurate and complete, and Association data must be promptly and accurately entered in our books in accordance with GAAPS and other applicable accounting principles.

We will not improperly influence, manipulate or mislead any audit, nor interfere with any auditor engaged to perform an independent audit of AIRS books, records, processes or internal controls.

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 Association policy. If we are concerned whether the standards are being met or are aware of violations of the Code, we must contact the Human Resources department. We take seriously the standards set forth in the Code, and violations are cause for disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Integral to our business success is our protection of confidential Association information, as well as nonpublic information entrusted to us by AIRS Members, customers and other business partners. Confidential and proprietary information includes such things as pricing and financial data, customer names/addresses or nonpublic information about other companies, including current or potential suppliers and vendors. We will not disclose confidential and nonpublic information without a valid business or legal purpose and proper authorization.

We Will Not Make Selective Disclosure

We will not selectively disclose any material that is nonpublic information with respect to AIRS, its business operations, plans, financial condition, results of operations or any development plan to AIRS Members.

Compliance

Compliance with these principles is an essential element in our business success. Our Compliance Committee is responsible for ensuring these principles are communicated to and understood and observed by all AIRS Members. Day to day responsibility is delegated to all management members who are responsible for implementing these principles, if necessary through more detailed guidance. Assurance of compliance is monitored and reported each year. Compliance with the code is subject to review by the board and subject to audit review. AIRS Members are expected to bring to management’s attention any breach or suspected breach of these principles. Provision has been made for AIRS Members to be able to report in confidence.

From time to time, AIRS Members will likely have questions as to how this Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct applies in particular situations. We expect all AIRS Members with such questions to discuss the exact circumstances with our Vice President of Human Resources and Compliance. Should the Vice President of Human Resources and Compliance be uncertain on what actions should be taken to ensure compliance with this Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, he/she will obtain further guidance by consulting with the Compliance Committee.

Use of Association Resources

Association resources, including time, material, equipment and information, are provided for Association business use. Nonetheless, occasional personal use is permissible as long as it does not affect job performance or cause a disruption to the workplace. AIRS Members and those who represent AIRS are trusted to behave responsibly and use good judgment to conserve Association 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 Association 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.

Solicitation of Association AIRS Members by non-AIRS Members is prohibited at all times. Solicitation by an employee of another employee is prohibited, while either the person does the soliciting or the person be solicited is on working time and or Association property. Distribution of materials by AIRS Members in work areas or on working time is prohibited.

In order to protect the interests of the AIRS network and our fellow AIRS Members, we reserve the right to monitor or review all data and information contained on an employee’s Association-issued computer or electronic device, the use of the Internet or AIRS’s intranet. We will not tolerate the use of Association resources to create, access, store, print, solicit or send any materials that are harassing, threatening, abusive, sexually explicit or otherwise offensive or inappropriate.

Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Members

Core value of AIRS

The purpose of this Code of Professional Conduct (the ‘Code’) is to identify those professional obligations that serve to protect the public in general, the client in particular, and the reputation of the profession of Certified Internet Research Specialist (the 'IRS”). The Code also clearly identifies each of the Associations expectations of its Members with respect to the Profession.

AIRS Members will be regulated by the terms of this Code and acknowledge that a breach of this Code may lead to disciplinary action, as set out in the By-laws of AIRS.

Certified Members shall ensure that their behavior is consistent with and reinforces a positive public image of the Profession.

Certified Members shall ensure that their activities will not conflict or be seen to conflict with their integrity, objectivity, or independence.

Certified Members shall ensure that their physical and emotional state is consistent with the requirements of client work, particularly when developing or providing professional advice.

Certified Members shall ensure that all their business affairs as consultants and otherwise shall comply with all applicable legislation and laws, as well as this Code.

All AIRS Members shall abide by and comply with all applicable legislation of the law and cannot and will not coerce, instigate, incite or in any way cause any person or persons to contravene any applicable legislation or laws at any time.

No member will present themselves on behalf of the AIRS to cause or imply their membership as means of representation or representative of AIRS.

All members will apply a “Duty of Due Care” as implied by the law and in accordance within By-laws and Charter of the AIRS in performing their professional duties.

No Member will act on of behalf of AIRS as an AGENT.

The public has the right to have confidence in AIRS Members (individually and collectively) and, therefore, any actions of the AIRS Member that jeopardize such trust will be considered “acting in a manner unbecoming to the IRS,” including:

  1. A violation of any applicable legislation or laws.
  2. A breach of this Code; and/or
  3. Any actions inside or outside of the context of the IRS Profession that may be perceived to be, detrimental and damaging to the Profession.
  4. AIRS Members who breach this Code shall be liable for suspension or expulsion from membership in AIRS or may be liable for any other penalties, in accordance with the terms of the disciplinary procedures of the Association.

AIRS Members shall maintain their knowledge and understanding of this Code and the Common Body of Knowledge as an Internet Researcher that is expected to have been gained through continuous studies and knowledge gathering either through certification from AIRS or through self-study and experience.

AIRS Members shall develop their skills and knowledge beyond the fundamentals described in the Common Body of Knowledge, particularly in their area(s) of preferred practice, to a level that is consistent with the needs of their clients and comparable to the services provided by other consultants in the same field.

All Members of AIRS will conduct themselves with utmost professionalism and maintain highest standards as expected by the AIRS under its Code of conduct and By-laws in accordance with its Charter.

All and any Member of the AIRS will freely report any known misconduct or unprofessional behavior to the Association.

All Members shall ensure that any and all Internet Research Specialists, who work under their assignments understand and comply with this Code will be responsible for any breach of this Code reported to their AIRS with respect to any Member of his or her team and will be liable to same actions and consequences that would apply if the Member alone failed to comply with the Code where it is determined that the Member was aware, or should have been aware, of the breach.

AIRS Members should not review work of another AIRS Member’s work if they in the case where there exists a conflict of interest in relation to their client and follow proper protocol under the By-laws of AIRS if such review is to be done.

The AIRS Member will look after the interest of the client on priority as long as it does not contravene any laws.

At all times AIRS Member will keep in view the confidentiality and interest of the client as a priority.

AIRS Members shall provide objective and independent advice and maintain objectivity and independence without external influence while conducting research work for their clients.

AIRS Members shall not guarantee qualitative or quantitative results that are not independently derived or constructed based on factors beyond their direct control.

All researched results for the clients will have to be properly referenced and the resource should be disclosed.

AIRS Members will respect any patented, copyrights, intellectual property of others and provide proper disclosure and where necessary obtain permission to use of such data/information in their research if it requires non-infringements and proper permissions of the author or researched data/information.

AIRS Members are obligated to identify and disclose any risks associated with such information obtained during the research for the client that may have a material impact on results, inferences and decision making of the client.

AIRS Members will not intentionally jeopardize, criticize or discredit work of the other members without cause or with the intent to cause harm and hijack the business of other members.

AIRS Members that falsely represents themselves as qualified Internet researchers without proper qualifications as determined by the AIRS Board of Directors at any time can cancel the membership and permanently ban the name of the Member from their database.

AIRS Members can be banned from their Membership if any false or misleading information regarding their experience and education is found at any time.

All Fees charged to the AIRS Member’s clients will have to be reasonable under the norms of the market trends and within reason of the nature and amount of research work conducted.

It is recommended that AIRS Members sign a “Retainers Agreement” with their clients and maintain proper books of accounts as expected within norms of the generally accepted accounting practices and within the framework of GAAP/IFRCS.

It is recommended that AIRS Members apply proper taxation in all aspects of the business transactions.

It is recommended that AIRS Members maintain proper Audit Trail of documents such as Estimates, Bills, Invoices, Receipt Books, Trust Accounts, Bank Books, and Petty cash, Keep record of all Bank Statements, Journals and Other Transaction Journals.

AIRS Members will have to confirm and disclose to the client in writing the estimates and billing arrangements related to professional fees, expenses, disbursements, and applicable taxes.

Should the terms of reference change during the course of the assignment, Certified Members shall ensure that any corresponding impact on fees, expenses, disbursements, taxes, or billing arrangements are communicated to the client and agreed to in writing.

Certified Members shall not permit for budget or time management purposes, a reduction in consulting time or in senior consulting involvement in an assignment if, as a result, the quality of service will be below that is described in the terms of reference.

AIRS Member will not create conflict of interest situation with any of Members client and maintain confidentiality and credibility of the profession as AIRS Member.

AIRS Member will sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure document with their client and where such document is not provided by the client the AIRS Member will provide one and duly sign the document and provide a copy to the client.

AIRS Members shall store confidential client information and third party personal information in accordance with the policies of the client and, in any event, in such a fashion that through diligence and normally accepted administrative practices, it is possible to safeguard the information at all times.

After the termination of contract or delivering the research assignment the AIRS Member will return any data or document belonging to the client immediately. The Member will not withhold or hold hostage the client for the documents and information confidential or not as a bargaining chip to recover amount owed by the client to the Member.

The rules pertaining to confidential client information shall not apply to compliance with a validly issued and enforceable subpoena and summons as long as disclosure of the information is not in violation of applicable legislation and laws.

The Board of Directors of AIRS has approved the above statements in its first Board Meeting. Members are welcome to challenge or improve this Code of Professional Conduct by submitting their opinions and making suggestions via email at bod@airsassociation.org.

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