Mission and Values


Established in 1996 with Canadian Government start-up funding, CANADEM is an international not-for-profit NGO dedicated to advancing international peace and security through the rostering, rapid mobilization, and mission management of experts committed to International Service with the UN, other IGOs, NGOs, and governments.

  • CANADEM is determined to strengthen the activities of international organizations, in particular the UN, OSCE, other inter-governmental agencies and institutions, and their non-governmental partners, all working to advance the universal principles of the UN Charter, international peace & security.

  • CANADEM believes that individuals are the key elements of international organizations. Only with the right individuals working as teams can organizations, agencies and missions fully achieve their goals. Identifying those skilled individuals is crucial.

  • CANADEM is driven by its core vocation to assist international organizations to identify and engage skilled individuals. Concurrently this assists individuals to find their international niche and achieve their fullest potential in the struggle to advance human rights, democracy, rule of law, good governance, and the multitude of other manifestations of international peace and security.

  • CANADEM believes in the importance of mentoring and facilitating young adults to enter International Service, the next generation of international experts.

Standards of Professional Conduct
Core principles and standards for international service, that guide the conduct of CANADEM and CANADEM individuals, as they look to advance international peace and security.​

Integrity, Service, and Accountability, provide a framework for CANADEM’s expectations for itself and all CANADEM individuals including staff, consultants, associates, locally engaged personnel, volunteers, as well as all CANADEM Roster Registrants.

We also endorse and consider binding other relevant codes of conduct for international service such as:

  • Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief;

  • OSCE ODIHR Observer Code of Conduct for election observation;

  • UN Secretary-General

All allegations of assault, harassment, or other serious misconduct by or against staff, deployees, or individuals rostered by CANADEM are taken very seriously and subsequent CANADEM action is guided by its Standards of Professional Conduct.  All relevant stakeholders such as the donors funding the deployment(s) concerned, will be informed of all allegations that rise to a sufficient level of concern taking into consideration factors such as the severity of the allegations and CANADEM’s ability to sufficiently investigate.  At a minimum, every allegation is recorded on personal files, and cumulative allegations are tracked as CANADEM has always worked to identify repeat offenders.


Openness, honesty and trustworthiness in dealing with beneficiaries, partners, co-workers, donors, funders, and the communities we affect.

  • Recognize that talented and committed individuals are our greatest asset, and interpersonal relations will reflect the highest standards of organizational and individual conduct.

  • Refrain from practices that undermine personal or organizational integrity including any form of exploitation, discrimination, harassment, retaliation or abuse of colleagues, beneficiaries, or the communities in which we work.

  • Respect the dignity, values, history, religion, and culture of those we work with and serve.

  • Recognize a duty of care for all colleagues and assume their reciprocal loyalty and dedication.

  • Work to merit the trust of our partners and the communities in which we work.

  • Respect equally the rights of women and men, and support the human rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  • Accept funds and donations only from sources whose aims are consistent with our mission and our values, and which do not undermine our independence and identity.


Our primary responsibility is to the people and issues we serve – our guiding goal is to help others.

  • Work to create durable solutions and conditions that foster peace, stability and social, economic, and political development.

  • Design and deliver programs to respond to beneficiaries’ needs including humanitarian relief, rehabilitation, good governance, human rights, democracy, rule of law, and post-conflict to long term development.

  • Seek to adopt best practices and evidence-based indicators that demonstrate the quality, impact, and utility of our work.


We are accountable – individually and collectively – for our behaviour, actions and impacts.

  • Be accountable and transparent in our dealings with colleagues, beneficiaries, partners, donors, and the communities we affect.

  • Be a responsible steward of funds entrusted to our use with a particular responsibility for public funds.

  • Utilize the resources available to our organization in order to pursue our mission and strategic objectives in cost effective ways.

  • Strive to eliminate waste and unnecessary expense, and to direct all possible resources to the people and issues we serve.

  • Provide sufficient and accurate financial information and information on our goals and activities to interested parties.

  • Support the rule of law, and strive to comply with the laws of the governing institutions where we work.

  • Do not engage in theft, corrupt practices, nepotism, bribery, or trade in illicit substances.

Conduct in the field is particularly challenging and subject to misinterpretation for a variety of reasons including the volatility of a situation, the multiplicity of international cultures and behaviours of colleagues, and the complexity of local society and their expectations.

  • In crises or urgent situations, necessary fast action or statements by you can be misunderstood by those who do not know and trust you, so be careful of how you say things and look for indications that you have been misunderstood.

  • Even close mission colleagues often will come from different cultures with different behaviours, so it is easy for them to misunderstand your actions or words, or for you to misunderstand them. Again, look for indications that you have been misunderstood, and don’t hesitate to indicate that you are uncomfortable with something they have said or done and give them an opportunity to explain.

  • Local society is both complex and usually very different from your home society. In addition, local expectations of local society can be extremely different from what you or your mission is mandated or capable of. And local society has to deal with multiple international agencies and multiple ‘internationals’ with quite different behaviours, so no wonder that they can easily misunderstand your behaviour.

  • Very importantly, you and other internationals are in a relatively powerful position in relation to the local population and you have a responsibility not to take advantage of that position even if not intended. Individuals in the local population can be, or perceive themselves as, dependent upon you and will not question you or push back. And so without any intent on your part, you may end up abusing your power unless you actively look to defend against such unintended consequences.

So in field missions, how best to conduct yourself professionally, and be seen to be acting professionally? To help we have set out some concrete examples of how to apply the CANADEM Standards for Professional Conduct:

  • Remain aware of the additional vulnerabilities of women and children in crisis situations;

  • Buying or arranging for any sexual services is grounds for dismissal, and it is also wrong to have sexual relations with any member of your mission’s target population or any person dependent upon you;

  • Sexual relations of any kind with children will result in immediate termination and possible legal action including imprisonment. For the purposes of this code of conduct, a child is any person under the age of 18 years. Mistaken belief in the age of the child does not constitute a defence;

  • Avoid any relationship with children which could in any way be misinterpreted as exploitative or abusive. The younger the children, the more your actions including touching or being in a room alone with them could be interpreted as abusive, and such actions should be avoided no matter how well intended.

  • Remain aware of the spread of smartphones with cameras, and ability of others to track your every email and download. For example, it is wrong to look at, save or spread pornographic material and you will be found out;

  • Avoid offensive language about anyone or any group of people that you assist or work with. Even better, try to avoid abusive or harsh language in any situation. See yourself as a diplomatic representative of your country, your mission, and the international community at large;

  • Be aware that organised crime can be present in many different types of activities. Avoid contact with illegal activity in all situations, even minor situations such as black-market currency exchanges. Criminal networks are such that even minor illegal dealings can result in you indirectly supporting organized crime up to and including human trafficking;

  • Do not give or accept bribes, or involve yourself with the trade of goods or services for personal gain. Do not act in a way that could give the impression that you expect anything in return. Actual or perceived corruption, abuse of power, will always be in direct contravention of what your mission and the international community is trying to achieve.

  • Even if local law permits alcohol, never drink on duty, nor drink and drive. Many decide not to drink when on mission, while others restrict themselves to moderate drinking during “leisure time” Of course avoid totally all classified narcotics. Of course, follow all local laws, it is both respectful and the law!

  • Informally encourage and assist your colleagues to act professionally, but remember that you have a duty to report serious breaches both to protect individuals being abused, and to protect the integrity of your mission. Find out what your mission procedures are for reporting misconduct, and in their absence, report to your supervisor.