A Note on Ethics

Ethics (from the Greek ethos "character, custom, morals") is a philosophical discipline dealing with value judgments. Codes of ethics are based on the human principles of good and evil. Often, we mix ethics with justice. Legal norms are written laws that may be different from one region to another, while ethical standards are more universal values. Indeed, something can be legal, but not ethical.

As project management professionals, we are constantly subject to this type of dilemma, and we are invited to always make the most ethical choices, even if this choice would have an impact on the budget or schedule of our project. As an example, in the construction industry, if one of the activities related to the project would have direct impacts on the environment, the best ethical policy is to go beyond the legal aspects, to respect those who live in areas that would be impacted by the project.

In Québec and in most of Canada, project management adheres to a code of ethics that governs the actions of PMI members. They determined the four core values that drive (or encourage) project management professionals to be ethical: honesty, responsibility, respect and fairness.

The project management practice requires not only the formal adoption of the code, but its effective application as part of the regular activities of the project manager. Adherence to the Code of Ethics is not optional, regardless of the type of profession to which the member belongs. This demonstrates the importance given to it and the need to understand the issues and challenges associated with its adoption and implementation.

In Québec, the PMI Code of Conduct is no different from the one adopted in the rest of the world. For more information, please visit and read the PMI Code of Ethics on the website: https://www.pmi.org/about/ethics/code (English content).


In addition, it is important to know that Quebec's professional orders have their own code of conduct. Therefore, if you want to practice one of the professions regulated by a professional order, you must understand its rules and know its code of conduct. For more information on the professional orders, please consult: https://www.opq.gouv.qc.ca/orders-professionnels/.

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