Members of the House of Commons and their family members are not allowed to accept gifts or other benefits that might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence the Members in the exercise of a duty or function of their office.
The Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons expressly provides that this acceptability test also applies to gifts or other benefits received when attending charitable or political events, as well as to gifts or other benefits received from an all-party caucus established in relation to a particular subject or interest.
Trinkets or favours, such as pins, pens, notepads, key chains, T-shirts or inexpensive carrying cases provided to event attendees would generally not reasonably be seen to have been given to influence Members. They may also accept gifts or other benefits that are not related to their position from family and friends.
There are exceptions to the acceptability test. Members and their family members may accept gifts or other benefits received as a normal expression of courtesy or protocol, or that are within the customary standards of hospitality that normally accompany the Members’ position.
A "normal expression of courtesy or protocol" would include a token expression of appreciation received in the context of some official interaction, for example if a Member is performing a ceremonial or representational role at the event, as a speaker, presenter, host or parliamentary representative. This exception would also apply to a ticket offered to the Member’s guest.
What is considered to be within the "customary standards of hospitality" accompanying a Member’s position depends on the circumstances. For example, a gift or other benefit given by a visiting official from a foreign or international organization would normally be covered by this exception.
If a gift or other benefit is unacceptable under the Code, Members and their family members are prohibited not only from accepting it directly, but also from accepting it indirectly. This means that gifts and other benefits that do not pass the acceptability test cannot be accepted by Members’ staff or anyone else on their behalf or instead of them. Members may not give or redirect an unacceptable gift to someone else, donate it to a charity or direct that it be donated to a charity in their name or in the name of another person, including a family member.
If, in error, a Member or a member of their family accepts a gift or other benefit that might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence the Member, they must return it immediately or reimburse the donor for its cost.