1. Objectives and Scope
1.1 General Objective
The purpose of this policy is to define and demarcate the activities of Option consommateurs with respect to partnerships, including those related to sponsorships, advertising and visibility tools, the whole in accordance with the mission and values of Option consommateurs.
Our mission: to help consumers and defend their rights.
Our values: commitment, discipline, empathy, independence, and integrity.
1.2 Specific objectives
- To permit Option consommateurs to fulfill its mission while respecting its values;
- To contribute to the welfare of consumers, especially vulnerable and low income people, in all spheres of society;
- To assist consumers by offering them budgetary and legal services as well as defending their rights and interests;
- To promote the representation of consumer rights and interests through investigations and research, as well as through advocacy with governments and the legislative process;
- To ensure that the activities of Option consommateurs and the positions that it adopts publicly are excluded from any undue influence by financial or commercial interests;
- To maintain and enhance public, organizational and stakeholder trust through the adoption of a transparent and rigorous partnership management framework;
- To establish the guiding principles of partnership action, including those aimed at ensuring the strict independence of the organization.
1.3 Scope of the Policy
This policy specifies, inter alia:
- The definitions and types of possible partnerships
- The guiding principles that will guide the choice of partners
- The roles and responsibilities of the committee responsible for screening partners
- The accountability mechanisms.
2. Definitions and types of possible partnerships
Option consommateurs may request and accept partnerships in the following categories:
- Key Partners, who receive a comprehensive visibility plan
- Training Partners, who finance our training and/or conferences in exchange for visibility
- Benefit Evening Partners
- Events Partners (panels, discussion tables, etc.)
- Webzine Partners
- Webzine Advertisers
- Web Content Exhibitors
- Associate Partners
- Specific Project and/or Service Partners
3. Selection of partners
Option consommateurs wishes to collaborate with multiple organizations. It is equally interested in public, private and non-profit organizations (universities, professional associations, etc.).
In order to guide the decision-making process with regard to the acceptance or rejection of a partnership, Option consommateurs must take into consideration the applicant’s compliance with all the objectives listed in Article 1.2.
Moreover, any possible partnership agreement must be considered in the light of the following:
- Would a project with this partner be consistent with our mission and values?
- Could a project with this partner impact or overshadow the independence of Option consommateurs?
- Would a project with this partner harmoniously complement the image and reputation of Option consommateurs?
- Could a project with this partner:
- Damage the image or reputation of Option consommateurs?
- Contradict messages promoting and defending the rights and interests of consumers supported by Option consommateurs?
- Contradict positions taken by Option consommateurs in its publications or position statements?
- Would a project with this partner fit into our overall strategy?
- Is the partnership project motivated by the pursuit of goals shared by both parties?
- Is this partner a merchant, or a private for-profit company? In the latter case, such a partner can only be a Benefit Evening Partner (in exchange, for example, for a sum of money from the partner) to whom Option consommateurs will provide visibility or benefits to be defined in the specific context of the benefit evening).
No organization whose image, products or services are contrary to OC’s mission may enter into a partnership agreement. The independence, reputation and long-term integrity of Option consommateurs must always be considered before its financial needs.
Acceptance of a partnership with an organization does not imply an endorsement of the values, products, activities and practices of that organization.
Option consommateurs reserves the right to refuse or withdraw a partnership activitý that does not comply, or no longer complies, with its guidelines and limitations as set forth in Section 3.2 of this Policy.
3.2 Restrictions and limitations
Option consommateurs reserves the right to refuse or terminate any partnership that:
- Contravenes its current rules and regulations;
- Disregards standards, and generally accepted scientific or legal positions;
- Uses offensive, derogatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, defamatory or otherwise inappropriate language;
- Is inconsistent with its mission, its values, its governance and its vision, or contravenes any of the aforementioned items.
With regard to advertising, Option consommateurs reserves the right to request any change and to remove any advertisement that is inconsistent with its mission, governance values, vision and values of the profession or that contravenes one of the aforementioned items, which shall be at the expense of the advertiser, the sponsor, the exhibitor or partner, without compensation.
Wirth regard to the publication of content, Option consommateurs reserves the right to request a change and remove any content that does not comply with its mission, governance values, vision and values of the profession or that contravenes one of the aforementioned items, which shall be at the expense of the advertiser, the sponsor, the exhibitor or partner, without compensation.
4. Partnership Committee and screening process
The Board shall appoint a committee to support the Director General in the selection of partnership projects; its members shall be appointed by resolution. The committee shall consist of a minimum of two administrators and one employee of Option consommateurs, other than the Director, and a maximum of 5 people. The Director General shall support the work of the Committee and ensure a continuous presence.
Members of the partnership committee must agree to:
- Demonstrate professionalism, transparency and integrity;
- Contribute partnership decisions and approaches that are for the good of of Option consommateurs’ mission, and never based on personal interest.
The partnership committee shall:
- Survey opportunities, in collaboration with senior management, for potentially interesting partnership projects for Option consommateurs;
- Select potential partners in accordance with the objectives and guiding principles set forth in this policy;
- Ensure that a background check is carried out on every potential partner. This verification shall be performed on the basis of available information and shall take into consideration their ethical commitments, their reputation and their character;
- Report partnership projects under consideration to the Board of Directors at Board meetings;
- Support senior management’s partnership development goals.
5. Transparency and accountability
- This policy shall be made public and posted on the Option consommateurs website.
- The partnership committee shall produce an Annual Report, to be submitted to Option consommateurs’ Board of Directors.
- The identities of all partners shall be made public and be published on the OC website.
6. Partnerships agreements
In addition to the duties and responsibilities of the parties, the partnership agreement produced by Option consommateurs and submitted to its partners formalizes their commitment. It must include:
- A section that lists and describes the type of agreement and partnership with partners (scope of the agreement);
- A section that presents the areas of expertise that can be utilized, such as content, knowledge management, marketing and financing;
- A section that establishes general guidelines regarding the various models and rules envisaged, such as the types of eligible expenditures and the policy for allocating expenses and potential revenues;
- A section that specifies financial terms and conditions;
- A clause that allows for breach of contract and termination penalties in the event that questionable or fraudulent organizational practices are discovered within the partner organization or that the organization no longer respects the objectives and guiding principles set forth in this policy;
- A clause containing a declaration that Option consommateurs does not endorse the products or services of the partner organization.
7. What we expect of our partners
Every partnership agreement implies that:
- Option consommateurs is free to express itself, in complete independence and in all its spheres of activity;
- Option consommateurs must approve all communications related to the partnership that the partner makes public;
- Option consommateurs is free to pursue any legal remedies, including a class action suit on behalf of its members, even if one of its partners is involved.
The Board is responsible for the adoption of this policy and any changes thereto. The Director General is responsible for the implementation of this Policy.
The policy will be reviewed every three years as of its date of adoption. If required, however, it may be reviewed more often.
10. Date of entry into force
The Policy shall come into force on the date of its adoption by the Board of Directors of Option consommateurs.
 Taking into account the fact that Option consommateurs’ positions may change over time, particularly as a result of changing technologies.