HR Toolkit

HR Policies & Employment Legislation

Sample Policies on Common HR Topics

Internet and e-mail use

Computers and the internet have changed the way we work and communicate. One of the results is an increase in policies that outline general principles and philosophies, clarify boundaries of acceptable practices for the employee and encourage responsible use. Policies may cover the use of the computer (possible offsite, personal use) security issues, guidelines for internet and e-mail, and the right to monitor employee use.

When creating an internet use policy, address the following issues:

  • Whether employees are allowed to browse the web for personal use as well as business purposes
  • When employees can use the web for personal use (lunch hours, after-hours, etc.)
  • If and how the organization monitors web use and what level of privacy employees can expect
  • Web activity that is not allowed. Spell out examples of unacceptable behavior, but be sure to say the list is not inclusive and that employees are expected to use good judgment. In many workplaces unacceptable behaviour includes downloading offensive content, threatening or violent behaviour, illegal activities, commercial solicitations (non-business related)

* Also consider appropriate images for screen savers and wallpaper backgrounds

Provide two copies of the policy to employees - one for them to keep and another for them to sign and return to you. Legislation is developing quickly in this area so it is a good idea to stay informed on changes and comments by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.


Sample policies

Rules of Conduct Regarding Computer Use - National Organization (PDF - 41KB)

  • Provides further details on acceptable standards for the use of computing systems, use of software, and use of the Internet

Electronic Equipment - Big Sister and Big Brother Society of Edmonton and Area (PDF - 36KB)

  • Clearly states guidelines around unacceptable email practice as well as personal use. Mentions possibility of monitoring

Use of Society Property - National Organization (PDF - 39KB)

  • Covers the use of society property by volunteers and employees
  • Covers the use of both computers and the Internet (refer to appendix A, below) as well as Intellectual Property and Physical Property