Social Media Guidelines

Social media plays an expanding role in the everyday lives and work of Islands Trust employees and trustees.

Our social media activity, whether as an individual or in an official capacity, can impact public trust and confidence.

Our use of social media in official capacities also impacts the quality and responsiveness of service we provide for community members.

Grey and yellow surfbirds standing on shoreline rocks

As employees, we are responsible to ensure our social media activities comply with the Oath of EmploymentStandards of Conduct and other policies and regulations we follow as public service employees. In keeping with the same standard, trustees are responsible to follow their Oath of Office.


The Islands Trust has an interest and expectation in deciding what is “spoken” on behalf of Islands Trust through the use of Social Media sites (including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter). These Social Media Guidelines are for the establishment and use of Social Media by Islands Trust to convey information.

Information may include the Islands Trust, the Islands Trust Conservancy, events and activities, and the Islands Trust Area. The intended audience is members of the public who are interested in the protection and preservation of this unique region.

If you have questions about appropriate professional or personal use of social media, please talk to the Director of Trust Area Services or the Islands Trust Privacy Officer.

General Guidelines 

  1. Island Trust sites should make clear that they are maintained by the Islands Trust and that they follow the Islands Trust Social Media Guidelines.
  2. Wherever possible, Islands Trust Social Media sites should link back to the official Islands Trust website for forms, documents, online services, and other information necessary to conduct business with the Islands Trust.
  3. Department-designated Social Media Administrators will monitor content on Islands Trust Social Media sites to ensure adherence to both the Social Media Policy and the interest and goals of the Islands Trust.
  4. The Islands Trust reserves the right to restrict or remove any content that is deemed in violation of these Social Media Guidelines or any applicable law. Any content removed based on these guidelines must be retained by the department-designated Social Media Administrator(s) for one year, including the time, date and identity of the poster, when available.
  5. These guidelines must be displayed to users or made available by hyperlink.
  6. The Islands Trust will approach the use of Social Media tools as consistently as possible.
  7. The Islands Trust website will remain the Islands Trust’s primary and predominant Internet presence.
  8. All Islands Trust Social Media sites shall adhere to applicable federal and provincial laws, regulations and policies.
  9. Comments on topics or issues not within the jurisdictional purview of the Islands Trust may be removed.
  10. Employees and contractors representing the Islands Trust via Social Media sites must conduct themselves at all times as a representative of the Islands Trust and in accordance with all Islands Trust policies and these Guidelines.
  11. These Social Media Guidelines may be revised at any time.
  12. These Guidelines are based on and conform to the Guidelines for Government Use of Social Media by B.C. Public Servants.

General Recommendations for Participation in Social Media

  1. Islands Trust staff are asked to use common sense, caution and judgement when posting on all social media sites.
  2. Islands Trust staff must consult with the Trust Area Services Communications Staff, rather than using their personal accounts to post Islands Trust content. Staff and trustees are encouraged to pass ideas for content on to these designates who will decide if the content meets these Guidelines and the overall purpose of Islands Trust Social Media. Accepted content will only be posted by these designates.
  3. Posters are reminded that communication through social media is public, even if posting anonymously, and generally stays online even when a post is removed.
  4. Staff may not disclose information regarding the Islands Trust that they are not authorized to disclose.
  5. Islands Trust employees or contractors can share, like, re-post or re-Tweet positive content that members of the public or other agencies have shared on their respective channels, and that relates to projects with which Islands Trust is associated.

Personal use of Social Media by Trustees, Staff and Contractors

  1. Users must be clear when posting if they are commenting as a private individual or as an Islands Trust trusteeemployee or contractor.
  2. It’s important to recognize that the lines between “personal” and “business” social media activity can be blurry. Islands Trust trusteesemployees or contractors should distinguish personal content on their social properties (e.g. “Everything posted on this blog/Twitter feed is my personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of my employer or members of the public”).
  3. If you’re an Islands Trust trusteeemployee or contractor and are thinking of engaging in an online dialogue that is controversial and might reflect negatively on Islands Trust, or any government entity, you must abide by the Standards of Conduct and Social Media Guidelines for BC Public Service Employees. If it’s determined that it could have a negative impact on Islands Trust, either you will not make the comment/engage in the conversation, or you would end your association with Islands Trust.
  4. Personal social media accounts should be clear that they are not representing Islands Trust, including Islands Trust data, landowner or tenant data, partner and/or supplier data, personal employee data, and any information not generally available to the public.
  5. Islands Trust-owned devices and/or email addresses are subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA).
  6. The Islands Trust logo may not be used on personal websites, social media pages and/or email.
  7. Employees are advised to review Social Media Guidelines for BC Public Service Employees to inform your personal use of social media as a public servant. While the guidelines for personal use are new in 2019, the expectations they reflect are not. They focus on the principles that will help you make informed choices about your online activity that won’t conflict with your commitments to the Islands Trust.

Comment Policy

Where interactivity is enabled in an Islands Trust social media site (for example, a Facebook page), the Islands Trust will provide a Terms of Use Statement. Posters must understand that any comment posted online is permanently available to the public and may be reposted or published in other media. Personal privacy, libel, copyright and private-sector data protection laws apply.

  1. As a public entity the Islands Trust must abide by certain standards to serve all its constituents in a civil and unbiased manner.
  2. Terms of Use: Comments or content containing any of the following inappropriate forms of content shall not be permitted and are subject to removal and/or restriction at the discretion of the Islands Trust.
    • Comments not related to the business of the Islands Trust (or specific department if applicable), or not relevant to the original topic
    • Violent, profane, obscene or pornographic content and/or language
    • Sexual comments or links to sexual content
    • Content that promotes, fosters or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender, mental health, or national origin
    • Comments that support or oppose political campaigns
    • Off-topic comments or repetitive or multiple postings by the same user
    • Personal attacks that discuss, threaten or defame any person or organization
    • Content that is hateful or incites violence
    • Solicitation of commerce, including but not limited to, advertising of any non-government related event, or business or product for sale
    • Conduct in violation of any federal, provincial or local law
    • Encouragement of any illegal activity
    • Information that may tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems
    • Content that violates the intellectual property of any party, such as copyright, wordmarks, logos and other branding associated with the government
    • Content that violates the privacy and confidentially of a third-party, including identifying information or names of family members
    • Content that violates public hearing rules or other official consultations that are part of defined legislative processes
    • Matters before the courts
  1. Comments posted by members of the public on any Islands Trust Social Media site is the opinion of the commentator or poster only, and publication of a comment does not imply endorsement of, or agreement by, the Islands Trust. External comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the Islands Trust.
  2. The Islands Trust reserves the right to deny access to the Islands Trust Social Media sites for any individual who violates this Social Media Policy, at any time and without prior notice.
  3. Trust Area Services shall monitor Islands Trust Social Media Sites for comments requesting responses from the Islands Trust and for comments in violation of this policy.
  4. When an employee responds to a comment, in their capacity as an Islands Trust employee, the employee’s name and title should be made available, and the employee shall not share personal information about themselves, or other Islands Trust employees.

Reporting/Removal of Unauthorized Comments

The Islands Trust requires that Department-designated Social Media Administrators immediately notify the Director, Trust Area Services if there is any posted material that may be inappropriate, that violates these guidelines, or any Islands Trust policy, is illegal, or that potentially infringes the copyrights or other rights of any persons. The Director, Trust Area Services will investigate and respond to all reports of potential violations of this Policy.

Any content removed based on these guidelines must be retained by the sponsoring Department for a reasonable period of time, including the time, date and identity of the poster, when available.

The Islands Trust reserves the right, at any time and without prior notice, to deny access to the Social Media site to any individual who violates this Policy.


There are legislated restrictions through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) that set out what information government may collect, use and disclose. The definition of personal information has a broad scope and includes, among other things, an individual’s home address or email, appearance and image, educational and employment history, and personal opinions.

Employees posting photos or videos used on any Islands Trust Social Media Site must have a signed release from those portrayed.

Terms of Service 

Each type of Social Media maintains a “Terms of Use” agreement. All comments posted to any Islands Trust Social Media Site are bound by these Terms of Use and the Islands Trust reserves the right to report any user violation.