Case Summaries 2021-2022
Alleged mismanagement and Conflict of Interest (Referral)
A discloser alleged that a senior public servant engaged in gross mismanagement by improperly disclosing confidential information about a ministry employee to their colleague and asking that colleague to investigate whether the employee was engaging in outside employment while on a leave of absence. It was also alleged that a second senior public servant engaged in gross mismanagement by creating a toxic work environment and also breached the Conflict of Interest Rules by hiring and managing a close personal friend. The Commissioner referred the matter to the deputy minister, who found that the evidence relating to the gross mismanagement allegation against the first senior public servant was inconclusive. The allegations against the second senior public servant were substantiated. The Commissioner was satisfied with the investigation conducted and did not commence his own investigation but made recommendations to the deputy minister to take additional measures to address workplace conduct and that the second senior public servant receive conflict of interest training.
Alleged Conflict of interest in hiring (Referral)
A discloser alleged that a senior public servant in a ministry breached the Conflict of Interest Rules by improperly hiring a relative for a summer intern position, later hiring the same relative on a short term contract and giving them an opportunity for advancement to a position for which they were unqualified. The Commissioner referred the matter to the deputy minister, who found that although the allegations regarding the hiring of the relative were substantiated, the allegation regarding the opportunity for advancement was not. The deputy minister indicated that corrective action would be taken on the first finding. The Commissioner was satisfied with the investigation and the proposed corrective action and closed the file.
Alleged mismanagement and creation of a grave danger (Referral)
A discloser alleged that a ministry employee engaged in gross mismanagement and created a grave danger by failing to ensure the appropriate planning, training and resources existed to support an approved protocol. The Commissioner referred the matter to the deputy minister for investigation, who found that the allegation specific to the ministry employee was unsubstantiated and that there was no evidence found to substantiate the allegation of grave danger. However, the investigation did reveal that the gross mismanagement allegation was substantiated at an institutional level. The investigation found that the substantiated allegations reflected a historical lack of investment in staffing resources, to which the deputy minister suggested a course of action. The Commissioner was satisfied with the investigation conducted and with the suggested course of action but asked that the deputy minister report back regarding the implementation of the recommendations.
Alleged Preferential Treatment (Referral)
A discloser alleged that a senior public servant in an agency breached the Conflict of Interest Rules by giving, or appearing to give, preferential treatment to friends and associates. The Commissioner referred the matter to an appropriate Ethics Executive for investigation, who found evidence that the allegation was substantiated. The Ethics Executive proposed that the agency take specific actions in relation to the finding, including revising policies and increasing training on ethical conduct. The Commissioner was satisfied with the investigation conducted but asked that the agency provide an update regarding the outcome of the proposed actions.