Case Summaries 2010 - 2011
Alleged grave danger and gross mismanagement in relation to a regulatory matter
It was alleged that public servants were responsible for creating grave danger and gross mismanagement for failing to properly enforce and administer a set of standards against a third party. The investigation concluded that the actions of the public servants were in accordance with applicable comprehensive policies and procedures and did not create grave danger. The Commissioner was satisfied with the investigation and closed the file. The Commissioner did not make a recommendation or issue a request for additional information.
Alleged wrongdoing in relation to a regulatory process (Commissioner’s Investigation)
The Commissioner commenced an investigation because she was not satisfied with a request for information related to a matter that was substantially concluded in fiscal 2008–09. The disclosure related to an alleged wrongdoing in relation to a regulatory process. As is required under the Act, the Commissioner first referred the matter to a senior official within the ministry for investigation. The initial investigation conducted by the senior official identified a number of significant policy gaps to explain the conduct that was alleged to be wrongdoing. The senior official undertook to carry out corrective actions to deal with the policy gaps and other specific issues and provide status reports on those actions. The Commissioner was satisfied with the response of the senior official but continued to follow up with the matter through status reports. When the status reports revealed the corrective actions may not have been completed in accordance with appropriate timelines, the Commissioner decided to undertake a fresh investigation.
The Commissioner’s investigation confirmed that there was a lack of policy clarity that was caused by a lack of sufficient information and awareness about the nature of the risk posed by the regulated activity. The situation was exacerbated by the failure of the ministry to oversee the operations of the unit in relation to the regulated activity. This lack of oversight allowed the unit to operate without a ministry-approved mandate or clear guidelines for performing its role in relation to the regulated activity or for managing its relationship with key stakeholders in the area. The lack of policy clarity and failure of the ministry to oversee the unit’s activities in relation to the issue resulted in inconsistent application of the regulatory program. The Commissioner concluded that it was not reasonable for the ministry to allow inconsistent implementation of a regulatory program when it fell short of its understanding of the nature of the underlying risk.
The Commissioner made a number of recommendations, all of which were accepted by the ministry. The ministry has since implemented the recommendations.
It was alleged that a public servant was engaged in theft. A preliminary investigation was conducted and did not detect any theft but identified procedural weaknesses in the processes in place. The senior official undertook to continue to review and improve the processes. The Commissioner was satisfied with the investigation and the commitment by the senior official to review and improve processes, and the file was closed. The Commissioner did not make a recommendation or issue a request for additional information.
Conflict of interest allegation in relation to hiring (contravention of a regulation)
It was alleged that a public servant had contravened the conflict of interest rules with respect to hiring. The investigation concluded that no contravention, and accordingly no wrongdoing, had occurred but that there was a reasonable basis to give rise to a perception that one had occurred. Corrective actions were undertaken to address the issues and to raise awareness of the conflict of interest rules. The Commissioner was satisfied with the investigation and the corrective actions, and closed the file. The Commissioner did not make a recommendation or issue a request for additional information.