Case Summaries 2017-2018

 Investigation determines a transfer of funds was legitimate

A disclosure alleged public funds were illegitimately transferred between two public sector organizations through unsupported invoices.  It was alleged this constituted a gross mismanagement of public funds.

The investigation found deficiencies in the authorization and approval of expenditures.   The Management Board responsible had not fulfilled its duties relating to the preparation and approval of formal budgets, and the approval of financial commitments and expenditures.

Although the expenditures were not properly approved and financial arrangements were poorly documented, there was no indication attempts were made to transfer funds in a non-transparent manner.  Moreover, the rationale for the expenditures was reasonable.  The actions did not demonstrate a willful or reckless disregard for the proper management of public funds, and therefore did not constitute gross-mismanagement.


Investigation finds no wrongdoing in discretionary decision to waive regulated requirements

It was alleged a senior manager within a government department contravened legislation by allowing individuals to conduct activities outside of regulated requirements.  The investigation concluded the senior manager exercised discretion and made reasonable operational decisions which were permitted by the legislation. In this case, a wrongdoing did not occur


Investigation concludes public school division did not create a danger to health and safety

A public school division was accused of creating a danger to the health and safety of staff and students following the discovery of mould in a dormitory-style residence.  It was alleged the school division failed or neglected to maintain the residence resulting in mould contamination, and failed to respond to health and safety risks resulting from the mould.

The investigation found that although the presence of mould at the residence could have posed a potential health risk to certain individuals, the school division was not responsible for the maintenance of the residence; rather, the residence was owned by a private non-profit society and was leased to the school division.  Further, the investigation concluded the school division responded appropriately when the mould was discovered by ensuring professional remediation occurred and by billeting students until the residence was deemed safe.   The school division did not create a danger to the health and safety of individuals, and therefore wrongdoing did not occur.


Investigation not required as issue already addressed by department

A disclosure alleged a department was not responding to complaints regarding the safety of children in care.  The concerns were reviewed with the department and it was found the department was alive to the issues and was already addressing all of the concerns.  An investigation was not initiated as it was determined the subject matter of the complaint was already appropriately being addressed by the department.

In certain circumstances, it is more efficient to make inquiries and review a disclosure with a public entity before initiating a full-scale investigation.  Investigations can be time-consuming pulling government employees away from their work of delivering services to the public. In this case, our office was able to confirm quite quickly the subject-matter of the disclosure was already being addressed and a full-scale investigation was not required.

Often, due to privacy reasons, whistleblowers may be unaware of actions a department or public entity is taking in response to a complaint.  Contacting a Designated Officer or the Public Interest Commissioner is an effective mechanism for employees to ensure their concerns about potential wrongdoing are being addressed.