Ottawa, July 9, 2020
Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion today reported on a matter referred to him in January 2020 by the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. The Report on alleged wrongdoing by a tribunal member was released under section 68 of the Conflict of Interest Act.
The report concerns allegations of a conflict of interest made by two members of a federal administrative tribunal against another member of the same tribunal in relation to the selection of members for an internal training opportunity. Neither the disclosers nor the subject of the allegations is identified as Commissioner Dion determined there would be no benefit in doing so.
Commissioner Dion sought details and supporting documents from the disclosers and the subject of the allegations. After thoroughly reviewing that information, he concluded there was no reason to believe the Act may have been contravened and decided not to launch an examination. He now considers the matter closed.
Quotes from Commissioner Dion
“The report issued today fulfills my obligation under the Conflict of Interest Act to review and report on matters referred to me by the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. I am not launching an examination as I have no reason to believe the Act may have been contravened."
“I am committed to making our Office and its work as transparent as possible, while respecting the Conflict of Interest Act's confidentiality requirements. There may, however, be other valid reasons for not disclosing information even when we are permitted to do so. In this case, there would be no benefit in identifying anyone involved."
When a referral is made by the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner under subsection 24(2.1) of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, whether or not an investigation is launched, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is required to issue a report pursuant to section 68 of the Conflict of Interest Act.
Section 68 ensures the concerns raised in the referrals are reviewed and reported on. All reports under the Act are provided to the Prime Minister and made public.
As the Report on alleged wrongdoing by a tribunal member does, reports on such referrals must set out the facts in question, the analysis of the situation and Commissioner Dion's conclusions.
The Office previously reported on 10 referrals from the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, including four that resulted in examinations. Those reports are available on the Office's website.
The Conflict of Interest Act applies to ministers, ministers of state, parliamentary secretaries, the Chief Electoral Officer, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, ministerial staff, ministerial advisers, most Governor-in-Council appointees, some ministerial appointees and any persons designated by the Governor in Council to be subject to the Act. They are referred to as public office holders.
Public office holders are in a conflict of interest when they exercise an official power, duty or function that provides an opportunity to further their private interests or those of relatives or friends, or to improperly further another person's private interests.
The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner was created under the Federal Accountability Act. The Commissioner applies the Conflict of Interest Act for public office holders and the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons.
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