Response from ADM(RS): Concerning PSDPA

19 October 2015

 

Mr. Gary Walbourne
Ombudsman
National Defence Headquarters
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K2

 

Dear Mr. Walbourne,

GOVERNANCE ISSUES AND THE PSDPA

  1. We have conducted a review of your letter dated 25 August 2015, in which you propose significant modifications to the manner in which Internal Disclosure Office (IDO) receives, investigates and reports on formal Disclosures of Wrongdoing, in particular those submitted by public servants within the Office of the Ombudsman. We have identified significant concerns regarding your proposals in that they are non-compliant with, and / or contrary to the spirit of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA). In essence, what you are proposing will have the effect of removing the right of confidentiality that your DND employees are entitled to under the PSDPA. The IDO was created to provide the advice and guidance to DND employees confronted with wrongdoing within the workplace, and assist them in the event they wish to submit a formal disclosure of wrongdoing under the act. Further details regarding your proposals are identified in Appendix 1.
     
  2. While I can appreciate your desire to preserve the independence of Ombudsman investigations, I cannot support proposals which do not confirm with the requirements of the PSDPA. I am prepared to offer the following. In the event a discloser from the Office of the Ombudsman makes a formal disclosure of wrongdoing to IDO which involves the Office of the Ombudsman, my organization will engage an independent external third party investigator to conduct the investigation. The third party investigator will determine the facts of the case and provide their findings to me (Senior Disclosure Officer), who will determine whether or not the findings constitute wrongdoing under the PSPDA. You will then be provided with the specific information you require in order to address any identified problems. I must make it clear, that under no circumstances will your office have an investigative role to play. I trust this proposal is satisfactory.

Yours Sincerely,

 

Amipal Manchanda
Assistant Deputy Minister (Review Services)
Department of National Defence
66 Slater Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0K2

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