Response from DM: Concerning Outstanding Delegations of Authorities

Nov 24 2015


Mr. Gary Walbourne
Office of the National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman
100 Metcalfe Street, 12 Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 5M1


Dear Mr. Walbourne,

This is in response to your most recent correspondence of October 5, 2015, as well your letters dated May 27, July 31, and August 25, 2015, pertaining to outstanding delegations of authorities for human resources management and governance proposals related to potential disclosures under the Public Servants Disclosure Act.

Prior to addressing the specific issues raised in the letters noted above, I wish to acknowledge that while your office is independent with respect the advice to the Minister of National Defence within you mandate as Ombudsman, a unique relationship exists between my accountabilities as Deputy Minister and your role as the DND/CAF Ombudsman. Specifically, as Deputy Minister I have specific authorities and accountabilities flowing from the Financial Administration Act with respect to the proper stewardship of resources and management of operations (finance, human resources, procurement etc.) within the Department, including your office. These responsibilities are being discharged in a manner that respects your mandate and that does not impinge on the independence of your office.

Further to our earlier discussion, we have made considerable effort to respond to your requests, including extensive consultations inside DND with ADM (Human Resources-Civilian), ADM (Review Services), legal services, as well as with bargaining agents.

I will address the three outstanding governance issues as presented in you 5 October 2015 letter.

“Reinstate previously held authority to respond to Canadian Human Right Commission complaints that may arise within the Ombudsman office.”

I have decided to re-instate your Generals Counsel’s delegation to respond to Canadian Human Rights Commission complaints, negotiate settlements and represent the Office of the Ombudsman before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in accordance with the conditions specified in the Instrument of Delegation of Human Resources Authorities for Civilian Employees of National Defence. Further, in carrying out this delegation, the General Counsel will be required to consult with Director General Workplace Management (DGWM), who has similar delegation for all other DND employees.

“Reinstate previously held third level authority subject to a limitation in cases where the Ombudsman’s objectively might be compromised.”

I have carefully considered the option you put forward regarding the reinstatement of your final level grievance authority and decided that the delegation instrument will be amended to reflect your authority to respond directly to final level grievances. This being said, the delegation instrument will also indicate the DGWM also holds this delegation and will be responsible to respond to all grievances pertaining to a decision in which you were personally involved or upon the request of the griever or his or her bargaining agent. It is important to underscore that regardless of the outcome of these grievances, responses issued by DGWM will be discussed with you prior to them being issued.

In addition, DGWM will be conducting a yearly review and monitoring of all final level grievances files in the Office of the Ombudsman. This review will ensure that the grievance process is consistent for all DND employees, and that decisions rendered take into account applicable legal and policy requirements.

“Respond to the governance proposal I put forward with respect to potential disclosures under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.”

In your letter to ADM(RS) dated 23 October 2015, you indicated your satisfaction with the following proposal:

“In the event a discloser from the Office of the Ombudsman makes a formal disclosure of wrongdoing to the Internal Disclosure Office which involves the Office of the Ombudsman, The ADM (RS) organization will engage an independent external third part investigator to conduct the investigation. ADM (RS) will initiate action to amend the current DAOD to reflect this arrangement between the two offices.”

As well, if you are in agreement with the above mentioned proposals I would like to incorporate them into the consolidated response being prepared to respond for the Public Accounts Committee.

Finally, I would like to address your comments that the changes in delegation were made without consultation. I am aware that the changes were made following the audit by the Office of the Auditor General, that you were consulted on said changes, and that the issues were discussed with you at the time of the development of the departmental response provided to the Office of the Auditor General. That said, I am confident that through these latest changes we have been able to successfully balance the needs of your office, the Department and all its employees with the exercise of your mandate, and am committed to continue to work with you as these changes are implemented.

I would be pleased to meet with you to discuss any further concerns you may have.



John Forster


c.c. Minister of National Defence

Enclosures (9)

    1. Letter from Ombudsman to Deputy Minister dated 10 Dec 2015
    2. DAOD Internal Procedures for Disclosure by DND Employees of Wrongdoings in the Workplace
    3. Letter from Ombudsman to Deputy Minister dated 10 Dec 2015
    4. Letter from Ombudsman to ADM on PSDPA dated 23 October 2015
    5. Letter from ADM to Ombudsman to ADM on PSDPA dated 19 October 2015
    6. Letter from Ombudsman to Deputy Minister on Governance Issues and Public Accounts Committee dated 5 October 2015
    7. Letter to ADM from Ombudsman on Governance Issues and the PSDPA dated 25 August 2015
    8. Letter from Ombudsman to Deputy Minister on Outstanding Governance Issues dated 25 August 2015
    9. Letter from Ombudsman to Deputy Minister on role as DND-CAF Ombudsman dated 31 July 2015
    10. Letter from Ombudsman to Deputy Minister on Grievance Process under the PSLRA dated 27 May 2015
Date modified: