I am Part of an Investigation. What Happens Now?

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The Public Service Commission (PSC) investigates appointment processes or allegations of improper political activities when there are sufficient grounds to investigate.

What happens now?

An investigator reviews the information and gathers any relevant or missing information. The investigator then proceeds with the investigation, using one or a combination of the following methods: individual or group interviews, fact-finding meetings or written submissions. Interviews and fact-finding meetings may be conducted in person, on-site, by teleconference or by videoconference.

When will I be contacted?

Once the investigator has determined who will be interviewed, a case management officer will contact the persons involved in the investigation to schedule an interview or fact-finding meeting with the investigator. Depending on the order and number of interviews required, it may take some time before you are contacted by the case management officer. You will receive a written confirmation of the date, time and place of the meeting and any other relevant instructions. Once scheduled, the date and time of the meeting will only be changed in exceptional circumstances. It is possible that the investigator decides that your testimony is not required, in which case you will not be contacted by the case management officer.

The investigator will contact you directly in cases where it has been decided to proceed by written submission.

What should I expect during the meeting with the investigator?

Official language

The interview or fact-finding meeting will be conducted in the official language of your choice (French or English).

Documentation

Relevant documents and questions are normally not provided in advance in order to allow for a spontaneous and truthful account of the events. During the interview, witnesses will have the opportunity to review documents relevant to the investigation. If you intend to refer to documents, please bring an additional copy for the investigator.

Recording the interview

All interviews and fact-finding meetings are recorded by the investigator. No other recordings will be permitted in order to protect the integrity of the investigation.

Explaining the investigation process

The investigator will outline the purpose of the investigation and provide information regarding the investigation process.

Oath or solemn affirmation

All testimonies are given under oath or solemn affirmation. Should you wish to testify under oath, please bring a copy of your preferred holy book or an artefact to the interview.

Confidentiality

The PSC asks that you do not discuss the investigation with anyone other than the person accompanying or representing you. Any questions, comments or concerns should be raised directly with the investigator.

Negative or adverse findings

The Commission may make any negative or adverse findings against anyone involved in the investigation.

Can I be represented or accompanied during the investigation?

Interviews or fact-finding meetings are not open to the general public.

Being part of an investigation can be a difficult experience. Please note that you have the right to be represented or accompanied by a person of your choice (e.g., a lawyer, union representative, spouse or friend) throughout the investigation. This person must not be a potential witness in the matter under investigation. In advance of your meeting with the investigator, you will be asked to provide the name and contact information of that person to the case management officer.

If you choose to be represented, your attendance is still required for any interview or fact-finding meeting deemed necessary by the investigator.

Please note that your representative can advise you but cannot testify on your behalf.

When can I provide comments or submissions?

If you have been identified as a person involved in the investigation, you could be asked to provide written submissions, testimony or comments on the evidence gathered. This information may be communicated to persons involved in the investigation in a Factual Report.

Persons and the organization affected by the conclusion of an investigation into a founded concern or allegation will be asked to provide comments and submissions on the Investigation Report and the proposed corrective action.

What happens to the information shared with the investigator?

Information gathered during the investigation may be included in a Factual Report, which may be distributed to persons involved in the investigation. Information gathered may also be included in an Investigation Report, which will be distributed to the deputy head of the organization affected and to persons affected by the investigation.

Information provided in the context of the investigation is subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Any information related to an investigation could become a matter of public record if the Commission's final decision is contested at the Federal Court.

Who will receive the Investigation Report?

The Investigation Report, including the analysis and conclusion, is prepared by the investigator and sent to the organization and persons affected by the investigation.

In cases where the investigation of an internal appointment process was requested by a deputy head under subsection 67 (2) of the PSEA, the Investigation Report is sent to that deputy head for approval. The deputy head is responsible for sending the report to affected persons, as deemed appropriate.

What happens after the Investigation Report?

If the allegation or concern raised is unfounded, the file is closed.

If the allegation or concern raised is founded, the Commission considers whether or not to order corrective action.

In cases where the investigation of an internal appointment process was requested by a deputy head under subsection 67 (2) of the PSEA, the deputy head is responsible for the approval of the Investigation Report and determination of appropriate corrective action.

Corrective action

The Commission may take any corrective action deemed appropriate in founded investigations. Corrective action is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Similarly, deputy heads may take any corrective action deemed appropriate in investigations conducted pursuant to subsection 67 (2) of the PSEA where the concerns raised are founded. The Commission may recommend corrective action to deputy heads.

Publication of an investigation summary

The PSC may publish an anonymous summary. The PSC may also publish a summary of the investigation containing personal information, if it determines that the public interest outweighs privacy interests. Individuals will be contacted and consulted prior to the disclosure of any personal information in an investigation summary.

Note: Data is updated quarterly.

How long does the investigation usually take?

Investigations are conducted as informally and expeditiously as possible and in respect of procedural fairness. Taking into account that each investigation is unique, the PSC strives to complete its cases at the investigation phase within 175 calendar days. Several variables can influence the duration of the investigation. These include but are not limited to:

  • Whether or not there is an admission at the onset of the investigation;
  • Volume of investigations at a given time;
  • Complexity of the investigation;
  • Availability of resources (e.g., subject matter experts);
  • Availability and number of persons involved in the investigation; and
  • Time required to obtain information from the persons or organizations involved in the investigation.

The investigation phase starts the day the decision to investigate is made and ends once the Investigation Report is sent to the organization and individuals affected.

What if I don't want to participate?

PSC investigators have all the powers under Part II of the Inquiries Act. This means that they may issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify or to produce documents.

What if I still have questions?

For enquiries about PSC investigations, contact cfp.de-id.psc@cfp-psc.gc.ca

Phone: 819-420-8922

PSC's Website

Other information (definitions)

Person involved: A person involved is someone identified by the investigator as possibly having knowledge of facts under investigation.

Person affected: A “person affected” is someone:

  • Whose status may be affected by the investigation (appointee, proposed appointee, candidate in the appointment process);
  • Whose character may be questioned (credibility, integrity or reputation);
  • Whose position regarding the concerns/allegations under investigation may be challenged;
  • Who is the subject of an investigation of allegation of improper political activity; and/or
  • Against whom the Commission may order corrective action.

When the investigation is related to a person's appointment, proposed appointment or a person's alleged improper political activity, that person is always a “person affected”.

A person involved may become a person affected during the investigation.

In every investigation, the deputy head of the organization concerned, or their representative, is always a “person affected”.