What are my rights?
The Public Service commission (PSC) recognizes that being involved in an investigation can impact one's personal and professional life. Accordingly, the PSC adheres to procedural fairness and endeavors to respect the privacy and rights of individuals in an investigation.
In order to make decisions that are based on open, fair and impartial processes, PSC investigations are carried out in a manner that conforms to procedural fairness principles, namely:
- The right to be heard;
- The right for an impartial investigation;
- The right to be represented; and
- The right to have a decision with reasons.
Procedural fairness is respected throughout the investigation process. This means that any person affected by the concerns is informed of the details of the concerns in a timely manner and has the opportunity to respond to them orally, in writing, or both.
The PSC is committed to respecting the privacy rights of individuals, including the safeguarding of personal information. It is subject to the Access to Information Act, the Privacy Act and the Public Service Employment Act and its Regulations. This means that the PSC must respect privacy rights by limiting the collection, use and disclosure of personal information when conducting an investigation and/or disclosing personal information gathered during an investigation.
There are specific circumstances where personal information may be shared, namely:
- Information gathered during an investigation may be included in a Factual Report, which can be distributed to persons involved in the investigation to verify accuracy of facts and respect procedural fairness;
- Personal information may also be included in an Investigation Report that can be distributed to the deputy head of the organization affected and to persons affected by the investigation;
- Any information related to an investigation could become a matter of public record if the Commission's final decision is contested in Federal Court; and
- Information collected may also be used for statistical purposes.
Additionally, the PSC may disclose personal information obtained in the course of an investigation under section 19 of the Public Service Employment Regulations and section 14 of the Political Activities Regulations. Under these sections, personal information obtained in the course of an investigation about one or more persons may be disclosed to other organizations or the public and the PSC may post summaries of the investigation on the PSC website. These summaries may be anonymous or may contain certain personal information on persons affected by the investigation. Prior to disclosing personal information under these sections, the PSC must weigh the public interest against the privacy interests of the individual.
In light of the above, the Investigations Branch cannot guarantee the confidentiality of information received in the context of an investigation.
Contesting Our Decisions
Persons affected not satisfied by a decision made by the Commission may contest the decision by filing an application for judicial review with the Federal Court of Canada.
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