Public Sector Integrity Commissioner finds wrongdoing committed by a former Executive at the Public Health Agency of Canada

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Ottawa, February 16, 2016 – Today, as a result of an anonymous disclosure made by whistleblowers, Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, Joe Friday, tabled in Parliament a case report on founded wrongdoing. The case relates to a former Executive at the Public Health Agency of Canada who committed a serious breach of the Agency’s code of conduct and gross mismanagement by displaying physical anger towards staff, as well as verbally abusing staff and other government employees.

The investigation found that the Executive displayed frequent tirades and outbursts of violent rage, used unprofessional language which included shouting and screaming, and used profanity and threatening body language.

“As the wrongdoer moved to another government department during the investigation, I informed the public servant’s current employer of the findings and recommended that disciplinary measures be taken,” stated Commissioner Friday. “The Executive’s new employer has advised me that it is proactively monitoring the workplace and that disciplinary action is warranted.”

Though PHAC senior management initially took action to address harassment complaints about the Executive, the Agency should have continued monitoring the Executive’s personnel management and followed-up pro-actively with employees to ensure their concerns had been addressed and the behavior had stopped.

Commissioner Friday recommended that PHAC senior management review their practices and procedures to address the shortfalls identified regarding their response to misconduct in the workplace, as well as undertake preventative activities to foster a harassment-free environment.

“PHAC has accepted my recommendations and stated that they take the responsibility of creating a respectful and healthy workplace free of harassment very seriously. Since April 2015, the organization has taken concrete measures to help PHAC foster a culture of respect and inclusivity,” added the Commissioner.

Given the current government’s priority on mental health in the workplace, this report can serve to highlight the importance of ensuring a healthy and respectful workplace. All employees, regardless of their level and function in any organization, deserve and must be treated with respect.

Please consult the case report for further details.


For more information, contact:

Edith Lachapelle

Manager, Communications

Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada

Telephone: 613-946-2138 or 613-294-1678