Public Sector Integrity Commissioner finds wrongdoing committed by a Vice-President at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Ottawa, September 25, 2017 – Today, as a result of a whistleblower coming forward, Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, Joe Friday, tabled in Parliament a case report on founded wrongdoing. This Case Report is the second concerning the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) arising from the same disclosure of wrongdoing.

The investigation found that Ms. Geneviève Desjardins, Vice-President, Communications and Public Affairs for the CFIA, made, on an ongoing basis, inappropriate comments to employees; solicited personal information from employees about other employees; mistreated and harassed staff; abused her authority; and failed to show reasonable due diligence in regard to an employee’s termination of employment.

 “It is important to note that my Office does not investigate individual harassment complaints but rather systemic instances of behaviour that can have a detrimental effect on employees and the workplace generally, as is the case here,” stated Commissioner Friday.

Commissioner Friday is satisfied with the response of the CFIA on the recommendations that were made. Paul Glover, President of the CFIA, in response to the first recommendation that CFIA consider disciplinary action against Ms. Desjardins, responded that: “Appropriate action is being taken, bearing in mind the findings of your (this) report, and CFIA and Government of Canada policies.

On February 23, 2017, Commissioner Friday tabled the first report concerning the CFIA arising from the same disclosure of wrongdoing. The week before, he also tabled a finding of wrongdoing related to a harassing behaviour by a past executive at the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“It is my hope that these findings of wrongdoing about senior executives’ unprofessional behaviours and actions will send a strong message that such behaviour is neither acceptable nor tolerated,” added Commissioner Friday.

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.

 

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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

Email: Lachapelle.Edith@psic-ispc.gc.ca

2017-09-25