Flow chart: Investigations process

The investigation process

  • Reviewing investigation requests
  • Investigation and corrective action
  • After the investigation: Monitoring and disclosure
Reviewing investigation requests

Open a file

  • The Public Service Commission (PSC) ensures that it has obtained all necessary information to open a file
  • For concerns about an appointment process, the PSC needs as much information as possible such as the name of the hiring federal organization, process number, position title, candidate’s name and details about the concern
  • For allegations of improper political activities, the PSC needs the name of the employee against whom the allegation is being made, the name of the organization in which they work and details of the allegation

File review and analysis

The jurisdiction officer:

  • Gathers information from relevant sources such as the organization concerned and may also search the internet and social media
  • Reviews the information received
  • Contacts the requester to clarify the allegation or concern, if required
  • Reviews and analyzes the information received in relation to the Public Service Employment Act, its regulations and Public Service Commission (PSC) policies
  • Determines if the allegation or concern warrants an investigation

The PSC strives to determine whether an investigation is warranted or whether the file will be closed within 40 calendar days.

Option 1 - Decision to not investigate

The Public Service Commission (PSC):

  • sends a letter to the requester and the deputy head concerned informing them of the PSC's decision to not investigate; however, if the decision to investigate or the reasons for not investigating involve another individual’s personal information, the decision may not be shared with the requester
  • explains in its letter the reasons for its decision, unless another person’s personal information is involved
Option 2 - Decision to investigate

The Public Service Commission (PSC):

  • sends a letter to the requester and the deputy head informing them of the PSC's decision to investigate; however, if the issue involves another individual’s personal information, the decision whether to investigate may not be shared with the requester
  • sends a letter to the person(s) affected by the investigation outlining the grounds for the investigation
  • may share the information provided by the requester with the organization or person(s) affected by the investigation
  • when appropriate, offers Early Intervention, a voluntary and confidential process to resolve issues
Investigation and corrective action

What happens during an investigation?

Reviewing the file
  • The investigator receives and reviews the file
Planning the investigation
  • The investigator identifies the persons involved in the investigation, establishes the investigation methodology and determines whether further information or documents are required
Scheduling interviews
  • The case management officer contacts the persons required to attend an interview or fact-finding meeting to schedule a date and time
Fact gathering and validation

Facts can be gathered through various methodologies such as:

Written submissions
  • The investigator communicates with persons involved in the investigation in writing to gather information
  • The investigator meets with persons involved in the investigation individually or in groups
Fact-finding meetings
  • The investigator meets with all persons involved in the investigation at the same time
Factual Report

In instances where the investigation proceeded by fact-finding meeting, the Factual Report step is not necessary. The investigator can go directly to preparing the Investigation Report.

Preparing and sending the Factual Report
  • The investigator prepares the Factual Report which contains all the relevant facts gathered to date
  • The investigator sends the Factual Report either partially or in its entirety to some or all of the persons involved in the investigation for their comments and submissions
Comments made on the Factual Report
  • The investigator may disclose to some or all of the persons involved in the investigation new information received as a result of the consultation

Investigation Report and decision

Sending the Investigation Report
  • Based on the Factual Report, the investigator prepares the Investigation Report, including the analysis and the conclusion
  • The Investigation Report is sent to the organizations and persons affected by the investigation
Investigation conducted at the request of the deputy head (subsection 67(2) of the Public Service Employment Act)
  • The Public Service Commission (PSC) sends the investigation report and recommended corrective action to the deputy head who requested the investigation
  • The deputy head accepts or rejects the findings outlined in the investigation report and makes a decision about undertaking the corrective action recommended by the PSC
  • The deputy head may also take any corrective action they consider appropriate
  • The deputy head may share the investigation report and corrective action to the affected person(s) and other individuals as they consider appropriate
Unfounded allegation or concern

File closed

  • The Public Service Commission closes the file
Founded allegation or concern

Corrective action

  • Corrective action only applies to a founded allegation or concern
  • The Public Service Commission consults the organization(s) and person(s) affected by the investigation report and proposed corrective action

Decision on the corrective action

  • The Public Service Commission (PSC) receives comments and considers them
  • The PSC accepts, rejects or amends the Investigation Report and orders corrective action through a Record of Decision
  • The PSC sends out the Record of Decision to the organization(s) and person(s) affected by the Commission's decision
After the investigation
Monitoring of corrective action

Implementation and monitoring

Quality assurance officer:
  • ensures the corrective action is implemented
  • monitors the implementation of corrective action and ensures that conditions are respected
Organization affected:
  • ensures that the managers are well equipped to implement the corrective action
  • notifies the Public Service Commission (PSC) when corrective action is implemented and provides evidence of implementation
  • requests clarification from the PSC when necessary
Person(s) affected:

File closure

  • The file is closed after the corrective action is implemented and the end of the prescribed period of monitoring is reached
  • The Public Service Commission notifies the organization and the person(s) affected that the corrective action have been implemented and that the file is closed
Disclosure of personal information

Consultation (as needed)

  • In the context of its investigations, the Public Service Commission (PSC) may disclose personal information about one or more persons. Specifically, some collected or created information may be shared with other individuals involved in the investigation, federal organizations involved in the investigation, Canadian law enforcement partners, other oversight bodies, or private or public-sector organizations. The PSC looks to relevant privacy legislation when determining what information to convey and how to disclose it.

Review and decision

  • If the persons affected were consulted, the Commission considers their comments
  • When deciding whether to disclose, the Commission weighs the privacy interests of these persons against the public interest, as well as any comments received


  • The Public Service Commission (PSC) may inform the persons affected of its decision on disclosure, when doing so would not endanger the public interest
  • The PSC releases the personal information using the method it has chosen
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