The investigation

Investigations are conducted by the Investigations Directorate of the Public Service Commission (PSC) pursuant to the Public Service Employment Act. When an investigation is warranted, an investigator reviews the file and collects any relevant or missing information regarding the allegation or concern raised. Once the file review is completed, the investigator determines how to proceed with the investigation, namely:

  • fact-finding meeting: the investigator meets with all persons involved in the investigation together (human resources advisors, candidate, hiring manager)
  • individual or group interviews: the investigator meets with each person involved in the investigation, individually or in separate groups
  • written submissions: the investigator communicates with persons involved in the investigation in writing in order to gather the necessary information
  • a combination of these methods

Interviews and fact-finding meetings are recorded and testimonies are provided under oath or solemn affirmation.

During the investigation, a Factual Report may be drafted and disclosed, partially or in its entirety, to persons involved in the investigation for comments and submission. This Factual Report contains the relevant evidence gathered during the investigation. After receiving comments and submissions, the investigator will then proceed with the analysis and conclusion.

The PSC recognizes that being involved in an investigation can impact one's personal and professional life. Specifically, investigations under the Public Service Employment Act involve the collection, use, disclosure and retention of personal information. This information may include information about individuals requesting an investigation, individuals whose actions are subject to an investigation and other involved individuals. This information can be obtained from various sources, including from involved individuals, organizational files, published material, the internet and social media. For these reasons, the PSC adheres to procedural fairness and endeavors to respect the privacy of individuals in an investigation. For more information on the matter, please visit our web page "What are my rights?"

The Investigation Report

The investigator prepares an investigation report, which includes the analysis and conclusion, and shares it with the organizations and persons affected.

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

If the allegation or concern raised is founded, the Commission considers whether to order corrective action. In cases of fraud in an appointment process, the Commission may also decide to provide a copy of the Investigation Report and any relevant information to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, pursuant to section 133 of the Public Service Employment Act.

In cases where the investigation of an internal appointment process was requested by a deputy head under subsection 67(2) of the Public Service Employment Act, the Investigation Report is prepared by the Investigations Directorate of the PSC’s Oversight and Investigations Sector, who sends it to that deputy head for approval and determination of appropriate corrective action.

Duration of the investigation

Investigations are conducted as informally and expeditiously as possible and in respect of procedural fairness. The Public Service Commission (PSC) strives to complete its cases at the investigation phase within 175 calendar days.

The investigation phase starts the day the decision to investigate is made and ends when the Commission renders a decision on the conclusion of the Investigation Report and proposed correction actions.

Each investigation is unique and several variables can influence its duration. These include:

  • whether there is an admission at the onset of the investigation
  • volume of investigations at a given time
  • complexity of the investigation
  • availability of resources (subject-matter experts)
  • availability and number of persons involved in the investigation
  • time required to obtain information from the persons or organizations involved in the investigation

Powers of the Public Service Commission investigators

PSC investigators have all the powers under Part II of the Inquiries Act. This means that investigators may issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify and/or to produce documents. Investigators may also enter and remain within any public office or institution, examine all papers, documents, vouchers, records and books belonging to the public office or institution and may administer the oath or solemn affirmation.

Pursuant to Section 135 of the Public Service Employment Act, deputy heads and employees shall provide the PSC with any facilities, assistance, information and access to their respective offices.

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