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
- 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.
Investigations under the Public Service Employment Act are conducted by the Public Service Commission (PSC)’s Investigations Directorate. To establish jurisdiction and conduct an investigation, the Investigations Directorate collects information about:
- individuals requesting an investigation
- individuals who may be the subject of an investigation
- third parties, including witnesses
Personal information collected for an investigation is collected under the authority of Part 5 and Part 7 of the Public Service Employment Act, as well as the Public Service Employment Regulations and the Political Activities Regulations. This information is used to conduct investigations and to ensure compliance with corrective action. Negative or adverse findings may be made against persons involved in the matter under investigation and in other investigations under the PSC’s mandate.
Select information collected or created in the course of an investigation 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 pursuant to the Privacy Act and the Public Service Employment Regulations or Political Activities Regulations.
Personal information collected to determine jurisdiction and for the decision to investigate, or not, will be retained for 5 years in accordance with the Privacy Regulations. When an allegation results in an active investigation, personal information will be retained for 10 years following the closing of the case. All documents presented to the Commission as part of the investigations process, as well as all Records of Decision ordered by the Commission or on its behalf, are also retained in the “Records of the Commission” class of personal information in accordance with that standard.
For more information about the Investigations Directorate’s personal information-handling practices, please refer to the personal information bank for all investigations, mediation and conciliation, as published in the PSC’s Info Source chapter.
Please note that omitting certain essential information may impact the investigative process in these ways:
- preventing a file from being investigated
- reaching an investigation decision without the full participation of the people who are involved
- disclosure of the investigation report and Record of Decision to the deputy head of the hiring organization
- revocation of an appointment following corrective action
Contesting our decisions
Persons affected and not satisfied by a decision made by the Public Service Commission may contest the decision by filing an application for judicial review with the Federal Court of Canada.
During the course of an investigation conducted by the Public Service Commission, you have the right to request and obtain the accommodation you require to facilitate your participation in the investigations process. Your investigator or case management officer will ask you if you require accommodation, and then, once you have submitted your accommodation requirements, an accommodation plan for the investigation will be developed. Examples of accommodation measures include:
- having access to the questions in writing during the interview
- having breaks through the interview
- ensuring the interview is in a wheelchair accessible building
- writing answers instead of providing them orally
- receiving documents in large print
Don’t hesitate to contact your case management officer or investigator to ensure that the accommodation measures meet your needs.
Authorities for collection of information for the purpose of an investigation
The Public Service Commission (PSC)’s authority to collect personal information during its investigations is granted by the Privacy Act, the Public Service Employment Act and the Inquiries Act. This information is used to conduct investigations and to ensure conformity with corrective action.
Section 4 of the Privacy Act enables the PSC to collect personal information as long as it relates directly to an activity of the institution.
The PSC’s authority to collect information during an investigation lies in subsection 11(b), sections 70 and 120 of the Public Service Employment Act. When collecting information in the context of an investigation, the PSC has all the powers of a commissioner under Part II of the Inquiries Act, as stated in sections 70 and 120 of the Public Service Employment Act. These powers are listed in sections 7 and 8 of the Inquiries Act, and provide for the right to enter into a public office or institute and examine all papers and documents. The PSC can also issue a summons to appear, testify and produce documents.
Section 135 of the Public Service Employment Act indicates that deputy heads and employees of public service organizations must allow the PSC to access their offices. They must also provide assistance and information needed by the PSC during the conduct of its investigations.
Subsection 11(b), sections 66 to 69 and 118 of the Public Service Employment Act permit the PSC to conduct investigations involving public service appointment processes and improper political activities by public servants. Section 119 of the Public Service Employment Act enables the PSC to investigate allegations that a deputy head has engaged in political activities.
Personal information collected for an investigation is collected under the authority of parts 5 and 7 of the Public Service Employment Act, as well as the Public Service Employment Regulations and the Political Activities Regulations.
The information is collected and used as described in the Investigations, Mediation and Conciliation Personal Information Bank (PSC PPU 010).
You have the right to access and correct your personal information, and to request corrections where you believe there is an error or omission. You also have the right to make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada about the handling of your personal information.
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