What are my rights?

The Public Service Commission of Canada (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.

Procedural fairness

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 informed of allegations against you
  • the right to be heard
  • the right to 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.

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 department or agency
  • revocation of an appointment following corrective action

Personal information

The PSC’s Investigations Directorate conducts investigations under the Public Service Employment ActTo establish jurisdiction and conduct an investigation, the Investigations Directorate collects information about:

  1. individuals requesting an investigation
  2. individuals who may be the subject of an investigation
  3. 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, and its supporting regulations: the Public Service Employment Regulations and the Political Activities Regulations. This information is used to conduct investigations and to ensure compliance with corrective actions. Negative or adverse findings may be made against persons concerned or subject to the matter under investigation and in other investigations under the PSC’s mandate.

Information collected or created during an investigation may be shared with other individuals involved in the investigation, federal institutions involved in or affected by the investigation, Canadian law enforcement partners, other oversight bodies, or private or public-sector organizations pursuant to the Privacy Act, the Public Service Employment Regulations and the Political Activities Regulations.

Personal information collected for the decision whether to investigate will be retained for 5 years, in accordance with the Privacy Act. When an allegation warrants an investigation, personal information will be retained for 10 years following the closing of the case. Under the Privacy Act, you have the right to request access and correction to your personal information. Please visit the Access to Information and Privacy Office to make a request.

For more information about the Investigations Directorate’s personal information-handling practices, please refer to the PSC’s personal information bank for investigations, mediation and conciliation.

Official languages

The Investigations Directorate is committed to respecting the official language choice of participants in the investigation process. When you submit a request for investigation and/or are invited to participate in an interview or make submissions, please let us know in which official language you would like to receive written communication and the one in which you prefer to communicate orally.

Contesting our decisions

The PSC’s investigations decisions are final. Anyone directly affected may contest the decision by filing an application for judicial review with the Federal Court of Canada, in accordance with section 18.1 of the Federal Courts Act.

Duty to Accommodate

During an investigation conducted by the PSC, you have the right to request and obtain the accommodation you require to participate in the investigations process. The investigator or case management officer will ask you if you need accommodation. Once you have submitted your accommodation requirements, an accommodation plan for the investigation will be developed. Please note that agreed-upon accommodation measures will be implemented unless the integrity of the investigation is at stake. In some situations, you may need to provide your functional limitations so that proper accommodation measures can be put in place.  Examples of accommodation measures include:

  • having access to the questions in writing during the interview
  • having breaks throughout the interview
  • writing answers instead of providing them orally
  • receiving documents in an accessible format

Don’t hesitate to contact your case management officer or the investigator to ensure that the accommodation measures meet your needs.

Authorities for collection of information for the purpose of an investigation

The 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 actions.

Section 4 of the Privacy Act enables the PSC to collect personal information as long as it relates directly to an operating program or 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 departments and agencies 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 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.

Page details

Date modified: