Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former Federal Official Fails to Derail Integrity Commissioner's Probe

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former Federal Official Fails to Derail Integrity Commissioner's Probe

Article excerpt

Attempt to derail integrity probe fails


OTTAWA - The federal integrity watchdog is investigating a former senior official at the Canada School of Public Service, prompting her to launch an unsuccessful court bid to derail the probe.

Public Sector Integrity Commissioner Mario Dion is looking into allegations against Chantal Cousineau-Mahoney, a former vice-president and chief financial officer at the school, court documents show.

Dion's investigations are usually confidential, but the contentious case -- including purported character assassination and death threats -- has become a matter of public record as a result of Cousineau-Mahoney's attempt to quash the probe.

At issue are unproven allegations from 2012 that Cousineau-Mahoney engaged in improper hiring and created a toxic work environment at the school, which provides instruction to federal public servants on everything from language skills to how to run an effective meeting.

She was removed from her position and has been on extended medical leave, citing "mental stresses" from the accusations.

Cousineau-Mahoney has vigorously disputed what she calls "false and defamatory" allegations, and she has pressed Dion's office to provide her with details that go beyond the basic accusation summary she was provided in September 2012.

Last June, Dion told her that he had found four of six allegations to be unfounded, but that the remaining two were still under examination.

Cousineau-Mahoney asked the Federal Court of Canada to halt Dion's investigation, saying it did not meet the standards of fairness and natural justice.

In a submission to the court, Cousineau-Mahoney's lawyers said she had borne the brunt of blame for a major reorganization of the school that led to staff reductions and program cuts.

"Some resentful employees within the school refused to accept these changes or their impact," the submission said. …

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