VICTORIA - Health Minister Terry Lake sent the following letter to Scott Hamilton, MLA, chair of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services:
Mr. Scott Hamilton
Chair, Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services
Dear Mr. Hamilton,
As you are aware, there has been ongoing public interest and concern with respect to the decision to terminate a number of employees in the Ministry of Health in 2012. I share this concern.
On June 22, 2015, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police advised the government that they had reviewed the report of the Office of the Comptroller General with respect to this matter and had declined to undertake any further investigation.
As has previously been acknowledged by me and identified by Marcia McNeil in her review of the matter, the decisions surrounding the 2012 terminations weren’t handled as well as they should have been.
In my opinion, a further review of this matter is appropriate and I believe that the Ombudsperson Act makes clear that an investigation led by the Ombudsperson is the proper venue for such an investigation.
Section 10 of the Ombudsperson Act states:
10 (1) The Ombudsperson, with respect to a matter of administration, on a complaint or on the Ombudsperson's own initiative, may investigate
(a) a decision or recommendation made,
(b) an act done or omitted, or
(c) a procedure used
by an authority that aggrieves or may aggrieve a person .
10 (3) The Legislative Assembly or any of its committees may at any time refer a matter to the Ombudsperson for investigation and report.
In addition, during second reading debate of the then Ombudsman Act that established the office in 1977, then Attorney General Garde Gardom made the following remarks:
His basic responsibility will be to investigate complaints regarding the administrative processes of government. The bill will empower him to make an investigation either as the result of a complaint he has received or on his own initiative. In addition he will have the duty to investigate and report on any matter that may be referred to him by this assembly or by its committees. Hansard, p. 4601, 31st Parliament
In particular, I would ask the Committee to have the Ombudsperson investigate the events leading up to the decision to terminate the employees, the decision to terminate itself, and the actions taken by government following the terminations, in addition to any other matters he may deem worthy of investigation.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
Honourable Terry Lake, M.L.A.
Minister of Health
Carole James, MLA
Deputy Chair, Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Service
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