Misuse of public funds and assets – April 2015

Disclosure

A disclosure was made alleging that a director responsible for a field unit in a remote area misused various assets under the responsibility of the Parks Canada Agency. An investigation was held to follow up on the disclosure.

Findings

The investigation established the following:

  • There were 11 incidents between 2010 and 2014 in which the employee used funds and assets belonging to Parks Canada while failing to abide by the rules established by the Agency (Directive on Parks Canada’s Light Fleet, Parks Canada Code of Values and Ethics). 
  • The assets that were misused are essential to the delivery of Parks Canada programs, such as road vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, Parks Canada charter aircraft, and boats and their trailers. 
  • The funds were used to pay for the travel expenses of one of the employee’s family members. The funds totalled about $5,000.

The investigation established that wrongdoing was committed, namely:

  • Misuse of public funds or assets 
  • Gross mismanagement in the public sector

Recommendations

The investigation did not reveal flagrant disregard of control frameworks in place that govern the use of public funds and assets. That is why the recommendations concern only the employee. The following measures were recommended: 

  • That the Agency recover from the employee the monies spent by the Agency for the incidents in which the individual had the Agency incur expenses that were not necessary for the delivery of its programs. 
  • That the Agency examine the circumstances that led the employee to commit the wrongdoing and determine whether corrective measures are required.

Agency response

Integrity is a fundamental value for Parks Canada, as it is essential to strengthening and preserving the relationship of trust between Canadians and the Parks Canada Agency. In 2005, Parks Canada developed a code that describes expectations in terms of values and ethics at Parks Canada. Since each member of the Parks Canada team is a key player with respect to the Agency’s integrity, the code is given to each new team member when they are hired. The members of the Parks Canada management team, especially executives, have heavy responsibilities with respect to the integrity of practices and activities at the Agency.

The investigation findings and recommendations were submitted to the most senior decision-making authorities at the Agency. After careful consideration of the elements established by the investigation and the operational context at Parks Canada, it was decided that the perpetrator of the wrongdoing had to be dismissed to restore the public trust in the Agency. A meeting was held with the perpetrator, and the individual no longer works for Parks Canada.