Is it the greatest gold heist in Ottawa’s history, or just an inventory discrepancy? That’s the question on the mind of Royal Canadian Mint officials as the search for millions of dollars in missing gold, silver and precious metals continues. The Ottawa Citizen – which broke the story earlier this week – reports today that the agency is employing an unusual tactic that will ensure all staff fully appreciate the seriousness of the situation: They’ve temporarily halted payment of the annual bonuses paid out when the Mint exceeds its annual profit targets. Officials insist that it’s not an attempt at collective punishment: “We treat our employees with respect. We’re not penalizing them,” Mint spokesperson Christine Aquino told the Citizen. “We’re just taking out time to do this review and we look forward, just like anybody, to having the final number.” The treasure hunt is being conducted under the watchful, although apparently not all-seeing eye of an external audit team, and the Mint is expected to report on its findings – or lack of findings – within the next few weeks.