Integrity commissioner set to release report examining actions of CIDA exec

OTTAWA – An executive at the federal agency responsible for billions in overseas aid has been caught in the crosshairs of Canada’s public sector integrity commissioner.

Mario Dion is set to release a report today concerning allegations of wrongdoing by someone at the Canadian International Development Agency.

Financial management at the agency has come under scrutiny in the past, most notably the case of former minister Bev Oda, who billed thousands in questionable expenses to taxpayers.

She left politics last year and was replaced by Julian Fantino.

It was recently revealed by The Canadian Press he spent $25,000 on a town hall for employees, which included $5,000 for a motivational speaker.

Dion’s office is charged with investigating allegations of wrongdoing by public servants.

His office declined to release details of the case before the report is tabled in Parliament, scheduled for later today.

A spokesman for Fantino deferred all questions to the department, which said it would not comment prior to the report’s release.

Dion’s report won’t be the first discovery of wrongdoing within the department.

On its website, CIDA notes a case in which not-for-profit organizations were wrongfully receiving payments.

The case came to light following a disclosure of wrongdoing and the incident was blamed on the failure to conduct appropriate oversight on spending.

“In response, CIDA has taken remedial measures including the reassignment of the employee to other unrelated duties and is pursuing repayment of relevant amounts from the non-for-profit organizations,” the statement said.

The statement gives no indication when the case took place, but a whistleblower group has linked it to an incident from 2007-2008.

Today’s report will be the third issued since Dion took over as commissioner in 2010.

The first revealed the case of a manager at Human Resources and Development Canada who used taxpayer funds to get massages, buy big-screen TVs and used government resources like cars for personal use.

The second found that senior officials at the Laurentian Pilotage Authority gave permits to two apprentice pilots even though they didn’t meet the required criteria.

Dion took on the job following the high-profile exit of his predecessor.

The work of the office under Christiane Ouimet was the subject of a report by the auditor general’s office in 2010, but Ouimet resigned shortly before it was released.

The report found that 228 allegations of public service wrongdoing or reprisal were brought to the integrity commissioner’s office under Ouimet’s watch. Only seven were investigated.

The auditor general also found Ouimet bullied and intimidated her staff.

But Ouimet later told a parliamentary committee she was the victim of a smear campaign and she left her job for the good of the office’s reputation.