Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

July 08, 2008 11:10 ET

PIPSC: Employee Fired and Loses Security Clearance Due to Gross Negligence of Senior CFIA Official

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 8, 2008) - A Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) employee has been fired and lost his reliability status or security clearance because of the gross negligence of a senior CFIA executive.

Agency management had authorized the digital conversion of a Treasury Board document concerning new food inspection methods and the delegation of inspection authority to industry. It was proposed as part of the strategic programs review aimed at forcing departments and agencies to recover 5% of their operating budgets. Improperly identified as to its confidentiality, the document was saved on the Agency's computer network on the shared drive with the result that it was accessible to any employee.

One employee who came across the document sent it to his union asking for advice regarding its impact on Institute members at the CFIA and on the health and safety of all Canadians. On July 4, 2008, the employee was fired and the Agency withdrew his reliability status. This professional and father of two, is therefore deprived of any possibility of continuing his career as a scientist in the Public Service after 20 years of loyalty.

The holder of a Master's degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science, this employee, with an unblemished disciplinary record, has become a scapegoat not only for the Agency, but also for the Privy Council-all because of a gaffe by a senior CFIA executive.

It is shameful that silence cloaks the fact that the Agency violated its own rules in the way it handled a document that the Agency was to keep highly confidential.

"The obvious reason for this immoderate response is undoubtedly the Agency's fear that the public will react badly to the substantial changes in product labelling and food inspection methods and procedures being proposed by the CFIA. These changes will amplify risk management, and the risk will be to the health of Canadian citizens. All this just to cut back operating budgets! How far will this Conservative government's boundless paranoia and need for control go? And why must this family man, this seasoned professional, bear the cost of the Agency's own gross negligence?" asks Michele Demers, President of the Professional Institute.

The Professional Institute will use every tool at its disposal to represent the injured member and ensure he is given back his job and his dignity.
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada is a national union representing 55,000 professionals and scientists of whom 1,800 work at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Contact Information

  • Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
    Francine Pressault
    Media and Government Relations Officer
    613 228-6310, extension 2228