Québec City, November 18, 2022 – Further to a flurry of media articles, the Québec Ombudsman wishes to make certain clarifications about its investigation conclusion titled Keep the political office’s role sealed off from the administrative apparatus’ role in awarding subsidies.
"Our investigation was about the administrative operation of the subsidy program, including managing the interface between Ministère de l’Éducation authorities and the political office. All our findings and recommendations are addressed to the Ministère de l'Éducation. Our conclusion that wrongdoing did indeed occur is about the Ministère de l’Éducation and not about specific people. Even though the disclosure was received in February 2018, the investigation spanned several years (until November 2021). In recent months, we have had discussions with the Ministère de l’Éducation to ensure that our recommendations are being implemented," declared Québec Ombudsman Marc-André Dowd.
Since the Act to facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoings relating to public bodies came into force on May 1, 2017, the Québec Ombudsman has been tasked with conducting investigations when disclosures are sent to it. Anyone wanting to speak out against a wrongdoing relating to a public body may make a disclosure to the Québec Ombudsman in strictest confidence and benefit from protection against possible reprisal as well as a legal advice service. The Act applies to the public bodies specified, as well as to their staff, suppliers, sub-contractors or anyone else aware that wrongdoing has occurred or is about to occur.
"I want to remind you of the importance we ascribe to the confidentiality of our investigations in order to protect whistleblowers, witnesses and anyone who cooperates in our interventions. When a disclosure is brought to our attention and throughout the investigation, we take all required measures to ensure this protection. This enables us to conduct our interventions independently and impartially in order to contribute to strengthening public service integrity," said Québec Ombudsman Marc-André Dowd.
Given its confidentiality obligations, the Québec Ombudsman will not comment on the matter any further and will not give any interviews on the subject.
To learn more about disclosures
For the complete list of public bodies subject to the Act, examples of wrongdoing that could be disclosed, or to make a disclosure or a reprisal complaint, see the Whistleblowers section of the Québec Ombudsman’s website.
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