Ottawa

Tips to City of Ottawa's fraud line cost 3 employees their jobs

Stealing a patient's medication. Helping friends cheat on a provincial exam. Selling city-branded swag for personal profit. These are just a few of the allegations the City of Ottawa investigated last year after receiving tips through its fraud and waste hotline.

Worker caught leaking confidential information to help friends pass provincial exams

'We're getting those bad apples out'

4 years ago
Duration 0:24
Coun. Allan Hubley, who chairs of the city's audit committee, says compared to past years, it's encouraging only three employees were fired because of fraud and waste hotline complaints.

Stealing a patient's medication. Helping friends cheat on a provincial exam. Selling city-branded swag for personal profit.

These are just a few of the allegations the City of Ottawa investigated last year after receiving tips through its fraud and waste hotline.

Three employees were fired, one resigned and another retired after investigations into 39 reports were closed. But other employees received a range of discipline.

One city worker was terminated after an investigation revealed the employee was leaking confidential information to friends and colleagues to help them pass provincial tests, according to a report by the city's auditor tabled on Thursday.

The employee may have even completed at least part of one of the tests on behalf of another city employee, Ken Hughes found.

An employee was fired after "inappropriately handling" controlled substances and then falsifying documents, while another was fired for leaving work early and submitting falsified data reports.

Employee suspended, then reinstated

The resignation and retirement involved employees who were already on leave.

In one case, an employee on long-term disability was seen engaging in activities "inconsistent with the medical condition." The employee had their disability benefit terminated before retiring. 

In the other instance, an employee failed to provide any documentation for an uncertified sick leave. That employee resigned and the city is recovering pay, the auditor's report noted.

One serious incident that didn't ultimately lead to dismissal involved an employee stealing a patient's medication.

The employee was suspended and charged criminally. But after completing a diversion program, the charges were dropped and a settlement featuring disciplinary action was agreed upon by the city and  the union. That employee was reinstated.

Caught selling swag 

An employee caught selling city-branded clothing during working hours — and pocketing the profits — also kept their job. Instead, management ordered the employee to cease using the city's official mark.

Other incidents included:

  • A family member of a former city employee did not advise the city of the death of the pensioner. Both criminal charges and a civil claim against the family member are proceeding through the courts. The City of Ottawa Superannuation Fund has also changed its process for following up on the annual declaration of survival forms, and will now stop pension payments when the forms aren't signed and returned.
  • Two employees were using titles that included the term "engineer," but were not actually members of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario. One employee took another position with a non-engineer title, while the other has been informed they will need certification to continue using the title.
  • An employee was out of the country and posting to social media while on sick leave. While the employee had consulted a physician about the trip, the employer was not consulted. Investigators ultimately determined the trip was consistent with the employee's recovery plan.

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