Doug Ford says he hid sexual misconduct allegation against Jim Wilson to protect accuser

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he withheld the fact that his ex-economic development minister was facing an allegation of sexual misconduct to protect the staffer who made the complaint.

Ontario premier says former minister forced to resign is now in rehab

Premier Doug Ford said his former economic development minister, Jim Wilson, was forced to resign after an allegation of sexual misconduct. (Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he withheld the fact that his ex-economic development minister was facing an allegation of sexual misconduct to protect the staffer who made the complaint.

Speaking for the first time since Jim Wilson resigned from his cabinet post and the Progressive Conservative caucus last Friday and announced he would seek treatment for addiction issues, Ford said his government has launched an investigation into the situation.

Initially, the premier's office said nothing about the sexual misconduct allegation. That information emerged on Monday, after Ford reshuffled his cabinet behind closed doors.

The premier clarified Wednesday that Wilson was forced to resign, telling reporters "I have zero tolerance for this behaviour" and vowing to protect government staff.

Ford didn't disclose what Wilson said when confronted with the allegation, but said the veteran politician "understands the situation."

However, the results of the ongoing investigation into the allegation won't be made public, he said. 

Accusers 'trump the media,' Ford says

When pressed by reporters about the secrecy surrounding the departure of Wilson and one of his former top staffers, Andrew Kimber, Ford said his government is protecting those who made the allegations. 

Ford said the person who made the allegation against Wilson asked him repeatedly not to alert the media to the story.

"I commend them for coming forward and having that courage," Ford said, adding that he's respecting the request.

"They're a priority. They trump the media."

Ford said Wilson has gone to rehab in the wake of the incident, and said addiction is a real issue.

Government plans hotline for military families

Premier Doug Ford, speaking Wednesday at the National Air Force Museum Canada, said his government will create a hotline to help military families moving to the province. ( Frederic Pepin/CBC)

Ford, speaking at the National Air Force Museum Canada, near Trenton, Ont., vowed to create a new hotline service for military families moving to Ontario that will help them with everything they need to get established in the province.

"We need to make sure they're taken care of," Ford said.

The government is set to launch a three-month consultation process to set up the hotline.

Days before Remembrance Day, Ford also thanked those stationed at military bases across Ontario as well as their loved ones, calling himself a "huge supporter" of those who serve.

About the Author

John Rieti

John Rieti covers city hall and city issues for CBC Toronto. Born and raised in Newfoundland, John has worked in CBC newsrooms across the country in search of great stories. Outside of work, catch him running or cycling around, often armed with a camera, always in search of excellent coffee.