Energy & Power
OPA employee terminated for violating Employee Code of Conduct
By Anthony Capkun
December 19, 2014 – Ontario Power Authority (OPA) started an investigation in May into allegations that an employee violated the Employee Code of Conduct by owning shares in companies that are prohibited under the Code; the unnamed employee has now been terminated with cause.
“The OPA took the allegations seriously, launched a thorough investigation of them and has taken steps to address them,” said Colin Andersen, the OPA’s CEO. As both a public entity and an employer, OPA says must “strike a balance between the public’s right to know and an employee’s right to privacy”.
In making its decision, OPA says it took into account a fact-finding report prepared by Theresa Hartley (lawyer at McCague Borlack), as well as input from Stephen T. Goudge, who served on the Ontario Court of Appeal from 1996 to 2014.
OPA retained Justice Goudge to review the fact-finding report and to comment on the conduct of the employee, any changes that may be required to the Code of Conduct and what information related to this matter is appropriately publicly released. Through the course of the investigation, OPA found that the employee:
• understood the requirements of the Code of Conduct and that these requirements applied to domestic partners;
• read and signed the Code annually;
• held shares in companies prohibited under the Code;
• did not report these holdings to the employee’s supervisor as required under the Code;
• carried out OPA business—though not in a decision-making capacity—with companies whose shares were held in contravention of the code; and
• did not intentionally purchase or hold the shares, but failed to exercise an appropriate level of due diligence to ensure compliance with the Code.
Effective January 1, 2015, OPA is merging with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). Meantime, Goudge advised that more time is required to provide a proper review of the Employee Code of Conduct, and recommended that he carry out this work in the new year once the merger has taken place.
“The IESO will begin work with Justice Goudge as soon as possible in January to develop and adopt an effective Code of Conduct,” said Bruce Campbell, IESO’s CEO. Until a new code is finalized, employees will be bound by the existing OPA and IESO codes of conduct.
OPA says it has been in contact with the provincial ombudsman and the Ontario Securities Commission about both the allegations and its investigation, adding that both it and IESO will continue to cooperate fully with both as required.