Canada government employment insurance investigator Sylvie Therrien has been suspended without pay after leaking confidential documents to Montreal newspaper LeDevoir earlier this year.
Leaked government documents show financial targets and quotas for Service Canada investigators. According to the documents, employment insurance (EI) investigators have been expected to find $485,000 in fraudulent claims annually.
This February, in response to questions about the documents, then Human Resources Minister Diane Finley denied inspectors were being instructed to meet quotas for fraud penalties. She acceded that the department set targets to reduce monies being doled out to fraudulent EI claims and told reporters that the department sets “objectives” which vary “according to the area,” reported Canoe.ca.
Therrien’s target was to recover nearly $500,000 in EI benefits annually. And she was not alone, reports CBC News.
In March CBC News reported that Service Canada investigators were instructed to investigate 1,200 randomly selected EI claimants. These investigations included spot-checks and unannounced home visits. Those who were investigated included people on parental leave, people who were providing compassionate care, work sharing, or off the job due to reported illness. There was a 23-page manual outlining investigative procedures – part of a pilot project which was slated to wind up in March this year.
Therrien admitted to being the source of the leak after being questioned by investigators in May. She told CBC News that she was aware her job was in jeopardy when she shared the confidential documents and that she expects she will be fired. Therrien is hopeful that her lawyer and union will support her in court, should she lose her job.