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Stakeholder Statement

January 13, 2016 – Over the past week there has been a lot of media coverage about the forensic investigation we initiated last summer and the lawsuit we launched last week based on the outcome of that investigation. Other than a brief statement, we have not been commenting further because the matter has been reported to the police to investigate and the legal process has been initiated.

Although this approach to communicating with our staff and our community is counter to our commitment to transparency, it is in the best interest of our Hospital. However, my job is also to gain and preserve the trust this community has in our Hospital – trust that has been built over decades of delivering quality care, conducting world-leading research, and delivering leading edge therapies. I am concerned that the trust we have worked so hard to earn is at risk of eroding. I am sorry for the frustration and disappointment our silence on this matter has caused our many supporters.

While I still can’t discuss the details of the case, I wanted to personally reach out to you to give you as much information as I can, and to reassure you that I, along with the rest of the leadership team and staff here, are committed to acting in the best interest of the Hospital and the community we are privileged to serve.

Through our internal monitoring process, we identified irregularities in the Planning and Facilities department for contracts that cover day to day repairs and minor renovations. These smaller projects are funded through the Hospital’s operating budget and not through funds solicited by the Foundation.

Once we identified the irregularities, we took immediate steps which included:

  1. Engaging an independent third party forensic investigator.
  2. Making appropriate changes to Planning and Facilities personnel.
  3. Initiating a review of the prequalification list of vendors and related processes.
  4. Adding additional layers of oversight and signing authority.
  5. Initiating a best practices review to ensure the Hospital is amongst the leaders in its processes and controls.

The findings of the investigation warranted legal action. We therefore filed a civil lawsuit and reported the matter to the police. The matter is now before the court. While the investigation to date indicated that the instances of wrongdoing are limited to a few individuals, it is nonetheless disappointing that it happened at all.

However, occupational fraud is a universal problem for businesses and public institutions in Canada and around the world and as experienced administrators we know that The Ottawa Hospital is not immune to this threat. However, I am more confident that as a result of the actions that we have taken to date the likelihood of future occurrences is reduced. If a violation should happen, we intend to catch it early and limit loss.

We will continue to be vigilant in identifying irregularities and we will take immediate action should anything arise that is in breach of our policies, is counter to our values, or is below the high standards of behaviour in the administration and service delivery of your Hospital.