A soon-to-be former public servant employed in a public body sought a determination as to whether he/she would be permitted to engage in the following post-service activities:
i. Pursuing consulting contracts with the Province of Ontario, as either a vendor of record (VOR) or as a bidder in response to competitive procurements; and
ii. Assisting persons or entities on matters within the mandate of the public body.
A former public servant is subject to the post-service conflict of interest rules set out in Part II of the regulation. As the individual was not in a senior designated position, the conflict of interest rules did not prohibit the specified post-service activities. However, in this case, certain restrictions, usually reserved for public servants in senior designated positions, should apply. The Commissioner advised that the former public servant was prohibited from seeking preferential treatment from or privileged access to current public servants, and from disclosing or using any confidential information obtained in the course of his/her public service duties. To further minimize the risk of using or disclosing confidential information, the Commissioner directed the public servant to refrain from advising or assisting any person or entity, other than public body or the Crown, in connection with any specific government initiative or project with which he/she had been involved as a public servant. This restriction would apply for a period of one year. In addition, he/she was restricted from advising or otherwise assisting any entity in connection with any proceeding, negotiation, or other transaction (such as requests for proposals or requests for services) if he/she had previously advised the public body or the Crown on the same matter.
The same individual returned to seek a determination on whether he/she would be permitted to assist the successful proponent of a request for proposals (RFP) issued by the public body where the individual had been a public servant.
The Commissioner first assessed whether the RFP was for a project with which the individual had assisted the public body while still a public servant, and whether the RFP was still open. The contract stemming from the RFP had yet to be signed, and therefore the RFP was still in process. Given the restrictions previously placed on the former public servant, and the fact that the RFP process was ongoing, the Commissioner was of the view that it would be inappropriate for the former public servant to assist the successful proponent until both of two events occurred:
- The contract stemming from the RFP was signed, effectively ending the RFP process; and
- The one-year restriction imposed on the former public servant expired.
O. Reg. 381/07, s. 16, 17, 19, 20.