EI worker fired after digging up info on neighbours

Employee tried to claim he wasn’t given proper ethics training but all employees knew of policies
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/27/2011

A federal labour relations board has upheld the firing of a British Columbia employment insurance (EI) worker who looked up the personal information of some of his neighbours during a homeowners’ dispute.

Grant Shaver was an investigation and control interviewing officer in the Vancouver EI operations of the Department of Human Resources and Development, Service Canada. Shaver was initially hired by Service Canada in 1990 and eventually became an officer. He swore an oath affirming a “Solemn Affirmation of Office and Secrecy” and signed a Memorandum of Understanding stating employees could not be directly involved in or influence an EI claim or other service provided by Service Canada. He was also subject to a code of ethics prohibiting conflicts of interest and took training on ethics.

In order to access the information needed to work on EI claims, Shaver was given “reliability status,” a level of classification giving him access to sensitive information relating to personal, medical and financial information of claimants.