On the inside track

Earlier, we noted senior managers who leave government face a number of employment restriction when they leave government. For example, they can't take a job with an "outside entity" they've had "substantial involvement" with during the year prior to their departure. Nor can they "lobby or otherwise make representations" on behalf of such an entity. So how can Robin Ciceri, the former top bureaucrat at advanced education and labour market development, take a job with the Research Universities' Council of British Columbia while that one-year cooling-off period is still in effect? Well, it's because the council (which describes itself as being "independent" of government) isn't an "outside entity." It's actually classified as a public service employer - just like the universities whose interests it represents. This, according to the ministry of citizens' services.

In an email, a spokesperson explained, "The four directors of RUCBC are presidents of universities, and these people have been appointed to their positions by the boards of their universities (a responsibility under the University Act). As such, these appointed presidents comprise 100% of the council and are therefore considered a public sector employer."

1 Comment

This is a bit of an interesting argument - it boils down to:

- the four directors of the organisation are employed by public organisations and appointed by public organisations
- therefore, the organisation is considered to be a public sector employer

Would it mean, then, that public sector employers fall under the FOI act?

The universities themselves argue a different way... at least when it comes to some corporations that they own. Take SF Univentures, for example -- it's a corporation wholly-owned by SFU, with a board appointed by SFU. Using the logic above, it should be considered a public sector employer, no?

Well, SFU says it's not. And they won a case in which a court agreed with them, here:

http://canlii.org/eliisa/highlight.do?text=SF+Univentures&language=en&searchTitle=Search+all+CanLII+Databases&path=/en/bc/bcsc/doc/2009/2009bcsc1481/2009bcsc1481.html

I sort of look forward to further ruminations.

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