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March 2, 2009
City of Toronto terminates employment of nine workers
The City of Toronto today confirmed it has terminated the employment of nine City employees who have submitted fraudulent claims for benefits under the employee benefits plan.

The City takes very seriously every instance of alleged wrongdoing in the organization and the actions taken today follow the City's investigation of the matter.

On February 20, the City confirmed that the employees had been put on paid leave from the workplace, allowing an opportunity for the City to complete its investigation of the matter. At the conclusion of the investigation and subsequent review of the findings, the City took disciplinary action against the employees.

Allowing a period for a full investigation to be conducted ensures that the appropriate investigative and decision making steps are taken in accordance with employment and labour laws. Following such steps ensures the City is compliant with these laws and will minimize any unnecessary legal expense.

The City immediately began an investigation when Manulife Financial, the City's administrator of employee benefits, advised the City of the alleged wrongdoing involving employee benefits claims made by the nine City staff. Manulife Financial discovered the alleged wrongdoing through the audit process that it has for City employee benefit claims. Employee benefit claims are processed through an outside administrator and are not reviewed by local management staff. This ensures that the privacy of employees is respected. The City will continue to work with Manulife Financial to ensure all claims by employees are legitimate.

The City goes to great lengths to instill an environment of ethics and integrity in the conduct of its business. The City's Fraud Prevention and Conflict of Interest policies formalize the expectations of personal honesty and integrity required of City officials and employees. It remains a fact that the number of City employees found to have violated City policies related to fraud remains very, very low.

Unfortunately, the risk of wrongdoing can be an inherent part of conducting business in all organizations; including those in the public sector. That is why the City of Toronto has measures in place to both detect fraud and take the appropriate actions when there is evidence to do so.

Media contact:
Kevin Sack, Director, Strategic Communications, 416-397-5277 (office), 416-919-6500 (cell)



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