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P.E.I. government settles lawsuit with Provincial Nominee Program whistleblowers

From left, Cora Plourd, Susan Holmes and Svetlana Tenetko, gathered at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown for a news conference outlining their allegations of fraud and bribery in the Provincial Nominee Program in 2011. -Guardian file photo
From left, Cora Plourd, Susan Holmes and Svetlana Tenetko are shown at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown for a news conference outlining their allegations of fraud and bribery in the Provincial Nominee Program in this file photo. - SaltWire file photo

The provincial government has announced a settlement of a lawsuit involving three former employees who blew the whistle on the province’s Provincial Nominee Program.

The province announced the settlement in an emailed statement late on Thursday afternoon.

The three former employees, Susan Holmes, Cora Plourd Nicholson and Svetlana Tenetko had named former premier Robert Ghiz, former minister of economic development Allan Campbell and former deputy minister of economic development Michael Mayne in their statement of claim. The statement was filed in June.

Plourd Nicholson and Tenetko were former employees of Island Investment Development Inc. while Holmes was a former employee of the Department of Innovation and Advanced Learning.

The three had expressed concerns about the Provincial Nominee immigration program during their employment. They alleged in the statement of claim that government officials pressured them to approve immigrant investor application that had been rejected during an initial review.

In 2011, a P.E.I. Liberal Party news release disclosed personal information without the consent of the three women. This was confirmed by a decision of the Privacy Commissioner in December 2017. The provincial government accepted the recommendations set out in the Privacy Commissioner’s decision.

The statement did not specify the terms of the settlement. It did, however, include a statement attributed to Progressive Conservative Premier Dennis King.

“These three women have demonstrated to Government that the complaint reporting process in the workplace requires improvement and built-in protection so that a member of the public service can report concerns without fear of retaliation,” King said. 

“They are to be recognized as the motivation and driving force behind the “whistle blower” legislation which this government will work to finalize and proclaim this fall session.” 


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