CFN – Diane Shay has released a statement via her lawyer Fay Brunning. We are printing it in its entirety.
March 22, 2013
Members of the media;
I would like to thank Mr. O’Shaughnessy for his personal apology to me for the ordeal that I
have gone through as a whistleblower. This ordeal began with my efforts to ensure that the
Corporation dealt with resident abuse at the Lodge in a manner that was in accordance with
the law, designed to protect the vulnerable persons in our community.
It certainly took courage for Mr. O’Shaughnessy to resign in protest last year, and to come forward with the statements in his press release on March 19, 2013.
I have spent years trying to maintain a steady course, to have the City abide by the law, to expose the illegal conduct and to encourage Council to investigate why it happened.
I hope that the public realizes the deep personal sacrifices that have to be made, to make a meaningful difference and to stand up for what is right. The employees of the City who broke the law were supported by public money, and they needlessly fought the illegal retaliation charges for almost 2 years. I was the City employee who had done what was right, yet the City lawyer was intending to try to break my evidence in Court. The guilty plea was correct on the evidence that the judge accepted as proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, of guilt.
Mr. O’Shaughnessy gives me hope that good people will dig for the truth and not back down.
Good people will require that the law be enforced or will try to stop illegal conduct. The law abiding public servants in this community deserve the support and protection of the public and
Some background from Fay Brunning, Ms Shay’s lawyer.
(Background: I acted for Diane Shay in relation to whistleblower protection, reinstatement and witness representation in the past. She forced the City to report resident abuse at the Lodge that was investigated and confirmed by Janet McFarland and Kathleen Smit, investigators from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC). Ms. Shay was harassed, disciplined and then had her employment terminated. She had to bring a civil action to be reinstated to her employment. She was then the key witness for the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, which had laid charges against the City and Mr. Menagh for illegal retaliation.
The retaliatory conduct/failure to stop retaliation of Mr. Fitzpatrick, Mr. Menagh and Ms. Derouchie formed the basis of the charges against the Corporation of the City of Cornwall. Under the legislation at the time, and in the successor legislation, operators of long term care facilities could not and still cannot retaliate in any fashion against employees who report resident abuse (whether suspected or actual) to MOHLTC. Under the City Whistleblower Policy, the CAO (Mr. Fitzpatrick) was employee of the City responsible to enforce whistleblower protections. The Attorney General of Ontario prosecuted those charges and gave crown disclosure, the vast majority of the evidence coming from Ms. Shay. Ms. Shay was an active employee at the time she was being called upon to testify against the three senior managers in Court.
On the eve of the trial, in October 2011, the City changed its plea to guilty. An agreed statement of facts including emails at the material time, were given to the Judge and read in public, which the Judge accepted as proof beyond a reasonable doubt of guilt. A conviction was registered. The taxpayers paid the fine ($15,000 plus 25% surcharge for a total of $18,750), and paid all the legal defence costs of Mr. Menagh and the City (which were reported in the media). Ms. Shay’s request for her own legal fees was denied by Mr. Fitzpatrick, so she had to seek the assistance of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario. The RNAO graciously agreed to contribute to Ms. Shay’s legal costs because whistleblower protection is so important to front line nurses who are trying to provide care/protection to elders. )
We will be updating this story shortly.