Diane Shay lawyer Fay Brunning releases Story – City Refusing to Answer on Settlement Amounts – Should Cornwall Ontario CAO Paul Fitzpatrick Resign or be Fired? POLL

Cornwall CAO Paul "Million Dollar Man" Fitzpatrick

CFN –  I sent the City of Cornwall a request for information.   What seems to be happening is that “settlements” have been made “often” and that those numbers get buried in budgets.  The most common excuse reason given is privacy and confidentiality.

I asked for a “GLOBAL SUM” of the amount issued over the last five years by the City of Cornwall in Settlements.   IE: I did not ask for how many individuals or how much each settlement was for; just the “GLOBAL” impact on the city’s budget.

With the Community Inaction Group demanding lower taxes the difference for 2012 alone  between a tax hike or no tax hike to overburdened businesses and citizens may simply be the salaries generously being paid out to such former managers as Donna Derouchie of Glen Stor Dun Lodge, Robert Menagh, the former HR manager,  and a quite a few others.

From our research not even the city councilors; the ones voting to fire and hand out some of these settlements are aware and could answer such a question even if they knew!

Our next step is to file a Freedom of Information request; but of course these take time and incur cost.

In the meanwhile certain injustices linger unexplained to the tax payer; never mind the victims.

Fay Brunning; the lawyer representing Diane Shay just had the article below published in the Registered Nurse Association of Ontario’s Magazine.   She has graciously allowed us to reprint it.


Fay Brunning

On October 26, 2011, the City of Cornwall was convicted of illegally retaliating against Diane Shay, a registered nurse who went to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in 2008 to report elder abuse at Glen Stor Dun Lodge. In the months that followed, Shay was bullied, disciplined and harassed by her managers.  


In September 2009, she was notified that after 17 years with an unblemished record, her employment was terminated, allegedly due to a restructuring.   The City of Cornwall, which operates Glen Stor Dun Lodge, was found guilty of retaliating against Shay for complying with the law and her professional and ethical obligations to report abuse. It was ordered to pay a fine of $15,000, plus a 25 per cent victim surcharge. This is the first time Ontario’s Ministry of Health has prosecuted an operator of a long-term care home.

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq responded to this conviction and media coverage in the Toronto Star revealing other instances of resident abuse by announcing a task force to investigate resident abuse in long-term care.

Despite being convicted, the City of Cornwall showed no remorse for having violated the law. In fact, it claimed in its first press release to the public that it pleaded guilty to save taxpayers the legal costs of a trial, inferring it was not really guilty. However, the court had found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the city was guilty as charged on an agreed statement of facts.


The three retaliating managers and municipal councilors have offered no apologies to Shay or to the other employees of the lodge for violating the whistleblower protections under both the legislation and the City’s own policies. There was no apology to the public, nor to the residents of the lodge.


In November, Shay asked Ontario’s Ministry of Health to appoint an external monitor to provide ongoing whistleblower protection because the City’s chief administrative officer, one of the retaliating managers, misled the public and the media when he was quoted  in print as stating that resident abuse had not been found.  In addition to Lodge management again not recognizing the resident abuse, that statement  also inferred that Shay stirred up a fuss about nothing.  


The CAO had to retract his statement because the ministry confirmed to Shay and to the media that its investigation of the incident confirmed resident abuse.   The Ministry declined to appoint a monitor, claiming it does not have authority to do so.

Shay wanted to properly address resident abuse but Shay never wanted to experience the dangers of becoming a whistle blower.  In fact, she suffered so badly from the internal bullying, discipline and harassment by her managers that she developed a serious, stress-induced medical condition. She is still unable to work because her condition has relapsed and worsened. She does not believe any nurse should have to go through what she has endured for over three years.

So, what has been learned?  The media and the public in Cornwall have been demanding answers.  


Two of the three retaliating managers are no longer employed by the City, although the terms of their respective departures has not been disclosed to the public.


Shay hopes that this situation will be studied by the Ministry of Health and operators of long term care homes so that it can be avoided in the future.  Shay believes whistle blower legal protections must be more than just words on paper.  Nurses on the front lines have to believe the legal system will immediately enforce their right to legal protections, without any allowance for bullying, harassment or termination of employment.  Justice delayed is justice denied.  


When the retaliation was happening in 2008 and 2009, Ontario’s Ministry of Health did not react to Shay’s pleas for help. She had to launch her own civil action for reinstatement, and only thereafter did the ministry invoke its powers to charge the employer.  The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Attorney General have acknowledged to Shay that they have learned from this case and that more can be done to give proper effect to the intention of the legislation to employees in the workplace, to ensure reporting of abuse.

Shay believes the Ministry must ensure long-term care home operators are educated to prevent abuse from ever happening.  However, if abuse does happen, and if it is reported in good faith, provincial authorities must further ensure there is no retaliation towards the employees of the home. If there is retaliation, the province must be accessible and responsive to charge and prosecute retaliation, as it did in Shay’s case.  If there has been a conviction for retaliation, again the Ministry must ensure the retaliation stops.   Bullies should not be working in long-term care homes, at any level.

Shay hopes the Ministry’s willingness to prosecute and the conviction will support more members of the profession in addressing resident abuse.  She hopes that members will  to step forward and make their knowledge, fears and suggestions known to the task force.

Fay Brunning is a lawyer at Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP (www.sgmlaw.com) in Ottawa.

So my dear fellow Cornwallites and those working and elected at City Hall with some principles, morals, and scruples, the question is that should Mr. Fitzpatrick step down and if so should he also get to stay on the Ontario Sunshine list like Mr. Menagh and Ms Derouchie will for the next few years?

The City also just made a Law Times story regarding some of these Shenanigans.  LINK

Shay was reprimanded for reporting the incident while she was on medical leave and, six months later, was told by the city that her position was being eliminated and her employment was being terminated, according to the agreed statement of facts.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care later brought a motion against the City of Cornwall to prohibit Shay, a Crown witness in the case, from being cross-examined by Saunders and Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP, and to remove the pair as counsel of record from the City of Cornwall.

Shay had previously relied on the pair during the course of her duties with the city and, in the course of their interactions, had shared confidential information about the case that Saunders was expected to cross-examine her on.

That motion is currently before the court.

You can post your comment below and vote in our Poll.

Should Cornwall Ontario CAO Paul Fitzpatrick resign or be sacked over Diane Shay and similar issues?

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  1. A bully is always an ugly piece of work! He should be fired with no monetary settlement.

  2. Unreal what goes on behind closed doors. I shouldn’t be surprised but I somehow always am.

  3. Thanks for filling us in with the real MEAT of the matter. It was great to read and find out the facts that are never published anywhere else. Sometimes the true facts are not the facts that we really like to hear,but….hey —- happens!

  4. So the city was fined $15,000 plus a 25% victim surcharge over this incident? That is total bullshit, and I make no apology for the language.

    Why was the fine so small? Where is the deterrence value?

    Secondly, why is the city being fined at all? It was not the city itself that was at fault – it was people employed by the city who committed the crime, and the mayor and council who did not take the proper action when they found out about it. Will someone explain to me why, as a taxpayer, I should be fined for someone else’s criminal wrongdoing?

    Can someone please explain why the mayor, council, and senior management from the city and the Lodge are not themselves being held accountable for what happened? These are the people who should have to pay the fine, not the overburdened taxpayer (which, by the way, includes all those who also rent property in the city).

    And a final question. Can anyone who voted for Kilger in the last election explain why they voted for him? This is a man with questionable ability, yet he takes $49,000 a year from the Cornwall taxpayer to supplement his old age pension, his Canada pension, his NHL pension, and his gold-plated MP’s pension? Could he not, as a gesture of good faith, donate that salary back to the city, to pay some of the costs it has incurred thanks to his “leadership?” When I see all this, I can’t help associating him with our current MP.

  5. What stands out in the interview is that the Ontario Nurses Association has a code of conduct that it adheres to which each individual nurse is accountable to. Ms. Brunning stated that they have a moral and ethical obligation to adhere to that code. Therefore Ms. Shay, being a person with integrity, had no other alternative than to report the abuse and to continue to work towards just treatment of the elder otherwise she would have violated her own code of conduct.
    That being said, how can it be that we have a society where a code of conduct is not seared into every individual’s consciousness and causes them to feel accountable to a higher authority? Might it be this very issue which is the root cause of all the disorder we see in the world today?
    Although I have lived here for nearly two years only I do take my responsibility seriously in terms of being held accountable for what happened to Ms. Shay as this matter is not over. She has not been given the satisfaction of being treated in a just, equitable, kind and loving manner which is what she is asking for and what our society owes her. She has not been paid the courtesy of an apology. She is waiting for that. As a citizen of Cornwall I demand that we –who are “The City” apologize to Ms. Shay. We have to start somewhere to right the wrongs that have been committed. We have to take personal responsibility for the mess we are in, no one is coming along in shining armour on a battle horse to save us, people, we have to do it ourselves. So, wake up and get at it! We have to organize a response to injustice that is coherent.
    Thinking about this issue in terms of the moral and ethical responsibility- we have allowed ourselves to be duped, misled, put off and dismissed by those we have elected. I say this because a sense of shame is so important in terms of a starting point for doing the right thing. Shame guards us from whatever is unworthy and unseemly, not everyone has it but those who do need to get together. Shame coupled with the fear of God, in terms of fearing to displease the Creator, is the common code of conduct and the basis for the moral and ethical dimension of being a responsible citizen. We are not puppies whose noses should be rubbed in their mess when they do something wrong, we each have our own conscience to whom we are accountable, and we are also accountable to the greater good of our society and our City. I hope that we begin to take our responsibility seriously as soon as possible.

  6. This is one of the most pathetic casess in the legal record. The tax payers should be up in arms against any government employee who retaliates against a whistleblower. By the time this case is over…my estimate is the costs will exceed a million dollars!

    Total and complete waste of funds just because a nurse with a duty to patients and tax payers wanted to protect elders.

    I really thought Canada had better human rights laws than the U.S. in protecting whistleblowers. Get a claw back provision in your legislation and watch how few managers are willing to give up their pensions and contract buy-outs to retaliate against a whistleblower.

  7. @ Shirley Barr. I agree completely with most of what you wrote. However, one doesn’t have to live in fear of a god or “creator” in order to act and live up to a high moral standard. Doing what’s right can come from within rather than fear of punishment from some sort of god.

  8. I stand behind you Mrs. Shay all the way and I know very well of all the things that Cornwall tries to hide and sweep under the carpet like elder abuse, child abuse, etc. etc. etc. The entire country knows what goes on in Cornwall and people who live in Massena know all about it and things do get around. There is too much of this “good ole boyz club” of “Boss Hogg” mentality and it will never change as long as it continues to hire people who are rich and powerful in the community who don’t need the job and hurt the little people. I have seen this all my life when I lived in Cornwall. Yes the CAO along with the mayor and council need to be replaced (the whole gang). The whole town needs a complete makeover or else the scandals will just keep on coming. Cornwall is far from finished about the scandals – a lot more to come yet.

  9. @ Ed, thanks for the feedback, I was passionate when I wrote that piece and I stand by it. Everybody’s life revolves around something so for me to have that accountability to a higher authority is crucial. It is not something that should be imposed on anyone else, so thank you for stating your case. I think that people who have an internal monitor are rare like chicken’s teeth, so good for you!

  10. The problem with that, Shirley, is that there are lots and lots of good and honest people who don’t fear or answer to a higher power. For you to say that good and honest atheists, (people who have an internal monitor) are rare like chicken’s teeth sure seems like a sweeping judgement.
    We’re off topic.

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