As the Globe and Mail is reporting today, Christiane Ouimet is walking away with a sweet half-million dollars for quitting after 3 years of questionable service to the Crown. Along with other benefits her deal apparently includes about $120,000 in severance pay.
In what Bizzaro world does one get severance pay for quitting? Instead, in Ms. Ouimet’s case, the government should be suing her for breach of contract as she quit, without notice, before completing her term.
According to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s own web site, Christiane Ouimet is definitely NOT entitled to severance pay.
Are You Entitled to Severance Pay?
Severance pay is a monetary entitlement (compensation) that is intended to provide financial support to ease your transition from one place of work to another.
You are not entitled to collect severance pay if:
- you have been dismissed for just cause;
- you quit your job;
- you did not return to work after your employer recalled you from a layoff; or
- you were entitled to a pension under a registered pension plan, the Old Age Security Act, the Canada Pension Plan and/or the Quebec Pension Plan on or before ceasing to be employed.
In response to an earlier boondoggle involving severance pay (and a Liberal appointee), Stephen Harper is quoted as saying:
"There is no common law saying the government has to pay severance to someone who voluntarily quits. That may be the common practice of the Liberal Party, but it is not the common law," Mr. Harper told the Commons in October of that year.
"Given that there is no requirement to pay severance to someone who quits voluntarily, and given that Mr. Dingwall received hundreds of thousands of dollars he should not have received, why is the prime minister contemplating giving him any money at all?"
So why has the Harper Government agreed to pay Ms. Ouimet such a sum? According to federal labour standards and the Prime Minister’s own statements they are under no obligation to do so. Hush money perhaps? Whatever, it sure stinks to high heaven.