IN THE MATTER OF AN ARBITRATION UNDER THE BRITISH COLUMBIA LABOUR  
RELATIONS CODE, R.S.B.C. 1996, C. 244  
BETWEEN:  
CITY OF PORT COQUITLAM  
(the “Employer” or the “City”)  
-AND-  
CANADIAN UNION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES, LOCAL 498  
(the “Union”)  
Re: Copper Dismissals  
APPEARANCES:  
Dean Crawford, Q.C. and Nicholas  
Valsamis, for the Employer  
Susanna Allevato Quail and Jim Quail, for  
the Union  
ARBITRATOR:  
Ken Saunders  
DATES OF HEARING:  
June 24-28, July 2, 4, 5, 15-19 and  
October 3, 2019  
DATE OF AWARD:  
June 17, 2020  
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I.  
INTRODUCTION  
1
On June 29 and July 10, 2018, the Employer dismissed six employees in its Utilities  
Department for engaging in dishonest conduct: Keifer Baranec, Travis Buizer, Kim  
MacKenzie, Coral Steele, Ian Plasman and Andrew McBoyle (collectively, the  
“Grievors”).  
2
The Employer contends the Grievors participated in a scheme whereby copper  
obtained on the job was cashed in and the revenue distributed among members of  
the Water Crew. The Employer also asserts that Buizer and MacKenzie either stole  
or obtained fire hydrants contrary to City policy. Finally, the Employer says that each  
of the Grievors was dishonest when interviewed and in their testimony.  
3
The basic elements of the scheme involved placing copper designated as scrap in  
burlap bags. Those bags were placed out of sight behind the door to a compartment  
in the Water Van. Copper was bent or cut to fit into the bags. The bags were  
surreptitiously transferred from the Water Van to an employee’s vehicle and taken  
to a recycler for money. The cutting and bagging of copper was essential to the  
scheme. This was a co-operative effort.  
4
There is no dispute this scheme was perpetrated. Water Operator, Harold Lewis  
visited the recycler on nine dates between March 14, 2015 and November 21, 2015.  
In 2016 he visited the recycler on nine occasions. In 2017, Lewis attended the  
recycler on 11 dates and on seven dates between January and June 23, 2018. In  
total, Lewis recovered $16,798.17 for the delivery of 6,567 pounds of metal in this  
period. It is fair to infer these metals were obtained on the job and were taken at the  
Employer’s expense.  
5
6
The evidence also shows that this scheme was perpetrated for many years and as  
far back as 2000.  
The Union’s defence raises issues under the following main categories: 1) Did the  
Employer violate the Grievors’ right to Union representation; 2) did the Employer  
violate Buizer’s and Steele’s privacy in its investigation; 3) did the Employer act in  
bad faith in its manner of dismissing MacKenzie through its response to her  
application for employment insurance (EI) benefits; 4) did the Employer act in bad  
faith in its manner of dismissal of all the Grievors by its representations to the media  
about the copper scheme; 5) did the Employer establish that MacKenzie, Steele and  
Baranec participated in the scheme; and 6) did the Employer establish cause for  
dismissal in respect of each Grievor?  
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II.  
BACKGROUND  
A. THE UTILITIES DIVISION  
1. Organizational Structure  
7
8
The Employer’s Department of Public Works has four divisions: Utilities, Streets,  
Parks, and Solid Waste/Fleet.  
The Department of Public Works is headed by Public Works Manager, Dave Kidd.  
Reporting to Kidd at the material time were Section Manager for Utilities, Bob Bell,  
the Section Manager for Streets, Ross Maki and the Section Manager for Solid  
Waste and Fleet, Tom Madigan. Kidd, Bell, Maki and Madigan are excluded  
managers. Each participated in the investigation of the copper scheme and testified  
in this proceeding.  
9
The highest ranked bargaining unit position in the Utilities Division is the Foreman  
3. The duties of a Foreman 3 are primarily office-based and administrative, including  
scheduling of the crews, contact with contractors, contact with the foreman for each  
Utilities subdivision and suppliers. Gary Goff was the Foreman 3 at the material time.  
Goff was interviewed in respect of the copper scheme and testified in this  
proceeding.  
10 The Utilities Division has three subdivisions: Water, Construction and Sewers. Each  
of these subdivisions is headed by a bargaining unit Foreman 2. Under the Foreman  
2 is the Utility Operator who acts in a lead hand capacity. The Utility Operator for the  
Water Crew is known as the Water Operator. Seasonal work is performed by  
individuals or small crews assigned to hydro maintenance, valve maintenance, water  
meters, unidirectional flushing and pump maintenance.  
11 Trades 1 employees work under a Utility Operator. Trades 1 employees formed a  
labour pool at the time of the investigation and rotated between the Utilities  
subdivisions as needed. The Grievors employed as Trades 1 employees were  
Andrew McBoyle, Kim MacKenzie, Ian Plasman and Keifer Baranec.  
12 The Grievor, Coral Steele, was designated as Foreman 2 of the Water Crew at the  
material time. Steele also filled in as Foreman 3 and in various other work  
assignments. These alternative assignments touch on Steele’s opportunity to  
observe the operation of the scheme and will be discussed in greater detail in this  
award.  
13 The Water Operator at the material time was Harold Lewis. It is fair to say Lewis was  
the key perpetrator of the copper scheme although it must be emphasized he could  
not have fulfilled this role without the co-operation of others. Lewis was terminated  
in connection with this matter. Lewis was also charged criminally in that regard.  
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Lewis’s dismissal is not the subject of a grievance and he did not testify in this  
proceeding.  
14 The Grievor, Travis Buizer, was the Foreman 2 of the Construction Crew at the  
material time. Buizer was dismissed in connection with the copper scheme and  
testified in this proceeding.  
15 Steve Becket was the Foreman 2 of the Sewer Crew at the material time. Becket  
was not interviewed. Marco Stevens was the Sewer Operator. Stevens was  
interviewed but not disciplined.  
2. Work of the Water Crew  
16 The Water Crew is responsible for a variety of services including installing and  
disconnecting water service connections, water meter installations, water main  
repairs and tie-ins, as well as attending to requests and complaints also known as  
Green Sheets. This work involves the regular use and installation of new copper  
pipe and the disconnection of old copper pipe.  
17 Harold Lewis, Andrew McBoyle, Kim MacKenzie, Ian Plasman, Nick Duran, Keifer  
Baranec and Coral Steele were assigned to the Water Crew at the material times.  
3. Work of the Construction Crew  
18 The Construction Crew supported third-party contractors for the tie-in of new water  
mains to existing City utilities. Additional work included water meter replacement,  
water main tie-ins and the support of the Water Crew on emergent work to repair  
water mains or to service water leaks. These tasks involved the regular use of new  
copper pipe and removal of old copper pipe. The Construction Crew also assisted  
with annual unidirectional flushing to scour water mains. Members of the  
Construction Crew were commonly assigned to work on other crews as needed. For  
example, the crew would assist with annual unidirectional flushing. Grievors Ian  
Plasman, Kim MacKenzie, and Travis Buizer were often on the Construction Crew.  
Marco Stevens also served on the Construction Crew for a period of time.  
MacKenzie, Plasman and Duran regularly rotated between the Utilities crews.  
4. Work of the Sewer Crew  
19 The work of the Sewer Crew involved installing new services for newly developed  
properties, maintenance of the existing sewer system including service repairs,  
catch basin repairs, manhole repairs, and attending to complaints and requests.  
5. Additional Crews  
20  
Additional crews operated equipment or were assigned specific jobs.  
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21 For example, a flush truck is used mainly to clean sewer mains and sanitary. It was  
also used to clean catch basins and to vacuum out wet wells at the sanitary pump  
station. Further, this machine was used to excavate soil close to existing utilities.  
Darrell Ackerman was the operator of the flush truck and was assisted by Nick  
Duran, Britton Ayers and Rick Williams.  
22 Depending on the time of the year, the Utilities Division assigned persons to valve  
maintenance, checking and troubleshooting water meters, pump maintenance at the  
sanitary lift stations and unidirectional flushing. The maintenance of fire hydrants  
also falls within this category. Fire hydrant maintenance is an entry-level task  
generally assigned to one person. Unidirectional flushing was typically assigned to  
persons with knowledge of the water system from January 1 to May 15 and October  
15 to December 31 each year. Crews were assigned to the tasks under this heading  
on an as-needed basis depending on who was available and the demands of the  
day.  
B. BACKGROUND CONCERNING THE USE OF CITY PROPERTY AND COPPER  
23 I find on the evidence of Gary Goff, Shop Steward and Foreman Roy Savage, Travis  
Buizer and Andrew McBoyle that there was a practice among certain members of  
the Water Crew of taking scrap copper from the jobsite and cashing it in. The  
proceeds were then distributed between crew members. This practice went back as  
far as 2001. Employees were supposed to place that copper in the City’s metal  
recycling bin for the benefit of the City.  
24 I will pause at points in the following narrative to record parts of the testimony that  
bear on the resolution of the issues in dispute.  
1. Gary Goff  
25 Gary Goff began work with the City at the age of 16 years old. He recently retired  
after 42 years of service. Goff worked in various positions before he moved onto the  
Sewer Crew and then the Water Crew. He subsequently stepped up the ranks to the  
Foreman 3 of Utilities and served as Acting Section Manager. Goff worked in that  
capacity until he retired. Goff was active in the Union throughout the 1980s and  
1990s when he held various positions on the Local Executive. He was elected Vice-  
President in 2012 and elected President of the Local in 2014.  
26 Prior to 2013 Goff understood that employees cut and bagged scrap copper, took  
the copper to a recycler and distributed the proceeds amongst themselves, although  
he was not involved. Goff estimated in cross-examination that this practice had  
occurred for as much as five years prior to the arrival of Section Manager Ravi  
Chinna in May 2013. In cross-examination, Goff testified that he did not believe that  
he told the Employer that scrap copper was being cashed in, although he took no  
direct issue with the words attributed to him when he was questioned on June 27,  
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2018 to the effect that “…there was a period where scrap was pulled out of the  
ground and brought in for cash.” I find that Goff did make that representation to the  
Employer when questioned on June 27, 2018. Goff understood that the practice  
ended when Ravi Chinna was hired in 2013. Goff testified that Chinna told him he  
would speak to employees at crew talks. Goff told the Employer when questioned  
on July 11, 2018, in part, “it’s not proper. Post Ravi, there was a line in the sand and  
as far as I know, after that it did not happen.” Goff understood after that point that  
scrap copper was to be left in the ground or placed in the recycling binas he put it  
in his testimony, once the copper is removed from the ground it is “the property of  
the City”. Further, Goff acknowledged in cross-examination that if the crew were  
cutting up copper during work hours in order to obtain cash proceeds, it would  
detract from their ability to complete the work.  
2. Ravi Chinna  
27 Ravi Chinna was hired as Section Manager for the Utilities Department in May 2013.  
In February 2014, he was promoted to Manager of Engineering and Operations until  
his departure for another job in August 2014. Within several months of his arrival,  
Chinna became aware that employees in the Utilities section and other divisions of  
Engineering operations had engaged in a practice of obtaining personal benefits  
from their status as employees. For example, employees had used City equipment  
for personal use and the City garbage bin was used to dispose of personal garbage.  
Employees also obtained personal services from City contractors. Chinna was  
concerned that the latter practice gave rise to a conflict of interest as some front-line  
supervisors are required to sign off on the equipment and staff provided by  
contractors. Such conduct was contrary to the City’s Conflict of Interest Policy.  
Chinna also noticed that the City had a recycling bin for scrap metal in the Public  
Works Yard. The value of the scrap metals went to general revenue. That impressed  
Chinna because employees had been terminated for the theft of scrap metals at his  
previous municipal job.  
28 Chinna and his fellow managers addressed the above-noted concerns at crew talks  
in June and July 2013. Employees were advised to avoid personal gifts from  
contractors, not to use the City garbage and not use City property for personal  
benefit. Chinna did not know at the time that employees had cashed in scrap copper.  
Nonetheless, Chinna also told employees they were expected to place scrap metal  
into the recycling bin. Goff understood at the time, that Chinna had drawn “a line in  
the sand” regarding this practice. Shop Steward and Foreman Roy Savage testified  
to the same effect. As far as Goff and Savage were aware, the practice of cashing  
in scrap copper had ended at that point in time.  
29 The evidence shows that Grievors Steele and McBoyle attended crew talks during  
which these topics were discussed.  
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30 On July 30, 2014, Mani Deo (then Manager for Trades and Solid Waste) stepped  
into Chinna’s position. Deo met with all the staff and advised that there was to be no  
personal garbage brought to work, that staff must communicate respectfully and that  
there was to be no personal use of City equipment or materials. Deo testified that  
he understood at the time that employees were putting scrap copper in the recycling  
bin.  
31 There is no allegation that management was aware of the copper scheme at the  
material time. Indeed, Kim MacKenzie was acutely aware that the Employer took a  
very “black and white” view of the use of City property for personal gain. For  
example, she understood that it would be viewed as inappropriate to even use the  
City air compressor to fill her flat tire. Further, it must be noted that none of the  
Grievors who admitted to knowing or participating in the copper scheme, believed it  
was appropriate or tolerated by City management.  
3. Nick Duran  
32 Nick Duran began employment with the City on October 30, 2017, as a Trades 1.  
His previous employment provided him with limited exposure to the type of work  
performed by the Water Crew. His employment with the City was subject to a four-  
month probation.  
33 Over the first three or four months of Duran’s employment he worked on the Water  
Crew, Sewer Crew and the Construction Crew. Duran observed the copper scheme  
within two weeks of starting his job.  
34 In direct-examination, Duran testified that in his opinion, the Water Crew over-  
measured the lengths of new copper required to perform a job. He also observed  
that the leftover new copper and used copper taken from the ground was brought to  
the Water Van, cut into smaller sized pieces and placed into burlap sacks. Those  
burlap sacks were then placed behind the door to a compartment at the back of the  
Water Vansometimes referred to as a cupboard.  
35 Duran testified that copper was cut or bent in the Water Van for the purpose of  
bagging it. This practice occurred when the crew had time to do so throughout the  
day. If there was not enough time to cut the copper for bagging, three to five-foot  
pieces of copper were placed in the back of the van and cut into pieces suitable for  
bagging when the crew arrived at the Public Works Yard. Duran testified that he  
observed the Water Crew do this while parked away from plain sight at the southwest  
corner of the Public Works Yardtime permittingor inside the van while parked in  
the Water Bay.  
36 Duran testified that he observed Lewis, McBoyle, MacKenzie and Baranec engage  
in this practice. He described this practice as occurring whenever he worked on the  
Water Crew but that he never cut and bagged the copper during the first three to  
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four months of his employment. Duran was not trained to cut and bag copper to  
avoid a tripping hazard or for any other safety-related reason, nor was he ever asked  
to do so.  
37 I note that in direct-examination, Duran was specifically asked to speak to the first  
three to four months of his employment. Duran did not independently volunteer a  
specific timeframe regarding his observations of Lewis, McBoyle, MacKenzie or  
Baranec.  
38 Duran testified that he asked his co-workers why they were cutting the copper but  
did not initially receive a response apart from vague comments to the effect they  
“just hang onto it.” Duran persisted with his questions. Duran testified in direct-  
examination, in part as follows:  
Q. In the first three or four months how many times did you  
observe this practice of cutting and bagging?  
A. The first three months or four months, it happens so often,  
pretty much every time I worked on the Water Crew.  
Q.  
When you first started observing that practice at some point  
did you raise it with your coworkers?  
A. Yes, at first I asked what are you doing, what’s up or hey  
what are you cutting the copper for. And I did not get any  
reply. And then five minutes later they are still cutting it, so I  
asked, “hey what are you doing?” Sometimes people  
wouldn’t say anything that day and then I drop it and then the  
next time I would work on the crew they will be doing it again,  
so I’d ask. And then they would tell me that the copper was  
being cut up and that depending on how much one would  
work on the Water Crew they would get a certain percentage  
from the sale.  
39 In cross-examination, Duran conveyed a vague recollection of initial conversations  
in which he asked MacKenzie, Lewis, Baranec and McBoyle what is done with the  
bagged copper. Duran did not a have a firm recollection of those initial inquiries. He  
testified that his initial questions were ignored and although he could not recall the  
exact words used, he did recall that no one gave him a straight answer and that  
eventually he got the response we “just hang onto it” or “save it,” or words to that  
effect.  
40 Duran added that there were a few instances when he attempted to steer his co-  
workers away from the scheme by suggesting that they donate the copper proceeds  
to help the homeless. He testified that he did this because he did not want his co-  
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workers to get into trouble. Duran testified that suggestion was rebuffed. In cross-  
examination, Duran recalled that he made that suggestion to Lewis and McBoyle but  
struggled to recall the surrounding details, apart from his claim that Lewis and  
McBoyle both responded with the same phrase, “no fucking way” on different  
occasions. Duran agreed in cross-examination that the scrap copper was not his to  
give away.  
41 Brenda Nadeau provided Duran’s post-hire job orientation. She told him that scrap  
metal, including copper was supposed to be thrown in the metal recycling bin.  
42 Lewis was the first to explain the scheme to Duran. Duran testified in direct-  
examination this disclosure occurred within two weeks after he started work. That  
accords with what Duran told the Director of Human Resources, Steve Traviss, on  
June 20, 2018. In cross-examination Duran testified Lewis made this disclosure  
sometime between when he started and mid-February 2018most likely mid-  
November. Duran testified that after initially saying the copper was just held onto,  
Lewis explained that copper was cut up, sold and that members of the crew received  
a portion of the proceeds depending on one’s time spent working on the crew. Duran  
testified, “I asked him [Lewis] if he was afraid of getting caught and he replied no,  
I’m close to retirement.”  
43 Duran testified in cross-examination that he did not ask anyone else if they were  
afraid of getting into trouble for participating in the copper scheme. Rather, he  
suggested they give the copper away to a homeless person. Duran agreed in cross-  
examination that he could have done other things to act on his concern for his co-  
workers.  
44 When asked in direct-examination if other colleagues had disclosed the elements of  
the copper scheme within the first three to four months of his employment, Duran  
testified that happened during a coffee break conversation in the Water Van with  
McBoyle and Plasman. Duran testified that McBoyle was sitting in the driver’s seat  
and Plasman was sitting in the passenger seat and that he brought up the subject  
of the copper scheme during idle conversation. Duran testified that at first they  
ignored the question but when he repeated his inquiry McBoyle said, “copper was  
cut up and Harold [Lewis] would sell it and, those who worked on the Water Crew  
would receive a certain percentage and Ian [Plasman] chimed in and said that we  
don’t talk about that.”  
45 Duran also testified that MacKenzie disclosed the elements of the copper scheme  
to him. In direct-examination Duran testified this conversation occurred when he  
happened upon MacKenzie when entering the back of the Water Van. Duran testified  
in part:  
So I walked in and she had the copper in the vice, she was getting  
ready to cut it with the sawzall, I said ‘hey what are you doing.’ She  
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didn’t respond and then I asked, ‘are you cutting up the copper?’ and  
she went ‘hm, hm.’ And I said, ‘are you going to bag it?’ — 'yeah’,  
And I said, ‘we all get a certain percentage of the proceeds for the  
copper that is sold?’ And she said, ‘yes but we don’t talk about that.’  
And she said it firmly, with a firm voice, so I just dropped our  
conversation, and went back to my lunch bag and grabbed a bite to  
eat. And then she started cutting the copper up.”  
46 Duran could not recall exactly when he had his conversation with MacKenzie. Again,  
when questioned in direct-examination, counsel directed Duran’s attention to the first  
three or four months of his employment when asking if his colleagues had explained  
the scheme to him.  
47 In cross-examination, it was put to Duran that MacKenzie denied having this  
conversation with him. Duran simply said that he hoped that she would be honest or  
words to that effect. Duran did not have a good recollection of where the van was  
and when this conversation took place.  
48 Duran also described in direct-examination two conversations he had with Baranec  
sometime during his first three to four months of employmenthe could not recall  
the date except that it happened after Harold [Lewis] had explained the scheme to  
him. The first conversation Duran described occurred in the Water Van while he was  
looking for a tool (the van compartments containing bags of copper also contained  
tools). Duran testified that he came across a bag of copper and asked Baranec, “oh  
what’s this, there’s a bag of copper”? Duran testified that Baranec responded, “that’s  
the copper that we cut up and is sold we get proceeds from, depending on how much  
we work on the Water Crew.” According to Duran’s account, Baranec completed the  
statement stating, “we don’t talk about that”. Duran testified that he also recalled a  
second conversation while he worked with Baranec on the pump truck. Duran came  
across copper on the ground when he and Baranec were at the Public Works Yard  
to look for a tool. At the time Duran said to Baranec that the copper should be thrown  
into the recycling bin, and Baranec responded that Duran should leave it there  
otherwise “Harold will get upset.”  
49 It was put to Duran in cross-examination that Baranec denied both conversations  
had occurred. Duran responded that he hoped that Baranec would be honest. It was  
also put to Duran that he and Baranec only worked five shifts together. Duran did  
not have a good recollection of where the conversation in the van occurred. Nor did  
he did have a good memory of when either conversation about the scheme with  
Baranec took place.  
50 Duran also described an incident where he observed McBoyle comment to the effect  
“it was sure worth it” after McBoyle and MacKenzie had struggled to remove a piece  
of copper from the ground. Duran testified that from his perspective, there was no  
operational reason to remove old, used copper from the ground.  
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51 Duran testified in direct-examination about a conversation he had with then Sewer  
Operator Marco Stevens concerning scrap copper. Duran testified that he observed  
a large container of scrap copper inside the Sewer Bay and asked Stevens “oh  
what’s with all the copper” and Stevens replied, “I don’t care, I like my job, I have my  
family, I don’t give two shits about it.”  
52 Duran testified that he never saw Coral Steele cut up and bag copper, nor did he  
ask her why it was being cut up and bagged. Duran testified that from his perspective  
Steele could have observed copper being cut up and bagged. However, he did not  
know if Steele saw the bags stored in the Water Van. Duran had no specific  
recollection in any of these regards, only to say that cutting copper to put in bags  
was a commonplace event. Duran testified that he had no knowledge of whether  
Steele had obtained money for scrap copper.  
C. DURANS PROBATIONARY EVALUATIONS  
53 On January 24, 2018, the Employer and the Union agreed to extend Duran’s  
probation. That was 26 days before Duran disclosed the copper scheme to  
management. Part of the reason for the extension was that the City was waiting for  
Duran’s environmental operator certificate from Manitoba. The extension was also  
based on performance issues as recorded in Duran’s first evaluation.  
54 Duran received his first probationary evaluation on February 1, 2018. The evaluation  
was signed by Gary Goff, albeit the Union’s First Vice-President, Les Nerdahl, was  
directly involved in approving it. Duran’s supervisors were identified as Gary Goff,  
Coral Steele, Travis Buizer and Steve Becket. Under the heading of “job knowledge  
and skills,” Duran was assessed as not fully meeting expectations however it was  
noted that Duran had been progressing and was gaining experience working with  
the different crews. Under the heading of “quality of work,” Duran was evaluated as  
not fully meeting expectations.  
55 The comments recorded on the probationary evaluation indicate that Duran was  
improving but was still learning the details of the work, that he responded to  
correction, but had to be repeatedly instructed on the “hot tap” procedure. Under the  
heading “organizational skills and productivity,” Duran was evaluated as fully  
meeting expectations. Under the heading “teamwork flexibility and ability to adapt,”  
Duran was assessed as fully meeting expectations however the comments indicate  
that while Duran adapts to changes, he requires more time working with the crews  
to be properly assessed. Duran was not favourably assessed under the heading of  
“communication skills.” There it was noted he communicates in a clear concise and  
organized manner. However, it was also observed that he sometimes does not  
listen, acknowledge or respond to others’ ideas and/or needs and had difficulty in  
listening, acknowledging or responding to directions. It was also noted that he may  
not always keep others informed and could provide more constructive and positive  
feedback. Among other things, the notes indicate that Duran should communicate  
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with Steele more often and that Duran on one occasion had disregarded Steele’s  
work instructions. Duran testified that he felt the performance review was fair on  
balance. He recognized that he needed more experience working with the crews.  
56 Steve Traviss testified that the fact Duran was on extended probation was not a  
factor that stood out in his assessment of Duran’s credibility. In his view, extensions  
to probation were a non-contentious matter between the Employer and the Union.  
57 On March 28, 2018, Duran was nearing the end of his extended probation. Goff and  
Bell signed off on a passing final evaluation. Goff noted that Duran had expressed  
an interest in increasing his hours with the Water Crew and that he would attempt to  
do that when possible. Duran testified in cross-examination that he could not recall  
the date he passed his probation and that he attributed no importance to the matter.  
D. DURAN FIRST DISCLOSES THE SCHEME TO MANAGEMENT  
58 On February 19, 2018, Lewis approached Duran in the Water Bay at the end of the  
workday. Lewis handed Duran $50.00 from a stack of $50.00 bills. Lewis told Duran  
this was his share of the copper money. Duran testified that Lewis added, “don’t be  
talking to your co-workers or anybody to discuss that he got this much and he got  
that much, especially don’t tell Coral.” Duran became upset as he did not want  
anything to do with the scheme.  
59 Duran then proceeded to Bob Bell’s office where he found Bell and Dave Kidd. He  
placed the $50.00 bill Lewis provided on Bell’s desk. Duran testified he said, “here’s  
the $50.00 that was given to me for copper that was sold. I don’t want it, its dirty  
money, I do not want anything to do with it.” Bell asked who gave the money to  
Duran. Duran responded that he did not want to say. Kidd thanked Duran for the  
information and commented that he would do what he could to protect his identity  
and maintain confidentiality. Duran then left the office, changed, and went home.  
60 The City had implemented a whistleblower policy in 2017. Among other things, the  
City undertakes to use its best efforts to provide confidentiality consistent with the  
need to investigate claims. Bell’s notes of that interaction record his statement to the  
effect that the City would investigate Duran’s report. Duran did not recall hearing that  
statement when he was cross-examined.  
E. DURANS DISCLOSURE SETS EVENTS IN MOTION  
1. Duran is asked for Additional Information on February 20, 2018  
61 On February 20, 2018, a management meeting was convened to discuss the matter.  
In attendance were Kidd, Bell, City Manager, John Leeburn, Director of Engineering  
and Public Works, Kristin Dixon, Director of Human Resources, Steve Traviss and  
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Human Resources Advisor, Hannah Park. It was decided at that meeting to learn  
more from Duran before deciding the next steps.  
62 February 21, 2018, Kidd and Bell met with Duran over lunch at a Starbucks in  
Coquitlam. Kidd and Bell had prepared questions and wanted to meet Duran at a  
location they were unlikely to be observed. Duran was reluctant to disclose who gave  
him the money. He did not want anybody to get fired. He suggested the copper  
money be used for a staff party with the hope it might avoid that outcome. Duran  
eventually told Bell and Kidd that Lewis gave him the money after being asked  
several times. Duran testified that he decided to make this disclosure to be honest  
and transparent.  
63 Duran reiterated to Kidd and Bell that Lewis told him not to discuss the matter with  
Steele. Duran also mentioned that Stevens keeps copper in the Sewer Bay. Bell’s  
typewritten notes of the February 21, 2018 meeting record in part:  
2. Who knows about the copper scheme? - Everyone, it’s common  
knowledge that the crew cuts the copper into small pieces and put  
them in sandbags. Andrew and Dan Code pulled copper today and  
cut it into sandbags.  
Marco and Steve have a stash of copper in the sewer Bay also. It’s  
in a garbage bin but Marco said he doesn’t want to take it out of the  
yard.  
This has been confirmed by Tom and Bob on February 21 (photos  
taken)  
3. Have you told anyone else about this? - No  
4. Who else received money? Keifer, Andrew, Ian, and Kim  
sometimes depending if she worked on the Water Crew. Harold told  
me not to tell anyone, even Coral.  
64  
Bell’s handwritten notes of the February 21, 2018 meeting record in part:  
Coral is not informed of copper funds when money is distributed.  
65 Duran also recounted the elements of the copper scheme including the cutting,  
bagging and placement of the bags in the Water Van. Duran conveyed the  
conversations he had with Baranec, MacKenzie, Plasman and McBoyle confirming  
their participation in the scheme (as previously noted). Duran added that the Water  
Crew wasted copper and time. Kidd asked Duran if Goff was involved. Duran replied  
that he was not sure. Duran re-conveyed his conversation with Stevens concerning  
the container of copper in the Sewer Bay. Duran was concerned about his  
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confidentiality and Kidd assured him that they would do what could be done to  
protect his identity and to maintain confidentiality.  
66 Duran had difficulty recalling the location of the February 21, 2018 meeting when he  
was cross-examined.  
2. Spot Checks Begin on February 21, 2018  
67 Kidd decided that Duran had provided enough information to begin an investigation.  
Traviss testified that it was important to confirm Duran’s own description of the  
scheme. Accordingly, Kidd and Tom Madigan completed visual checks of the Water  
Van and the Construction Van on February 21, 2018. The visual check of the Water  
Van confirmed what Duran had described. Kidd found four to five burlap sacks filled  
with 12-inch cut up pieces of copper in the right-hand cabinet in the Water Van. The  
contents appeared to be 80% new copper and 20% old copper. At the Sewer Bay  
there was a 240 litre container of larger copper pieces. Visual check of the  
Construction Van and Construction Bay disclosed no evidence of cut up copper or  
sacks filled with copper pipe.  
68 Kidd and Madigan decided to continue to do daily spot checks to monitor the  
situation. They observed the daily accumulation of copper in burlap sacks in the  
Water Van. There was no movement of the copper at the Sewer Bay. Nor was there  
evidence of cut up copper or bags of copper at the Construction Bay or in the  
Construction Van. After two weeks of seeing no evidence of copper being cut and  
bagged by the Construction Crew or the Sewer Crew, management directed its  
investigation solely to the Water Van. The copper sacks continued to accumulate in  
the Water Van until there was no more room in the cabinet. On March 20, 2018 the  
cabinet previously full of sacks of copper was found empty.  
3. Fire Hydrants  
69 On April 3, 2018, Duran and Buizer were working alongside a contractor tasked to  
remove a fire hydrant. The contractor asked Buizer and Duran what they should do  
with the hydrant. Duran immediately spoke up and asked Buizer if he could keep it.  
Buizer said he could. The fire hydrant was scheduled to be removed the next day.  
Duran arranged with the contractor to take it then.  
70 I note that the scrap value of hydrants is included in the contractor’s quote. The  
hydrant belongs to the contractor and the disposal of the hydrant is the responsibility  
of the contractor removing it.  
71 On April 4, 2018, Duran worked with Buizer and MacKenzie. At 10:31 AM, Duran  
decided to text Bob Bell to advise that the contractor was about to throw away a fire  
hydrant and asked, “Is there a procedure on who can have it.” Bell asked if this was  
the City’s hydrant to which Duran responded affirmatively. Bell then advised Duran  
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that the fire hydrant is to go into the scrap metal bin as the City makes money with  
scrap metal. Duran asked if he could buy the fire hydrant. Bell told him he could not.  
Approximately 30 to 40 minutes after that text exchange the contractor asked Duran  
if he still wanted the hydrant. Duran testified that MacKenzie spoke up before he  
could speak and sternly said that Duran could not have the hydrant as she had  
seniority over him. Duran testified that he did not challenge MacKenzie based on her  
manner of speaking. He simply returned to work. In cross-examination Duran  
conceded that he did not tell MacKenzie or Buizer that Bell said no one was to take  
the fire hydrant.  
72 That Friday Duran noticed a fire hydrant placed in the back of Buizer’s work pickup  
truck while parked in the Public Works Yard.  
73 The following Monday, April 9, 2018, Duran noticed that the fire hydrant was no  
longer in the back of Buizer’s pickup when leaving the Public Works Yard. Duran  
then sent a text message to Bell advising that the hydrant was no longer in the  
pickup. He added that hydrant sells for about one thousand dollars (he had obtained  
that information from eBay). Bell asked if the hydrant was there Friday evening.  
Duran responded that it was there Friday at 3:15 PM.  
4. GPS installed  
74 The removal of the burlap sacks from the Water Van prompted Kidd to install a GPS  
locator on the Water Van, the Construction Van, and the Sewer Van. The purpose  
of doing so was to determine if any of the vans were being used to move the sacks  
of copper stored in the Water Van and to determine where the copper was being  
unloaded.  
75 Kidd continued to monitor the Water Van and observed that new sacks of copper  
began to accumulate in the cabinet. Nothing changed in the Sewer Bay.  
5. April 27, 2018 - Private Investigator Retained and Surveillance Begins  
76 Between March 20 and April 26, 2018, Kidd observed the continued accumulation  
of bags of cut copper in the Water Van. On April 26, 2018, Kidd observed the Water  
Van compartment was full of sacks of copper.  
77 It was decided at that point to retain the services of the private investigation firm  
Xpera Investigations (“Xpera”). The investigator subsequently watched Steele,  
Lewis, and the Water Van. Later, the investigator was retained to observe the  
activities of the Water Crew and Buizer’s handling of a fire hydrant. The reasons for  
doing so were as follows: 1) it was anticipated that the copper bags would be  
transferred from the Water Van as had happened in March 2018; and 2) Lewis and  
Steele were in key supervisory positions over the Water Crew and would likely be  
involved given that each frequently worked on the Water Crew, (taking into account  
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Duran’s report that Lewis admonished him not to tell Steele how much money he  
had received); 3) to track Buizer’s handling of a fire hydrant; and 4) to determine if  
there was evidence the Water Crew was malingering.  
78 Xpera was initially asked to observe Steele and Lewis regarding the suspected  
copper theft. Bell and Kidd were the City contacts. Xpera immediately prepared  
individual background profiles of Steele and Lewis. The profiles included a review of  
social media postings, property holdings, as well as the review for records of civil  
and criminal proceedings. The profiles included a review of available social media  
postings of Steele and her daughter (which were limited by restrictive privacy  
settings). The investigator obtained and provided this information as a matter of  
standard investigation practice. The purpose is to ensure the correct identification of  
the subject and associates (including friends and family members) that may appear  
during the investigation. The City had already provided the investigator with a picture  
of Coral Steele held in its records.  
79 Lead Investigator John Orimaco testified the focus of the surveillance was the Water  
Van as that is where the bags of copper were located.  
80 On April 27, 2018, the investigator observed Lewis enter the Public Works Yard in  
his personal vehicle just after 7:00 PM and exit shortly after. Kidd was advised. Kidd  
then proceeded to the Public Works Yard shortly thereafter and saw that the burlap  
sacks of copper he observed on April 26, 2018 had been removed. On April 28,  
2018, the investigator reported he had observed burlap sacks in Lewis’s personal  
vehicle. Consequently, Kidd asked the investigator to focus his surveillance on  
Lewis.  
81 Kidd continued spot checks of the Water Van after April 28, 2018. He observed the  
renewed accumulation of bags of cut copper in the Water Van compartment.  
82 Individual surveillance of Steele picked up on May 4, 2018 because she was  
observed driving her personal vehicle into the Public Works Yard after regular work  
hours, vacuuming her personal vehicle, subsequently placing her belongings in a  
company vehicle and then departing the yard. Orimaco understood that employees  
were not to enter the secure yard with their personal vehicles after hours. He was  
curious as to why Steele then took her belongings to a company vehicle and left the  
yard after regular work hours.  
83 On May 11, 2018, the Employer asked Xpera to watch Buizer. That decision was  
made because an employee observed Buizer and McBoyle loading what appeared  
to be a heavy object from a City vehicle into Buizer’s personal vehicle. That  
happened the morning of May 11, 2018. On May 11, 2018, the investigator observed  
a fire hydrant in the back of Buizer’s personal vehicle. On May 12, 2018, Buizer’s  
wife was observed driving Buizer’s vehicle from his residence. The investigator  
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followed Buizer’s wife as he was tasked with tracking the fire hydrant located in the  
vehicle. The surveillance of Buizer ended on May 13, 2018.  
84 Kidd testified in direct-examination that fire hydrants that remain City property hold  
value for recycling or for parts salvage. If a contractor decommissions a fire hydrant  
it becomes the property of the contractor. Nonetheless, Kidd testified that employees  
are not to accept gifts from contractors as that puts them in conflict of interest.  
85 Xpera conducted surveillance of Lewis on April 27, 28, 29, 30, and May 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,  
13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18, 2018.  
86 On May 18, 2018, the investigator observed Lewis meet McBoyle at the Chester  
dump and stash bags of copperthat much is undisputed. Lewis returned after his  
shift that day and loaded the bags of copper into his personal vehicle. On May 19,  
2018, Lewis was observed selling the copper at a recycler.  
87 After May 19, 2018, the Employer continued its surveillance to determine if there  
was evidence of malingering. That was based in part on data obtained from the GPS.  
That continued for about two weeks until it was called off due to the investigator’s  
concerns they may be exposed to employees.  
6. June 20, 2018 Management Begins Questioning  
88 In June, the Employer decided to interview employees in connection with the  
information it had gathered. It was decided to re-interview Duran in order to confirm  
details and assess the credibility of his account. It was further decided to interview  
Coral Steele as she was the Foreman 2 of the Water Crew and Gary Goff as the  
Foreman 3 of the Utility section. Dan Code and Britton Ayers were identified as  
interview candidates because they had worked with Duran. Buizer, MacKenzie,  
Plasman, Lewis and McBoyle were interview candidates as they had been identified  
as participants in the scheme. Stevens was not selected for questioning. Traviss  
testified the rationale for that decision was that Duran’s reports and the ongoing spot  
checks did not disclose sufficient evidence he was a party to the scheme.  
7. June 20, 2018 - Interview of Nick Duran  
89 Traviss interviewed Duran on June 20, 2018. Traviss’ goal was to assess Duran first-  
hand and to ask follow-up questions. Traviss was particularly curious about Marco  
Stevens. Duran had reported that Stevens made a comment to the effect that the  
scrap copper accumulated in the Water Bay, “was not worth his job.” Traviss also  
wanted to ask about Steele’s involvement in the cutting and bagging copper or if  
others had participated.  
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90 On June 20, 2018, Duran told Traviss that he had first learned about the copper  
scheme in November 2017 (shortly after he was hired). Duran’s account included  
some of the following key points. Duran described to Traviss how co-workers initially  
ignored his questions about what was done with the bags of scrap copper. Duran  
added that “in the second month” Lewis, MacKenzie, Buizer, Plasman and McBoyle  
later disclosed the elements of the scheme with the common admonition that “we  
don’t talk about it.” Duran told Traviss that he never approached Steele about the  
matter and that he never saw any of his co-workers receive money in connection  
with the scheme. He also said his co-workers had rebuffed his suggestion that the  
money be used for other purposes.  
91 Duran disclosed a comment attributed to Marco Stevens about scrap copper in a bin  
located at the Sewer Bay. Traviss testified in direct-examination that he entered the  
June 20, 2018 meeting with the understanding that Stevens had told Duran words  
to the effect that the Sewer Crew had not had a chance to bring the scrap copper at  
the Sewer Bay to the recycler so it piles up and has not been dealt with. Traviss was  
also aware that Stevens said to Duran words to the effect “it was not worth my job.”  
Traviss’ notes record that disclosure in relevant part as follows:  
4. Has anyone else received copper money? How do you know?  
Have you seen it being passed out? Do you know how much is  
typically passed out?  
Not aware of anyone else, not that I know of. In the Sewer Bay, there  
is lots of scrap copper, asked Marco, now knowing what was  
happening on the water side. He said, previously we used to take it  
(implied to the scrap dealer) have been too busy so it’s just piling up.  
92 The parenthetical phrase appearing in the preceding quotation records Traviss’ own  
conclusion about what Duran was trying to convey. Traviss testified in direct-  
examination that what he took from that statement was that the Stevens and the  
Sewer Crew was too busy to recycle the copper accumulated in the bin, not that they  
was too busy to cash the copper in for personal benefit. Traviss testified in part:  
A. In the context of how that question [question 4] was asked and  
how Marco [Stevens] answered it, what I took from that was the crew  
was busy and they have not had a chance to deal with that, not that  
it was anything like what was going on with the Water Crew where  
they were concealing, bagging it and cashing it out for their personal  
gain. I read it that the Sewer Crew had the copper piled up and the  
proceeds went to the City. It’s a very different description than what  
Nick [Duran] told us was going on with the Water Crew. I did not read  
into that any inference that Marco [Stevens] personally did not have  
the time to go to the recycler to get the money for his gain. The  
copper was in a big bin and anybody could see it in the Sewer Bay.  
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93 In cross-examination, Duran was unable to recall exactly what he said to Traviss on  
June 20, 2018 about the statements he had attributed to Stevens concerning copper  
in the Sewer Bay.  
94 Traviss was aware that a large bin of copper remained relatively undisturbed in the  
Sewer Bay throughout the spot checks. It was put to Traviss in cross-examination  
that the inference to be taken by Stevens’ comment to the effect that the scrap  
copper was “not worth risking his job”, was that Stevens “did not want anything to  
do with any copper scheme”. Traviss testified that there was an “inference” that  
Stevens “had some idea” regarding such a scheme.  
95 Duran reported that he observed Plasman, McBoyle, Lewis, Baranec,  
and  
MacKenzie cut up copper. Duran told Traviss that he never saw Steele, Britton Ayers  
or Ian Plasman cut copper.  
96  
Traviss scripted a question about why Lewis told Duran not to tell Steele about the  
$50.00. Traviss’ notes record Duran’s reply as follows:  
They have a weird relationship (Coral [Steele] and Harold [Lewis]).  
They’re always yelling and bickering calls her the c and b word, other  
times, lovey-dovey. She takes her job seriously, doesn’t want to lose  
her job over this. She would see all the copper in the van that has  
been cut up. She is not stupid. She is aware of what is going on. She  
is astute, smart, but don’t know if she gets any money for the  
copper.” (emphasis added)  
97 Traviss asked Duran if he knew Steele was aware of the copper sales. Traviss noted  
Duran’s reply as follows: “She knows the copper doesn’t go into the scrap bin. Knows  
about the sandbags, the cutting in the cupboards in the van.” In cross-examination  
Traviss conceded that he did not ask Duran on what basis he claimed to know that  
Steele knows these matters. Traviss also asked questions about malingering. Duran  
expressed the view that the crews were inefficient and wasted time. Duran also  
recounted the events concerning the fire hydrant. Finally, Duran reported that the  
very week he was on the job with MacKenzie, Plasman and McBoyle, McBoyle  
commented about a piece of copper that was difficult to remove from the ground,  
“Man this is hard, but was sure worth it.”  
98 In cross-examination, Duran was asked to identify the date that he had initial  
conversations with his co-workers about the copper scheme. Duran initially testified  
sometime in the four to six weeks following November 2017, he had individual  
conversations about the copper scheme with Lewis, MacKenzie and Baranec, as  
well as a conversation with McBoyle and Plasman. When pressed to identify when  
he first discussed the matter with Lewis, Duran testified that it occurred sometime  
between when he started and mid-February 2018 a period of 3 ½ months. Duran  
testified in part as follows:  
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Q. So I will ask you about the first conversations when they did  
not tell you the whole story? Do you recall the first  
conversation with Harold [Lewis], approximately when you  
had that conversation?  
A.  
No it happened between when I started and mid-February.  
Q.  
So this was for five or six weeks, but it may have been over  
a period of 3 ½ months?  
A. I know for sure the conversations happened between when I  
started and mid-February.  
Q.  
Not five or six weeks?  
A. Possibly, all I know is it happened between when I started  
and mid-February.  
Q. On June 20, you identified these conversations as happening  
in the first month of November when you started working  
there is that right?  
A.  
I don’t recall.  
Q. Were you being careful to tell the truth when you spoke to  
the managers on June 20?  
A. I wanted to tell the truth. I don’t know what you mean by  
careful. I don’t understand what you mean by careful.  
99 Duran was unable to identify the specifics of his very first conversation with  
MacKenzie when he questioned her about what happens with bags of scrap copper,  
and she explained “we just hold onto it”. When later pressed to recount his initial  
conversation with Baranec, Duran testified as follows:  
Q. So you also had a conversation with Keifer, not the  
conversation where he told you the whole story, just a  
conversation where he did not really answer the question?  
When was that conversation with Keifer to the best of your  
recollection?  
A. I don’t remember, I remember speaking with each one of the  
people I mentioned and each one did not give a straight  
answer the first time I asked each person, each individual.  
- 21 -  
Q.  
A.  
Did that conversation with Keifer occur as late asFebruary?  
I don’t know I’m sure there’s records when we work together.  
Q. You don’t recall whether or not it would’ve happened in  
February? As far as you recall that could have happened in  
February is that right? Could that have happened in January?  
A.  
I know the conversation happened and I don’t recall the  
dates. I think it happened at least two weeks in.  
Q.  
A.  
Q.  
A.  
So not on your second day?  
That’s correct.  
Do you recall where the conversation took place?  
No I don’t.  
Q. Recall anything in particular about what either of you said in  
that conversation?  
A.  
Q.  
A.  
I remember asking and getting no response.  
What do you remember asking?  
I asked, I don’t know the exact words, it was along the lines  
of what we do with copper being cut up and there was no  
response.  
Q.  
A.  
Keifer just ignored the question?  
Everyone at first ignored the question.  
100 It later emerged in cross-examination that Duran had a limited recollection of when  
those conversations happened with his co-workers about the copper scheme:  
Q. In June and you thought that initial conversations occurred in  
November and the second ones in December. But now a lot  
of these conversations could have happened any time  
between October 30 and February 19, is that correct?  
A.  
Could have, no. I know these conversations happened.  
- 22 -  
Q. I’m not saying you say they couldn’t have happened, it’s just  
the date is not necessarily November or December? It’s  
between October 30 and February 19th?  
A.  
I know they happened between those months.  
F. The June 27 and July 5, 2018 Interviews  
1. Organization of June 27, 2018 Interviews  
101 The Employer decided to question the selected employees for interview on June 27,  
2018. Traviss testified that date was chosen as it best fit with employee availability,  
particularly in view of upcoming vacation schedules. Traviss acknowledged in cross-  
examination that he knew the Chief Shop Steward Ron Narayan was on a medical  
leave that day. Narayan was the point person that Traviss typically contacted to  
arrange for shop steward representation. Normally, Traviss would give Narayan  
advance notice to arrange for a shop steward unless an investigation was  
immediately required. In that case the immediate attendance of a shop steward is  
requested.  
102 Traviss expected the Local Union President Gary Goff would be at work. He only  
learned the afternoon before the scheduled questioning (June 26, 2018) that Goff  
needed a last-minute absence to attend a specialist appointment the morning of  
June 27, 2018.  
103 The following steps were taken in what Traviss described as an attempt to preserve  
the integrity of the investigationboth by minimizing the potential for collusion and  
otherwise controlling discussion between employees about the questioning: 1) the  
group was sequestered in invigilated meeting rooms before and after the interviews,  
2) non-emergency cell phone communications were prohibited; 3) the entire group  
was questioned on one day, and 4) a manager was assigned to escort employees  
through a common area to the washroom. Traviss testified in cross-examination that  
these measures were motivated by the following concern, “I was very concerned  
that if there was an opportunity to converse with others, I would not be getting their  
story, I will be getting other people’s input so it was very important to ensure that  
when I met with each person, what I was hearing was not influenced by others.”  
104 Employees waiting to be questioned in the Training Room did not know exactly what  
was being investigated so they were not in a position to make disclosures that  
compromised the investigation. When it was put to Traviss in cross-examination that  
employees in the Training Room were prohibited from making phone calls to prevent  
them from speaking to a Union representative, Traviss testified this was not  
contemplated as a risk to the investigation. Traviss further testified that his  
- 23 -  
instructions to escort employees to the washroom did not include watching them at  
the urinal.  
105 Two teams of managers were assigned to handle the number of persons questioned.  
Managers Traviss and Kidd interviewed Andrew McBoyle, Dan Code, Keifer  
Baranec, Coral Steele and Gary Goff. Managers Tom Madigan and Ross Maki  
interviewed Ian Plasman, Britton Ayers, Travis Buizer, Kim MacKenzie, and Harold  
Lewis.  
106 McBoyle, Baranec, MacKenzie, Lewis and McBoyle were selected for questioning  
as they had all worked on the Water Crew and had been identified by Duran as  
participants in the scheme. Steele was identified for questioning given her role as  
Foreman 2 of the Water Crew and the frequency with which she worked on that  
crew. Goff was selected for questioning given his role as the Foreman 3 above  
Steele. Dan Code and Britton Ayers were questioned as they had worked with the  
Water Crew and were on the same jobsite as Duran. Stevens was not selected for  
an interview until Travis Buizer identified him as an individual who was involved in  
the scheme.  
107 Traviss testified about why Sewer Foreman Marco Stevens was not initially selected  
for questioning. Traviss explained in direct-examination that it was concluded that  
there was not enough evidence to suggest that he was part of the copper scheme.  
Spot checks disclosed the bin of copper at the Sewer Bay remained undisturbed.  
Nor was there any evidence that Stevens had cut or bagged copper. Traviss testified  
in direct-examination that he understood that Stevens had told Duran that he had  
not gotten around to putting the copper at the Sewer Bay into recycling and that it  
was “not worth his job,” or words to that effect. In cross-examination Traviss  
conceded that one could infer from the comments Duran attributed to Stevens, that  
Stevens was aware of the copper scheme but chose not to participate. Kidd testified  
in direct-examination that he recalled that Duran had talked to Stevens about the  
copper accumulated in the Sewer Bay. Kidd recalled that Stevens told Duran when  
questioned about the copper in the Sewer Bay that, “it wasn’t worth his job to be  
involved in that”.  
108 The Employer prepared scripts to read to the Union representatives. Article 7.6(b)  
of the Collective Agreement provides a right to Union representation when a  
manager intends to question an employee for disciplinary purposes:  
7.6 Representative of Canadian Union of Public Employees  
(b) Where a supervisor intends to interview an employee for  
disciplinary purposes, the supervisor shall so notify the Union in  
advance of the purpose of the interview in order that a shop steward  
or other Union representative may be present at the interview. In a  
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disciplinary interview, no employee shall be required to answer  
charges without a Union representative present.  
109 Traviss and Kidd approached the Union’s First Vice-President, Les Nerdahl at the  
6:30 AM shift start on the morning of June 27, 2018. Nerdahl was the most senior  
Union representative available that morning. Traviss read from the following script  
shortly before the 7:00 AM shift start:  
We are investigating serious allegations about staff conduct with  
potential disciplinary outcomes for a number of staff.  
We will be commencing interviews immediately and will be running  
two interview rooms.  
Identified staff are assembling in the training room now.  
We will be calling the staff: Andrew, Ian Plasman, Kim, Britton,  
Keifer, Coral, Travis, Harold, Dan and Gary.  
The staff have the right to representation and as such, we will require  
two union observers, one for each room.  
The initial investigation is focused in the utility section. As such,  
union representatives need to come from other work sections and  
be available immediately.  
We will require a union representative to be in Dave’s office  
(interview number one) and in Tom’s office (interview room number  
two).  
Do you have any questions?  
110 Nerdahl did not have follow-up questions for Traviss. Nerdahl subsequently asked  
Shop Stewards Roy Savage and Rick Williams to attend the interviews. Savage had  
previously represented five employees accused of misconduct and Williams had  
previously represented four employees at disciplinary interviews.  
111 Nerdahl phoned Goff at approximately 7:00 AM to inform him that the questioning  
was in process. Goff arrived at the office at approximately 8:30 AM that day. At 8:40  
AM, Bob Bell asked Goff to wait in the Training Room as he had been designated  
for questioning. Goff did not object to any of the questions or the process that had  
been invoked that morning. He had been present for the questioning of other  
employees during disciplinary investigations in the past.  
- 25 -  
112 While Traviss spoke to Nerdahl, Bob Bell met with each of the employees to be  
questioned that morning. Bell directed those employees to the Training Room.  
113 The Administration Room was designated for employees to wait after the initial  
interviews, should there be additional follow-up questions. The Administration Room  
seats 8 to 10 and is smaller than the Training Room. Senior Human Resources  
Advisor Hannah Park was assigned to invigilate the Administration Room. She took  
notes of employee discussions and demeanour. She did not instruct employees to  
refrain from speaking about what happened in the interviews but there was no talk  
about that in any event.  
114 When employees designated for questioning were assembled in the Training Room,  
Dave Kidd read the following statement:  
We are investigating serious allegations about staff conduct with  
potential disciplinary outcomes for a number of staff.  
We will be commencing interviews immediately and will be running  
two interview rooms.  
Todd [Gross] will be in the room while you are waiting for your  
interview.  
While you are waiting, do not use your phone. If you have to take a  
personal emergency call, notify Todd of your intent before taking the  
call or text. This is to ensure our investigation is not compromised.  
Do you have any questions?  
115 Todd Gross was assigned the task of monitoring the Training Room. As noted  
above, Hannah Park was assigned the task of monitoring the post-interview  
Administration Room. A shop steward was not assigned to the Training Room and  
employees were asked not to make phone calls except for personal emergencies.  
When it was put to Traviss in cross-examination that employees assembled in the  
Training Room had no opportunity to telephone the Union to obtain advice, Traviss  
testified that employees had not asked to do so, that employees were permitted to  
make urgent calls, and had employees asked to call the Union, the Employer would  
have addressed that.  
116 Bob Bell was tasked with escorting employees called out for questioning to their  
assigned meeting room. The employees met the Shop Steward and management  
representatives at the assigned meeting room at which point questioning began. The  
protocol did not include time for employees to speak to the Shop Steward in advance  
of the questioning. Traviss testified in cross-examination that had there been a  
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request for such a meeting it would have been addressed but there had been no  
such request, and the protocol did not preclude such meetings.  
117 The questioning proceeded over a seven-hour period between 7:00 AM and 2:00  
PM.  
118 Scripts were also prepared to guide the questioning of each employee. The  
questions were preceded by a statement that read as follows:  
I have a number of questions to ask you about behaviours that have  
been occurring in public works. This is a very serious matter and it  
is important that you think carefully about your answers and answer  
truthfully. Take the time you need to answer the question and if you  
don’t understand the question, tell me and I can rephrase or ask the  
question again.  
There have been some serious allegations made about theft of City  
property, we have conducted a lengthy investigation and are fully  
aware that a problem exists and I expect that you will be able to help  
us resolve it.  
119 Following the introduction, an opening line of questions was scripted including the  
following:  
1. How long have you been with the City?  
2. What is your job on the utilities crew?  
3. Do you understand that theft of City property is a serious offence?  
4. Some employees were asked, do you understand it can be a criminal offence?  
5. Have you ever taken City property?  
6. Have you received money for the sale of City property?  
7. Have you ever observed this taking place?  
8. Give me an example of City property?  
120 A reminder to be honest and a follow-up statement for Steele, Ayers and Goff was  
added to the script:  
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I want to remind you of the importance of being truthful through this  
process and let you know we have been investigating this for an  
extended period of time and we have significant evidence and  
reason to believe you have either observed or been involved. See  
next note.  
For Coral [Steele], Britton [Ayers] and Gary [Goff], we have  
significant evidence that there is a practice of selling copper. It is  
really important that you are honest and forthright about what you  
know.  
2. Exhibit 5  
121 The Union and the Employer agreed to submit into evidence a non-exhaustive  
statement of words spoken at the June 27, 2018 interviews and at follow-up  
interviews on July 5, 2018, subject to one exception: (“Exhibit 5”). The exception  
concerns whether the Grievor Kim MacKenzie identified persons involved in the  
copper scheme on an organizational chart put to her during her interview. It is agreed  
that Exhibit 5 is not an exhaustive statement of what was said at the interviews.  
Some of the Grievors could not recall words attributed to them or contested aspects  
of Exhibit 5. Steele went so far as to contest the entirety of that document. I will  
elaborate when reviewing Steele’s testimony below.  
122 I have reviewed Exhibit 5 along with the notes taken at the interviews and the  
witnesses’ testimony both individually and taken together with the whole of the  
evidence in arriving at factual findings. I have reviewed the agreed-upon statement  
against the notes taken by management representatives and the respective Shop  
Stewards at the interviews. None of the notes were verbatim. None of the notetakers  
are professional witnesses or stenographers. The basis for some of the critical  
answers given to questions was not explored. None of the notes were put to the  
employees that were questioned for verification at the end of each interview. For  
these reasons, the notes are inherently fallible as a completely accurate record.  
However, as set out more fully in the reasons to follow, despite these infirmities I am  
satisfied that the agreed statement is accurate as a guidepost in some material  
respects. What follows is a record of what I find to be some key points of the  
accounts given by each of those interviewed as recorded by Exhibit 5, the notes  
taken, as well as testimony given in this proceeding.  
3. Harold Lewis  
123 Harold Lewis did not testify in this proceeding. However, his account at the June 27,  
2018 interview is in evidence by way of Exhibit 5 and the notes taken of his interview.  
124 As noted above, Lewis was the Water Operator. As such, he occupied a lead hand  
type of position and stepped in as Foreman 2 in the absence of Steele. He played a  
key part in supervising and organizing the performance of jobs assigned to the Water  
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Crew. Lewis was a 12-year employee at the interview. He had worked at a wide  
variety of jobs in the Utilities Department prior to becoming the Water Operator.  
125 When questioned, Lewis initially denied taking City property, receiving money for the  
sale of City property or observing this taking place. When specifically asked about  
what happens with copper Lewis responded that it was regarded as scrap and that  
he cashed it in. When pressed, Lewis admitted that he had been cashing in scrap  
copper since he had worked as a Water Operator. He said he was never told what  
to do with scrap copper. When asked if other people knew about selling copper  
Lewis advised that he did not know and that he only knows what he does. He said  
that he came up with the idea of selling the copper on his own and that he kept the  
money for himself and that no one else was involved. Lewis refused to implicate  
anyone else in the scheme and said it was all on him. He understood that he would  
be fired. The notes taken by the Shop Steward and management indicate that Lewis  
refused to implicate any other employee in the copper scheme. He was only  
prepared to disclose his own participation. Lewis was recorded to say several times,  
“I’m not throwing other people under the bus.” At one point in the questioning, Lewis  
asked to privately speak to his Shop Steward Roy Savage. Madigan and Maki  
acceded to that request.  
4. Travis Buizer  
126 Buizer started working for the City in 2001 as a Trades 1 in the Operations Division  
of the Engineering Department. In 2006 he moved to Trades 1 in Sewer and Water  
which was eventually moved from Engineering to Utilities in 2013. In February 2008,  
Buizer was temporarily appointed as Foreman 2 on the Construction Crew. He acted  
in that role for five years until he was awarded that position permanently in February  
2013. Buizer mostly performed storm and sanitary, and water main replacement  
work on the Construction Crew. He also filled in for the higher rated Foreman 3 on  
an as needed basis.  
127 Buizer was interviewed by Tom Madigan and Ross Maki on June 27, 2018. The  
Shop Steward in attendance was Roy Savage.  
128 When questioned on June 27, 2018 Buizer responded to the introductory questions  
by denying taking City property, receiving money for the sale of City property or  
observing others taking City property. When asked about what happens when  
hydrants are replaced, Buizer admitted to taking a fire hydrant and indicated that he  
did not know if it was City property. He said that McBoyle helped him to put it in his  
car. Buizer added that other staff had taken hydrants home, however, he was unable  
to name anyone.  
129 When specifically asked what the Construction Crew does with scrap metal after a  
job Buizer replied they “do not pull out much copper.” He said that copper goes into  
recycling. Madigan pressed Buizer to be honest. Buizer then disclosed “we have all  
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done it. I haven’t done it in a while because I haven’t been on the crew.” He also  
said that he had not received money in a while. Madigan asked, “who is we?” Buizer  
then replied that, “all the foremen in water” had done it.  
130 When Madigan pressed Buizer to identify who else had done it Buizer advised that  
he did not want to give up other people and this had occurred for a long time. Maki  
handed Buizer an organizational chart and said if he did not want to say names, he  
could mark down who was involved. After a long pause, Buizer identified the names  
of himself, Harold Lewis, Ian Plasman, Marco Stevens and Coral Steele. He added  
Brenda Nadeau to the list of persons involved.  
131 When asked to estimate how much money he had received, Buizer estimated that  
he had personally taken $5,000 to $10,000 and that he distributed some of that  
money to others.  
132 In direct-examination, Buizer testified that he and others had cashed in scrap copper  
since he had worked for the City. Buizer also explained in cross-examination that  
the scrap copper was obtained from the ground and from the “tail ends” of new  
copper. That copper was put in the Construction Van and stored in sandbags which  
were then placed in plain sight at the Construction Bay.  
133 Buizer also testified that pieces of copper were cut to fit in a burlap sack at the  
worksite. Buizer testified that he and others distributed the proceeds between  
members of the crew. When asked how long he had participated in this scheme  
Buizer testified that he had been involved, “I worked there for 17 years, pretty much  
to the end of the Construction Crew when we moved into Utilities,”—which occurred  
in 2013.  
134 Buizer testified that he had stopped participating when the Construction Crew moved  
into the Utilities Department because he was making pretty good money when he  
started filling in as Foreman 3, he did not want the hassle, and that his wife talked to  
him out of it. Buizer added that he worked with copper less often after the  
Construction Crew moved under the umbrella of Utilities.  
135 When asked in direct-examination if he recalled who he had identified on the  
organizational chart, Buizer responded that he had identified Plasman, Nadeau, and  
Stevens. When it came to the fact that he had identified Steele, Buizer testified, “I  
know I put an X on Coral’s name but I don’t remember doing that, that might’ve been  
a mistake but I don’t remember putting an X there.” When asked why he put an X  
next to Marco Stevens’ name, Buizer testified, “because I knew he had taken copper  
money. I just knew that.” However, when asked how he knew that, Buizer was only  
able to state, “well it’s common knowledge. I mean you see copper in the bay, it  
leaves, I mean you just know it, you don’t talk about it but it’s, you know it’s going  
on, I mean I been a big part of it for a long time, I know how it works right.”  
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136 Buizer further testified in direct-examination that he identified Plasman simply  
because Plasman had worked on his crew on the McLean Road job in 2016 or 2017.  
Buizer recalled Plasman bagging copper and putting it in the van at the end of the  
shift.  
137 When asked why he had identified Coral Steele, Buizer stated “I don’t remember  
doing that and I don’t know why I ever would because we never work together. I  
never, we worked side-by-side, but we were never on the same crew. We were never  
together on the crew. To do the copper stuff together.”  
138 Buizer testified in cross-examination that he had worked as a Trades 1 and the  
Foreman 2mostly on the Water Crewbetween June 2006 and February 2008.  
Buizer recalled in his testimony that Steele had worked either as the Water Operator  
or as a Trades 1 on the Water Crew in that period of time.  
139 It was put to Buizer in re-examination that Steele became a Trades 1 on the Sewer  
Crew and had not worked on the Water Crew from 2006-2008. Buizer was unable  
to offer a precise recollection of whether Steele had worked with him on the Water  
Crew in that timespan. However, in that period of time Trades 1s were moved  
between crews and that Steele was qualified to work on the Water Crew.  
140 Buizer testified that copper was bagged and cashed in between June 2006 and  
February 2008. Scrap copper was never put in the recycling bin. He added in cross-  
examination that the copper scheme was not a secret but was not talked about. He  
did not recall who distributed the money at that time and estimated that copper was  
cashed in about twice a year.  
141 When asked in cross-examination what he meant when he told Madigan that “we’ve  
all known about it,” Buizer testified that he assumed that everyone knew about it, “it  
wasn’t a giant secret,” that it was not something that was talked about and that he  
assumed all of the foremen were aware, including Steele.  
142 Buizer reiterated in cross-examination that he did not recall identifying Coral Steele  
as a person who had participated or received money from the scheme. He testified  
that he knew the City would rely on what he had said at the interview and was careful  
to be truthful.  
143 Buizer also testified in cross-examination that during the last few years of his  
employment, the Construction Crew would occasionally work alongside the Water  
Crew under the supervision of the Foreman 2 of the Water Crew.  
144 Buizer testified in direct-examination that he was stressed and confused during the  
interview. He objected to the way he was treated on the basis that he was “corralled”  
in a stuffy room and unable to use his phone. Buizer later conceded that he phoned  
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his wife when he was in the meeting room. He added that when he went to the  
bathroom that a manager, the name of whom he could not recall (the Manager of  
Parks), had followed him and watched him.  
145 Buizer attended a meeting with the Employer for additional questioning on June 29,  
2018. When Madigan asked Buizer about Steele’s involvement in the copper  
scheme, Buizer stated “I know she did it, but we never did anything together. I know  
it’s been done, but we were on separate crews.” The Employer ended that session  
shortly after it began because the Employer objected to the Union’s insistence on  
caucusing after every question.  
146 When asked in cross-examination how Buizer knew that Steele had participated in  
the scheme Buizer testified, “Well for one thing I was under a lot of stress. And  
basically, I assumed she did. And I assume she did it because, well it’s simple,  
because it always happened. But we never discussed it, or I never seen anything  
because let’s face it, I mean, me and Coral we respected each other but we were  
kinda like water and fire, didn’t really mix. We work together but that was about it.”  
Buizer added in cross-examination that the last couple of years he was not involved  
in the scheme. He did not care enough to pay close attention to Lewis’s conduct on  
the Water Crew.  
147 Buizer was terminated by letter dated June 29, 2018. The termination letter alleged  
in part as follows:  
You were interviewed on June 27, 2018 and on June 29, 2018. The  
City’s investigation has revealed that you have been engaged in the  
theft and sale of City property, specifically copper piping. Further,  
you have confirmed that you have taken a City fire hydrant.  
Questioned about this matter during the City’s interview of you on  
June 27, 2018, you initially denied taking any City property or  
receiving money for City property.  
When questioned again, you stated it’s old copper, distributed  
money to other employees from the proceeds of selling City copper  
and confirmed you would have taken City fire hydrant.  
You failed to be fully forthcoming in the interviews.  
You have irreparably breached the trust of the City and your  
employment is no longer tenable.  
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5. Kim MacKenzie  
148 MacKenzie started work for the City in November 2016 as an Operation and  
Maintenance Worker. MacKenzie entered the City workforce with previous Water  
Crew experience from another municipality.  
149 In April 2017, MacKenzie was appointed full-time as a Trades 1 Utilities. In that  
capacity, she worked on hydrants, exercising water valves, on the flush truck, the  
pump truck, the Water Crew, the Sewer Crew, and the Construction Crew.  
MacKenzie was enrolled in the Leadership Program and was a member of the Health  
and Safety Committee as well as the Emergency Operations Team. She worked as  
acting Section Manager in place of Tom Madigan on several occasions. Kidd  
testified that MacKenzie was a leader who asked questions and demonstrated a  
strong moral compass. Accordingly, she was selected to serve as acting Section  
Manager.  
150 MacKenzie testified in direct-examination about the dates she was recorded to have  
worked on the Water Crew as recorded on Exhibits 10 and 11. These exhibits were  
prepared by the Employer based on timecards generated in the ordinary course of  
business. Exhibits 10 and 11 record which of the Grievors recorded hours on  
individual jobs. The total number of hours is accurate however the exact number of  
hours spent at each job is not exact. Further, these exhibits do not disclose specific  
tasks employees performed at each of those jobs. For example, the fact MacKenzie  
would sometimes record work on the Water Crew as a flagger is not recorded. Goff  
testified that Exhibits 10 and 11 are based on timecards which are generally  
accurate, give or take up to 30 minutes. Timecards can be completed by an  
individual employee working alone on a job or by a Foreman 2 or an Operator for  
the crew on a job. Goff conceded in cross-examination that the timecards are subject  
to a measure of fallibility as it does not necessarily record the type of job performed.  
151 MacKenzie identified the following dates between November 2017 (the month Duran  
started) and February 2018 (the month Duran made his disclosure) when she  
worked on the Water Crew as well as whether the job involved copper or the crew  
included Duran: November 6, 2017 - no copper / likely flagging; November 16, 2017  
no copper; December 18, 2017- no copper; December 19, 2017 with copper;  
December 20, 2017 - no copper; December 21, 2017 no copper; December 24,  
2017 copper; December 26, 2017 no copper; December 28, 2017 no copper;  
January 19, 2018 no copper / with Duran / flagging; February 5, 2018 copper;  
February 14, 2018 – no copper. Based on MacKenzie’s testimony and the records,  
of the 12 times she worked on the Water Crew in that time period, MacKenzie worked  
once with Duran and that job did not involve the use of copper.  
152 In cross-examination, MacKenzie identified 15 times between March 24, 2017 and  
June 19, 2018 that she had likely worked on the Water Crew.  
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153 Shop Steward Roy Savage represented MacKenzie at the June 27, 2018 interview  
and took notes.  
154 MacKenzie testified in cross-examination that she recalls Kidd read from a script to  
employees assembled in the Training Room before the interviews began.  
MacKenzie recalled that Kidd said, “we are investigating serious allegations about  
staff conduct with potential disciplinary outcomes for a number of staff.” MacKenzie  
agreed in cross-examination that she knew at the beginning of her interview there  
were potential disciplinary outcomes at stake.  
155 Exhibit 5 records that when questioned on June 27, 2018, MacKenzie was asked if  
she had ever taken a fire hydrant. MacKenzie admitted to taking a fire hydrant. She  
told Madigan that Buizer said she could take it because she was senior to Duran.  
MacKenzie added that she thought the hydrant was scrap, and she did not know if  
it was City property as she believed the contractor owned the hydrant. She offered  
to return it. MacKenzie advised Madigan that it was common practice for employees  
to take fire hydrants from jobsites. When Madigan asked MacKenzie to identify on  
an organizational chart which employees would be aware of the practice of taking  
fire hydrants. MacKenzie said that she did not want to check off names and did not  
want to make assumptions. She then added that, “a very large group of people  
know.”  
156 In cross-examination MacKenzie was unable to identify the basis for her assertion  
that this practice is a matter of common knowledgeapart from her assertion that  
“people were talking about it.”  
157 Traviss testified in cross-examination that it was not brought to MacKenzie’s  
attention at the interview that the fire hydrant she obtained was slated for disposal  
by the contractor who removed it.  
158 MacKenzie said at the June 27, 2018 interview that she had not taken City property  
for financial gain or received money from the sale of City property. When Madigan  
advised MacKenzie that copper was being sold by employees and asked about her  
involvement, MacKenzie stated, “she just did as she was told, ... wants to do a good  
and not cause trouble.” She said she wanted her supervisors to think she was doing  
a good job.  
159 MacKenzie was asked how long the scheme had been happening and she said she  
did not know. She was asked who was also involved and was specifically asked  
about Lewis and Steele. MacKenzie said that she did not know who knows about  
the scheme.  
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160 Madigan asked MacKenzie who received money for the sale of copper. MacKenzie  
maintained she did not know anything. She also denied that she herself ever  
received any money.  
161 Madigan then asked what the crew does with scrap copper leftover from a job.  
MacKenzie said the copper is cut up, bagged and then put into a cupboard. When  
MacKenzie was asked why the copper is cut up, she said that she did not know and  
just did as she was told.  
162 MacKenzie explained that everyone on the Water Crew cuts up scrap copper.  
MacKenzie said that she cut copper as she was told to do so by the foreman.  
MacKenzie refused to identify which foreman. When Madigan asked MacKenzie if  
she cut up pieces of copper and put them in burlap sacks to conceal them, she said  
that she just did as she was told and tried to do a good job. MacKenzie advised  
Madigan that she did not know who had received money from the sale of scrap  
copper and that she did not receive any money.  
163 As noted above, Exhibit 5 (an agreed-upon, albeit incomplete record of words  
spoken at the June 27 and July 5, 2018 employee interviews) is subject to one  
exception. That exception pertains to the last paragraph recorded for the June 27  
interview. There it is recorded that MacKenzie was directed to an organization chart  
a second timeat the very end of the interview. This note indicates that MacKenzie  
was asked whether she could identify any individuals on the chart who know about  
the copper scheme. The notes indicate that MacKenzie said that it would be easier  
for her to say who is not involved. She said it was common knowledge and that  
everyone knows. She indicated she was uncomfortable indicating who knows, and  
that it was, “hearsay for me to speak on their behalf. Not comfortable indicating on  
the org chart.”  
164 When MacKenzie was questioned on July 5, 2018, she began by making an opening  
statement that she was not in an ideal state of mind. Madigan indicated that others  
had identified her as someone who had received money from the sale of copper.  
MacKenzie denied that allegation. When MacKenzie was asked about her  
involvement in cutting up and concealing copper, she responded that she was not  
involved. She claimed that she cut it up as a safety precaution on any truck she was  
on. Madigan pointed out to MacKenzie that in her June 27, 2018 interview, she said  
she did not know why copper was cut up and bagged because she just did as she  
was told. Madigan pointed out that her previous statement was inconsistent with her  
claim the copper was cut up for safety reasons. MacKenzie said she had a week to  
think about it.  
165 MacKenzie denied telling the protected person (Duran) words to the effect that “we  
all get a cut” and that allegation was “totally false.”  
166 I now leave Exhibit 5 and return to summarize MacKenzie’s testimony.  
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167 MacKenzie testified in direct-examination that she did take a fire hydrant as a  
“symbol of a milestone of a new beginning.” It was a style of fire hydrant that she  
had learned on with her previous employer. She testified that she took the hydrant  
with Buizer’s permission. MacKenzie added that she was very much aware of the  
City’s black and white stance on the theft of its property and would not have taken a  
fire hydrant had she thought it belonged to the City. MacKenzie added in cross-  
examination that it was her understanding that the fire hydrant belonged to the  
contractor and that she did her due diligence by asking her foreman if she could take  
it. She testified that it did not occur to her to ask a manager.  
168 MacKenzie testified in direct-examination that she cut up copper and threw it into a  
box. No one instructed her to do so. MacKenzie added in her testimony, “I just cut it  
up and threw it in the box. The stuff that you pull out is rarely straight, at times it can  
be quite long. So, to me cutting it up and moving it out of the way rather than leaving  
it in the narrow walkway of the van just makes sense. No one will trip on it or cut  
themselves on it. I like to keep the van clean and tidy.”  
169 MacKenzie also testified in direct-examination that she never said at her June 27,  
2018 interview that her foreman had instructed her to cut copper. MacKenzie denied  
that she ever had a conversation with Duran where it was discussed that copper was  
cut up and bagged so that Lewis could cash it in and that everyone gets a cut of the  
proceeds, or words to that effect. MacKenzie added that she worked on the Water  
Crew sporadically and had no idea that money was distributed from the sale of  
copper to members of the Water Crew. Further, MacKenzie testified she only  
referred to the organizational chart once during her June 27, 2018 interview, and  
only regarding her contention that it was common practice to take fire hydrants from  
contractors, not about the copper scheme.  
170 Madigan testified that the organizational chart was put to MacKenzie twice at the  
June 27, 2018 interview. It happened once in respect of the hydrants and the second  
time near the end of the interview when MacKenzie indicated it was common  
knowledge why scrap copper is cut. Madigan recalls that at that point he asked who  
knows about the scheme. Maki then referred to the organizational chart placed on  
the table between Madigan and MacKenzie. MacKenzie paused, looked at the chart  
for and indicated that she was uncomfortable identifying anyone. Maki testified that  
MacKenzie stated at that point it would be easier for her to indicate who did not  
know. Maki testified that he recalled the organizational chart was presented to  
MacKenzie only once, not twice as Madigan recalled.  
171 Savage testified that he took notes in the order the questions were asked, that his  
notes were not word-for-word and he had missed some points. I note that Savage  
missed recording the fact that Buizer had identified employees on the organizational  
chart when he was questioned.  
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172 In cross-examination, Savage recalled that the organizational chart was on the table  
during questioning. He testified in part as follows:  
Q. Do you remember Mr. Madigan pointing to the org chart and  
asking Ms. MacKenzie “is there anyone on this org chart who  
doesn’t know about the copper scheme.”  
A.  
I believe so, yes.  
Q.  
And do you remember her taking a long pause and looking  
at it?  
A.  
Yes. She had a look at it, yes.  
Q. And do you remember her saying it’s common knowledge,  
everyone knows?  
A.  
I do remember that in my notes, yes.  
173 MacKenzie testified that she had waited about four hours in the Training Room for  
her interview on June 27, 2018. MacKenzie described the post-interview  
Administration Room as crowded and stuffy. She waited in that room for several  
hours and played cards to pass the time. The Employer provided lunch but she did  
not eat.  
174 MacKenzie testified that she was devastated, angry and upset at being terminated.  
She found it difficult to explain the matter to family members and friends.  
175 MacKenzie applied for employment insurance benefits after she was dismissed. Her  
application was initially granted. The City contested that determination. While in  
Australia, MacKenzie spoke on the phone to a Service Canada representative to  
answer questions about what had happened leading up to her dismissal. MacKenzie  
testified in direct-examination, in part, “At this point I was in Australia for a vacation  
I had planned for over a year and I was on the phone at midnight Australia time so I  
could talk to the woman from Service Canada to explain to her my side of the story  
and she decided I would be eligible.” Service Canada sustained its approval of  
MacKenzie’s application for benefits.  
176 The City contested that determination but did not show up at the hearing. Again,  
MacKenzie received benefits. MacKenzie testified in direct-examination that she felt  
that the City had acted punitively by contesting her application for benefits.  
177 In cross-examination, counsel for the City put to MacKenzie a statement recorded  
by the Service Canada representative on August 2, 2018 in which the representative  
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attributes to MacKenzie a statement to the effect that the Employer had provided her  
with a chart and asked her to provide the names of all those involved in the copper  
theft. The representative’s record reads as follows:  
An investigation was held, the claimant was questioned on July 4,  
2018 regarding the theft of copper pipes and then the claimant was  
suspended without pay pending further investigation. The claimant  
then answered another round of questioning on July 9, 2018. The  
claimant was given a chart and asked to provide names of all the  
people involved in the copper pipe theft. This was the whistleblower  
policy. The claimant did not know anything about the copper theft  
and did not provide any names. Because the claimant worked with  
the crew that were allegedly stealing copper pipes and she did not  
provide any names to satisfy the whistleblowing policy she was  
thought to be an accomplice.  
178 MacKenzie denied making the preceding statement to the Service Canada  
representative. The Service Canada representative did not testify in this proceeding.  
179 It was also put to MacKenzie that her lawyer submitted in her appeal that MacKenzie  
had acknowledged cutting and bagging scrap copper “as she was directed to do so  
by her superiors.” MacKenzie testified she did not recall reviewing that submission  
before it was sent to Service Canada. MacKenzie maintained in cross-examination  
that none of her superiors directed her to cut up and bag copper.  
180 MacKenzie’s attention was also directed in cross-examination to the following  
statement by a Service Canada representative, the source for which was attributed  
to MacKenzie: “I asked if she had union representation present [at the June 27, 2018  
interview] and she stated that on this particular day the senior union representatives  
were unavailable and she could only take her own notes.” When MacKenzie was  
asked if she gave that information to the Service Canada representative MacKenzie  
testified, “don’t believe I did” and when counsel asked if the representative was  
making another error MacKenzie testified “it’s possible she’s making an error, yes.”  
When asked if the representative got it completely wrong when she said that she  
could only take her own notes at the June 27 interview MacKenzie testified, “I’m  
saying it is very likely, judging from the statement that they got it wrong, yes.”  
181 Counsel also directed MacKenzie to the Service Canada representative’s record of  
a discussion with Director of Human Resources, Steve Traviss: “I advised the  
employer of the claimant’s statement that there was no union representation during  
the interviews. He indicated that was incorrect because they had two interview  
rooms with two shop stewards present during the interviews one for each room.”  
When asked in cross-examination if MacKenzie told the representative she did not  
have the benefit of union representation, MacKenzie testified “no, that’s not what I  
said.”  
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182 MacKenzie testified that she was unaware of that statement and therefore did not  
correct that part of the record when she filed her appeal. MacKenzie testified in part:  
Q.  
A.  
Did you review this draft before it was submitted?  
I don’t recall.  
183 It was also put to MacKenzie in cross-examination that the fire hydrant was  
transferred from a truck to her car at a location that was less obvious to management  
scrutiny than the employee parking lot where she had originally parked. MacKenzie  
testified there was not enough room to park two cars end-to-end when people are  
leaving after work albeit she could have waited for people to disperse before making  
the transfer. MacKenzie denied transferring the hydrant at a location less obvious to  
management. She noted that managers could see the transaction if driving out of  
the Public Works Yard.  
184 Counsel for the Employer asked MacKenzie in cross-examination if her opening  
comment at the July 5, 2018 interview, “I’m not in an ideal state of mind”, was  
something that she came up with on her own. MacKenzie testified “I believe I did”.  
When asked if anyone suggested that she say those words, MacKenzie testified, “I  
don’t recall.”  
185 In cross-examination, MacKenzie identified 15 times between March 24, 2017 and  
June 19, 2018 that she had likely worked on the Water Crew. She testified that she  
would cut and bag copper when working on the Water Crew either inside the truck  
or outside the truck, depending on what was going on. She could not specifically  
recall anyone other than Lewis cutting and bagging copper. MacKenzie testified that  
she was usually responsible for clean-up when on the Water Crew so she would  
have been the only one doing it. MacKenzie agreed in cross-examination that Steele  
was the foreman of the Water Crew and Steele would likely see her cutting and  
bagging scrap copper.  
186 MacKenzie did not recall working with copper on the Sewer Crew.  
187 MacKenzie was dismissed by letter dated July 10, 2018. The dismissal letter reads  
in part as follows:  
You were interviewed on June 27 and July 5, 2018. The City’s  
investigation has revealed that you have been engaged in the theft  
of City property, specifically copper piping, and received proceeds  
from the sale of that piping.  
When questioned about this matter during the City’s interview of you  
on June 27, 2018, you denied taking any City property or receiving  
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money for City property. You noted that you and other members of  
the Water Crew cut up copper and bagged it, but you claim you did  
not know why. Later in the same interview, however, you changed  
your answer and said that it was “common knowledge” and everyone  
knew about the copper scheme.  
On July 5, 2018, you gave the explanation that you cut up copper as  
a safety precaution. This explanation was not truthful, given the  
City’s evidence of your involvement in the copper scheme and  
receipt of money for copper.  
You admitted during the June 27 interview to taking a fire hydrant,  
which was the property of the City. You claimed you thought it was  
scrap, but also said you knew it goes in the recycling bin. As you  
know, the City received money from the metal in the recycling bin.  
Your taking of the hydrant for your own use amounts to a further  
instance of theft.  
The City has determined that you were not forthcoming in your  
interviews about your participation in the copper scheme, your  
knowledge of how it works or your receipt of money for copper. The  
City also finds you engaged in the theft of City property when you  
took a fire hydrant.  
You have irreparably breached the trust of the City and your  
employment is no longer tenable.  
6. Keifer Baranec  
188 Keifer Baranec began work with the City as an Operations and Maintenance Worker  
in November 2016. On January 23, 2017, Baranec was appointed as a Trades 1 in  
Utilities. In that capacity he worked on the pump truck, the flush truck, the Water  
Crew, the Construction Crew and the Sewer Crew. Baranec spent most of his time  
working on the pump truck. On May 15, 2018, Baranec was appointed as a Water  
and Sewer Maintenance Operator, after which he no longer worked on the Water  
Crew. Baranec was selected to participate in the Leadership Program.  
189 Baranec testified that Bob Bell directed him to the lunchroom on June 27, 2018. He  
recalls that Dave Kidd read a script advising that there would be interviews into  
serious allegations. Baranec was then directed to Kidd’s office for questioning.  
Present in the room were Kidd, Traviss and Shop Steward Rick Williams.  
190 Exhibit 5 (the agreed-upon, incomplete record of words spoken at the June 27 and  
July 5 interviews) indicates that Baranec denied any knowledge or involvement in  
receiving money from the sale of City property when asked the opening series of  
questions. When asked what the crew does with scrap metal, Baranec told Kidd that  
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it is put in the truck and saved for repairs or for another job. He said that scrap metal  
was left on-site and is garbage for the contractor. He added that contractors leave  
copper in the ground or bury it. Baranec denied seeing copper being cut into smaller  
pieces or being put into burlap sacks. He denied obtaining a share of the proceeds  
from the sale of scrap copper. Baranec indicated that he was aware that there was  
a garbage can full of copper but said it was there when he started, perhaps in the  
Construction Bay. Baranec estimated that he may have worked about 30 days as a  
member of the Water Crew during his employment. When questioning Baranec, Kidd  
expressed skepticism that Baranec was unaware of the copper scheme or that he  
had not received money. Baranec responded that he was not part of it and if he was  
going to be blamed that he would want an apology.  
191 Baranec testified in direct-examination that before June 27, 2018, his understanding  
was that scrap copper on the jobsite was left on-site for the contractor and that any  
new copper leftover that was unusable was put in the scrap metal bin. In cross-  
examination, Baranec testified that longer pieces of leftover new copper were  
strapped to the wall of the Water Van for use on the next job, that old copper was  
left in the ground and that if the contractor did not want it, the Water Crew would  
normally throw it the recycling bin. Baranec further testified that most old copper was  
left in the ground and that smaller pieces of old copper were placed in a basket in  
the trench which was then secured in the Water Van.  
192 In cross-examination, it was observed that notes taken of the June 27 interview do  
not reflect a statement by Baranec that copper was placed in the recycling bin. When  
pressed to explain how he knew copper was thrown into the recycling bin, Baranec  
explained that is what he was told during orientation. Baranec added that he never  
put copper in the scrap metal bin as it was usually done the next day and he was  
not present to clean up the Water Van. Nor had he seen any of his colleagues put  
copper in the recycling bin. Baranec testified that his job as a Trades 1 included  
cleaning up tools and putting tools away in the Water Van. Baranec testified that he  
had no knowledge prior to June 27, 2018 that co-workers on the Water Crew had  
collected and cashed in scrap copper. In cross-examination, Baranec testified that  
he never observed sacks of copper in the Water Van compartment. Nor had he ever  
been instructed to cut copper for safety reasons or to eliminate a tripping hazard.  
193 Baranec testified in direct-examination about the dates he was recorded to have  
worked on the Water Crew recorded on Exhibits 10 and 11. Exhibits 10 and 11  
record entries by the Foremen 2 or the Operator. As previously noted, those entries  
record the number of hours worked by each of the Grievors on certain jobs. The total  
number of hours is accurate however the number of hours spent at each job is not  
exact. Nor do those exhibits record all employees working at each jobonly hours  
worked by the Grievors are recorded on those exhibits.  
194 In direct-examination, Baranec identified (from Exhibits 10 and 11) the following  
dates between November 2017 (the month Duran started) and February 20, 2018  
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(the day Duran disclosed the scheme to management) when he worked in the Water  
Crew as well as whether the job involved copper and/or the crew included Duran:  
November 1, 2017 - no copper / Duran on crew; November 2, 2017- no copper / no  
Duran; November 3, 2017 no copper / no Duran; November 21, 2017 no copper  
/ no Duran; November 28, 2017 no copper / Duran on crew; December 7, 2017- no  
copper / no Duran; December 20, 2017 no copper / no Duran; January 11, 2018  
copper / no Duran / called in from hydrants; January 12, 2018 copper / no Duran;  
January 15, 2018 no copper / no Duran; January 24, 25, 2018 no copper / Duran  
on crew; January 30, 2018 no copper / no Duran; February 1, 2018 copper / no  
Duran; February 2, 5, 2018 - no copper / no Duran; February 8, copper / no Duran;  
February 13, 2018 copper / Duran on crew 1 hour; February 14, 2018 copper /  
no Duran; February 16 no copper; February 20, 2018 no copper except for 2.5  
hour cap-off / Duran on crew.  
195 In sum, according to Exhibits 10 and 11, the first and only time Baranec and Duran  
were on the Water Crew, working with copper prior to Duran’s disclosure was  
February 13, 2018. However, I note that the conversation Duran describedin  
which Baranec admitted to his knowledge and participation in the schemedid not  
necessarily occur on a job involving copper.  
196 Baranec agreed in cross-examination that he had worked on the Water Crew 12  
times between December 9, 2017 and February 17, 2018 and estimated that he had  
worked on the Water Crew a total of 30 times through his employment.  
197 It was further pointed out in cross-examination that for the period December 9, 2017  
to February 17, 2018, Lewis had cashed in copper four times. Baranec maintained  
in cross-examination that despite those facts, he had never observed copper being  
cut and placed into burlap sacks, or burlap sacks stored in the Water Van  
compartment.  
198 Baranec testified that he was directed to the Administration Room after the June 27  
interview. He testified that the blinds were shut and the windows were closed. He  
asked to open the blinds and was told that he could not but did so in any event.  
Baranec testified that he felt claustrophobic despite the fact that he works in confined  
spaces. Baranec asked to leave the Administration Room and was told to sit in  
manager Ian Wind’s office.  
199 Baranec testified that he was greatly distressed by his termination and the  
subsequent local news coverage.  
200 When interviewed on July 5, 2018, Baranec provided an introductory statement to  
the effect that he was not in the “greatest frame of mind” and had been “on a roller  
coaster.” Baranec testified in cross-examination that he came up with those phrases  
entirely on his own. Baranec denied Duran’s contention that he said, “we all get a  
- 42 -  
cut” in relation to the scheme. Baranec continued to deny that he had ever cut up  
copper or put it into sacks or that he had ever seen anyone doing that.  
201 Baranec was terminated by letter dated July 10, 2018. That letter reads in part as  
follows:  
You were interviewed on June 27 and July 5, 2018. The City’s  
investigation has revealed that you have been engaged in the theft  
of City property, specifically copper piping, and received proceeds  
from the sale of that piping.  
When questioned about this matter during the City’s interviews of  
you on June 27 and July 5, you denied taking any City property or  
receiving money for City property. You also denied any knowledge  
of the copper scheme.  
Your denials are not believable in light of the City’s evidence of your  
participation in the copper scheme in receipt of money for copper.  
You have failed to be forthcoming and honest with the City.  
You have irreparably breached the trust of the City and your  
employment is no longer tenable.  
202 Traviss testified that he was taken aback at what he viewed to be Baranec’s refusal  
to directly answer questions that were put to him about the use of scrap copper.  
Traviss testified that Baranec’s explanation of what was done with scrap copper did  
not make any sense to him at the time it was given.  
7. Ian Plasman  
203 Ian Plasman was initially employed by the City in 2011 to work as a casual employee  
in the Parks Department. He left employment and returned to employment on March  
28, 2014 as a casual Operations and Maintenance Worker. On October 20, 2014,  
Plasman was appointed to work in the position of full-time Operations and  
Maintenance Worker. In that role he worked on the paving crew, on floodgates and  
snow clearing.  
204 On January 3, 2017, Plasman was appointed to work full-time as a Trades 1 in  
Utilities. He was employed in that capacity until he was dismissed in July 2018. As  
a Trades 1, Plasman was rotated between different crews including the Water Crew.  
205 Plasman testified that he was directed to attend the Training Room on June 27,  
2018. He waited there until he was asked to meet with Ross Maki and Tom Madigan.  
His Shop Steward was Roy Savage.  
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206 Exhibit 5 (incomplete notes in evidence of words spoken at the June 27 and July 5,  
2018 interviews) records that Plasman initially denied taking City property for  
financial gain or received money for the sale of City property or observed that taking  
place. He repeated that denial three times until Madigan revealed that management  
was aware of the copper scheme and that employees were selling copper for money.  
At that point, Plasman admitted that approximately one year before, on one  
occasion, he received $50.00 from the sale of copper. Plasman indicated that the  
reason he only received copper money once was that he did not work on the Water  
Crew very often and mostly worked with Buizer (on the Construction Crew). When  
asked who gave him money from the sale of copper Plasman offered that he  
received the money from Lewis or Steele but then settled on Lewis. Plasman  
explained that he took the money because he did not want to be considered a rat.  
He said he feared retribution from his peers and foreman. He added that he  
suspected that if he did not take the copper money he would be ostracized. Plasman  
also expressed that he did not want to get anyone in trouble. He said he knew stuff  
was going on, but he was not regularly involved and tried to stay out of it.  
207 When Plasman was asked at the initial interview about how the scheme works, he  
said he did not know how it worked. He said no one talks about it and he “turns a  
blind eye.” Plasman denied ever taking copper and selling it himself. He said he did  
not know how long the copper scheme had been going on. Madigan asked Plasman  
if others were involved in the practice of selling copper. Plasman said he was not  
sure who else received money for copper but people on the Water Crew know about  
the practice. When Madigan asked whether the Foreman 2 knows about the  
scheme, Plasman said that Coral Steele must know. Plasman said he was not sure  
if the Foreman 3 Gary Goff knew about the practice. When asked again if Coral  
Steele knew about the practice of selling copper, Plasman responded, “yes”.  
208 Exhibit 5 indicates that Plasman provided an opening statement in which he stated  
that he was a wreck the previous week, had developed a rash, and said “my mind is  
a wreck, not in a great frame of mind to answer questions.” When asked what his  
involvement was in cutting up, concealing copper, and receiving cash for copper  
Plasman responded, “I’m not part of it” and that he had received money only one  
time. Plasman maintained that day that he only received $50.00 once and only from  
Lewisadding he did not know what it was for. When asked how he knew that  
Steele was involved in the copper scheme, Plasman responded that he had never  
seen Steele cut copper, bag copper or sell copper, and that he did not know why he  
previously said that she knew about the practice of selling copper. He added “that  
was a long day and honestly I don’t know why I said that.” Plasman denied that he  
ever told Duran “we all get a cut” in reference to the copper scheme. He denied that  
any such conversation ever took place or that he had ever cut copper and concealed  
it in bags.  
209 I now address Plasman’s testimony.  
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210 Plasman testified in direct-examination that the practice when pulling old copper  
from the ground or dealing with leftover pieces of new copper from a job, was to put  
it in the back of the Water Van. He testified that he was told to do that by Lewis.  
Lewis then took the copper placed on the floor of the Water Van, cut the copper into  
smaller pieces, put the copper into bags and then placed the bags in a van  
compartment. In cross-examination, Plasman testified that he was never instructed  
to clear copper out of the way because it was a tripping hazard. He further explained  
that Lewis would cut the copper on the workbench in the Water Van during breaks  
and that bags of copper were visible alongside other materials behind a closed  
compartment door.  
211 Plasman testified that he was aware that Lewis was cashing in the copper at a  
recycler. He became aware of that when Lewis provided him with a $50.00 bill.  
Plasman testified that when he asked, “what is this for?”, Lewis responded “for being  
on the crew.” Plasman added that he told Lewis he did not do anything for the money  
and Lewis responded, “don’t worry about it” and drove away before Plasman could  
say anything else. Plasman testified that that occurred sometime in the summer of  
2017 to the best of his recollection. Plasman explained in cross-examination that  
Lewis approached him several times before he accepted the $50.00 payment.  
Plasman understood that Lewis distributed copper money based on the amount of  
time that one had worked on the Water Crew.  
212 Plasman added in direct-examination that he received money after working on the  
McLean Road job. His co-worker Lucas Adamic handed him $60.00 and said this is  
from the McLean Road job. Plasman testified that he said that he did not want to  
take it but that Adamic persisted and said, “no it’s yours, take it, don’t worry about  
it.” Plasman testified that he took the money but should not have. Plasman testified  
that he did not mention the money received from Adamic when he was interviewed  
on June 27, 2018 because he did not remember it at the time.  
213 Plasman further explained in direct-examination that he was caught off guard when  
asked who gave him money and had inadvertently mentioned Steele’s name. He  
added that he had never seen Steele involved in the copper scheme. Plasman  
elaborated in direct-examination as follows, “yes when they asked about Coral  
[Steele] I just, I guess just being the water foreman, I just figured, assumed, that she  
knew about it but I never seen her talk about it or witnessed her having anything to  
do with the copper money.” In cross-examination, Plasman testified that Steele was  
safety-oriented and wanted to be kept apprised of jobs. Plasman described how  
Steele had occasion to enter the Water Van when she was present at a job-site. In  
re-examination, Plasman explained that Steele would make an appearance to check  
out the job, ensure that everything was done safely and then return to the office to  
complete her paperwork.  
214 When asked why he did not report the copper scheme Plasman testified, “Honestly,  
I just wanted to keep my head down and do my job and I did not want to get into  
- 45 -  
anything. All these people have been there for a long time and I assumed they knew  
what they were doing but I did not want to be part of it and after I, yes after that  
incident with Harry, a week later I felt super bad about it and I told Harry to no longer  
involve me in copper money. He just said okay and then never did it again.”  
215 In cross-examination Plasman conceded that his concern about being viewed as a  
rat and wanting to fit in was premised on his understanding that others on the Water  
Crew were aware of the copper scheme. When asked how he knew other people on  
the Water Crew were aware of the scheme he testified, “I figure that if I got it,  
someone else might get it.” When asked in cross-examination why Buizer identified  
Plasman as being involved in the copper scheme, Plasman surmised that Buizer  
must have been aware from Lucas Adamic that he had received money from copper  
obtained on the McLean Road job.  
216 Plasman testified that after he was questioned on June 27, 2018, he was directed to  
wait in the Administration Room. He added that Todd Gross accompanied himself,  
Andrew McBoyle and Travis Buizer to the washroom and that Todd Gross had stood  
by while they relieved themselves. Plasman testified, “I did not enjoy that.” This  
particular evidence was not put to Gross when he was cross-examined. Accordingly,  
Gross was permitted to provide his account in reply. Gross’s account in reply is  
stipulated as follows:  
Mr. Gross was apprised of the evidence of McBoyle, Plasman and  
Buizer that on June 27, 2018 he escorted these three individuals at  
the same time to the washroom and stood in the washroom watching  
over them as they use the urinals.  
Mr. Gross’s reply evidence is that he escorted only one employee to  
the washroom that day, though he cannot recall which one, and did  
not stand in the washroom with him. Rather, he entered the  
washroom first to ensure no other individuals were inside. After Mr.  
Gross left the washroom, the employee entered. Mr. Gross testifies  
that he stayed in the hallway outside of the washroom and waited  
while the employee used it.  
217 Plasman testified the Administration Room was hot so he asked to go outside. Gross  
escorted him outside to get some air. He believed that Hannah Park was recording  
what the employees had to say in the room although she had denied that when  
asked. As noted above, Park was in fact recording the employee’s comments in the  
Administration Room (her evidence in reply is that she does not recall if employees  
asked if she was taking notes of their discussions).  
218 Plasman testified that he was devastated by having been dismissed and having to  
respond to family and friends about coverage in the local news portraying an alleged  
- 46 -  
theft of $75,000 of copper. Plasman denied ever having a discussion with Duran and  
McBoyle concerning the copper scheme.  
219 Plasman was dismissed by letter dated July 10, 2018. That letter reads in part as  
follows:  
You were interviewed on June 27 and July 5, 2018. The City’s  
investigation has revealed that you have been engaged in the theft  
of City property, specifically copper piping, and received proceeds  
from the sale of that piping.  
When questioned about this matter during the City’s interview of you  
on June 27, 2018, you initially denied taking any City property or  
receiving money for City property. You were asked again, and after  
the importance of honesty was stressed, you still denied taking any  
City property or receiving any money.  
When questioned a third time, you said you received $50 in the sale  
of copper a while ago, and only once. You also claimed you said you  
did not know how the copper scheme worked.  
The City has determined that you were not forthcoming in your  
interviews about the number of times you received money for  
copper, your awareness of how the copper scheme worked or your  
assistance in carrying out the scheme.  
You have irreparably breached the trust of the City and your  
employment is no longer tenable.  
8. Andrew McBoyle  
220 Andrew McBoyle started employment with the City as a seasonal worker in 2007.  
He next worked as an Operations and Maintenance Worker. On May 15, 2015,  
McBoyle was appointed as a Trades 1 in Utilities. As a Trades 1, McBoyle worked  
on the Water Crew, Sewer Crew and on the Construction Crew. He also worked on  
the pump truck, the flush truck, drove a dump truck, serviced hydrants, inspected  
valves, did unidirectional water main flushing and worked on water metres.  
221 Exhibit 5 records that McBoyle was interviewed by Dave Kidd and Steve Traviss on  
June 27, 2018. Rick Williams was the Shop Steward assigned to represent McBoyle  
at that meeting. McBoyle initially denied taking City property, receiving money for  
the sale of City property or observing others taking City property when presented  
with the City’s opening salvo of questions. At that point, Kidd reminded McBoyle  
about the importance of being truthful and said there was significant evidence and  
reason to believe that McBoyle either observed or was involved in the theft of City  
property. Only at that point did McBoyle admit copper was taken. McBoyle stated he  
- 47 -  
was involved in the copper scheme for about three or four years since he moved to  
Utilities but had never cashed in copper for money. McBoyle told Kidd most of the  
metal goes in the scrap bin except for copper. He never put copper in the recycling  
bin. McBoyle said that he did not recall any of his colleagues on the Water Crew  
cutting copper and that he did not know who else knew about the scheme. When  
asked if Steele was involved, McBoyle stated that he believes she was aware but  
did not recall. He said that he may have seen Steele cut up copper long ago and  
indicated that he thought she was aware because it would be hard for her not to see  
it. McBoyle agreed that he had helped transfer bags of copper from the Water Van  
on two occasions. When Kidd asked if McBoyle had recently assisted Lewis to  
unload copper sacks at the Chester dump, McBoyle responded that he did not dump  
any bags at the Chester dump in the last six months. When asked if he had observed  
people taking fire hydrants, McBoyle responded that he heard of others taking fire  
hydrants, but that he does not know who is taking hydrants and denied ever taking  
a hydrant for himself.  
222 Exhibit 5 records that McBoyle was also questioned the afternoon of June 27, 2018.  
At that interview, McBoyle told Kidd he could not recall whether Baranec or  
MacKenzie had participated in the copper scheme or cut copper. He repeated that  
he assumed that Steele was aware as a matter of common sense but did not  
remember seeing her participate in the process. And when presented with the fact  
that there was video footage of McBoyle meeting Lewis at the Chester dump on May  
18, 2018, McBoyle apologized and explained that he earlier thought that event  
occurred long ago.  
223 Exhibit 5 also indicates that McBoyle was presented with the contention that he had  
helped Buizer load a hydrant into his vehicle. At that point, McBoyle explained that  
he had forgotten about that incident. When it was put to McBoyle that several  
witnesses said the practice of selling copper was common knowledge, he responded  
to the effect that it was not his place to say, that his earlier comment that it would be  
very hard for Steele not to see it was only his opinion, and that he could only convey  
what he had seen. McBoyle added that he thinks everyone knew about the practice  
but that he never spoke with others about it and added, “no one talks about it”.  
McBoyle acknowledged that he had made a wrong choice in participating in the  
copper scheme and not reporting it to management. He added that he was a new  
guy and did not want to be the one to draw attention to it.  
224 I now address McBoyle’s testimony.  
225 In direct-examination, McBoyle testified that long pieces scrap copper left over from  
water jobs would be placed in the back of the Water Van to be broken into smaller  
pieces (either cut or bent until broken) and put in a compartment. Tiny pieces were  
put in a small bin on the counter of the van. McBoyle testified in direct-examination  
that he helped Lewis to break the copper into smaller pieces during the last couple  
of years of his employment. He added that Lewis never cut the copper in front of him  
- 48 -  
but that in the end, Lewis asked him a couple of times to break it and put it in the  
cupboard. When asked if Lewis talked to him about why the copper was broken and  
put in the compartment, McBoyle testified, “no we never discussed it”. McBoyle  
testified that he initially believed the copper was cut and bagged for recycling. He  
testified he only learned the practice was done to collect money when Lewis put  
money in his pocket and walked away without explanation. McBoyle added that he  
received money from Lewis without explanation six or seven times. When asked if  
he had spoken to anyone else in the Utilities Department about the copper or the  
money, McBoyle testified that he did not speak to anyone else about it as he  
concluded that this is not something Lewis would want him to do.  
226 McBoyle testified in direct-examination that he understood that scrap copper was  
supposed to go into the large metal recycling bin at the Public Works Yard. He  
explained that he had never received any specific instructions about what to do with  
scrap copper. McBoyle assumed this was an unwritten practice of the Water Crew  
and testified that he did not think too much of it, as this was a sporadic event given  
that he rotated between different crews and would go weeks without handling  
copper. In cross-examination, McBoyle conceded that he knew it was wrong to  
participate in the copper scheme.  
227 When asked whether it occurred to him that participating in the copper scheme was  
dishonest, McBoyle explained his mindset as follows, “it never felt like I was doing  
something really bad, and so the first time I saw the burlap sacks go somewhere, I  
kinda didn’t feel as good, but it was something that my foreman [Lewis] was doing  
and I just let it happen and I should not of, but I did.” McBoyle conceded that he  
knew it was wrong to cut and place the copper into burlap sacks and take money for  
his participation in the scheme. He agreed in cross-examination that Duran’s  
response to receiving money was a better option than the choice he had made.  
McBoyle further agreed that he and Lewis stashed the bags of copper at the Chester  
dump to conceal their activity and did so in a manner that improperly used City  
vehicles and detracted from their workday. In cross-examination, McBoyle agreed  
that any day he had worked on the Water Crew and copper was cut, was another  
day that he had participated in the copper scheme and that his conscience did not  
act on him until he was caughtat which point he realized how severe it was and  
how bad it looked to management.  
228 In cross-examination, McBoyle testified that although Steele was not present  
continuously on the Water Crew, he assumed that she was aware of the scheme as  
a matter of common sense. He agreed that Steele would go into the van to get tools  
however when asked if it would have been difficult not to see the bags of copper in  
the Water Van compartment, McBoyle testified, “they would see the bags but they  
might not know right away what’s in them, but they would see the bags.” McBoyle  
testified that he had never discussed cutting and bending or bagging copper for  
safety reasons with Lewis or Steele.  
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229 McBoyle testified that he twice helped Lewis to unload bags of copper from the  
Water Van to be later transferred to Lewis’s personal vehicle. It was on the second  
occasion that the private investigators observed McBoyle assist Lewis to stash bags  
of copper at the Chester dump.  
230 McBoyle testified that on June 27, 2018 he was directed to the Training Room and  
then asked to attend questioning in Dave Kidd’s office. When asked in direct-  
examination, “Do you recall anything else happening in that Training Room before  
you went to Dave Kidd’s office?” McBoyle testified, “No, me and Harry were the first  
ones to be pulled out.” When asked if McBoyle was present when Kidd read the  
script explaining the questioning, McBoyle testified, “I don’t remember Dave Kidd  
coming in to read this or telling us anything.” He added that he had no idea what was  
going on when directed to attend Kidd’s office and was confused.  
231 McBoyle described the post-interview room as small and stuffy. He testified that it  
appeared that Hannah Park (who was assigned to supervise the room) was typing  
whenever employees would speak. McBoyle added that a group of employees were  
led outside to get some fresh air and to go to the washroom after asking several  
times. McBoyle testified that Todd Gross escorted him to the bathroom and observed  
him in the bathroom while he stood at a urinal during his first bathroom break.  
McBoyle testified that when Bob Bell escorted him to the bathroom for his second  
bathroom break that Bell stood outside the washroom in the hallway.  
232 Gross testified in reply that he only escorted one employee to the washroom that  
day, though he could not recall which one, and did not stand in the washroom with  
him. Rather, he entered the washroom first to ensure no other individuals were  
inside. After Gross left the washroom, the employee entered. Gross testified that he  
stayed in the hallway outside of the washroom and waited while the employee used  
it.  
233 McBoyle sent the following text message to Bob Bell after being sent home pending  
further investigation on June 27, 2018:  
I am freaking out Bob, I’ve barely broken a rule let alone a law in my  
whole life. Show up every day eager to do a good job and now I’ve  
just handed in my keys. What the hell am I supposed to do?? I’ll pay  
the couple hundred bucks I might have gotten over the years I’ll take  
a suspension and earn your guys trust back. I can’t lose my job!  
234 On June 28, 2018, McBoyle sent the following email addressed to management and  
all the Union employees at the City of Port Coquitlam. The subject line read “my  
sincerest apologies:”  
With the whirlwind of events in the last 24 hours, I really do not know  
what is going to happen to me and I just want to officially say how  
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sorry I am before any decisions are made. I cannot put into words  
how disappointed in myself I am, that I have let down my family, my  
coworkers and my employer especially. I have always prided myself  
in my work ethic and what kind of employee the city has in me. Right  
now I have not lived up to the standard I want to consider myself at.  
My involvement in these events under investigation is by far the  
worst decision I’ve ever made, it wasn’t something I ever planned, it  
just sort of crept up on me, and I made the very wrong choice of not  
saying no. I never thought it through far enough to realize the  
severity of what was going on and how many people I could  
potentially affect, no matter how small my role. That is one of my  
biggest regrets, and that is absolutely on me. I know I have been a  
quality employee for 11 years now and I come to work every day and  
try to bring a great attitude and do a great job. With that in mind I feel  
like a great employee made one very bad choice, and I would do  
anything to have a chance to make it up, and earn the city’s trust  
back bit by bit. I absolutely love working for Poco and I love my job  
dearly, I never wanted to do anything to risk what I have worked hard  
to build here. My two boys and my wife depend on me and I feel like  
I’m letting them down, and that really hurts more than anything. If I  
get the opportunity to keep working I will do everything I can to be  
the best employee the city could ask for. No matter the outcome, I  
would just like to let everyone know how genuinely and deeply sorry  
and regretful I am. I hope most of all to have a chance to continue to  
be a valued employee with the city of Port Coquitlam.  
235 McBoyle testified that he was devastated at having been dismissed from his job and  
having to reply to his family and friends about the negative portrayal of employees  
in ensuing media coverage.  
236 Traviss testified that he did not believe that McBoyle was being honest when he  
claimed to have forgotten about helping Buizer to load a fire hydrant into his vehicle.  
From Traviss’ perspective, McBoyle had answered questions in a way that was  
aimed at protecting others.  
237 McBoyle was terminated from employment by letter dated July 10, 2018. That letter  
reads in part as follows:  
You were interviewed on June 27 and July 5, 2018. The City’s  
investigation has revealed that you have been engaged in the theft  
of City property, specifically copper piping, and received proceeds  
from the sale of that piping.  
When questioned about this matter during the City’s interview of you  
on June 27, 2018, you initially denied taking any City property or  
receiving money for City property. When questioned again, you  
admitted to your involvement and said you would receive money  
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multiple times in the sale of copper. You also admitted to cutting up  
copper for this purpose.  
You were not forthcoming in our interviews of you about your  
complete involvement in the plan to sell copper and receive the  
proceeds of the sale. For instance, you initially denied other  
assistance in the copper scheme beyond cutting it up and bagging  
it, but when later confronted with the City’s evidence, acknowledged  
your assistance in moving bags of copper out of City vehicles. You  
also denied knowing whether any other City employees knew of the  
copper scheme, which is not credible given the City’s evidence.  
You are also dishonest in your interviews about the assistance you  
provided to another employee to commit a theft of City property,  
specifically a fire hydrant, again only admitting your involvement  
after being confronted with the City’s evidence. In your first interview  
on June 27, you claim that while you had heard of employees taking  
hydrants, you did not know of any particular employees who have  
done so. You repeated that statement in the July 5 interview. Only  
when confronted with the City’s evidence that you had recently  
assisted Travis Buizer in loading a hydrant into his vehicle did you  
admit to your assistance. Your claim that you had simply forgotten  
this recent event is not accepted by the City as true.  
You have irreparably breached the trust of the City and your  
employment is no longer tenable.  
9. Coral Steele  
238 Steele began employment with the City in 1996 as a part-time Building Service  
Worker. From that point it is fair to say that Steele had an excellent work record. She  
applied herself to course studies necessary to advance within the City. The following  
record of her career trajectory demonstrates that commitment. For example, Steele’s  
personnel file documents recognition from residents for her work. In addition to the  
many courses she completed, Steele also participated in the City Leadership  
Program and was recognized with a leadership award in 2017. Many witnesses  
testified to Steele’s commitment to work quality, attention to detail and workplace  
safety. In all these respects, Steele had demonstrated the attributes of a model  
employee.  
239 In the late 1990s, Steele was appointed to time-stated positions in Public Works.  
She then took water and sewer courses with the goal of securing a position in  
Utilities. She also filled in on the garbage trucks in 2001 and 2002. In January 2003  
Steele was appointed as a Labourer I (later re-named the Operations and  
Maintenance Worker) in the Operations Division of the Engineering Department.  
That job exposed Steele to a wide variety of work including asphalt, sewer, water, a  
flush truck and on the pumps.  
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240 Steele took the next step in her career in 2006. At that point she was appointed to a  
time-stated position as Trades I Sewer. That job exposed Steele to work on sewer  
blockages, sewer repairs, cleaning out inspection chambers, inspecting manholes,  
installing new services and capping off old services for demolitions, among other  
things. Sewer work occasionally involves the use of copper. In June 2008 Steele  
was appointed as a full-time Sewer Trades 1.  
241 In May 2011, Steele successfully applied for the position of Water Operator on the  
Water Crew. Steele worked at that job under a Foreman 2. The Water Operator is  
expected to fill in for the Foreman 2 when the Foreman 2 is away from the jobsite  
and to direct the Trades 1. In that capacity, Steele tapped water mains, installed new  
water services, fixed water main breaks, did service leak repairs, and completed  
water cap offs. The Water Crew also attended to resident calls for service, among  
other tasks.  
242 In cross-examination, Steele confirmed that she was frequently in the Water Van  
when employed as a Water Operator. However, Steele was called away from the  
Water Crew to work on the flush truck to perform unidirectional flushing in March,  
April, and May and again from mid-to-late September, October and November of  
each year. She was also assigned to work on water meters for periods of one to two  
weeks on a quarterly basisin January, April, July and October. Apart from these  
assignments, Steele was taken away from the crew due to a workplace injury for 15  
weeks in 2012, and another 8 weeks in 2013 for a related surgery.  
243 Work on the Water Crew involves copper pipe. In direct-examination Steele testified  
that if she had a piece six to eight inches long she would throw it in the bucket in the  
Water Van or leave it in the ground. Larger pieces that had to be removed were  
pushed, bent and placed out of the way to avoid a hazard.  
244 On October 29, 2013, Steele was appointed to Foreman 2 Water. In that capacity,  
Steele scheduled crews/equipment and tended to necessary paperwork to complete  
work orders. As noted above, the Water Operator exercised operational supervision  
over the Water Crew in the absence of the Foreman 2. Steele’s role as Foreman 2  
was to review jobs with the Water Operator. She would be required to leave the  
jobsite to attend to resident requests (“green sheets”), service fire hydrants,  
complete meter reads, address emergencies, attend staff meetings (1.5 to 2 hours  
per week), work on flushing, attend training sessions and attend to other matters as  
directed by the Foreman 3. It should be noted that Steele drove the Foreman 2  
pickup when she was the Foreman 2, not the Water Van.  
245 Steele testified in direct-examination that the Water Crew was short-handed when  
she was called away. Steele described the optimal configuration of the Water Crew  
as including a Foreman 2, the Water Operator and the Trades I posted to the Water  
Van. In 2015, Trades I employees were rotated between the Water Crew, the Sewer  
Crew and the Construction Crew. Steele did not see that as a positive development  
- 53 -  
as crews were often short-staffed and inexperienced Trades Is were sometimes  
assigned to crews.  
246 Beginning in June 2017, Steele was regularly called away from the jobsite to fill in  
as Foreman 3 in Goff’s absence. When Steele stepped up as Foremen 3, Lewis  
stepped up to the role of Foreman 2. As Foreman 3, Steele was responsible to do  
monthly safety site inspections of the Water, Sewer and Construction Crews. Steele  
was advised by Goff and her Section Manger not to micro-manage the crews. As  
Foreman 3, Steele was busy with administrative duties. The Foreman 2s were  
primarily responsible for supervision of their jobsites. Steele testified that to the best  
of her recollection beginning in June 2017 her time was split with 65 to 70% as a  
Foreman 3 and 30 to 35% as a Foreman 2.  
247 In cross-examination, it was put to Steele that she was able to describe jobs  
performed by the Water Crew in extensive detail because she was very familiar with  
them as a result of her experience working as a member the Water Crew for many  
years. Steele was reluctant to concede she was an experienced member of the  
Water Crew, apart from stating that she worked “occasionally” on that crew. That is  
despite the fact she worked as a Trades I between 2000 and 2006 and was the  
Water Operator from May 31, 2011 until October 2013, at which point she was  
appointed Foreman 2 Water. It was also put to Steele in cross-examination that she  
must have been closely watching the crews between 2013 and 2016 because three  
Section Managers in Utilities (Chinna, Kyle Shaw and Bell) had urged her not to  
micro-manage the crews. Steele initially avoided a direct response but eventually  
conceded that she did supervise the crews to ensure that work was done safely and  
effectively to City standards. She testified in response to questions in cross-  
examination, in part as follows:  
Q. But that was your management style? You took pride in your  
level of attention to detail and you watched your crews  
closely?  
A. I set a high standard for myself, I wanted to do a good job for  
the City and a good job for the residents. I had high standards  
of quality of work.  
Q. And if that entailed you being right there watching your crews  
on the site, watching what they did and directing them, that’s  
what you did? That was part of your job?  
A. I was called away from my job frequently. I had a high  
standard for the work. I wanted it done effectively and I  
wanted it done efficiently.  
- 54 -  
Q. And so sometimes you were away from the site but other  
times you were on the site supervising your crew closely?  
A. I was on the site, setting up the job making sure that it was  
done safely. Making sure the signs were up and that the job  
was done safely and effectively to the City standards.  
Q. Sometimes it was necessary that you get right down there in  
the trench and work with the crews?  
A. Sometimes it was necessary to work and help complete the tie-  
ins because it took everybody working to get the job done.  
* * *  
Q. You could not leave them to their own devices, you had to be  
there supervising them?  
A. Not true. I left the site frequently. I was told not to micro-  
manage and I had to leave many times. As long as the job is  
done correctly, that’s what mattered. I was called away  
frequently to get parts, to attend to emergencies.  
248 In direct-examination, Steele was asked to comment on Duran’s observation that  
Lewis and Steele had a difficult relationship. Steele testified that although Lewis was  
a knowledgeable and hard worker who could be trusted in charge of a jobsite, she  
found he was difficult and argumentative at times. Steele testified that Lewis was  
angry at her for participating in the Leadership Program and that in 2018, she  
complained to Goff about how Lewis had raised his voice with her. Goff attempted  
to reconcile that conflict by facilitating a meeting between Lewis and Steele.  
249 I pause to note that Kidd and Traviss testified in cross-examination that the City  
never told Steele during her questioning at the interviews, that Duran said that Lewis  
reminded him not to “tell Coral” about the amount of money distributed from the  
scheme, or words to that effect.  
250 Traviss did not interpret Duran’s report as evidence that Steele was uninvolved or  
unaware of the copper scheme. He testified in cross-examination that he interpreted  
Lewis’s comment to Duran in context with Lewis’s reminder to Duran, that Duran  
should not trust Steele as she would “throw him under the bus,” or words to that  
effect. Traviss testified in cross-examination that it never occurred to him that Lewis’s  
reference to throwing Duran “under the bus,” meant that she might tell management  
he participated in the copper scheme. I find that assertion strains credulity in the  
circumstances at hand.  
- 55 -  
251 Further, Kidd knew that Duran had reported on February 21, 2018 that Steele was  
not informed when the money from the copper scheme was distributed. He chose  
not to inform Steele of this fact when he questioned her on June 27, 2018. In cross-  
examination, he testified that his assessment was that Duran was a new employee  
and explained that Steele was the foreman responsible for the supervision of all the  
other crew members who were participating in the scheme. Therefore, Steele was  
not informed. Steele was thus left to respond without being apprised of what I find to  
be a significant element of the case against her.  
252 Steele testified in direct-examination about her understanding of what the Water  
Crew was supposed to do with scrap copper. She explained that scrap copper was  
left in the ground unless it was necessary to remove it. Copper that had to be  
removed from the ground was typically old and mangled. It was brought into the  
Water Van and pushed, bent, or cut and placed out of the way as it was considered  
a tripping hazard. Steele added that a longer piece of copper could be tucked into  
one of the sign racks. A basket on the bench was used to store smaller sized pieces  
of scrap copper.  
253 Steele added in cross-examination there were additional buckets in the Water Van  
used to hold pieces of copper. Excess new copper was on a roll stored in the Water  
Van and put in the Water Bay. Steele expected that small excess new pieces of  
copper be placed in the metal recycling bin.  
254 Steele testified in direct-examination that the crew was to do its best to keep the van  
clean and that scrap copper was to be disposed of at the end of the shift or the next  
day, time permitting. She testified that she had been trained to manage copper in  
this manner. Members of the Water Crew were expected to keep the Water Van  
clean and safe.  
255 In cross-examination, Steele explained that although she and Lewis put scrap  
copper in the recycling bin and expected others to do so, she did not recall telling  
anyone else to do that. Nor did she specifically recall observing anyone (other than  
a non-specific recollection of Lewis and once Brenda Nadeau) depositing scrap  
copper in the recycling bin. Steele further testified in cross-examination that she had  
never directed members of the Water Crew to cut scrap copper into smaller pieces  
or gave any directions to the crew regarding the disposal of scrap copper in order to  
address a tripping hazard. She claimed that she never saw anyone cut scrap copper  
or observed a bag of copper in the Water Van when opening compartments to obtain  
parts or tools, such as a repair clamp, a fitting, or sockets. Steele testified in  
response to questions on this point that she simply trained people the way she was  
trained.  
256 When it was put to Steele in cross-examination that she would not have known how  
the crew handled scrap copper if she had not provided direction on that point or  
observed its handling, Steele maintained that she was only asked at the interviews  
- 56 -  
how she handled scrap copper, not how others handled it. Steele testified in cross-  
examination that she could only speak to her conduct and not to the practice of  
others.  
257 I will now summarize some key points from Exhibit 5 in evidence. As noted above,  
Exhibit 5 is an agreed-upon record of words spoken at the June 27 and July 5, 2018  
interviews save for a paragraph attributed to Kim MacKenzieit is not a complete  
record of what was said.  
258 Steele maintained in evidence that Exhibit 5 is inaccurate. Steele testified in cross-  
examination that Exhibit 5 was a “carefully crafted story by the Employer” and had  
omitted some of the questions and answers given as well as altered what was said.  
For example, Steele insisted that the City repeated the same series of opening  
questions posed at the outset of the June 27 interview when she was questioned a  
second time on June 27 and on July 5. I find the notes of the second June 27  
interview and the July 5 interview do not support that contention. Second, Steele  
insisted that the City told her during her initial June 27 interview that Lewis admitted  
to the copper scheme when the notes do not support that contention. Steele insisted  
in her testimony that her recollection of these meetings was exact, despite the  
passage of time and her claim that she had felt traumatized at the interviews. Third,  
Steele insisted in cross-examination that she never said that scrap copper was  
bagged or words to that effect. The notes contemporaneously taken by the Employer  
at the June 27 and the July 5, 2018 interviews record Steele using words to that  
effect. The Union’s notes taken at those meetings do not. The Union’s notes record  
that Steve Traviss asked, “what do you do with old copper?” to which Steele replied,  
“it goes into recycle bins in the yard”. Traviss next asked “why do you bag it and cut  
it?”, to which Steele replied, “to get it out of the way.” In direct-examination, Traviss  
testified that to the best of his recollection Steele said that “copper was cut up to get  
it out of the way so that people don’t trip on it.” Steele maintained in her testimony  
that she only said, “If scrap copper came into the van, it’s considered to be a trip  
hazard. It is pushed, bent or cut and placed out of the way.” Steele further maintained  
in cross-examination that she had never once seen burlap sacks filled with copper  
in the Water Van.  
259 I now proceed to summarize some key points from Exhibit 5.  
260 At the morning interview, Steele responded to the opening salvo of questions  
denying having taken City property, receiving money for the sale of City property or  
observing others taking City property. Kidd then described the copper scheme  
generally and Steele maintained her denials. Steele explained that she was regularly  
on and off the jobsite and that copper was cut up and thrown into the recycling bin  
in the yard. She said that she did not know who puts the copper in the recycling bin.  
She explained that the copper was cut up so it is not tripped on and Exhibit 5  
indicates that she said it was shoved into a bag. When asked where the copper was  
put Steele replied that it was just put out of the way. She added that scrap metals  
- 57 -  
go into the recycling bin and that she did not know who did that and did not direct  
anyone to do that although she had done so herself. When confronted with the  
disclosure that other employees had indicated they had received cash for copper,  
Steele responded that she could not speak for others that she did not know.  
261 At the afternoon interview on June 27, 2018, Kidd told Steele it had come to his  
attention that she was aware of the copper scheme. Steele denied knowledge of  
that. When Steele was asked “do you cut up, conceal and get money for the  
copper?” Steele responded, “I’m not going to respond to that. We put the copper out  
of the way so people don’t trip on it.” Traviss repeated that others interviewed  
admitted that they had received money for copper. Steele maintained that she had  
not received any money for copper.  
262 Steele was also interviewed on July 5, 2018. Steele provided an introductory  
statement in which she said that she was not in the “greatest state of mind” and that  
the last seven days were a “roller coaster.” Kidd asked what happens to scrap  
copper and Steele explained that it is bagged so people don’t trip on it, and to the  
best of her knowledge is deposited into the metal recycling bin. Steele stated that  
she does not bag or cut copper but that she moves it out of the way. She added that  
she has no clue about the copper scheme. Kidd recounted Goff’s statement that  
Chinna had told everybody the sale of copper had to stop and as far as he knew it  
did stop. Steele maintained that she was unaware of any copper scheme in the face  
of this disclosure.  
263 At the July 5, 2018 interview, Kidd told Steele that Plasman, Buizer and a protected  
person had indicated that she was involved. Steele responded that she could not  
speak about what others say, only her own actions. And when presented with the  
contention that Buizer had indicated that she had received cash, Steele answered  
that she would not respond to allegations made against her but that she had never  
received money for copper.  
264 I pause to note that at the June 27, 2018 interview, Plasman said that he had  
received money from either Lewis or Steele but then settled on Lewis. Plasman also  
indicated that he was unsure about who else received money for copper and said  
that Steele knew about the practice of selling copper. At the July 5 interview,  
Plasman retracted his allegation that Steele knew about the practice. He reported  
that he had never in fact observed Steele cut, bag or sell copper and that he did not  
know why he had said that on June 27. Plasman never said that Steele had received  
cash. Further, Duran (the protected person) had never said that Steele had received  
cash.  
265 I now return to Steele’s testimony.  
266 On the morning of June 27, 2018, Bob Bell advised Steele that there would be an  
investigation into allegations concerning the Utilities Department and there would be  
- 58 -  
interviews. Bell explained that the interviews might take all day and to tell the crew  
to go to the lunchroom. Steele did not feel right about the situation and went to Les  
Nerdahl’s office to tell him about the interviews and to ask if he knew what was going  
on. Nerdahl was unable to provide her with information. Steele then advised Nerdahl  
to call Gary Goff as he was the Union President.  
267 Steele testified that Kidd read from a prepared statement. She recalls that he  
conveyed that there was an investigation into a serious matter involving the Utilities  
Department and there would be interviews in two different rooms where the  
employee is to be expected to answer honestly and truthfully. Steele testified that  
Kidd told employees not to use their cell phones and they needed to be escorted to  
the washroom in order to protect the integrity of the interview process.  
268 In cross-examination, Steele was adamant that when Kidd read from the script that  
he only referred to a “serious matter” and did not refer to “potential disciplinary  
outcomes.”  
269 Steele waited in the room as employees were called in to be interviewed. She  
testified in chief that she had no idea about what was going on, felt confused and  
became upset. Steele was asked in cross-examination, “you knew what the matter  
was about, you were being asked questions about theft in the workplace, right?”  
Steele’s answer was non-responsive, “They asked me the questions. I answered the  
questions.”  
270 Steele testified that she was called into Kidd’s office to be questioned. Steve Traviss  
and Shop Steward Rick Williams were also present in the room. In direct-  
examination Steele testified as follows with respect to what happened during that  
interview:  
Mr. Kidd advised that he was conducting an interview into a serious  
matter regarding Utilities. He said he would be asking me some  
questions and wanted me to answer truthfully and honestly. He told  
me think long and hard before you answer. If there is anything I didn’t  
understand that to just ask him. I said I would do my best.  
He asked me how long I had worked for the City of Port Coquitlam.  
I replied, almost 22 years. I was two months short of 22 years. He  
asked me how long I had been in Utilities. I think I replied, because  
I had been a labourer and bounced around, I said I don’t know. Since  
approximately 2000, because that’s when I was brought on as a  
labourer garbage swamper.  
He asked me how long I had been foreman of the Water Crew. I said  
I wasn’t sure, 2012 or 2013, and I said you would know because you  
have my posting.  
- 59 -  
He asked me had you ever taken City property and I said no. He  
asked me if I’d ever received cash for City property and I said no. He  
asked me if I’d ever seen anyone else receive cash for City property  
and I said no.  
He asked me what is done with scrap metal and I said if scrap metal  
is ever brought into the van, it’s considered a trip hazard and it is  
pushed, bent or cut or placed out of the way.  
He asked me why would you cut the copper and I said to get it out  
of the way, because it’s a trip hazard.  
He asked me what did you do with the scrap copper and I said it was  
thrown into the metal bin. He asked me if I’d thrown it into the metal  
bin and I said yes I had put it into the metal bin.  
He said we never received revenue from the metal bin for scrap  
copper. How do you explain that? I said well that does not make any  
sense because I had thrown it in. He repeated that we never  
received any revenue from scrap copper, how do you explain that?  
I said I don’t know who takes the metal bin or how often he goes or  
if it’s the same driver. I said I don’t have to explain it because I don’t  
know what happens to the metal bin.  
He asked me if all metals go into the metal bin and I said lots of  
metals go into the metal bin, all different stuff. I name things like blow  
offs and valves, water valve boxes and daigles, fire hydrants and  
copper. I said all kinds of stuff goes into the metal bin. He asked me  
if copper is treated differently and I said no. It’s all treated the same.  
He reminded me again to answer truthfully and honestly and I said I  
was. He asked if I’d ever received or taken City property and I said  
no.  
He said they had been investigating for some period of time and had  
evidence that there was a serious matter in Utilities, he said there  
was a highly sophisticated, coordinated, covert, what he deemed as  
the copper scheme. Where he described that new copper was being  
cut up, bagged and concealed and he said that it was being removed  
from sites or premises, taken in for money and distributed among  
men and members of Utilities.  
I told them I did not believe it. He said it was true and they had  
evidence. I told them again I did not believe it. He asked I believe  
you said you are a foreman and you’re not aware of this practice?  
And I said I’m not aware of it. I have no knowledge of it. I was  
confused and in disbelief. I believe I said I did not believe it again  
and he said we have evidence, we know it’s going on, Harold has  
admitted to it. And I said I have no knowledge of this.  
- 60 -  
He said as the foreman you were on the site on and off. I said yes, I  
am on and off the site all the time. And he repeated, you are  
frequently on the site and you have no awareness of it? And I stated  
I am on and off the site frequently and I have no knowledge of it.  
I believe he stated that they did not believe me. They believed that I  
knew or had knowledge and I denied it. He stated I believe, others  
said you had knowledge or other said you were involved. And I said  
I cannot respond to what people said or may have said or may not  
have said, I have no knowledge.  
He said why would the guys say things about you that are untrue? I  
said these guys say things about me all the time and spread  
rumours, some of the things that I hear about, but most of the things  
I do not.  
I said you are aware that people make statements about me and say  
things. No one has ever done anything about it around the workplace  
so why would they start now. I believe at that point, there was a point  
where they said that they would go caucus. By this point I was deeply  
upset. My head was spinning. I thought I was going to throw up, I  
had a splitting headache and I was dizzy, my heart was racing.  
And Rick, so I didn’t even know he was there, and he hadn’t said  
anything, said you just need to answer all their questions and answer  
truthfully and honestly. I felt attacked by Rick at that point because I  
had answered all the questions and cooperated and answered  
truthfully and honestly. So I actually cringed away from him because  
I felt like I was being attacked by him.  
Mr. Kidd and Mr. Traviss came back in and closed the door. They  
said they do not believe me. Others have said. We don’t believe you  
so we think you are aware, we think you have knowledge.  
271 Steele test