What is the legal foundation and nature of the Inquiry?

Public inquiries are created by governments to address a matter of public concern and designed to operate at arm's length from government.  They must be independent in order to carry out their mandates.  Inquiry independence is critical in order to ensure fairness, avoid a reasonable apprehension of political influence and protect the integrity of the inquiry's work and recommendations.

This inquiry is constituted under Alberta's Public Inquiries Act.  The Commissioner conducts the Inquiry in accordance with the terms of the Public Inquiries Act and relevant principles of natural justice.  The Inquiry is distinct and independent of conventional government operations, giving the Commissioner the freedom and authority to hire advisors to execute the Mandate as established through its Terms of Reference.  This Public Inquiry is constructed to enable in-depth research of complex matters and to allow important and timely public education on matters of public concern.

 


When will the public inquiry start?

Work began on the Inquiry when it was approved by Order in Council 125/2019 on July 4, 2019. As currently contemplated in the Terms of Reference, the Inquiry has two phases:

  • Phase 1, an investigative and research phase, is underway. In Phase 1, the Commissioner and his team are researching and reviewing various reports and literature related to the issues, and interviewing individuals and organizations with potentially relevant information.
    • An interim report addressing progress and next steps will be submitted to the Minister of Energy by January 31, 2020.
  • Phase 2 is based on the information gathered during Phase 1, and may include public hearings. Relevant details will be published on this website after the filing of the interim report.

 


How do I get in touch with the Commissioner if I have a question or concern, or if I wish to speak to him?

Questions or comments can be forwarded to the Inquiry at: [email protected].* All questions and comments will be reviewed by Inquiry staff and may be responded to by the Commissioner or his staff.

 


How do I make a submission to the Inquiry?

Submissions that are believed to be of relevance to the Inquiry can be submitted by email at: [email protected].* All submissions will be reviewed by Inquiry staff and the Commissioner or his staff may follow up with the persons or organizations responsible for the submission.

 


How is the Commissioner conducting interviews?

The Commissioner is conducting interviews with persons understood to have relevant information and evidence. These interviews may be in person, or by telephone. The Commissioner is also gathering information and evidence through exchanges of correspondence with relevant persons. In certain cases, the Commissioner may travel to meet with individuals who may be in possession of information relevant to the Inquiry. When appropriate, the Commissioner’s travel schedule will be published on this website.

 


Who is assisting the Commissioner?

Various parties are assisting the Commissioner, including legal counsel, forensic accountants, information technology staff, researchers/investigators, as well as other staff hired to assist in managing and administering the Inquiry.

 


Were the hired firms subject to standard government procurement processes?

No.  Consistent with Section 3 of the Public Inquiries Act, the Commissioner has the discretion to engage Inquiry staff he identifies as having his trust and confidence, and the necessary range of expertise and resources to handle the complex mandate set by the Terms of Reference.  Based on the Commissioner's more than 40 years of forensic and insolvency accounting experience, and the confidence and professional trust in experts he has worked with, Commissioner Allan has selected Dentons Canada LLP, and David Wachowich Q.C. of Rose LLP as Commission Counsel.  Deloitte Forensic Inc. was hired to provide forensic accounting support to the Commissioner and his counsel.  Forensic accounting is a significant and important element of the subject matter set by the Terms of Reference.  Within the budget prepared under the Terms of Reference, the projected figure of $905,000 was provisionally allocated for legal fees, and a further $905,000 was allocated to forensic accountancy work and similar investigative support.

 


What is the Inquiry's relationship to the Province of Alberta's recently announced Canadian Energy Centre?

The Inquiry is completely separate and independent from the Canadian Energy Centre.  The Inquiry Commisoner's Mandate is distinct and governed by the Terms of Reference and the Public Inquires Act.

 


Will the Inquiry respond to requests under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Alberta)?

The Inquiry is not designated a "public body" under this legislation and is therefore not subject to requests under the FIPPA.

 


Will the Commissioner be compelling witnesses to give evidence or produce documents?

Should witnesses refuse to speak with the Commissioner then, where appropriate, the Commissioner has the power to summon any person in the province as witnesses and require them to give evidence or produce documents. Where necessary, the Commissioner may also pursue the attendance or testimony of persons located outside the province of Alberta.

 


Is the Commissioner available for media interviews?

There is very little the Commissioner can share with the media beyond what is contained on this website.  The Commissioner must not only act impartially but must also ensure he avoids engaging in public debate or discourse that might impair the perception of impartiality.  Accordingly, the Commissioner will not be granting media interviews at this time.

The website will be updated when the Commissioner has information to share with the public.

 


When will the Inquiry conclude and issue a final report?

The Inquiry is to end on October 30, 2020 and the Commissioner is to submit to the Minister of Energy a final report no later than October 30, 2020.  The Minister is to publish the final report within 90 days of receiving it from the Commissioner.

 


How will the research and prior publications of Vivian Krause impact the Inquiry’s work?

The Inquiry is examining and exploring a variety of sources to gather relevant information and evidence, and the prior work of Vivian Krause is one such potential source. Importantly, the Commissioner is approaching the Inquiry Mandate with an indepedent and open mind and will subject all available information and evidence gathered to objective and impartial scrutiny. The Commissioner is a Chartered Professional Accountant, whose practice was focused on corporate restructuring and forensic accounting. The Commissioner's education, training and experience, as well as that of his staff and advisors, equip him and the Inquiry team to conduct a thorough, independent and impartial assessment of the relevance and value of Ms. Krause’s work, as well as any other relevant sources.

 


Are the Terms of Reference of the Inquiry public?

Yes. They can be found within the Order in Council 125/2019.

 


Ecojustice recently communicated to the Inquiry.  Did the Inquiry respond?

Yes.  The Inquiry has responded.

  • To see the original letter from Ecojustice, click here
  • To see the supplemental letter from Ecojustice, click here
  • To see the Commissioner's response, click here

 


What is the Commissioner's response to Ecojustice's court application for a judicial review?

It is not appropriate for the Commissioner to comment on matters that are the subject of ongoing proceedings in the courts.  The matter will be addressed before the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, where the Application was filed.

 


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