After receiving criticism for withholding the report, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) claims no legal obligation to release the full forensic review of a hidden bank account discovered in 2014.
The CFS was reported to have a hidden bank account operating from 2010 to 2014 containing over $260,000 in funds. According to a recent report by The Varsity, the CFS has declined to release a full forensic report for their AGM in June.
“The full report on the forensic review is not a public document as it contains confidential information pertaining to human resources,” stated Peyton Veitch, the national treasurer for the CFS, in an email to The Medium. “This is equivalent to how student unions do not typically disclose sensitive HR matters to members at annual general meetings.”
Veitch stated that the CFS has asked their law firm, Grant Thornton, to draft a summary report encompassing the account’s transaction history. According to Veitch, the law firm’s report is expected to outline the rigorous forensic review taken by the federation’s lawyers in regard to the account.
Based on the CFS’s Bylaw IX, Seal, Documents, and Records, “notwithstanding any other provision of these Bylaws, the National Executive may at any time direct the manner in which any contract, obligation, or instrument of the Federation is executed.”
Anne Boucher the vice-president external for the UTSU claimed in an interview with The Varsity that the decision to release a summary in place of the full review is invalid, and that the CFS possess a political and moral obligation to show students the extent of the review.
“The summary report prepared by Grant Thornton provides information to member locals about the account’s transaction history and the process undertaken by the investigators from Grant Thornton,” stated Veitch. “We have received an opinion from our legal counsel recommending against releasing the full report, as it may put the federation in a position of legal liability.”
“Members of the national executive have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interest of the organization and knowingly placing the federation in a position of legal liability would be acting contrary to this obligation,” he continued.
According to Vietch, the summary report was sent to all student union members prior to the general meeting in last June which was publically available for viewing.