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Ontario integrity commissioner can’t publicly release outcome of possible appointments probe

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, sits alongside his chief of staff Dean French at the Ontario PC Convention in Toronto on Saturday, November 17, 2018. Ontario Premier Doug Ford's chief of staff has resigned. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO – Ontario’s integrity commissioner says he can’t publicly release findings of a possible probe into government appointments with ties to the premier’s former chief of staff.

Interim Liberal leader John Fraser had asked the commissioner to review all public appointments under the Tory government.

READ MORE: Dean French’s ‘nepotism continues to contaminate the Ford government’: source

But commissioner J. David Wake says in a letter to Fraser that if he investigates the conduct of Dean French – who resigned as chief of staff last month – under the Public Service of Ontario Act, he has no legal authority to release any conclusions publicly.

Wake says he would be limited to notifying Premier Doug Ford of any findings, and if the premier wants to release those, he can.

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French resigned following news that appointees to two foreign posts were personally connected to him, and just hours after a third connection was revealed.

READ MORE: Premier Doug Ford’s chief of staff Dean French resigns

The premier’s office did not comment when asked if it would release the findings of a potential probe.

Ford has ordered a review of all pending appointments, but the opposition parties have called for that to be handled outside the premier’s office.

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