CTV News has exclusive details on what a Wasaga Beach councilman calls a top-level cover-up at city hall.
The alleged cover-up involves a city employee who received a financial package and quit her job following an affair with her boss, the city’s fire chief.
The woman’s mother is speaking out now, calling for an investigation into why her daughter had to leave despite her boss keeping her job.
“No mother should have to talk her daughter out of suicide, and I had to do that with my daughter because of what happened to her in this town,” says Sandra McCarl.
McCarl is an ordained minister who says she kept this family secret for about three years.
“It’s getting our family out, but these things have to stop, and someone has to step up and say no, it can’t go on,” she says.
The Wasaga Beach woman says her daughter, whom CTV News will not name to protect her identity, attempted suicide after losing her job with the town of Wasaga Beach in 2020.
“She’s embarrassed when she’s out shopping and when she’s around people because they make comments to her, how about ‘we know what you did,'” McCarl adds.
She alleges her daughter was paid off and silenced by the City of Wasaga Beach after her affair with Fire Chief Mike McWilliam.
“She did everything he told her to do,” which McCarl said included sharing pornographic videos and images. “Pictures of him naked, and he also wanted pictures of her.”
After the case ended, McCarl says her daughter went to human resources claiming the fire chief was abusing and harassing her.
“She couldn’t function in her job. She was stressed. She was on medication. She was losing her hair and she went to get help,” her mother says.
CTV News has learned that in 2020 the city launched a lengthy investigation into the relationship and the harassment allegations.
A confidential document obtained by CTV News confirms that the fire chief was suspended with pay during the investigation.
The report ended with the recommendation that the woman and the fire chief be fired for cause.
But, as CTV News discovered, city manager George Vadeboncoeur sought a second legal opinion.
Months later, the woman received a financial envelope, signed a nondisclosure agreement to keep quiet, and was no longer employed by the city.
McWilliam, however, retained his position as fire chief.
“A victim in a serious situation was victimized, and I believe it was then covered up,” says Wasaga Beach Town Council. Joe Belanger.
Bélanger asks the Ministry of Labor to investigate. He says the mayor and Vadeboncoeur purposely withheld information about the report’s findings before council voted on the matter, which ended in a unanimous vote to fire the employee.
“Relationships between the fire department and some council members may have had an impact on how the investigation was conducted and what was shared with council and ultimately the decision of the council. advice”, adds Bélanger.
The city’s confidential memo describes how the woman feared a backlash before filing her complaint, knowing how closely Mayor Nina Bifolchi, the fire chief and the CAO worked together.
McWilliam is also the city’s director of health and safety.
“She left, got a few months’ salary, lost half her pension and he’s still working there,” McCarl notes.
CTV News provided a list of questions for the general manager, the mayor and the fire chief. On behalf of the three, Vadeboncoeur replies that the City does not comment on personnel issues.