People Send Us Stuff
August 23rd, 2015
People talk to us, they send us things. Sometimes we have meetings with people, interviews, and sometimes we receive brown envelopes stuffed with documents. Literally folks, actual brown envelopes, it feels like a crime drama.
“Greetings Mr. Knight, I have enclosed corrective action for your review.” Thus began one of these, but they’re all quite similar in their CSA descriptions.
On occasion, we receive data from within the offices of CSA itself. One CSA insider sent us an internal report late last year. “Enclosed is a project summary report dated [mm/dd/yy]. It clearly shows that many groups within CSA (including Barb Weiser, wife of Rich Weiser) are also part of unethical procedures. This project names Barb Weiser (former name Barb Decaprio, education background from Garfield Heights High School) as an employee of LG, [which is] clearly not the case.”
Note the detail, by the way. The best sort of data submissions are those with lots of detail, like the name of the high school this person graduated from. Every scrap of data is valuable to verify identities, gauge credibility, etc., it informs us of the significance of the data attached to that detail.
Sometimes, when we have an accusation that we can’t verify because, for instance, we have only one source for it, then we’ll retain the tip in our files until a new whistleblower can corroborate the data. That’s what we did with the information that we quoted from above. A few months after receiving that internal report another whistleblower sent a copy of CSA’s internal audit file which happened to cover some of the same issues. This whistleblower was terrific, even commentating the file for us, page by page.
“You can see by this internal audit that CSA is aware of its unethical procedures, and uses this audit as a way to cover its tracks. This is just one of many projects that were closed early by PGM Moamar Mustafa and his PGA (secretary), Heather Whisenhunt Sell, in order to release funds to his group. …The engineers […] hadn’t even completed the project before it was closed. Although this is just one account, it represents the corrupt processes and culture of CSA management.”
We’ve also received copies of letters sent to the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) requesting investigations into CSA conduct. The SCC, by the way, is responsible for policing the CSA.
At the end of one executive’s long report to the SCC’s Susan Cadorette; “The issues I have brought to your attention demonstrate that CSA [is not] delivering trustworthy services. … I request your assurance that these matters will be investigated to the full extent of the authority and mandate of [the] SCC.”
They weren’t of course, the SCC didn’t investigate anything. The SCC exists to sound good, to make reassuring noises and head-patting gestures, but doesn’t appear to actually police anything that the CSA does.
A manufacturer wrote to the SCC a couple of years ago; “To recap, my complaint against CSA was that our Model [number] was, in my opinion, never tested”.
Again, the SCC did nothing.
Rule breaking for convenience is standard practice at the SCC. When CSA was outed for violating Federal standards review laws the SCC did nothing. When CSA was caught in possession of immunities from civil litigation, this in violation of the SCC’s own requirements for accreditation, the SCC again did nothing. When CSA was caught running one of Canada’s longest-standing counterfeiting operations, the SCC wouldn’t even open an investigation. Indeed, when they heard that CSA was counterfeiting safety certifications, the SCC promptly accredited the CSA to legally issue what they had been caught illegally issuing for eight long years. If that’s not sad enough, the SCC even violated their own public review regulations in order to accredit the CSA more quickly than the law permitted.
Sometimes we receive copies of correspondence between CSA and its clients, usually when those clients have become fed-up with CSA’s manipulation of their testing or CSA’s grubbing for money.
In one such letter, a manufacturer complained to CSA of fabricated test results. “Of greater concern, on the same page is a temperature test. Eight temperatures recorded. This test is not for Model [number]. The only component I recognize is the 3.9 k 5 watt resistor which we use in the [product]. This temperature test was done on November [date] 1994 and again on January [date] 1999. With exactly the same results.”
Years later the problem recurred, and another letter resulted. The CSA is “invoicing without testing” complained the manufacturer, the “temperature results done of the past 15 years by CSA produced identical results. 14 components on Model [number] were given temperature tests [in] 1999 and 2007. Model [number] was given the same temperature test in 1994, 1999 and 2007. The only difference I can detect is the date has been changed on both sets of tests. I don’t believe anyone could repeat the same tests the next day and get identical results, let alone identical results 13 years later.”
Remember the CSA’s eight year-long counterfeiting operation? Curiously, the CSA actually recorded tests on the units they were affixing with counterfeit certifications. It’s just that the units themselves did not meet even the minimum safety standards required by Canadian law. But CSA’s testing proclaimed these products fully compliant. Do you see a pattern here? Eight years of testing, showing total compliance in every year, yet exposed as entirely noncompliant over the entire eight-year period.
Manufacturers understand CSA. That is, they know that CSA testing isn’t real, certifications mean nothing, etc. But they treat CSA’s staged processes as just part of the cost of doing business in Canada. It’s like a tax, you pay if you want to play.
Manufacturers start talking when CSA induced expenses begin to outstrip their revenues. One manufacturer recently complained to us about CSA’s money grubbing. Apparently the CSA hits them up for money at every possible stage of their business operations. The CSA even charges just to update a file.
“When [certain] components became obsolete they were changed” to other already approved components. Just to register that change “in CSA’s paperwork or computer, their MINIMUM charge is $825.00 PER CHANGE. This is $2,475.00 for [these] three changes. Along with this, there is [an] annual CSA maintenance charge of $1123.50.” And on top of that, CSA charges for mandatory site inspections, most of which don’t involve any actual inspection. [emphasis in original]
How does CSA respond to these sorts of complaints?
Well, usually they follow the SCC’s lead. They sound good, all warm and reassuring, and then do absolutely nothing to solve the problem. After all, it’s their problem, they created it that way, they’re not going to change anything voluntarily.
One engineer wrote us about his dealings with Sarah Eisen, one of CSA’s in-house legal managers. “So far,” he said, “Sarah’s blowing wind up my ass, but time will tell.” Eloquent man, this guy.
If you keep pushing, then they’ll start ignoring you. “All communication stopped with CSA the day after [the letter] and I have a feeling something is brewing because I have had several views on my LinkedIn from CSA Mitigation since then.” That sounds ominous, like the next step coming, doesn’t it?
Retribution is a risk, even for a complaint, and the CSA is well known for it. One senior, rather longterm CSA committee member was approached by the infamous Patti Ensor for some money. This member’s company had publicly referred to the law and CSA wanted a payment for it. The shakedown commenced.
After weeks of threats, the committee member wrote an impressively restrained letter, advising CSA that he had no intention of paying them for having referred to a public law. In response, CSA expelled him from his own committee.
Some of these niches in technical disciplines are very small communities of people, and expulsion from CSA’s technical committee can severely harm one’s ability to land contracts. It’s like a blacklisting, and that’s why expulsion is such a big deal, and it’s how CSA uses expulsion to punish those who push back. It’s also, by the way, one reason why we’re so careful with the confidentiality of our sources.
For all the risk and the cost and the runaround, clearing out the culprits and cleaning up the CSA is surely in the public interest. The whistleblowers we talk to know this personally. “Your comments or input would be appreciated,” wrote one insider, “and I hope somehow we can work together or be of some use to each other in this inevitable fight that needs to be.”
We win the war by working together. Thank you for your support and your contributions.
New submissions are always welcome, by the Comments tab below or by mail.
c/o PS Knight Co Ltd
6423 Burbank Rd
Calgary AB T2H 2E1