It's now been more than six months since Canada has had a federal ethics watchdog. 

Mario Dion retired in February after serving as the last permanent ethics and conflict-of-interest commissioner. 

A longtime staffer in that office, Martine Richard, took on an interim role in April — but she resigned within weeks amid controversy around the fact she is the sister-in-law of Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc.

Investigations that would normally be conducted by a commissioner are on pause until a permanent replacement is found.

Dion says the vacancy also means people can go unpunished — and violations can go unnoticed — until a new person is appointed.

Dion, who is helping with the hiring process, says it's not surprising that a candidate hasn't been chosen yet because the field is narrow and few people would qualify for the job. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 15, 2023.