One of Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid’s aides is out of a job after reportedly using federal postage franks to send Christmas cards from the Ontario MPP’s office.

“It was a mistake, I found out about this yesterday and immediately took action…It shouldn’t have happened, it should never happen again and I’ve taken appropriate action,” Duguid says.

‘Frank postage’ is a free mailing service available only to MPs, senators and some federal employees. Instead of a stamp, the envelopes are printed with “Her Majesty’s Service.”

On Wednesday, a CTV London investigation revealed that a number of the cards sent from Duguid’s office used the taxpayer-funded postage.

While MPP offices have a budget for Christmas card mailings, postage stamps must still be used.

Late Wednesday, Duguid released a statement indicating that while the person responsible initially said the postage was properly paid, he later offered his resignation, which was accepted.

The aide, who sources say is Hratch Aynedjian, was a long-time ministerial staffer and also worked as an assistant when Duguid was a Toronto city councillor.

“This staffer has worked off and on for me for several years, which makes today especially painful for me. He’s always been a loyal staffer,” says Duguid.

The MPP added that his aide simply didn’t know the rules despite being charge of all mailings, “He was mistaken thinking that it was okay to do that.”

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton, who received one of the letters with the ‘frank postage’ says he remains concerned, “How long has this been going on? He has to come clean.”

McNaughton brought the incident to the attention of the federal Minister of State, who is responsible for Canada Post, and Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner.

“This is a scandal that shouldn’t happen in a minister’s office or any MPP’s office. Everyone knows the rules and he’s ripping taxpayers off.”

Duguid says it was an honest mistake any costs incurred by Canada Post will be reimbursed. He also says he will cooperate with any investigation being conducted into the incident.

According to the Canada Post Act, it’s illegal to use a fake stamp on a letter, and doing so can result in a jail term of up to five years.