Links & Books


Canadian NGOs Supporting Accountability
Canadian Government Organizations Supporting Accountability
International Accountability and Whistleblowing Organizations and Websites
Canadian NGOs Supporting Access to Information and Privacy Rights
Canadian Government Organizations Supporting Access to Information and Privacy Rights

Books and Articles

Books and Articles about or by Whistleblowers
Books and Articles on Whistleblowing
Books and Articles on Ethics
Books and Articles on Workplace Bullying
Books and Articles on Canadian Government
Miscellaneous Books

We’re always looking for more useful resources. If you would like to suggest something, please contact us.

Canadian Non-governmental Organizations Supporting Accountability

Canadian Centre for Ethics and Corporate Policy
The Canadian Centre for Ethics and Corporate Policy is a Canadian charity dedicated to promoting and maintaining an ethical orientation and culture in Canadian organizations.

Democracy Watch
Democracy Watch is Canada’s leading citizen group advocating democratic reform, government accountability and corporate responsibility, and the most successful national citizen advocacy group in Canada over the past 13 years in winning systemic changes to key laws.

Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform (FAIR)
FAIR is our sister organization in Ottawa. It promotes integrity and accountability within government by empowering employees to speak out without fear of reprisal when they encounter wrongdoing.
The Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) is an independent research organization and media group of writers, scholars, journalists and activists. The CRG is based in Montreal. It is a registered non profit organization in the province of Quebec, Canada.

Voices-Voix is a non-partisan coalition of organizations and individuals defending democracy, free speech and transparency in Canada.


Canadian Government Organizations Supporting Accountability

Public Sector Integrity Commissioner
The Commissioner and her office are intended to provide a means and mechanism for federal government employees to make disclosures concerning potential wrongdoing in their workplace, and to be protected from reprisal for making such disclosures. (Warning: seek advice before approaching the Office of the Integrity Commissioner with a report of wrongdoing.)

Auditor General of Canada
The Auditor General of Canada is an Independent officer of Parliament responsible for holding the federal government accountable for its stewardship of public funds. Her Office audits departments and agencies, most Crown corporations, and many other federal organizations.


International Accountability and Whistleblowing Organizations and Websites

Government Accountability Project (GAP)
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a 30-year-old U.S. nonprofit public interest group that promotes government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists in the U.S.

International Whistleblowers (IWB)
IWB provides a secure and confidential conduit for the communication of whistleblowers information and acts as the third party in gathering and disseminating such information as and when it is provided, while maintaining total anonymity for the Whistle Blower.

The National Whistlebowers Center
The NWC is an advocacy organization with a 20-year history of protecting the right of individuals to speak out about wrongdoing in the workplace without fear of retaliation.

OpenLeaks is a project that aims at making whistleblowing safer and more widespread. This will be done by providing dedicated and generally free services to whistleblowers and organizations interested in transparency. They will also create a Knowledge Base aiming to provide a comprehensive reference to all areas surrounding whistleblowing.

Public Concern at Work
Public Concern at Work (PCaW) is the independent authority on public interest whistleblowing in the U.K. PCaW has played a leading role in putting whistleblowing on the governance agenda and in developing legislation in the UK and abroad.

Whistleblowers Australia
Whistleblowers Australia Inc. is an association for those who have exposed corruption or any form of malpractice in Australia, especially if they were then hindered or abused, and for those who are thinking of exposing it or who wish to support those who are doing so.

Whistleblowing Airline Employees Association International
This organization serves as a common website for U.S. airline employees and retirees from all airlines and other government agencies who have blown the whistle on alleged wrongdoing within the airline industry, which has been reported to appropriate legal authority, but has been suppressed or ignored by airline management, unions, and/or the DOT/FAA/DHS and other government agencies.

WikiLeaks is an organization dedicated to the disclosure of public interest information from countries around the world. It does so through secure means, doing its best to maintain the anonymity of whistleblowers and dissenters. Read the Wikipdia entry on WikiLeaks for more information.


Canadian Non-governmental Organizations Supporting Access to Information and Privacy Rights

B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association
FIPA is a non-profit society dedicated to advancing freedom of information and privacy rights in Canada.

Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic
The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) was established at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, in the fall of 2003. It is the first legal clinic of its kind in Canada. is a site maintained by Professor Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. The site features summaries of all of the Canadian Privacy Commissioner’s decisions under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).


Canadian Government Organizations Supporting Access to Information and Privacy Rights

Infomation Commissioner of Canada
The Information Commissioner investigates complaints from people who believe they have been denied rights under the Access to Information Act — Canada’s freedom of information legislation. An independent ombudsman appointed by Parliament, the Information Commissioner has strong investigative powers and mediates between dissatisfied applicants and government institutions.

Privacy Commissioner of Canada
The mandate of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) is overseeing compliance with both the Privacy Act, which covers the personal information-handling practices of federal government departments and agencies, and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), Canada’s private sector privacy law.


Books and Articles about or by Whistleblowers

Blowing the Whistle
Paul van Buitenen
This book is Paul van Buitenen’s personal story of his fight against fraud and irregularities in the European Commission. As with most whistleblowers, he tried long and hard to correct the situations that he witnessed through regular official channels. It was only the failure to have action taken on the frauds that resulted in his going to the Parliament directly and to the media. The price that he paid was enormous including suspensions and being forced to transfer to a different job. It took me much longer to read his book than it should have. The problem was that his writings became very personal. Having experienced different, although similar reprisals, I could see myself in what he wrote. The result was that I would read a chapter and put the book down for a few days. I highly recommend this book. Paul van Buitenen is an excellent writer and all readers will better understand the whistleblower’s dilemma and the consequences that the whistleblower faces. (Review by Allan Cutler)
Buy it from

Corrupt to the Core
Shiv Chopra
Dr. Shiv Chopra and other scientists refused to approve harmful drugs while working for the Canadian Ministry of Health, despite pressure from senior bureaucrats and politicians. This book tells the story of this struggle – which is still being fought – and the reprisals he and others faced as a result.
Buy it from

Shooting the Messenger: A Whistleblower’s Tale
Bernard Payeur
Shooting the Messenger is a true story, and a statement about politics, morality and ethics in government. It is above all the story of how career diplomats and other high ranking government officials broke the law in a most egregious manner and used a letter from the Right Hon. Joe Clark to justify what they had done and in the process compromised our judicial system. Throughout his ordeal the messenger was convinced that truth would eventually prevail, all he needed to do was find an honest man (or woman). He thought he had found, not one, but three honest men when he appeared before the Federal Court of Appeal with his tale of corruption and lawlessness in high places only to be told regulations barred them from finding government officials guilty of unlawful acts and disreputable conduct.
Buy it from Boreal Books

Side Effects
Alison Bass
This book is highly recommended. This is a story about the American drug industry and the attempts by a whistleblower and a journalist to expose Paxil which was one of the best selling antidepressants. It is an excellent case study in how whistleblowing works and the real life dynamics. It exposes how the data from drug tests were, and probably still are, withheld from public scrutiny. It also reveals how testing was falsified. At the same time, it shows that a committed person can make a difference. Unfortunately, it also shows that people who participate in cover-ups do not face repercussions. It also shows the reluctance of authorities to take appropriate action unless the situation becomes public. The doctors who were employed by the drug industry as “impartial” spokespeople for enormous fees are still active. (Review by Allan Cutler)
Buy it from


Books and Articles on Whistleblowing

Courage Without Martyrdom: The Whistleblower’s Survival Guide
Tom Devine
This is a very important book, providing advice for whistleblowers, potential whistleblowers, and those interested in the subject. While Tom Devine’s analysis is now over 10 years old, it remains valid. In a blunt and well-written manner, he examines how and where to blow the whistle (and the strengths and limitations of each avenue) and provides an excellent summary of the reprisals whistleblowers can expect. He also summarizes the tactics of cover-up. He closes with an incisive deconstruction of whistleblower protection laws, revealing that for the most part they serve as a kind of Trojan horse for potential whistleblowers by lulling them into a false sense of security. (Review by Ian Bron)

The Ethics of Dissent: Managing Guerrilla Government
Rosemary O’Leary
An important book. Rosemary O’Leary presents case studies in a third way between silence and whistleblowing when employees of the government are faced with corruption, mismanagement or dangerous policies. She describes guerrilla government as unauthorized action by employees to fight back against abuses and defend the public interest. This can include leaking information to the media or to special interest groups, surreptitiously disobeying direct orders and policy directions, and even suing their own employers. Even whistleblowing is an option – though hardly the most important as these people prefer to quietly work from the inside. O’Leary acknowledges the ethical issues with this approach, but encourages managers to embrace these dissenters and to harness their energy and ideas to make change. It is a hopeful view, though one has to wonder whether government bureaucracies – which are stubbornly conservative and authoritarian – could ever make themselves swallow her advice. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it from

How to Blow the Whistle and Still Have a Career Afterwards
C.K. Gansulus
“Filing charges of scientific misconduct can be risky and dangerous endeavor. This article presents rules of conduct to follow when considering whether to report perceived misconduct, and a set of step-by-step procedures for responsible whistleblowing… The advice is framed within the university setting, and may not apply fully in in industrial settings.”
Available at the Poynter Center website

Whistleblowers: Broken Lives and Organizational Power
C. Fred Alford
This is a sometimes bleak examination of the whistleblower and the organization he or she comes from. Starting from the premise that a whistleblower is someone who has spoken out on a matter of public interest and suffered negative consequences for doing so (as opposed to those who suffer no consequences), Alford attributes “narcissism moralized” as the prime force compelling a whistleblower to speak out, and the reaction of organizations as a kind of perverse immune response. Narcissism moralized, by Alford’s definition, does not have a negative connotation. Rather, it describes a state in which an individual seeks to act in accordance to high personal principles and values, rather than lowering those principles and values to meet less laudable behavior. The organization is seen as an entity which seeks to eliminate individual morality in order to better advance its goals. While I have no issue with these concepts at a theoretical level, I am concerned that Alford is giving abusers in the organizations an easy excuse for their actions by allowing them diffuse the responsibility for incredibly unethical acts to the organization. In addition, I am not sure that I accept that all organizations fit the mold that he has cast for them. Perhaps I am naive, but I would like to believe that some organizations – the ones we never hear about – embrace individuality and ethics and prosper because of it. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it from

The Whistleblowers: Exposing Corruption in Government and Industry
Myron P. Glazer and Penina M Glazer
This is, in my mind, the seminal book on whistleblowers – or ethical resisters, as the authors call them – and should be the starting point of anyone studying whistleblowing. Written at the end of the Reagan era, it looks at the first generation of whistleblowers. Many of the people examined were in the nuclear industry, with others focussing on defence, environmental issues and other issues involving public safety and corruption. The legal and cultural environment at the time was still very hostile, with Reagan having broken his promise to protect whistleblowers. Glazer and Glazer describe what kinds of people become whistleblowers, their belief systems, the price they pay and how they rebuild their lives afterward. Since this book was written, attitudes in the U.S. have changed a great deal, although much still needs to be done to protect those who dare to speak out in the public interest. Canada, by the way, is still at least 30 years behind the U.S. In any event, Glazer and Glazer’s book served as a starting point for future works, such as Alford’s Broken Lives and Organizational Power and Vanderkerckhove’s Whistleblowing and Organizational scial Responsibility, among others. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it from

The whistleblowers handbook: how to be an effective resister
Brian Martin
Dr. Brian Martin is an Australian, but his handbook is one of the best practical and most universally applicable guides for whistleblowers that I have read. He is rightly cynical about the chances a whistleblower has of success and in avoiding reprisal, but inasmuch as a person decides to bring forward problems, his advice is solid. He starts by noting the top seven mistakes made by whistleblowers, carries on with a list of possible reprisals a whistleblower might face, and assesses various options for success in reporting problems. My main criticism is that he ignores the ethical imperative to report problems, too often reducing choices to a rational calculation of self-interest. He also misses another option available to dissenters: quiet resistance and leaking to groups that will be able to use their clout to affect change – as described in Rosemary O’Leary’s book The Ethics of Dissent: Managing Guerrilla Government (see above). (Review by Ian Bron)
The book is available for free in PDF format on his website.

Whistleblowing and Organizational Social Responsibility: A Global Assessment
Wim Vanderkeckhove
This is an academic work and a must-read for the serious student of whistleblowing. Vanderkerckhove examines the subject from first principles, starting with a review of major theorists in organizational behaviour. From there, he sets out the justifications for whistleblowing – free speech rights, organizational social responsibility, accountability, responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency. He compares the legislation in different countries and identifies which justifications were used in drafting the legislation. Finally, he makes judgments about the ethics of the different justifications, focusing especially on those most likely to be used. His conclusion? That most whistleblower legislation is unethical because it seeks to subjugate the whistleblower to the organization – the same organization in which the whistleblower has observed wrongdoing. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it from

Whistleblowing Around the World: Law, Culture and Practice
Richard Calland and Guy Dehn, Editors
This is an excellent book on the subject of whistleblowing, comparing alternative approaches and the successes and failures of each. The chapters on U.S. law and practices are in particular useful, with much information about the importance and role of personal action and responsibility, the limited effect of the law, and what is needed to develop a whistleblower-friendly corporate, government and national culture. The chapters on the U.K. seemed somewhat optimistic regarding the prospects of their laws, and I wonder if the author would change anything after the Damien Green and HBOS affairs. Also interesting were the chapters on civil societies (NGOs) which described various models which could be used to support whistleblowers. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it from

Whistleblowing at Work
David B. Lewis, Editor
Published in 2001 and for a British audience, this book is already a bit dated – and not entirely relevant to Canadian experiences. Nonetheless, it does have some useful nuggets of information. In particular, there are tips on how to set up effective internal disclosure mechanisms, appropriate investigation practices, and the role of unions. A good book to browse and take a few notes, but not necessarily to buy. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it from

Whistleblowing At Work: Tough Choices In Exposing Fraud, Waste, And Abuse On The Job
Terry Miethe
Miethe’s book is less dense than some books on whistleblowing, and is largely based on his own research and a small number of other sources – notably Tom Devine’s 1997 book Courage Without Martyrdom: The Whistleblower’s Survival Guide, published by the Government Accountability Project. I think his conclusion on the characteristics of whistleblowers is flawed, mainly because his data is much too limited in scope, depth and generalizability. Nonetheless, he makes important contributions to research on whistleblowers, the likelihood of whistleblowing in organizations and the effectiveness of legal protections for whistleblowers. He also provides useful advice for would-be whistleblowers. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it from

Whistle-blowing in Organizations
Marcia P. Miceli, Terry M. Dworkin and Janet P. Near
This is a research-based book on whistle-blowing in organizations. The three noted authors describe studies on this important topic and the implications of the research and theory for organizational behavior, managerial practice, and public policy. In the past few years there have been critical developments, including corporate scandals, which have called public attention to whistle-blowing and have led to the first comprehensive federal legislation to protect private sector whistle-blowers (the Sarbanes-Oxley Act). This book is the first to integrate these new developments in an analytic and empirically grounded approach to whistle-blowing in organizations. (Review from
Buy it from

Whistleblowing: When it Works – and Why
Roberta Ann Johnson
This book follows the development of whistleblowing from the legal and social perspectives from the early sixties to the start of the 21st Century. Dr. Johnston explores whistleblowing a distinct form of dissent, and examines the role of loyalty and ethics in whistleblowing. She notes that whistleblowers must weigh the consequences of their acts and proves a checklist for potential whistleblowers to use when deciding whether or not to speak out. She also characterizes whistleblowers as “policy entrepreneurs”, seeking to effect change. She also reviews whistleblower protection legislation in the U.S., coming to the conclusion that such legislation has been, to date, ineffective. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it from


Books and Articles on Ethics

The Muted Conscience: Moral Silence and the Practice of Ethics in Business
Frederick Bruce Bird
This book is long and could have used some editing to avoid repetition, but nonetheless provides an excellent overview of business ethics and how it happens that good people fail to live up to ethical standards. Bird begins by describing moral silence, deafness and blindness, and then examines their consequences. What he notes is that these lapses create a snowball effect, slowly worsening and eroding unit effectiveness and efficiency as well as the trust that is essential to good personal and business relationships. He offers good insights into whistleblowing and reciprocal nature of accountability, and finishes by looking at what needs to happen to keep moral silence, deafness and blindness in check. This includes the need to encourage organizational dissent, keeping lines of communication open, talking about ethics on a continuous basis and involving all members of the organization to participate in the auditing function. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it from


Books and Articles on Workplace Bullying

Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace
Noa Davenport, Ruth Distler Schwartz and Gail Pursell Elliot
This book should be required reading for anyone managing people. Everyone else should read it because it’s a well-written, easy to read summary on the phenomenon of mobbing and will help people recognize whether they’ve been a victim – or even, perhaps, unwittingly participated. The authors identify mobbing as a group attack using harassment and other means on an individual in the workplace. The aim is to drive the person out. The book starts by looking at what makes a mobber and a mobbee. From the whistleblower’s perspective, it is interesting to note that mobbees seem to share the attributes of loyalty, high performance and high emotional intelligence with whistleblowers. The book then examines the negative impact of mobbing, not just on the targeted individual, but on observers, the work culture and productivity. It closes with strategies on coping and surviving, and urges North American lawmakers to catch up with Europe in fighting this corrosive phenomenon. I can’t recommend it highly enough. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it from

Psychological Warfare at Work: How Harassers and Bullies Injure Individuals and Organizations
Patricia Spindel, Ed.D.
This book is a good primer into the problem of harassment, bullying and mobbing in the workplace. Spindel categorizes the different kinds of bullies using descriptions that will be sure make you think about people and work situations from your own life. While her link between bullies and lost productivity is largely anecdotal, it is hard to refute the logic. She offers solid practical advice to employers on how to avoid getting bullies in your workplace, and some tips on dealing with them. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it from

Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us
Robert H. Hare, Ph.D.
A good book that may reassure you when you realize that the bullies you know at work and elsewhere probably aren’t actually psychopaths – just narcissists or suffering from some other related personality disorder. Still, when the author reports that between two and three percent of the population are psychopaths – people whom he describes as superficial, egocentric, deceitful, shallow, impulsive, irresponsible, and utterly lacking in remorse or guilt – it’s quite disturbing. Hare observes that while only a fraction are violent, all will likely cause psychological and financial destruction. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it from


Books and Articles on Canadian Government

An Inconvenient Renewal
Etienne Lalibertê
An article about the latest effort to improve management and employee retention in the federal public service. Lalibertê examines reasons that gifted employees often leave, the restistance to change, and the false assumptions behind each of the efforts at public service renewal in the past 20 years.
– Visit the site at
– Note: You can download the full text at bottom of the home page

Breaking the Bargain: Public Servants, Ministers and Parliament
Donald Savoie
Donald Savoie has established a reputation as an acerbic critic of Canada’s governing structures. In his latest contribution he turns his attention to the profound changes that have transformed the relationship between Canadian politicians and public servants. Savoie’s central thesis is that the line between politics and administration is increasingly blurred with consequent problems for both bureaucratic and political accountability. In his previous book Governing from the Centre, Savoie examined the growing concentration of power in the Prime Minister’s Office and the resulting decline in Cabinet government and parliamentary accountability. Here Savoie argues that while the autonomy of cabinet ministers has been eroded, the growth of horizontal decision-making, with departments becoming increasingly dependent on reaching shared goals in program design and delivery, diminishes ministerial accountability. Increasingly the Canadian public service marches to its own drum, often in ways that cost Canadian taxpayers dearly. (Review by Martin Loney, Books in Canada)
Buy it from

Court Government and the Collapse of Accountability in Canada and the United Kingdom
Donald Savoie
This book looks at how accountability has collapsed in Canada and the U.K. It describes a situation where the prime minister is supreme, surrounded by courtiers instead of strong ministers and unhindered by a strong Parliament. This allows politicians to blame bureaucrats and bureaucrats to blame politicians with nobody ever having to pay the price. Savoie points his finger at the rise of individualism in the last 40 years as the factor that led to this impasse, but doesn’t blame individualism itself. Rather, he argues that accountability rules haven’t evolved as individualism has, allowing bureaucrats in particular to get away with being wasteful, self-interested and incompetent, and the prime minister and his court to ram through programs that end up mired in waste and scandal. He doesn’t use that language, of course. His proposed solution is to enshrine in law the responsibility and accountability of the public service, thereby separating the administrative and political functions of government and giving more power to bureaucrats to say no when they should say no – or pay the price when they fail to do so. Still, even he admits that the vested interested of special interests, senior bureaucrats and politicians make such a change a hard sell. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it from

Dispersing the Fog
Paul Palango
Palango is a former journalist and has a lot of experience reporting on government, and it shows. His book on the RCMP and its troubles begins with an examination of the Maher Arar case. He seems to imply that Arar was an agent for some intelligence service or another, but his unwillingness to come out and say it outright makes reading a bit frustrating – like having the carrot forever out of reach. But he also looks at many other issues, such as the apparent cover-up of Project Sidewinder, the perhaps too-close relationship between the head of the RCMP and the Prime Minster and poor morale and performance in the RCMP. He throws the blame at Ottawa’s feet – meaning the “carpet brigade” of RCMP headquarters, and political interference. And in that, he is probably right. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it from


Miscellaneous Books

Moral Courage
Rushworth M. Kidder
This was not meant to be a book on whistleblowing as it is a text book on the concept of moral courage. However, it describes the whistleblower’s dilemma and is well worth reading. Moral courage is the bridge between talking ethics and doing ethics. It is further defined as the “readiness to endure danger for the sake of principle”. According to the author, the courage to act is based on three elements: action based on core values, awareness of the risks, and a willingness to endure hardship. Concepts such as, “Is the benefit worth the risk?” are discussed in depth. He also discusses the benefits of acting ethically to both the individual and society. In summary, although Kidder did not intend to, he described whistleblowing in extraordinary and informative detail. (Review by Allan Cutler)
Buy it from

Ori Brafman and Ray Brafman
This is a light and entertaining book, but one which nonetheless cleverly reveals how our pschological sates and inherent prujudices colour our judgment on everything from relationships to life-and-death decisions. The last chapter discusses the critical role of dissent in ensuring sound decision-making. (Review by Ian Bron)
Buy it on


Created: April 14, 2009