Ian Bron and Allan Cutler
Last week, the government announced that Stephen Harper had appointed a new Integrity Commissioner, Joe Friday, who has been with the office since 2008 and was the last Commissioner’s Deputy. This was not a surprise to us, but it is a disappointment. It is also a slap in the face of conscientious public servants looking for a safe place to report misconduct. They, as well as the Canadian public have a right to expect an aggressive, thorough, and competent Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner (OPSIC).
Friday served under both previous Commissioners, Christiane Ouimet and Mario Dion. Ouimet’s tenure was an unmitigated disaster. Just three and a half years into her tenure, she resigned in the face of a damning report from the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) that concluded she had been engaging in the very kinds of acts she was supposed to be preventing – harassment and reprisals against staff believed to be speaking out about abuse and mismanagement in her office. She left with her pension intact and a $500,000 lump sum. When called before Committee in 2010, Friday denied seeing anything wrong: “Madame Ouimet was carrying that out in her role as commissioner, which would be appropriate.… Read the rest
Posted by Ian Bron on April 6, 2015
There have been a series of stories about how the federal and provincial governments continue to abuse access to information laws (also known as freedom of information). These laws are supposed to give Canadians access to government records – records made by people whose salary they pay.
Of course, this isn’t happening the way it should. Governments departments, agencies and universities covered continue to find new and creative ways to deny information to requestors. Sometimes illegally, as it turns out. In Ottawa, the Privy Council Office and other departments have taken to the practice of encouraging people to accept accelerated processes which allow them to exclude documents without proper authority. The Information Commissioner has slapped them on the wrist for this, and many are calling for the legislation to be tightened and penalties made more severe.
Also in Ottawa, the government has basically killed a process that was set up to review and release documents relevant to the Afghan detainee controversy. There were about 40,000 documents to be reviewed – only 4,000 were released. Using this time-tested method – Jean Chretien used the same basic approach with the Somalia Inquiry – they now proclaim themselves vindicated.
In Ontario, the Ombudsman, André Marin, lambasted the provincial government for its secrecy.… Read the rest
Posted by Ian Bron on July 4, 2011
Below you will find the text of our letter to André Marin, the Ontario Ombudsman, expressing our concerns about the way the Ontario College of Teachers has handled its mandate to police the profession, and how it treated Jim Black, a whistleblower who spoke out against the reinstatement of sexual offenders.
27 May 2011
Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario
Bell Trinity Square
483 Bay Street, 10th Floor, South Tower
Toronto, ON M5G 2C9
Dear Mr. Marin,
I am the Secretary and a founding member of Canadians for Accountability. Canadians for Accountability is Canada’s first truly national whistleblower organization. It was formed by a group of grassroots whistleblowers and accountability activists and was incorporated as a non-profit in 2008. Our mission is to advance integrity and accountability and helping and advocating for whistleblowers throughout Canadian society. Allan Cutler, the whistleblower of the Sponsorship Scandal, is our President.
As a whistleblower and an Ontario Certified Teacher, I am writing to you in the hope that your speech at the 2011 Annual General Meeting of the Ontario College of Teachers will address the important issue of whistleblower protection.
As you are probably aware, in Canada remains a dangerous endeavour requiring a tremendous amount of courage and resolve.… Read the rest
Posted by Ian Bron on May 30, 2011