All posts tagged Public Service Labour Relations Act

The Failure of the Throne Speech

Ian Bron and Allan Cutler

The following piece ran in the Hill Times on October 21, 2013.

We had hoped that that the Conservatives would commit to protecting Canadians values through the Throne Speech. We had watched and waited for improvements in existing laws already designed to protect these values. But we did not waste time in false hopes. There appeared to be something for everyone offered in the Throne Speech unless you are an advocate of truth, honesty and transparency in government. In fact, we did not witness anything that promotes openness and honesty in government. The following details some of the significant ‘lacks’.

1. A commitment to strengthen the Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActThe PSDPA came into force in early 2006, fulfilling a key Conservative promise. However, the seven years since have shown it to be wanting. The first commissioner, Christiane Ouimet, refused to seriously investigate any cases. Second, the PSDPA, and by extension the tribunal it created, is unlikely to protect any whistleblower, since the burden of proof to demonstrate reprisal is much too high. Whistleblowers also have no right of access to courts.

There are deep flaws including unwarranted secrecy and jurisdictional limits that allow public servants to avoid sanctions simply by resigning or finding a job outside of the public sector.… Read the rest

No place to hide for Canadian whistleblowers

(Published in the Hill Times on August 14, 2011)

Why does Canada treat its whistleblowers so badly? Even though only it has been just a few years since the Sponsorship Scandal, which was exposed by Allan Cutler and another anonymous whistleblower, it’s a question that needs to be asked.

Why? Because, yet again, Canadian whistleblowers have been successfully persecuted as an example to deter any potential ethical dissenters.

On Monday, August 8, the Public Service Labour Relations Board (PSLRB) upheld the dismissal of Shiv Chopra and Margaret Haydon. Chopra, Haydon and a third Health Canada scientist (Gerald Lambert, who was reinstated) were fired in 2004 for insubordination after they defied industry pressure and management orders to approve drugs for livestock that they determined to be potentially harmful to human health. The axe fell after they testified at Senate Committee. The Senators who heard from them did nothing to stop the reprisal.

This abuse of power has been sustained and has undoubtedly cost millions of dollars. Exact figures are impossible to obtain, because such expenses are considered subject to solicitor-client privilege. (And if you, the real client, are wondering why you don’t have a right to know how much is being spent defending the indefensible, you’re in good company.)

PIPSC, the union representing Chopra, Haydon and Lambert called the decision “a bad day for whistleblowers”.… Read the rest