This piece was first published in the Hill Times on February 13, 2017.
Whistleblower protection advocates across Canada were celebrating last week when the news broke that Hon. Scott Brison, President of Treasury Board, had suddenly asked the Government Operations Committee (OGGO) to conduct a review of the federal whistleblower protection law (the PSDPA). This review, which by law should have taken place 5 years ago, has been steadfastly blocked by Treasury Board since 2012. Why the sudden change of heart? No-one knows.
The big question now is whether members of OGGO can find the time, determination and resources to do justice to this very important task, handed to them at very short notice.
Hearings began on Tuesday, and on Thursday morning three civil society witnesses were called – Allan Cutler, David Yazbeck and myself. We presented damning testimony regarding the dysfunctional nature of both the law and the Integrity Commissioner’s office. We pleaded with the committee to call a wide range of follow-up witnesses – outside experts rather than those running the system – in order to obtain a proper understanding of how badly broken the current system is. And we offered detailed suggestions on how to fix it.… Read the rest
Posted by DavidH on February 20, 2017
From left to right: Mario Dion, Pierre Poilievre, Tony Clement and Wayne Wouters
Canada’s Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, Clerk of the Privy Council, President of Treasury Board and Pierre Poilievre need some serious schooling from University of Saskatchewan’s recent uproar over the unjust firing of a whistleblowing professor. Maybe then public servant whistleblowers who truly care about the public will be protected and not persecuted by an insular and out-of-touch senior bureaucracy.
Robert Buckingham, a tenured professor, was fired May 14, 2014 from the University of Saskatchewan. His crime: speaking out against a money-saving plan to restructure and reduce faculties and staff. Dr. Buckingham reported the usual litany of whistleblower reprisals including attacks to his credibility, management isolating him, intimidation and even an escort off campus after his dismissal.
What was unusual for Canada was the reaction. Students held mass demonstrations, politicians waded in, and academics worldwide pressured both the university and the provincial government to defend a whistleblower. Dr. Buckingham had his tenure restored the next day. The following week, the university provost, author of the letter firing Robert Buckingham, resigned. The university president was fired from her post but offered another position and a hefty severance.… Read the rest
Posted by Sean Bruyea on June 8, 2014
This piece was first published in the Hill Times on February 17, 2014.
There is a move by the current Conservative government to reduce sick leave benefits for the rank and file public servants. The argument is that the amount of sick leave being used has increased from the past and is excessive. Treasury Board figures show it at 18 days a year. This is more than a public servant accumulates each year. Looking at this ‘deficit’ usage, TB must be right about the increase. Public servants have to be drawing from the leave that has been accumulated over the years. Whether or not, TB does anything, this will eventually stop. Sooner or later, the public service will run out of sick leave credits.
Of course the above statement, as Tony Clement the President of TB is aware, ignores the unpaid sick days and long-term disability that are included in the 18 days. The impression is given that public servants are taking excessive sick leave. What is needed to truly understand the numbers is the total of each one.
For these, we have to ignore Tony Clement and go to an impartial authority, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), Jean-Denis Fréchette.… Read the rest
Posted by Allan Cutler on March 20, 2014