Whistleblower Protection

The Issue

Public or private sector employees who report illegal, unethical or abusive institutional behaviour typically face retaliation, which can include discipline, ostracism, social stigmatization, demotion, dismissal, and criminal charges. Laws in Canada to protect whistleblowers are largely ineffective and sometimes counterproductive -- the legal forum created by the laws can be a vehicle for formally endorsing the retaliation.

Why It Matters

Whistleblowing serves vital institutional and public purposes. It allows issues of concern to be identified and resolved internally, where possible, and, where not, it brings alleged wrongdoing to public attention so problems can be corrected and future harm avoided.

Our Work

The tasks of the Centre for Free Expression Whistleblowing Initiative  include:

  • Investigating the Phoenix payroll system failure;
  • Establishing an advice line to support whistleblowers;
  • Organizing public events on whistleblowing;
  • Evaluating existing whistleblowing laws in Canada;
  • Making recommendations for new / improved Canadian whistleblowing laws;
  • Maintaining an up-to-date database of major whistleblowing cases in Canada;
  • Conducting benchmarking research in Canada on organizational whistleblowing; practices in both the public and private sectors;
  • Assisting with the adoption of effective public and private sector organizational whistleblowing policy and procedures;
  • Publishing a regular Whistleblowing Newsletter;
  • Representing Canada in the Whistleblowing International Network
  • How to contact CFE securely

Resources

News

CFE launches investigation of Phoenix payroll debacle

The Centre for Free Expression at Ryerson University (CFE) has launched an independent investigation of the Phoenix Pay System debacle. The goal of the investigation is to determine if the devastating problems might have been prevented had there been adequate whistleblowing protection for public servants who could have safely alerted their superiors to the impending deficiencies and errors.

News

CFE Senior Fellow David Hutton featured in important CBC coverage of whistleblowing

CFE’s David Hutton was featured prominently in CBC's excellent recent coverage of whistleblowing.

News

The ‘incomprehensible’ Phoenix meltdown: entirely predictable and entirely preventable

Good whistleblower protection could have prevented Phoenix, argues David Hutton.

News

Clarifying the Ontario Security Commission Whistleblowing Policy

The Centre for Free Expression has urged the Ontario Security Commission to clarify its policy guidance as to when in-house counsel would be eligible for the whistleblowing award.  We endorsed the submission of Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn LLP.

News

CFE's David Hutton publishes commentary on federal whistleblowing report

David Hutton, CFE Senior Fellow, comments on recent Commons committee report on whistleblower protection and what the Federal Goverment should do next.