CFE Whistleblowing Initiative

About Us

Founded in March 2017, the CFE Whistleblowing Initiative is a project of the Centre for Free Expression at Ryerson University. Our mission is to protect Canadian society by making responsible whistleblowing possible through effective protection for Canadian whistleblowers. This will enable Canadians to live and work with integrity and to combat misconduct that may threaten the well-being of our communities and our democracy.  The CFE Whistleblowing Initiative is guided by the CFEWI Steering Committee


We aim to accomplish, in partnership with others, the following objectives:

  • Establish Canada as an international leader in whistleblowing theory and practice;
  • Facilitate adoption of best-in-class whistleblowing laws federally and provincially that:

o Provide real protection;

o Cover all workers in both the public and private sectors;

o Are designed for transparency and continuing improvement (through effective measurement, reporting, monitoring, and oversight);

  • Encourage adoption of effective organizational whistleblower protection policy and procedures in both public and private sectors;
  • Provide advice to support public-interest whistleblowers;
  • Undertake education and research, regarding implementation, operation and improvement of whistleblowing systems;
  • Bring about a cultural change in Canada such that whistleblowers are valued and whistleblowing is considered an honourable activity. 

Key Initiatives

Awareness Raising

  • Through a website, social media and an email newsletter to provide regular communication to all interested parties;
  • Establish a process to generate a regular reporting of whistleblowing stories;
  • Organize public events focusing on issues related to whistleblowing;
  • Create public educational materials about how whistleblowing benefits the public.

Whistleblower Assistance Program

  • Launch in 2020-21 a secure advice service for potential public interest whistleblowers

Research and Information

  • Publish analyses of existing whistleblowing laws in Canada;
  • Make recommendations for new / improved Canadian whistleblowing laws based on research and international best practices;
  • Conduct benchmarking research in Canada (modeled on Australian research) on organizational practices with respect whistleblowing in both the public and private sectors;
  • Study whistleblowing NGOs in other countries (such as the UK, Ireland, and Australia) to glean insights for Canada;
  • Support parliamentary reviews of the PSDPA and assist in those reviews.

National Network

  • Systematically identify and contact potential allies including NGOs, unions, academia and businesses to create a national network to support the work of the CFEWI.

International Network

  • The Centre for Free Expression is the Canadian member organization of the Whistleblowing International Network – the international network of whistleblowing NGOs.



Upcoming Event

CFE Virtual Forum Series: Legal Protections for Whistleblowers: What is needed in Canada?

Panelists: Ian Bron, Tom Devine, Anna Myers

Moderator: David Hutton


CFE joins international call for whistleblower protection during COVID-19 crisis

Major whistleblowing organizations from around world, including the Centre for Free Expression, issued a joint letter  today calling on governments and institutions to protect those who report or e

BPC Bulletins

BPC Bulletin: Indigenous Government Tries to Silence Whistleblower

August 19, 2019 - In northwestern British Columbia, the Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG) is trying to legally silence one of its employees.


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.