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.




How to Contact CFE Securely

If you want to contact the Centre for Free Expression and keep your communications safe and secure, please read the guideline below.


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

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


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.


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. 


CFE calls for action on new federal whistleblowing report

The Centre for Free Expression has encouraged the Trudeau government to implement the recommendations of today’s standing committee report on improving Canada’s federal whistleblowing law.

The Government Operations Committee report recommends a number of changes to provide genuine protection to federal civil servants that blow the whistle on government wrongdoing.

“The report’s recommendations go a long way to fixing a law that has failed to protect federal whistleblowers since it was introduced ten years ago by the Harper Government,” said David Hutton, Senior Fellow at the Ryerson University Centre for Free Expression and one of Canada’s leading experts on whistleblowing.