A group of whistleblowers denounces a federal review
Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A group of whistleblowers say they can’t support a new expert panel to advise the federal government on the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.
He criticizes in particular the absence of a person who has had “a real experience” as a whistleblower.
In a letter to Treasury Board President Mona Fortier, Whistleblowing Canada Research Society President Pamela Forward called it « a scandalous oversight. »
The group, which wants to raise awareness about the phenomenon of whistleblowers, is concerned about the independence of the county. He notes that four of the nine members are current or former federal government employees.
The committee is chaired by Suzanne Craig, Integrity Commissioner for the City of Vaughan, Ontario, and Mary McFayden, Public Ombudsman and Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner for Saskatchewan.
It notably includes Geneviève Cartier, professor of law and director of the doctoral program at the University of Sherbrooke.
Ms. Fortier appointed this working group at the end of November. Its goal is to examine “opportunities to improve the federal disclosure process and strengthen protections and supports for public servants who disclose wrongdoing.”
The secretariat of the Treasury Board explains that several of the committee members were chosen following public consultations with experts.
“The group must carry out a broad consultation. We look forward to hearing his insights as the review unfolds,” said Rola Salem, a spokeswoman for the secretariat.
The committee will also review recommendations made in 2017 by the House of Commons Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. He had heard 52 witnesses, said Ms. Salem.
The task force will prepare a public report that will make recommendations on possible changes to the Act. Her work will begin in January 2023 and is expected to take 12 to 18 months.
Although opposed to the government’s approach, the Whistleblowing Canada Research Society believes there is a need for an independent review of the Act. According to her, the report of the House of Commons committee published in 2017 is “now obsolete”.
“There is greater knowledge about how to make and apply laws as well as disclosure mechanisms since that time,” Ms. Forward wrote in her letter to Mona Fortier.
Ms Foward also wants the committee to include an expert on neuroscience, as the harassment and intimidation suffered by whistleblowers can cause brain damage.