Stop Boondoggles like Phoenix by Enacting All-Party Plan to Protect Whistleblowers

June 16th, 2017

The NDP is calling on the government to enact an all-party plan to protect whistleblowers presented to the House of Commons by the Government Operations Committee this afternoon.

“If public servants and government contractors were empowered to blow the whistle, that could have stopped boondoggles like the Phoenix Pay System and Shared Services,” said committee vice-chair Erin Weir (MP for Regina–Lewvan). “These projects involved hundreds of people, many of whom perceived mismanagement long before the government recognized or admitted it.”

“The current Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act came into force in 2007 and provided for a five-year review, which the former Conservative government never conducted,” said Weir. “A decade later, our committee reviewed it for the first time. Analysis from senior officials, horror stories from whistleblowers and comparisons from international experts all indicated huge problems with whistleblower protection in Canada.”

Today’s report recommends broader definitions of “wrongdoing” and “reprisal” to protect more whistleblowers; the independent Public Sector Integrity Commissioner overseeing and evaluating whistleblower protection in departments and agencies; improved remedies such as reimbursing legal costs and ensuring job placement to make whistleblowers whole; and other important reforms.

“Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic MPs on the committee unanimously endorsed these recommendations without any party issuing a dissenting or supplementary report,” concluded Weir. “A key test of Prime Minister Trudeau’s promises of openness and transparency will be whether he implements these concrete proposals to protect whistleblowers in his own government.”