Ottawa, October 23, 2017 - In February of this year, Commissioner Friday tabled 16 substantive proposals for legislative change during the Government’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Operations and Estimates review of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (the Act). Key among these proposals were the reversal of onus of proof for reprisal complainants before the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal; the removal of the requirement of good faith for whistleblowers; and more comprehensive remedies for victims of reprisal. These are changes that cannot be achieved through administrative practices or procedures; they require a change to the Act.
“I am disappointed that the Government response to the Committee’s report, tabled in Parliament on Monday, October 16th, proposed no legislative changes,” states Commissioner Friday. “While I welcome and support any and all administrative and operational changes to improve the internal disclosure regime, which is outside the authority of my role as Commissioner, I am disappointed that the opportunity was not taken to make formal legislative changes to improve the whistleblowing system at this time.”
The Commissioner’s proposals represent best international practices and reflect the evolution in the understanding and recognition of the necessity of having a supportive and responsive public sector whistleblowing program.
The Commissioner’s Office will continue to identify and put into place policies and approaches that allow it to be as effective and as responsive as it can under the Act in its current state. This will include the continuation of the development of policies to provide clarity around its operations and provide essential information to help people make informed decisions about coming forward with a disclosure of wrongdoing or a complaint of reprisal. The Office will also continue the implementation of service standards to support operational efficiency as well as focused outreach and engagement to build confidence and ensure that its valuable role and important mandate are clearly understood.
For more information, contact:
Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada
Telephone: 613-946-2138 or 613-294-1678