By halifaxwebcam December 30, 2013 Leave a Comment

whistleWhistle blowers are individuals who attempt to expose wrongdoings within an organization because they feel the public has the right to know about their discovery as well as in an effort to put a stop to it. Canadian whistle blowers are given little protection by the law however change seems to be in the works thanks to laws like Alberta’s Public Interest Disclosure Act which came into force June 1, 2013, specifically addressing whistle blower protection. The goal of this legislation is to safeguard public sector employees from employment reprisal that include termination if they report a wrongdoing.

This new law applies Alberta, Canada’s provincial agencies, public service, commissions and boards, along with school boards, academic institutions and health organizations. There are various additional laws in place that are said to help these brave individuals but to date it doesn’t appear that they’ve been very effective. Any decent education in criminal justice will include thorough, in depth courses regarding the new whistle blower protection laws.

Following are 3 examples of whistleblowers that have been recognized and praised for their efforts; nearly all have suffered from extreme consequences from their employers as a result of their reports. – Source: http://fairwhistleblower.ca/psdpa/psdpa_critique.html

1. Joanna Gualtieri exposed the fact that extravagant accommodations were purchased abroad for Foreign Affairs staff. Ms. Gualtieri stated that the Bureau didn’t seem to care, that her employers harassed her for bringing up her concerns, and that they finally put her in a dead end job after she came forward.

2. Brian McAdam’s 30 year career in the Foreign Service ended abruptly in 1993 following his exposing corruption at Canada’s Consulate in Hong Kong and the infiltration of spies and organized crime members from China into Canada. His efforts eventually saved the Canadian government approximately $50 million, prevented the entry of more than 1,000 organized crime figures like the Triads and revealed China’s considerable espionage activities in the nation.

3. One of the worst whistle blower cases happened in 2005, when Sean Bruyea, a former Air Force intelligence officer, discovered serious problems in a new program for injured soldiers. The legislation (that was being rushed through Parliament) was called the “New Veterans Charter” and it cuts out the extensive lifelong benefits previously provided to injured veterans and replaced them with a one time lump sum payment of a significantly lower value. Bruyea became an outspoken critic of the new program, campaigned strenuously against it and became an advocate for veterans.

Veterans Affairs found Bruyea’s advocacy troublesome and set out to destroy his credibility by releasing highly sensitive personal information from his private medical files. Ultimately over 800 individuals in the bureaucracy were given access to his personal medical records in what was said to be one of the worst violations ever when it came to Canadian privacy laws. The Public Sector Integrity Commissioner declined to investigate Bruyea’s case, declaring that the wrong doings he had reported didn’t amount to wrongdoing as defined in the legislation.

While Canada does seem to be making an effort to improve whistle blower projection laws, these brave individuals still need all the help they can get including quality legal representation. The type of lawyer representing the whistle blower will vary by case but in most instances you’ll need an attorney who handles False Claims Act qui tam (whistle blower) cases.

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