Whistle Blower Human Rights Act

An Act respecting the protection of employees in the public service who make allegations in good faith respecting wrongdoing in the public service

This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in May 2004.

This bill was previously introduced in the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session and the 37th Parliament, 1st Session.

Sponsor

Gurmant Grewal  Canadian Alliance

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Not active, as of Oct. 2, 2002
(This bill did not become law.)

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Canada Labour Code
Private Members' Business

October 18th, 2006 / 6:55 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, allow me first to commend the commitment of my colleague from Gatineau, who introduced the anti-scab legislation, Bill C-257, and who thereby showed his generosity toward and understanding of workers' rights and his dedication to defending them. I would like to congratulate and thank him.

A lot has been said about the anti-scab bill. The hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst spoke about it quite eloquently, as did the Liberal member. They made fine analyses of this bill and the advantages it presents.

I have to say—and it is not said enough—that anti-scab legislation reduces the length of strikes. It also reduces violence on the picket lines and at the employer's facilities. It improves the general mood. If the strike is short and all the people have been respectful for the duration, the mood is far better than at the plant next door where conditions were much worse and more problematic.

This creates balance. It creates balance between the workers and employers in Quebec. This respect and balance in pressure tactics available to each party results in labour peace in Quebec and in British Columbia. This is advantageous both to the employee and the employer.

Everyone wins. In Quebec in the past 30 years, no one has questioned the anti-scab legislation that has existed there all this time. That means we have real labour peace. We have balance. It does not lean to the right of centre or in favour of major industry. That would be a false balance, which is what we currently have in places without anti-scab legislation.

In Quebec, one of the problems is that 90% of workers are under federal jurisdiction and are entitled to the benefits of anti-scab legislation. Some 8% of the workforce in Quebec is under federal jurisdiction and is excluded from these benefits. The Bloc Québécois is working hard for those people in collaboration with all the other stakeholders in Canada. It is for this reason that we have to stop having two classes of workers in Quebec.

On June 6, the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec made some arguments that did not make much sense. He said there was less investment in provinces that had anti-scab legislation. I do not understand why he said that.

First, the Minister of Labour and Minister of Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, who is also the member for Jonquière—Alma, voted in favour of this bill. I will give you the date. It was November 5, 1990, and it was Bill C-201, introduced by the member for Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour. He voted for it.

On May 1 of this year, when I asked him in this House, he said that, in Quebec, that was fine, that it was a distinct society. I do not agree with him on the term “distinct society”, but it is what he said. He said there was a tradition in Quebec, an obvious culture in favour of anti-scab legislation, but that, as a minister, he had to consider this under a “Canadian angle.” However, he is now telling us that he will vote against this legislation. It makes no sense for the Conservative Party to vote against legislation that is also beneficial for workers across Canada, and not only in Quebec.

If he considers this under a Canadian angle now that he is a minister, he must then change his mind and vote for this bill. Since we are only at second reading stage, he should at least vote on the principle of the bill to give it an opportunity to be studied in committee. There we could really discuss it. He could invite his witnesses who are saying that strikes last longer.

The member for Beauport—Limoilousuggested that anti-strikebreaker legislation would contribute to increasing the frequency of strikes. This hypothesis was disproven by a researcher named J.W. Budd, who, after reviewing over 2,000 collective agreements in Canada, concluded that there is little evidence suggesting that anti-strikebreaker legislation increases the frequency of strikes.

Those are the Conservative Party's arguments. All of its arguments are bizarre, to say the least.

The minister's first argument that there has been less investment in provinces with anti-strikebreaker legislation was quickly disproven using statistics. He has not brought the argument up again.

I would add that the studies he consulted were conducted by the Fraser Institute and the Montreal Economic Institute. We know these two right-wing think tanks manipulate the numbers until they say exactly what employers want to hear. We have therefore taken these studies and the minister's arguments with a grain of salt. He seems to have done the same, because he has not brought those arguments up again.

On September 22, he came back to the House with a second argument. He said something that is worth hearing again:

Thus, there is no evidence indicating that prohibiting the use of replacement workers has any of the alleged benefits for workers—

Not a single one. Tell that to the millions of workers in Quebec. Tell that to all those who have been on a picket line. Tell that to all those who were on a picket line while replacement workers were crossing it to steal their job, their spot, their salary. Tell workers who must get into debt during a strike because of the presence of replacement workers in their plant that an act prohibiting the use of replacement workers is of no benefit at all. Tell that to workers who, along with their family, are experiencing emotional distress because they do not know where they will find the money to pay next month's rent.

So, when the minister claims in this House that there is no evidence indicating that prohibiting the use of replacement workers has any benefits, he is not credible. We know that he is exaggerating. If he had said that there might be a shred of evidence to that effect, we would have taken his comments into consideration, but he said there is no evidence at all. As we know, such sweeping statements are meaningless, and this is what we thought of the minister's argument.

Whistle Blower Human Rights Act
Private Members' Business

February 5th, 2003 / 6:20 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank all the members who participated in this debate on Bill C-201, my private member's bill, which provides in law for the protection of a whistleblower in the workplace. It prohibits retaliatory action against whistleblowers. It ensures that Canada sets into law, not in just a wishy-washy, half-baked policy, the framework for a legal grievance procedure and a defined recourse for our conscientious public servants who report wrongdoing within the system.

Bill C-201 provides for a mechanism to address the wrongdoing and compensates the whistleblowers for any damages they suffer. We need to encourage public servants to come forward when they find evidence of wrongdoing, corruption or the misuse of taxpayers' money.

The threat of employer retaliation must be eliminated in order to encourage government employees to speak up. By passing legislation, Parliament will send a clear message to employees that they will be protected by law if they blow the whistle. Time Magazine declared 2002 the year of whistleblowers and featured three famous whistleblowers on the front page. If this bill were passed, with appropriate legislation in place perhaps Maclean's magazine would make a similar declaration in 2003.

There is a very important need for the bill. The drinking water fiasco in Walkerton, Ontario could have been prevented. As well, the September 11 terrorist attacks highlight a longstanding necessity to strengthen free speech protection for national security whistleblowers. Also, the accounting misdeeds that led to the collapse of corporate giants like Enron, Arthur Andersen and WorldCom and resulted in thousands of workers losing their jobs left many wondering why someone did not blow the whistle on these dishonest practices sooner.

Many countries have this whistleblower legislation, as I mentioned, such as the United States, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. In the United States, whistleblower protection was passed unanimously by Congress in 1989, a long time ago, and was strengthened again by a unanimous vote in 1994. In the U.S. there is also a whistleblower reporting agency. Under the federal false claims act in the U.S.A. a whistleblower can receive a percentage of money that is recovered.

Here in Canada we need such legislation. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which is a national union representing about 36,000 professional and scientific employees, and the Public Service Alliance of Canada, representing about 150,000 federal public servants, have been calling for the enactment of legislation to protect federal public sector employees from reprisals for blowing the whistle. Whistleblowers should not be denied fair and just redress for the injuries they suffer as a result of disclosing corruption and rot in the system.

Bill C-201 is a unique and comprehensive bill. It is unique because whistleblowers like Brian McAdam, Joanna Gualtieri, founder of FAIR, Federal Accountability, Integrity and Resolution, and Louis Clark, executive director and founder of the U.S. Government Accountability Project, GAP, were consulted to take advantage of their real life experiences. I thank them for their input in drafting the bill.

However, the government does not seem prepared to pass legislation, being content instead with an internal disclosure policy that even its overseer says is flawed. Despite a caucus document that was approved a long time ago, I consider this another broken promise. It was promised in caucus that it would support whistleblower legislation and today the parliamentary secretary denied that.

The non-legislative approach offers little new incentive for employees or potential whistleblowers in this country who would rather not disclose wrongdoing to their employers. It is an affront to democracy. It is inhibiting transparency and accountability in the government and putting the lives of many Canadians in jeopardy because something going wrong somewhere will not be reported to the public. I think it is an affront to democracy and it should not be happening.

The government still has a chance to support the bill. If members support the bill, I urge them to send it to a committee where it can be amended if there is any problem with it.

I thank all the members who participated in this debate.

Whistle Blower Human Rights Act
Private Members' Business

February 5th, 2003 / 6:05 p.m.
See context

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to speak to Bill C-201 respecting the protection of employees in the public service who make allegations in good faith respecting wrongdoing in the public service.

Before getting into any type of political arena, I worked as a government employee. I worked with union members who would do certain things and unfortunately they would be looked at as the bad guys.

The bill came forward from the member for Surrey Central. Opposition parties are supportive of it but it seems that government members will not support it. That is too bad because I firmly believe that if this bill were enacted, companies, businesses and all sectors would save money because all the wrongdoings would be reported and things could happen that would be in the best interests of being open and fair.

I could tell stories that would lead members to believe that no one really cares, that people do not want to get to the truth, to the facts. I have a story of a gentleman whom I know personally who decided to report a certain activity. For some reason or another he was given the impression that he was the bad guy, but he did what an honest employee would do. He reported something that was not right, something that was wrong. The result was that he was the one who felt that he did something wrong.

There are people who get hauled over the coals for doing something that is honest. They have told the truth and they are the ones who are put in an awkward situation. Because of that, the old saying that we see no evil, we hear no evil, so we will speak no evil comes into play and a person who is in that situation will say that it does not concern him and he is not going to worry about it. Then we get bad employees.

Although the bill is very lengthy, it is precise and accurate. It gives employees the right to do something that is honest, just and fair. I do not think the legislation will see the light of day because I am sure the government will not enact this bill for the benefit of all employees.

It is stated throughout the bill that all wrongdoing should be reported and that there should be protection for the whistleblower so that the person is not at a disadvantage. I am sure there are all kinds of stories of employees out there where employers have disciplined the whistleblowers to the point that they are not be promoted, they are not given pay raises, and they are looked at differently.

If we are to have a society that is based upon truth and honesty, we as a government must enact a law that protects individuals so that they can work honestly in workplaces, be fair to employers, and at the same time report things that will be a major negative to society. As I said, people who tell the truth are looked at differently, but if they tell a lie, people are happy. As a result, whistleblowers today will not do what is right. They will not save money for the government or for other employers only because they know that they will be suspended, or fired, or there will be no room for advancement.

This is not a votable bill. It is good legislation, but unless the government decides to make the bill votable, we could talk all day long until the cows came home to no avail. We are the ones who have the ideas and the government is just trying to protect the wrongdoings rather than opening up the field for doing the right thing.

Everyone expects politicians to do the right thing. We are sending a message to public servants. If we do not do the right thing by implementing such a great bill to protect whistleblowers, the result will be that we will be classified as politicians who cannot be trusted to do the right thing.

We need to take a stand to move the bill forward. We need to send the right message to the public sector that we are here for the good of all. The good of all means protecting the people who come out and tell the truth and not the ones who tell lies.

We hear all the time that the RCMP snitches are paid certain numbers of dollars to protect the public interest. They report things to the RCMP so an arrest can be made for the good of everyone in society.

It is no different with this bill. We need to make sure that we act in good faith for the country and that we act in good faith for employees. This would be good for everyone. If we do not do this, we are going nowhere.

I could stand here all day and give examples and talk about the bill, but sometimes I think we are just wasting our time and we are just here to hear ourselves talk. This is an issue of such importance and there is hardly anyone on the other side. We are trying to make sure the government gets the message--

Whistle Blower Human Rights Act
Private Members' Business

February 5th, 2003 / 5:45 p.m.
See context

Niagara Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Tirabassi Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, before addressing any specifics relating to Bill C-201, I would first like to thank the hon. member for Surrey Central for allowing me to make this my first representation as parliamentary secretary and to compliment the hon. member for Surrey Central for his efforts in bringing forth this proposed legislation.

His obvious and very serious concern for protecting the rights of employees who, in good faith, make allegations respecting suspected wrongdoing within the public service is truly laudable.

The Government of Canada is strongly committed to promoting and protecting the dignity and the human rights of its public service employees.

The existing policy on internal disclosure of information concerning wrongdoing in the workplace, or IDP for short, allows employees to bring forward, in good faith, information concerning wrongdoing. This same policy ensures that they may do so in confidence and are protected from reprisal.

It is applicable to all departments and organizations of the public service as listed in schedule I, part I of the Public Service Staff Relations Act. Since its inception one year ago, the IDP has been working and it has been working very well.

A survey of departmental senior officers of disclosure, to whom employees may turn with information concerning suspected wrongdoing in the workplace, confirms this.

The survey carried out this past July revealed that to date more than 30 disclosures of wrongdoing have been handled through the IDP. All disclosures were addressed promptly, with two-thirds having been resolved within a few weeks and one-third still under investigation. These results clearly show the willingness of public service employees to come forward with information under this policy without fear of reprisal.

The IDP is not a static document. The policy has been in place for a short time. It is open to possible change and improvement. In fact, it will be reviewed in 2004 to ensure that it continues to allow employees to bring forward information concerning wrongdoing and to ensure that they are treated fairly and are protected from reprisal when they do so in a manner consistent with the policy.

We all know that Canadians expect their government to be guided by the principles of honesty, justice, integrity and good governance. These are precisely the principles that the IDP is working to maintain and ensure.

Having said that, I must now say that the government is unable to support Bill C-201 for several solid reasons. First, the government cannot support the bill because we are not convinced that legislative measures are necessary to address the issue of employee protection when whistleblowing in the federal public service.

In drafting the IDP, we chose a policy approach instead of legislation largely because our values as Canadians are clear: tolerance, integrity and respect for democracy and the democratic tradition.

The IDP reflects Canadians' beliefs about professional and ethical behaviour. This policy is not based on a rule book, but rather, resonates with commonly held standards of conduct.

Two other important considerations of why the government is unable to support the bill are because it confuses the mandates and jurisdictions of government, as well as reaching far beyond the purview of the Treasury Board.

The bill proposes to define an employee as a person who is or has been employed, or is being considered as an applicant for a position within the federal public service. It generously and, I might add, erroneously extends the definition to persons who provide goods or services to the Government of Canada on a contractual basis.

The bill would erode the important role of deputy ministers in the management of human resources in the public service.

A policy approach is more appropriate by situating accountability in the hands of deputy ministers as per the existing legislative framework. This was clearly stated in the Auditor General's report, chapter 12, which was tabled in October 2000, where there was a consensus that work had to be done in Canada's federal public sector to allow the voicing of ethical issues with appropriate protection for all concerned and it needed to be addressed as part of a comprehensive approach.

Furthermore, it was proposed that a senior independent authority be established to receive reports confidentially and act in a fair and impartial manner. That is to say, accountability as defined in the Public Service Employment Act, the Financial Administration Act, Security of Information Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.

As such, still toward accountability, the bill would seek to extend the regime over bodies that are under provincial and territorial jurisdictions and to govern conduct in the courts and in the media.

On another important point, it would be remiss to fail to take note of the bill's assertions concerning unrestricted freedom of expression. These assertions are in fact in direct opposition to the duty of loyalty recognized by the courts that public service employees owe to the government and that underpins the institution of non-partisan public service.

Similarly, the creation of a registry by Treasury Board, which would encompass a copy of every written allegation made pursuant to this bill, would be contrary to the protection of employee confidentiality as assured under the existing policy.

Finally, I would like to point out to the House that remedies for violation provided for in Bill C-201 go far beyond IDP provisions. These are particularly troubling elements of the bill. If the House will bear with me, I will take a few moments to elaborate on this section.

As set forth in the proposed legislation, persons with authority can be fined up to $5,000 upon violation of the rights of disclosure. The bill would also permit the disclosure to bring a civil action before the court. Going one step further, any legal fees incurred by the disclosure would be reimbursed. Successful claimants, moreover, would receive both a public apology from the government and a discretionary award. These are troubling remedies. They are also, in my opinion at least, classic examples of the cure being worse than the affliction.

In conclusion, I would like to assure all members that the government is committed to protecting the rights of those who see wrongdoing in the workplace and ensuring that public service employees have the confidence to come forward. This is a responsibility that the Government of Canada does not take lightly.

The government does not, however, regard Bill C-201 as the appropriate path to follow in protecting the rights of the federal public service employees who, in good faith, bring forward information concerning wrongdoing in the workplace. The government therefore will not be voting in support of the bill.

Whistle Blower Human Rights Act
Private Members' Business

February 5th, 2003 / 5:30 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

moved that Bill C-201, an act respecting the protection of employees in the public service who make allegations in good faith respecting wrongdoing in the public service, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Surrey Central and many whistleblowers to speak to my private member's bill, Bill C-201, the whistle blower human rights act, which I call in short, WHRA. I thank the hon. member for Elk Island for seconding this most important bill.

The purpose of Bill C-201 is to protect members of the Public Service of Canada from retaliation for making, in good faith, reasonably well-founded allegations of wrongdoing in the public service to a supervisor or to a public body.

Thousands of Canadians, both in the private and public sector, witness wrongdoing on the job. Most remain silent but a few cannot keep quiet. Their sense of duty and love for their country results in their choosing to speak out by blowing the whistle.

Whistleblowers are sometimes regarded as heroes, particularly when exposing serious dangers to public health or safety. At other times, they are perceived as disloyal employees or vilified as traitors.

Employees who expose workplace wrongdoing almost always pay a heavy price for their decision. They sometimes face different forms of retaliation. Punishments range from being shunned by their colleagues to harassment to termination to being blacklisting.

Feature films like The Insider , which depicts Jeffrey Wigand, a tobacco company researcher who exposed his employer on 60 Minutes , for lying about the dangers of smoking and whose life was shattered as a result, acts as a deterrent to potential whistleblowers.

Let us take a moment to remember some of the well publicized cases in Canada.

Bernard Dussault, chief actuary, Canada pension plan, reported that he was asked to modify numbers to paint a more positive state of the CPP. He was fired.

Michelle Brill-Edwards, senior physician in Health Canada's prescription drug approval process, was pressured to approve medication that had caused deaths in the United States. She went public and had to resign from her job.

Joanna Gualtieri, portfolio manager for Latin America and Caribbean in DFAIT, blew the whistle on waste and lavish spending on diplomatic housing and embassies. The Inspector General and Auditor General of Canada later supported her allegations. She was harassed and marginalized within the department. Finally, she had to quit, go through the expensive courts and her career was ruined.

Brian McAdam was a 25 year veteran foreign service officer in Canadian diplomatic missions in the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, South America and Asia. In 1991 he documented evidence of corruption at Canada's foreign mission in Hong Kong. I talked about that in some of my previous speeches. He was demeaned and ostracized by his colleagues and finally he gave up. He took an early retirement.

Michael Sanders, financial analyst, Office of the Superintendent for Financial Institutions, blew the whistle on the absence of sufficient safeguards to protect taxpayers against the collapse of major financial institutions. He was fired from his job.

Dr. Shiv Chopra, a senior veterinary drug evaluator in Health Canada's Therapeutic Products and Food Branch, blew the whistle on the drug approval process for bovine growth hormones. He said human health concerns were being ignored due to pressure from lobbyists of drug companies. He suffered harassment.

Corporal Robert Reid, a veteran RCMP officer associated with the report called “Sidewinder”, which has been ignored due to political pressure, paid a huge price like others.

There are many other cases: Dr. Margaret Haydon, Health Canada; Marilla Lo, Treasury Board; Russell Mills, the Ottawa Citizen ; Bob Stenhouse, RCMP; and Dr. Barry Armstrong, Canadian Armed Forces. The list goes on but since my time is limited, I will stop naming them.

If public servants reveal wrongdoings within their departments or agencies, should they suffer as consequence or should they be rewarded? I believe employees should be able to raise their concerns without fear of reprisal. This is why I introduced my bill, Bill C-201, which would make it an offence to discipline or disadvantage an employee for such actions and provides for a fine and order of restitution to the employee.

The Liberal cabinet members, while in opposition, are on the record supporting whistleblower protection. For instance, the former Liberal Party critic for public sector ethics and current government House leader, the hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, said in 1992:

The [whistleblowers] bill provides protection for people who are trying to act in the best public interest...It provides for means to protect people who are employees of the public sector and feel morally bound to protect the interests of the public.

He went on to say:

Why should someone who is defending the public interest in good conscience have to then defend themselves in courts and everywhere else for having taken what was right to start with? That is the difficulty with the absence of any kind of law that protects whistleblowers.

He also said:

I think as a general principle all of us who represent the public interests in this House should believe in our conscience that it is not the side of the boss you take, it is the side of the public because it sent us here. That is the fundamental principle of our democratic system.

He went on to say:

In order to provide that kind of accountability and those means, we need a bill such as this...I think in principle, I like it.

The hon. member then went on to quote from a Liberal caucus approved document. The document was entitled “Public Sector Ethics” and it called for whistleblower protection. I do not agree with the government House leader very often but on this issue I absolutely agree with him.

Since the direct quotation establishes that the Liberals, their caucus and the former Liberals ethics critic agreed in principle with the whistleblower protection legislation, the million dollar question is: after 10 years, where is the whistleblower protection legislation?

Since 1993, there have been no government bills on this subject. Maybe it did not get a chance to draft it but now we have one, which is Bill C-201.

Sound legislation protects democracy from itself. The presence of a dictatorship coincides with the lack of sound legislation and the habitual rejection of transparency and accountability. The habitual rejection of transparency and accountability in public life systematically corrupts social institutions. Corrupt social institutions breed neglect, political interference, waste, mismanagement, corruption and weaken our national security.

Whistleblowers are now being muzzled and denied a forum. The Public Service Commission has no power to hear the cases of whistleblowers. The Public Service Staff Relations Board has no jurisdiction for a whistleblowing claim. Ministers do not even respond to letters from whistleblowers. A good starting point is the creation of and passage of legislation that is directed at institutions that are publicly funded.

Some people might come up with a lame excuse and say that we have an internal disclosure policy. The Public Service Integrity Office was established by the terms of this Treasury Board policy to be an agency to facilitate the internal disclosure by public servants of wrongdoing in the public service. It is considered to be independent, external and impartial to receive and investigate good faith disclosure allegations alleging wrongdoing.

Let us look at the contrast between the whistleblowers human rights act, the WHRA, and the internal disclosure policy, IDP.

First, according to the WHRA, every employee has a duty to disclose wrongdoing. Under IDP, employees have no obligation to reveal wrongdoing, though the integrity officer has criticized the IDP for this failure.

The WHRA would permit public servants to disclose alleged wrongdoing to public bodies, including the media. On the other hand, under IDP unauthorized external disclosures can result in disciplinary action, including termination of employment.

Under the WHRA, a whistleblower would have the right to bring a civil action before a court. Under IDP, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is an option for employees facing harassment.

According to the WHRA, a supervisor, a manager or other person of authority who harasses a whistleblower would be subject to criminal prosecution and would face a fine of up to $5,000. As well, they would be subject to personal liability for any resulting damages that may be awarded to an employee pursuant to any civil or administrative proceeding.

According to the IDP, employees are subject to disciplinary actions, including termination of employment. Superiors are not liable or responsible.

According to the WHRA, the minister responsible for the relevant department shall issue a public apology to an employee who is successful in a claim. Under IDP, there is nothing of this nature.

According to the WHRA, an employee who successfully blew the whistle would also be recognized with an ex gratis award. Under IDP, there are no rewards, but only punishment for whistleblowers.

The integrity officer wants some sort of reward system introduced to offer encouragement to public servants to come forward in good faith with evidence of wrongdoing.

According to the WHRA, written allegations shall be investigated and reported upon within 30 days of receipt. In the IDP there is no time guarantees even in feeble attempts.

With WHRA, the minister shall ensure that remedial action is taken promptly. IDP promises a prompt response and failure to do so will result in the integrity officer taking his report to the Clerk of the Privy Council.

According to the WHRA, the President of the Treasury Board shall create a registry in which a copy of every written allegation is deposited. This registry would be made available to the public. In the IDP the integrity officer issues an annual report to Parliament.

Dr. Edward Keyserlingk, Canada's integrity officer, began his work in April 2002. He is critical of the government's current whistleblowing policy, not legislation, and he argues that Canada needs a tougher whistleblowing policy. It should be a public servant's duty to expose any suspected wrongdoing, and not enough people are coming forward.

He says that whistleblowers should be rewarded with promotions and citations. He says that the creation of his seven person office is not good enough to stop the inertia, suspicion and fear of job reprisals so ingrained in the system.

By May 2002, the integrity officer had received 45 cases and 21 were quickly closed. Either the issue was resolved, or the matter was referred to another jurisdiction, or a decision was made not to pursue or it did not come within the purview of his office.

Dr. Keyserlingk identifies that the root problem is a lack of leadership and accountability. I translate that lack of leadership into lack of political will. Critics say that we will have a framework that offers no protection to public servants because the minister's office said so.

In many countries around the world public service employees are protected by whistleblowing legislation. The United Kingdom passed the public interest disclosure act in 1999. The U.S. federal employees were initially protected under the civil service reforms act, 1978, which empowered a special council of the merit system protection board and it was unanimously passed. In Canada we do not have such legislation.

Therefore I would ask all hon. members to kindly support Bill C-201 and let us send it to the committee where any appropriate changes or amendments can be made.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

October 2nd, 2002 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

The Speaker

I want to clarify something to the House. The Chair made a mistake, but I will correct it right now. The mistake is with respect to Bill C-201, the whistle blower human rights act, standing in the name of the hon. member for Surrey Central. It had not been on the order of precedence in the previous session and accordingly will not be on the order of precedence today as I stated it would be. It will in fact be considered as part of the private members' business draw in the usual fashion with the other bills. I apologize to the House for that error.

Whistle Blower Human Rights Act
Routine Proceedings

October 2nd, 2002 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

The Speaker

The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-201 was at the time of prorogation of the first session of the 37th Parliament. Accordingly, pursuant to Standing Order 86.1, the bill should be added to the bottom of the list of items in the order of precedence on the Order Paper following the first draw of the session, and be designated a votable item.

Whistle Blower Human Rights Act
Routine Proceedings

October 2nd, 2002 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-201, entitled Whistle Blower Human Rights Act.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the people of Surrey Central, and indeed all Canadians, I am reintroducing my private member's bill respecting the protection of employees in the public service who make allegations in good faith respecting wrongdoing in the public service. It is also known as the whistle blower human rights act.

The purpose of the bill is to protect the members of the Public Service of Canada who disclose, or blow the whistle in good faith, well-founded allegations of wrongdoing in the public service which would cover such situations as waste, fraud, corruption, abuse of power, violation of law, threats to public health and safety, et cetera. The public interest is served when employees are free to make such reports without fear of retaliation or discrimination.

The bill is in the same form as Bill C-201 which I introduced in the previous session. I also take the opportunity to thank the hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill for seconding this important bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Whistle Blower Human Rights Act
Routine Proceedings

February 1st, 2001 / 10:05 a.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-201, an act respecting the protection of employees in the public service who make allegations in good faith respecting wrongdoing in the public service.

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to protect the members of the Public Service of Canada who blow the whistle in good faith for wrongdoing in the public service, such as reports of waste, fraud, corruption, abuse of authority, violation of law or threats to public health or safety. The public interest is served when employees are free to make such reports without fear of retaliation and discrimination.

Therefore, I am very pleased to introduce my private member's bill, entitled an act respecting the protection of employees in the public service who make allegations in good faith respecting wrongdoing in the public service.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)