Public Services Whistleblowing Act

An Act to assist in the prevention of wrongdoing in the Public Service by establishing a framework for education on ethical practices in the workplace, for dealing with allegations of wrongdoing and for protecting whistleblowers

This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2002.

Sponsor

Greg Thompson  Progressive Conservative

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

Status

Not active, as of May 29, 2001
(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.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2001 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is always nice to have a friend in the House to ask a good question, is it not? That is obviously why the Prime Minister enjoys question period.

Bill C-351 is the private member's bill that I introduced about six months ago in this place. Its short title is the public service whistleblowing act. Its purpose is basically to protect people who have questions or concerns about practices going on within the doors of the public service that they are not happy with or that they are concerned about.

It includes three points. These are somewhat technical, but I will read them into the record. The purpose of the act is:

(a) to educate persons working in the Public Service workplace on ethical practices in the workplace and to promote the observance of these practices;

(b) to protect the public interest by providing a means for employees of the Public Service to make allegations of wrongful acts or omissions in the workplace...;

(c) to protect employees of the Public Service from retaliation for having made or for proposing to make, in good faith and on the basis of reasonable belief, allegations of wrongdoing in the workplace.

This in and of itself would certainly not solve all the problems with the hiring practices within the public service, but I think it would go a long way. I think some intellectual honesty would come out on some of these practices the public service is presently engaged in which we feel are very discriminatory.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2001 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my coalition colleague for his speech because he gave a reasoned debate. Throughout his speech he gave several examples of problems with the current system and he offered suggestions for improvement.

One part of those suggestions, which he did not get much chance to talk about and on which I ask him to enlighten us further, was the private member's bill he is bringing forward. Could he tell us how Bill C-351 could remedy some of the situations he outlined in his speech?

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2001 / 4:25 p.m.
See context

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

As one of the members jokingly said, Winnipeg Left. I do not think there is anything wrong with the member from Winnipeg Left. Particularly on the issue of whistleblowing he was dead on.

This is where parliamentarians of all stripes can actually achieve something in this place. He graciously said that if I got my bill read first he would drop his bill because it basically did the same as mine, so we held the press conference.

The truth is that public servants have to be given the opportunity to speak out on some of these discriminatory practices within the public service. Bills like Bill C-351 could help them do that.

I am looking forward to questions and comments from my colleagues to zero in on some of the areas which we obviously have not had an opportunity to talk about in the last 20 minutes.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2001 / 4:20 p.m.
See context

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, I was quoting from a letter but what you are telling me is fair. I apologize for that.

The premier goes on to say in his letter to the Prime Minister:

The...President of the Treasury Board, in her replies to questions in the House of Commons by (the member for Cumberland--Colchester) on 15 February and 22 March of this year, indicated that discrimination on the basis of residence is permitted by the Public Service Employment Act.

May I point out again that article 706 of the agreement on internal trade specifically forbids any party to require a worker of any other party to be resident in its territory as a condition of access to employment opportunities.

Furthermore, on February 4, 1999 the first ministers of the provinces and territories, with the exception of the premier of Quebec, agreed that:

Governments are...committed to ensure, by July 1, 2001, full compliance with the mobility provisions of the Agreement on Internal Trade by all entities subject to those provisions, including the requirements for mutual recognition of occupational qualifications and for eliminating residency requirements for access to employment opportunities.

It could not be clearer than that. The premier went on to say:

All governments believe that the freedom of movement of Canadians to pursue opportunities anywhere in Canada is an essential element of Canadian citizenship.

He goes on in detail to quote from the Constitution Act of 1982.

Why do these practices continue? One member suggested it was political opportunity on the part of the government. There is some merit to that argument. Maybe we should debate the politics of hiring in the federal public service.

It would be surprising what we would find out if we were a mouse in the corner, an expression sometimes used in Atlantic Canada and perhaps also used in western Canada. Could members see federal public servants attempting to support policies in a public forum? They could not support them because they are wrong.

Why do we not hear about discontent and unease within the public service about these hiring practices? Because they are scared of the government. They do not want to rat on their own government because some are there at the pleasure of the government. Some are appointed by what is called an order in council. That simply means that the Prime Minister suggests a name to cabinet, which agrees with the name, and the name is given to the Governor General. Suddenly some man or woman has a job. Sometimes there are these very highly paid civil servants, like the deputy minister status, but purely at the whim of the government.

There is a lot of unease in the public service with regard to hiring practices. Why people do not rat on the government is simply because they have no protection. That is why I introduced my private member's bill, Bill C-351, about six months ago in the House. Bill C-351 is an act to assist in the prevention of wrongdoing in the public service by establishing a framework for education on ethical practices in the workplace, for dealing with allegations of wrongdoing and for protecting whistleblowers.

The NDP member for Winnipeg Centre and I, in a non-partisan way, held a press conference along with Senator Kinsella of New Brunswick, a great senator and a great advocate for the underprivileged in the country.

We had a joint press conference to outline the merits of the bill. The reason I brought the senator into the equation was simply that he introduced a bill simultaneously in the Senate when I did in the House of Commons. The story gets complicated, does it not? We brought in the NDP member for Winnipeg Centre, and I always want to say south centre but I think that is the other side.

Public Service WhistleblowingStatements By Members

May 29th, 2001 / 2:10 p.m.
See context

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, today I introduced a bill entitled the public service whistleblowing act, Bill C-351.

The bill serves three purposes: To educate public service employees on ethical practices in the workplace; to provide a means for public service employees to come forward to disclose wrongful acts or omissions in the workplace; and to protect public service employees from retaliation for acting in good faith by working to create a new level of transparency in government.

I urge all members to support the bill and force the government to honour a promise made in 1993 to pass whistleblowing legislation.

Public Service Whistleblowing ActRoutine Proceedings

May 29th, 2001 / 10:05 a.m.
See context

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

, seconded by the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre, moved for leave to introduce Bill C-351, an act to assist in the prevention of wrongdoing in the public service by establishing a framework for education on ethical practices in the workplace, for dealing with allegations of wrongdoing and for protecting whistleblowers.

Mr. Speaker, the whistleblowers bill is very much in the same flavour, somewhat identical to Bill C-206 submitted to the House by the member next to me. Basically it is the same bill, another whistleblowers bill which is identical to the bill introduced in the other place by Senator Kinsella.

It is an example of how parliament could and should work together to get things done. It is a bill that should have been brought in by the government of the day because obviously it was a red book promise in 1993.

We have had a series of bills submitted to the House over the past few parliaments, recognizing that the public servants of Canada need protection so that they can bring breaches of ethics and ethical practices to the forefront without punishment from their employers. The bill would also establish a framework of education on ethical practices within the public service.

I am hoping the bill will be drawn for debate and will become a votable bill. Certainly we have support from both sides of the House, and I hope the government will see fit to bring a bill forward if we cannot do it as private members.

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