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ARCHIVED - Public Sector Integrity Canada

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Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome 1: Wrongdoing in the federal public sector is detected, resolved and reported, while public servants are protected from reprisal, resulting in a greater integrity in the workplace.
The Office pursues this outcome through three guiding principles: inform, protect and prevent.

The Office’s outreach activities are a key means to informing public servants about the legislation and our mandate. Great emphasis is placed on the Office’s protection role. This encompasses the protection of: identities, information, persons making the disclosure and the witnesses from any form of reprisal, interests of those against whom an allegation is brought, integrity of public institutions and the public interest. The Office also utilises a prevention oriented approach to promote ethical behaviour and a workplace culture that is open to dialogue and disclosure of wrongdoing and that protects public servants from reprisal.

The Preamble of the PSDPA articulates the benefits of this outcome to Canadians: “the federal public administration is an important national institution and is part of the essential framework of Canadian parliamentary democracy”, and that “it is in the public interest to maintain and enhance public confidence in the integrity of public servants”.

Program Activity: Disclosure and Reprisal Management

2008-09 Financial Resources
($ thousands)
2008-09 Human Resources
Planned Actual Difference
6,553 6,445 3,611 41 21 20


Targets Performance
Increased awareness of workplace integrity and recourses available. Awareness and Education. Public servants and Canadians aware of the Office’s role and mandate and disclosure of wrongdoing viewed as a pro-social behaviour. Somewhat met Numerous promotional and outreach activities were undertaken in 2008-09 including hosting symposium bringing together senior leaders from across Canada. However, more work is required to fully entrench a culture of disclosure in the public service and overcome the fear of coming forward, which must include partnerships with key stakeholders.
Effective investigation, resolution and reporting of wrongdoings. Advice and Responses to Inquiries. Inquiries are conducted efficiently and in accordance with the Act. Successfully met All requests for information about the Act and procedures used by our Office concerning disclosures of wrongdoing and reprisal complaints from public servants and members of the public received in 2008-09 were responded to.
Disclosure Investigations and Reports. Investigations are conducted efficiently and in accordance with the Act. The Commissioner reports to Parliament on specific information about the Office’s activities. Mostly met 61 of the 76 disclosure cases dealt with in 2008-09 were closed. Four of the cases resolved were of a serious nature including one that involved potentially life-threatening behaviour and required immediate intervention.

The Office took another step towards ensuring the effectiveness of our procedures and processes through the pioneering of an informal case resolution approach premised on the principle that a formal investigation is not always the most effective/productive means of dealing with cases.

The Office once again reported case statistics and performance to Parliament and the public through the Annual Report.
Reprisal complaint resolutions. All reprisal complaints dealt with on a high-priority basis and resolved in a timely manner. Mostly met Of the 23 reprisal complaints dealt with in 2008-09, only 2 remain active.
Public Servants are confident they are protected from reprisals. Referrals to the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal Canada. As required. Successfully met All closed reprisal files were concluded after an admissibility review or an investigation in accordance with the PSDPA and did not warrant referral to the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal Canada.
Effective and credible PSIC organization. Appropriate organizational capacity. Sufficient resources to meet operational needs and appropriately respond to government requirements. Mostly met Although the organization is still in the establishment stage, the Office was able to deliver its core activities through the staffing of key personnel and the usage of service providers. The Office continues to be subject to limited internal capacity and in-house expertise.
Effective and efficient management and oversight of corporate resources. Effective and economically-delivered corporate services. Establishment of appropriate infrastructure and outsourcing agreements to fulfill corporate requirements. Successfully met Important advancements were made in the 2008-09 fiscal year including establishing outsourcing arrangements for fundamental corporate services; creating a Departmental Audit Committee made up of external members; putting in place a strong governance framework including advisory committees that support senior management.

This program activity includes the management of disclosure and reprisal programs, as well as education initiatives and prevention of wrongdoing in the workplace.

Benefits for Canadians: This program activity contributes to safeguarding and fostering confidence in our public institutions. Such confidence is critical to Canada’s reputation and economic well-being. 

Lessons learned: Some key guiding principles emerged in the 2008-09 fiscal year from the resolution of four serious cases:

  • We will intervene to address serious, systemic problems, even when a full investigation is not warranted, if it is within our authority and in the public interest to do so.
  • Even when a full investigation into an alleged wrongdoing or reprisal is not warranted, we will intervene when the public interest requires immediate action to deal with a danger to life, health or public safety.
  • Complaints of reprisal are the exclusive authority of our Office and demand the highest degree of rigour and transparency.
  • In considering whether to make an application to the Tribunal, the Commissioner must take into account, having regard to all the circumstances relating to a complaint of reprisal, whether it is in the public interest to do so.

Challenges still persist related to fostering a culture of disclosure in the public service and overcoming the fear of coming forward. The Office plans to increase the focus on outreach activities as well as developing and strengthening partnerships with key stakeholders.

As with other small organizations, the Office continues to face challenges regarding limited in-house expertise, shortage of qualified personnel and the capacity to deal with all government requirements. The Office plans to pursue a human resources strategy centered on renewal and ongoing training as well as leveraging external experts when necessary. The Office will also develop a multi-year corporate risk mitigation strategy.