Providing real protection for whistleblowers
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On April 11, 2006, the Government of Canada introduced the Federal Accountability Act and Action Plan, delivering on its commitment to make government more accountable. The Federal Accountability Act received Royal Assent on December 12, 2006. This is one of a series of fact sheets describing proposed actions to respond to this commitment.
The Public Service of Canada is a multifaceted institution staffed by professional, dedicated, and highly skilled people. Its employees play a crucial role in supporting the Government's agenda and helping it deliver programs and services to citizens. Canadians have every right to expect that public office holders and public sector employees behave ethically and in accordance with their legal obligations. The public sector must, therefore, foster an environment in which employees may honestly and openly raise concerns without fear or threat of reprisal.
These changes help create an environment in which employees and all Canadians can honestly and openly report wrongdoing in the federal government without fear of reprisal.
The Action Plan
The Government of Canada provides real protection for public sector employees who disclose government wrongdoing. Effective April 15, 2007, the Federal Accountability Act:
- gives the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner an expanded mandate;
- gives public sector employees direct access to the Commissioner to report wrongdoing in the workplace;
- gives the Commissioner the authority to deal with reprisal complaints, conduct investigations, and attempt to conciliate a settlement between the parties;
- creates an independent Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal, comprised of judges, with the power to decide whether reprisal occurred and to order action to remedy the situation and ensure that those who took reprisal are disciplined;
- introduces specific penalties for offences under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, including tougher penalties for those who wilfully impede investigations of wrongdoing;
- gives the Commissioner the power to authorize free access to legal advice for both public sector and non-public sector employees;
- removes the ability of the Government to exclude Crown corporations from coverage under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act; and
- requires open and transparent reporting of instances of founded wrongdoing.
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