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Stronger Whistleblower Protection Needed: PSAC

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Issue: 16 Section: Canadian News Geography: Canada Topics: labour

March 16, 2004

Stronger Whistleblower Protection Needed: PSAC

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is worried that the Liberal government's new bill for "whistleblowers" is not extensive enough to provide the proper protection and recourse for those who choose to bring relevant issues forward. PSAC says it has been advocating for whistleblower protection for more than 20 years.

PSAC says that for whistleblower protection to be effective, it must meet several criteria. It must allow for a person to confidentially report any suspected wrongdoing to a responsible third party outside formal departmental structures and the allegations must be investigated by an independent agency, providing anonymity to the whistleblower whenever possible. If an allegation turns out to be wrong or there is not enough evidence, no penalties should be imposed on the whistleblower so that others will not be discouraged. Recourse must be provided throughout the procedure, and the entire set of rules must be applied to the entire public sector.

"We also want a cultural change in government where it is possible to question the motives and actions of the higher-ups without recrimination," says PSAC national president, Nycole Turmel. She also says that the government is refusing to agree to PSAC's suggestions and it is not offering any other solutions, even in light of the ongoing media and public scrutiny.

"When the sponsorship scandal broke I thought the government was serious, but with each passing day, their actions say otherwise," she said.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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