News Column

Health Canada Whistleblowers Move their Fight to the Federal Court

Apr 23 2013 12:00AM

Marketwire

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OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 04/23/13 -- The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) supports the application for judicial review to be heard this morning at the Federal Court and made under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA) in the case of the now-notorious federal whistleblowers Drs. Shiv Chopra, Margaret Haydon and Gerard Lambert. The application addresses the failure of the Public Service Integrity Commissioner's office to fully investigate Drs. Chopra, Haydon and Lambert's serious concerns about the impact of certain veterinary drugs on the health and safety of the Canadian public.

In July 2004, these scientists working as veterinary drug evaluators at Health Canada were dismissed on the grounds of "insubordination" after they publically raised concerns about the approval of products they had reason to believe could have harmed the food chain, and ultimately the lives of Canadians.

The initial complaint of wrongdoing, filed in 2002, ran into a number of roadblocks put up by the Integrity Commissioner at the time, Christiane Ouimet, who in the end, dismissed it. A first judicial review application resulted in the issue being sent back to the Integrity Commissioner, who dismissed the complaint a second time. However, following Mrs. Ouimet's sudden and unexpected departure from office, a review of all the files that had been forwarded to her organization was ordered, a task which was performed by the firm of Deloitte and Touche. The case of Dr. Chopra's et. al. was one of those identified as requiring a review. The subsequent decision to maintain the complaint's dismissal has led to the judicial review being heard today.

The Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA) is important piece of public interest legislation whose goals are to facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoing within Canada's public service and to protect public service workers who denounce such behaviour to authorities. The decision under review has significant implications regarding both of these matters.

PIPSC President Gary Corbett commented that "PIPSC will always support those public servants who set aside self-interest and who choose to speak out when the public's safety is threatened. We want the unfair and unjustified treatment of these three public service professionals addressed and rectified once and for all. They have earned Canadians' respect. At the same time, we must make sure that whistle-blowing legislation is applied fairly and consistently, as legislators intended it".

PIPSC is the union that represents federal scientists whose work impact the daily lives of all Canadians. Within its 60,000 members are some 23,000 scientific professionals who deliver, amongst other knowledge products, scientific research, testing and advice for sound policy-making.



Contacts:
Johanne Fillion
(613) 228-6310 ext 2303
(613) 883-4900 (cell)





Source: Marketwire


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