AMAPCEO's role in Whistleblower Protection

Did you know that public servants in Ontario have had whistleblower protection since 2006?

Under the provisions of the Public Service of Ontario Act, current and former OPS employees are entitled to disclose cases of misconduct or wrongdoing (“blowing the whistle”) to an independent third party, with full protection from any reprisals.  More information on the process is contained on the website of the Integrity Commissioner, the independent officer of the Legislature whose staff receive, investigate and report on alleged cases of wrongdoing.  

Did you also know, however, that AMAPCEO was instrumental in getting the government to finally establish whistleblower protection?  The first attempt to codify whistleblower protection occurred in the 1990s when the NDP government adopted amendments to the former Public Service Act.  These provisions, although passed by the Legislature, were never proclaimed by the government, with the result that they remained on the books, but were unenforceable, for over a decade - through the regimes of Premiers Bob Rae, Mike Harris and Ernie Eves.    

When the Dalton McGuinty government was elected in 2003, AMAPCEO immediately called for the implementation of whistleblower protections, since the Liberals had supported them in Opposition. Government Services Minister Gerry Phillips set up a unit to review the entire Public Service Act and invited AMAPCEO’s participation. We submitted three extensive briefs  to the government and met in person with the secretariat a number of times.  When the legislation was introduced in November 2006, virtually all of our recommendations had been accepted.  On the strength of the work of our Research Officer, Jonathan Carson, we had no hesitation in pronouncing Ontario’s legislation the strongest whistleblower protections in Canada. (As part of the same legislation, we also secured successor rights, which meant that our members in the Provincial Advocate’s Office were able to keep their collective agreement and bargaining rights when they were divested from the OPS the following year.) 

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