THE BLOG
08/19/2014 05:51 EDT | Updated 10/19/2014 05:59 EDT

Protecting Whistleblowers Is the Key to Ending Corruption

Passing legislation to protect whistleblowers is critical in the fight to end corruption and collusion. And that's the point I'll be making on behalf of the 25,500 members of Syndicat de professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec (SPGQ), in my talk at the Peoples' Social Forum.

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The Peoples' Social Forum, the first of its kind in Canada and slated to be held in Ottawa August 21 to 24, will be a pivotal, strategic moment for both the union movement and civil society as a whole. Specifically, it will be an opportunity to forge alliances to counter the neoliberal and neoconservative policies that are plaguing Canada.

In conjunction with the Association of Canadian Financial Officers (ACFO), SPGQ will hold a workshop presentation on the importance of adopting a law to protect people who peel back the curtain on wrongdoing. It's one of the biggest weapons in SPGQ's arsenal, as evidenced by the brief submitted on this topic to the Charbonneau Commission. The workshop will be presented on August 22, 2014, from 2:45 to 4:45 p.m., in Room 1095 of the University of Ottawa's Vanier Hall.

Passing legislation to protect whistleblowers is critical in the fight to end corruption and collusion. And that's the point I'll be making on behalf of the 25,500 members of Syndicat de professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec (SPGQ), in my talk at the Peoples' Social Forum.

Based on its review of the laws and best practices of Western governments and exposé on the cost of corruption worldwide, SPGQ proposes establishing a law and a variety of mechanisms to ensure the integrity of the Québec government and curb collusion and corruption in the public and broader public sectors.

After my speech, a speaker from ACFO will give a status report on the Public Servants Discloser Protection Act. The goal of this federal legislation is to provide federal government employees with a secure and confidential process for disclosing serious wrongdoing in the workplace and to protect them from retaliation.

Unfortunately, the act has proven very ineffective, since, under the Harper government, the number of investigations to flush out whistleblowers and make them pay has outstripped the number of complaints reviewed and processed by the integrity commissioner. And SPGQ mentioned the ineffectiveness of this act in its recommendations to the Québec government on the subject.

ACFO is an organization of over 4,500 financial officers active in federal public service. The recommendations it issues have prompted policy changes that have helped improve the way federal government funds are managed.

That is precisely why SPGQ asked ACFO to take part in its workshop. Like us at SPGQ, ACFO representatives are fighting to end corruption and protect whistleblowers around the world in various national and international organizations. They were by our side at the ILO last spring when we convinced ILO member countries and the employers' group of the need to adopt international standards to fight collusion and corruption by protecting whistleblowers. In short, ACFO and SPGQ are in this together!

Solid legislation protecting whistleblowers will allow professionals working for the Québec government to finally assume their true role as champions of quality and integrity in government service. As the Charbonneau Commission has clearly demonstrated, a serious cultural shift is critical in this regard!

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