Advice to Our Members on the Implementation of the Policy on the Internal Disclosure of Information Concerning Wrongdoing in the Workplace on November 30th, 2001

What is Treasury Board saying?

Below are excerpts from the Treasury Board’s news release regarding this policy:

The Government of Canada recognizes that while public service employees owe a duty of loyalty to the employer, they also play a fundamental role in serving the public interest. The purpose of the Internal Disclosure Policy is to provide a process to federal public service employees to bring forward information concerning wrongdoing in the workplace, and to ensure that they are treated fairly and protected from reprisal. It is designed to serve the best interest of the public and the public service, reflecting our core values of justice, honesty, integrity and good governance. Definition A wrongdoing in the Internal Disclosure Policy is defined as an act concerning:

  • a violation of any law or regulation;
  • misuse of public funds or assets;
  • gross mismanagement; or
  • a substantial and specific danger to the life, health and safety of Canadians or the environment.

Key Policy Highlights

The Policy provides employees with various mechanisms within the Public Service when they wish to make a disclosure. These include:

  • The appointment of an internal departmental Senior Officer to act as a neutral agent on matters of disclosures. He or she will receive, review and report to the deputy head with recommendations for action.
  • Deputy heads and managers are responsible for creating a work environment where issues and concerns can be raised in normal day-to-day interaction and employees can expect that this will continue. The Policy does not take that responsibility away, but it provides employees with an alternative when one is needed.
  • The creation of the Office of the Public Service Integrity Officer (PSIO) where employees may go when they have made a disclosure within their organisation but believe that the issue was not resolved satisfactorily or, when they believe that their disclosure cannot be safely raised within their organization. Employees’ reports to the PSIO will be treated in confidence.
  • The PSIO will investigate disclosures and make recommendations to deputy heads for ways to resolve issues. If required, the PSIO will make recommendations to the Clerk of the Privy Council of the necessary measures. The PSIO, a Governor-in-Council appointment, will prepare an annual report to the President of the Privy Council for tabling in Parliament.
  • The Office of Values and Ethics of the Treasury Board Secretariat will provide policy support, review the mechanisms established by departments and agencies and monitor the implementation of the Internal Disclosure Policy.
  • The Policy will be reviewed in three years.

What is your association’s stance on this policy?

While all the right things are being said, your Association does not want this policy to be another policy that is rolled out to show what a wonderful job the government is doing on values and ethics with no practical application when you examine what is happening in the workplace. No more hollow words!! We may finally have the vehicle that we need to support us in the performance of our duties. However, we all know the tremendous risk a member would be taking if they report an incident to “an internal departmental Senior Officer to act as a neutral agent on matters of disclosures”. The use of the word “neutral” is questionable.  

What should you do?

Because of our concerns about neutrality, the Association is asking all its members to make this policy work by reporting all incidents of wrongdoing as defined in the Policy to the Association.


A Professional and Ethical Issues Committee has been established. This committee can help you develop your case and seek any legal advise that may be required. You can then make a decision whether you want to proceed on your own with or without your association present or remain anonymous by allowing the Association to present the facts.