Our Mission:

Protecting Whistleblowers Who Protect The Public Interest

FAIR (Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform) promotes integrity and accountability within government by empowering employees to speak out without fear of reprisal when they encounter wrongdoing. Our aim is to support legislation and management practices that will provide effective protection for whistleblowers and hence occupational free speech in the workplace.

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Top Stories

Securities sector easy prey for organized crime


Jim Bronskill – January 10, 2012

The piecemeal nature of current securities oversight in Canada could leave the sector vulnerable to organized crime, a new study warns. The disparate system of market securities and regulatory bodies in Canada also makes it difficult to determine the possible scope of illicit infiltration, says the draft study released under the Access to Information Act.

Still, it identifies several examples of Canadian securities fraud — from illegal market manipulation to so-called Ponzi schemes — and underscores the attractiveness of such activities to sophisticated criminals.

Clean up your act, government tells federal rights tribunal, embattled chair

Shirish Chotalia

Chris Cobb – January 9, 2012

The troubled Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is expected to provide a harmonious and professional workplace for its employees, the federal government said Monday.

In an email statement to the Citizen, a spokesperson for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said the minister expects the Tribunal chair Shirish Chotalia to “address issues” that led to two charges of harassing employees being upheld against her.

US whistleblower watchdog quickly raises the profile of her office

Carolyn Lerner

Lisa Rein – December 25, 2011

Carolyn Lerner had the Air Force’s top four-star general boxed in. Gen. Norton Schwartz was reeling from revelations that the Dover Air Force Base mortuary had lost and sawed off body parts and mishandled other remains of America’s war dead.

In the glare of television cameras, the Air Force chief of staff was forced to issue mea culpas for the scandal in November. Lerner, the newly installed federal lawyer whose tiny office uncovered the gruesome findings, was ready for a fight.

Integrity Commissioner misleads in TV interview


New federal Integrity Commissioner misleads on CBC TV about his past statement that applying for job while in Interim Commissioner position created conflict for him

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Today, Founding Director of Democracy Watch Duff Conacher, FAIR Executive Director David Hutton and Canadians for Accountability President Allan Cutler refuted a claim made by new federal Integrity Commissioner Mario Dion's on CBC TV's Power and Politics show yesterday.

Dion claimed that he did not say in a meeting last March that he would not apply for the Commissioner job while serving as Interim Commissioner because it would cause a conflict for him as he would be perceived to be trying to please Prime Minister Harper and his Cabinet in order to win the Commissioner position, and that would make whistleblowers less likely to trust him.

Whistleblower watchdog hints he's found wrongdoing

Mario Dion

Meagan Fitzpatrick – December 21, 2011

The new public sector integrity commissioner, Mario Dion, hints that his investigations into allegations of wrongdoing in the public service will begin to produce results in coming months.

In an interview with host Evan Solomon on Power & Politics Wednesday, Dion said his office is currently investigating 35 cases, with seven of them being looked at for a second time. Some of the files are being re-examined after being dismissed by Dion's predecessor, Christiane Ouimet.

Parliamentary watchdogs waiting for reply to call for accountability


Kathryn May – December 20, 2011

Seven agents of Parliament have twice made an “unprecedented appeal” to Commons committees to do a better job of scrutinizing and overseeing the watchdogs and their work, but have yet to hear a response to their plea.

Their push for “enhanced” accountability was outlined in a discussion paper sent to six Commons committees after questions were raised about ‘who watches the watchdogs’ following last year’s debacle around the abrupt resignation of fellow parliamentary officer Christiane Ouimet.

Scientists fear reprisals after their research on fish virus


Tamsyn Burgmann – December 16, 2011

Two Canadian scientists working on opposite coasts say they fear their reputations are being threatened after discovering signs of a potentially lethal fish virus in British Columbia salmon, a federal inquiry has heard.

Fred Kibenge, who runs a prestigious lab on the East Coast, detected infectious salmon anaemia in two of 48 sockeye smolts, and the results of his work were widely publicized in October. The revelation set off a chain of alarm bells throughout the government and the West Coast salmon industry. The ISA virus has infected and killed millions of fish in Chile, and is believed to have originated in Norway where its own stocks were devastated.

Groups call for 10 questions to be answered re Dion's appointment


News Conference – December 14, 2011

Charles Lynch Room, Centre Block, Parliament Buildings

Remarks by David Hutton:

Today, FAIR, Canadians for Accountability, Democracy Watch and the 30-member group Government Ethics Coalition are calling on all MPs with integrity to vote against the appointment of Mario Dion as the new Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.

There are many reasons to fear that Mr. Dion will prove to be an ineffective commissioner, perhaps no better than disgraced former commissioner Christiane Ouimet. Our organizations have compiled a list of ten questions that we believe must be answered before this appointment is approved, but this has not happened, and no witnesses have been called to testify.

New whistleblower watchdog called 'unwise' pick

Sean Bruyea

Reject Mario Dion, whistleblower advocates say

Meagan Fitzpatrick – December 14, 2011

Advocates for whistleblowers said the appointment of Mario Dion as the new public sector integrity commissioner is an "unwise" one Wednesday and asked MPs to reject the nomination.

"There are many reasons to fear that Mr. Dion will prove to be an ineffective integrity commissioner, perhaps no better than disgraced former commissioner Christiane Ouimet," David Hutton, executive director of a group called FAIR, said at a news conference on Parliament Hill.

Public Sector Integrity Commissioner nominee fights familiar doubts

Mario Dion

Kathryn May – December 13, 2011

The Conservatives' nominee to become the next Public Sector Integrity Commissioner told MPs Tuesday that he had the independence and courage to investigate possible wrongdoings of his former bureaucrat colleagues only to find himself accused of the same doubts that dogged his disgraced predecessor.

Mario Dion, who has been interim commissioner for a year, found himself on the hot seat at the Commons government operations committee explaining why a career bureaucrat with his legal experience is ideal for the job and won't be tempted to protect his former colleagues.

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