Over the past 11 years (2002 to 2013) federal whistleblower systems have cost the taxpayer more than $45 million for very little return, mainly due to toothless laws and faulty administration.
During this time the annual costs have escalated, from about one million per year to more than eight million – for a system that has produced almost no results in spite of receiving hundreds of complaints from whistleblowers.
Summary table (up to 2012)
|Agency||Period||Years||Complaints received**||Investigations completed||
|PSIC + Tribunal||2007-2012*||5*||440*||17*||1*||31.5*|
* These figures will be updated when the PSIC annual report for 2012-2013 is published.
** Includes disclosures of wrongdoing and complaints of reprisal.
Public Sector Integrity Officer (PSIO)
The first agency, the Public Sector Integrity Officer, had no legislative mandate and few powers: it operated under a Treasury Board policy, and reported to the Prime Minister. The integrity officer, Dr. Edward W. Keyserlingk, recognized these shortcomings and campaigned vigorously for greater powers and more independence.
In spite of its very limited powers and resources, this agency conducted 118 investigations and uncovered 8 cases of wrongdoing, at a cost to the taxpayer of $5.6 million.
Public Sector Integrity Commissioner (PSIC) and Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal (PSDPT)
In 2006 the Conservative government came to power on a promise to clean up government, including protection of whistleblowers. It passed legislation as part of its Federal Accountability Act that replaced PSIO with two new agencies: the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner (PSIC), and the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal (PSDPT).
However this whistleblower protection law is deeply flawed, with 40 serious shortcomings identified by FAIR. In addition, the first integrity commissioner, Christiane Ouimet, was apparently hostile to the whistleblowers she was charged to protect. Ouimet retired abruptly less than halfway through her 7-year term, and an investigation by the Auditor General revealed that she was an abusive manager who had failed to do her job.
At the end of the 2012 fisal year, after five years of operation, PSIC had completed only 17 investigations and uncovered only one case of wrongdoing at a cost to the taxpayer of $31.5 million.
The following table sets out the annual cost of federal whistleblower protection agencies since 2002.
|2007||Not published||Transition year|
|Subtotal||29,104,062||7,965,508||37,069,570||PSIC + Tribunal|
|Grand Totals||34,748,062||7,965,508||42,713,570||PSIO + PSIC + Tribunal|
- figures are taken from official published reports (with links to these provided, where available online)
- totals do not include the $534,100 package (as calculated by CBC News) given to disgraced integrity commissioner Christiane Ouimet