Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

August 08, 2011 11:58 ET

A Sad Day for Whistleblower Protection and Integrity in Canada Says PIPSC

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 8, 2011) - Gary Corbett, President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), today issued the following preliminary comments after a Public Service Labour Relations Board ruling rendered last week in the case of Dr. Shiv Chopra, Dr. Margaret Haydon and Dr. Gérard Lambert.

On July 14, 2004, the three scientists in the Veterinary Drugs Directorate of Health Canada were dismissed by Health Canada officials citing "insubordination". The three scientists, Dr. Shiv Chopra, Dr. Margaret Haydon and Dr. Gérard Lambert are well known as whistleblowers in a drug evaluation of safety case. The scientists, supported by their union, PIPSC, have fought to overturn their unfair treatment, contesting their dismissal before the Public Service Labour Relations Board.

Dr. Shiv Chopra, Dr. Margaret Haydon and Dr. Gérard Lambert referred eight grievances to adjudication, five grievances related to disciplinary suspensions, and, most important, three related to abusive termination of employment. All of the grievances were dismissed by the Board except for the termination grievance of Dr. Lambert. At first glance, it is unclear why Dr. Lambert grievance was upheld while Dr. Chopra and Dr. Haydon's same grievances were dismissed. The hearings of these grievances and the written submissions extended over four and a half years, accumulating 150 days of hearings.

"Today is a sad day! The government of Canada offers little protection to whistleblowers", commented Gary Corbett. "In our view Dr. Shiv Chopra, Dr. Margaret Haydon and Dr. Gérard Lambert are practised and meticulous scientists. Devoted to protecting the health of Canada's citizens, the three scientists acted morally to defend the public from products that they had reason to believe could have harmed the food chain and ultimately the lives of Canadians." Gary Corbett argued that "Their only defiance is that they resisted commercial pressure and provided evidence to official parliamentary committees. Cases of dismissal like these do nothing good to help public service whistleblowers to come forward and denounce wrongdoing within their departments."

PIPSC met earlier that day with the three scientists to make a preliminary assessment of the decision and to determine next steps.

PIPSC is the union representing federal scientists whose work impacts the daily lives of Canadians. Among the 60,000 members are 23,000 professionals who deliver, among other knowledge products, scientific research, testing and advice for sound policy-making.

Contact Information

  • Johanne Fillion
    (613) 228-6310 extension 2303 or
    (613) 883-4900 (cell)