Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

September 28, 2016 08:15 ET

Health Canada Whistleblowers Win Major Victory

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 28, 2016) - The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) is declaring a major (if partial) victory following the decision late last week by the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board (PSLREB) to overturn the dismissal of Dr. Margaret Haydon and discipline levelled against Dr. Shiv Chopra. PIPSC has been representing the two public servants in their legal battles since they blew the whistle on controversial federal drug approvals over a decade ago.

The scientists (along with two others) were dismissed in July 2004 from Health Canada for "insubordination," after publicly expressing concerns that approval and introduction of bovine growth hormone (BGH) could have harmful effects on Canada's milk supply. Their eventual success in stopping the introduction of BGH came at tremendous personal and professional cost.

While the PSLREB decided not to overturn the dismissal of Dr. Chopra, it did overturn the most significant part of his discipline. The Institute is assessing the decision to determine whether a judicial review application should be filed.

"Dr. Haydon has won the right to return to work and most of Dr. Chopra's discipline has been overturned. That in itself is a testament to the justice of their cause and the perseverance they and their union have shown," said PIPSC President Debi Daviau. "While we are obviously disappointed the Board did not also agree to overturn the dismissal of Dr. Chopra, we are glad to see most of the discipline that was imposed on him overturned and will be reviewing the Board's decision to determine whether or not to challenge."

PIPSC represents approximately 55,000 public sector professionals, including some 15,000 federal government scientists.

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