Canadian Whistleblowers

The following are stories of recent Canadian Whistleblowers who have had to risk retribution in the public interest.  This list will be updated as more stories become known.


Fergus regrets the creation of the Border Services Agency

By Antoine Trépanier, Le Droit
October 11, 2023
See original French version here

The MP for Hull-Aylmer believes that the Canada Border Services Agency is not accountable enough. 

Greg Fergus, MP for Hull-Aylmer and Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons, believes that the creation of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in the early 2000s was "a mistake" and that the government should consider transforming it.

In a recent interview with Le Droit, Mr. Fergus stated that "[favoritism] is more prevalent in agencies than in government departments", in part "because agency executives are not subject to the same accountability system found in government departments".

The MP for the Outaouais region was responding to allegations made by Luc Sabourin, a former public servant who blew the whistle on harassment at the CBSA in the 2010s, when he made these comments.  Read more


Bloc and NDP ask Ottawa to justify destroying foreign passports

By Antoine Trépanier, Le Droit
October 5, 2023
See original French version here

The Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party (NDP) are calling on the federal government to explain the destruction of foreign passports at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Le Droit revealed on Wednesday that an employee of the agency's National Records Division destroyed numerous foreign passports, in 2015, while indicating in federal databases that they had been returned to the embassies of the issuing countries.

The order she received from her superiors, according to our sources, was then to produce false documents, which is prohibited under the Criminal Code.
When the CBSA gets hold of a foreign passport, it has to decide whether to send it to the embassy of the issuing country or to Immigration Canada. Passports are never destroyed without prior evaluation and consultation.

Luc Sabourin, then a junior program officer in the CBSA's National Documents Division, revealed that he had been asked to destroy these passports. He refused. Another agent, Shannon Stinner, also testified to Le Droit that he had been questioned on the subject. He too said he refused to comply with the request. Read more


This story is a horrifying testament to everything that is wrong about how, all to often, Canadian Public Servants are treated when they try to do their jobs by acting ethically and upholding the rule of law. This story is a wakeup call for all of us who are concerned about how increasingly broken our democratic systems have become.

Whistleblower ruined by Ottawa

By Antoine Trépanier, Le Droit
October 4, 2023
See original French version here
[English Translation by DEEPL]

The years spent at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) were a nightmare for Luc Sabourin.  He was harassed, denigrated and muzzled while working at the Canada Border Services Agency. Alerting the federal government to practices he considered reprehensible led him to attempt suicide.

Today, Luc Sabourin is alive and well, and wants politicians to protect whistleblowers like him. The first time Luc Sabourin set foot in a federal government office, he was under 23, working on a farm in Luskville, Outaouais, with only a high school diploma and cowboy boots.

It was at National Defence, in Ottawa, and he coveted a position as a messenger of secret documents. Read more


This story is a powerful example of why all organizations need safe channels for disclosing wrong-doing and the harm that can occur to our most vulnerable when they don't.

Canadian gymnasts call for probe into years of abuse: ‘We can no longer sit in silence’

Global News

New Denver man’s appeal of income-tax conviction has day in court

A Supreme Court judge has reserved her decision in the appeal of a New Denver, BC man convicted last summer of not filing his income tax returns for several years.  Justice Lindsay Lyster said she’ll set a date for releasing her decision on Trevor Holsworth’s appeal on February 14, 2022.  Holsworth was convicted last July on seven counts of not filing an income tax return between 2014 and 2017. Three of the non-filings were for personal taxes, and four were for Holsworth’s outfitting company.  Read More



Lawsuits against Edmonton police and a detective's career in limbo: The aftermath of Project Fisk

- Police accused of defamation, detective expects discipline for leaking case details

Janice Johnston · CBC News · 

Posted: Oct 16, 2021 8:00 AM EDT | Last Updated: October 16, 2021

For more than three years, Edmonton police Det. Dan Behiels investigated notorious Edmonton landlord Abdullah Shah and some of his alleged accomplices. In January 2021, when the investigations concluded and no charges were laid, a frustrated Behiels took the extraordinary step of leaking the confidential investigative documents to CBC News. He is now suspended and facing disciplinary charges. CBC Edmonton's new series — Behind the blue line: Investigating Abdullah Shah — digs into those documents and why Behiels decided to put his career on the line for them. Read More



Parks, Plans, Perjury and Persecution

by Lisa Wildman, Marsden, Sask.  Dialogue Magazine, Digital Edition, Vol. 34, No. 4, Summer 2021

This is a story of a small group of people - four seniors and one younger grandmother - who brought forward to all levels of government (local, municipal and provincial) concerns regarding unfair property tax practices in the Regional Parks of Saskatchewan affecting many more.  For their honesty they have been subjected to punishment and for some, the threat of losing their homes, aided by lack of effective oversight and failure to investigate wrong doing by authorities.  See Page 45 of the digital Edition for a summary of the story and p. 74 for full details in the article The Feudal Feifdoms of Saskatchewan by Norm Zigarlick.  Read More


Sask. nurse who was disciplined over Facebook comments wins court appeal

Laura Sciarpelletti · CBC News · Posted: Oct 06, 2020 2:16 PM CT | Last Updated: October 7, 2020

Saskatchewan's highest court has ruled in favour of a nurse who was disciplined after she complained on Facebook about the care her grandfather had received in a long-term care facility.

In a decision delivered Tuesday, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal set aside a decision by the province's Registered Nurses Association that found Carolyn Strom guilty of unprofessional conduct.   Read More


UNBC ‘whistle blower’ claims wrongful dismissal

A former University of Northern British Columbia employee says she was wrongfully dismissed from her position because she blew the whistle on alleged improper conduct by the university’s upper management.

Specifically, in a notice of claim filed at the Prince George courthouse Oct. 14, Heather Sanford is accusing acting president Geoffrey Payne and board of governors chair Lee Ongman of undermining her efforts to ensure the board’s business was being conducted transparently.  Read More


Man suing P.E.I. government for millions seeks contempt ruling over fight for documents

Kerry Campbell, CBC News

Posted Feb. 06, 2020

After government misses freedom-of-information deadline, applicant says there should be consequences.  "This will become their game plan for documents they don't want to release" said Paul Maines, president of a company suing the P.E.I government for $150 million.

A fight over access to more that 1,000 pages of government documents moved from the office of P.E.I's information and privacy commissioner into P.E.I. Supreme Court in Charlottetown Thursday.  Read More

For further details in a related story see:

Small island, big bet:  How P.E.I. lost its on-line gambling gamble

Robyn Doolittle and Jane Taber.  The Globe and Mail.

Feb. 27, 2015.  

Read More


Freedom of Expression or Personal Attack?  Nurse Appeals Fine for Facebook Post

- Whistleblower says she was ostracized after raising concerns about ‘widespread failures’

Cindy E. Harnett.  Times Colonist

February 24, 2019

A lawyer is suing Vancouver Island Health Authority, claiming she was ostracized, labelled as mentally ill and unfairly terminated as director of risk management and senior legal counsel [and whistleblower lead] for the organization after she raised concerns about “widespread failures.”  Read More


Quebec Opinion: Agronomist's fate shows need for stronger whistleblower law

David Bernans.  Special to Montreal gazette

Updated: February 21, 2019

Louis Robert deserves to be praised for upholding the public interest, not fired. Cases like this demonstrate the need for a better law. Read More


W5 Investigates controversial immigration program to bring Chinese Investors to P.E.I

Denise Kimmel. W5 Producer

Published February 8, 2019

Whistleblowers Cora Plourd and Susan Holmes worked for the provincial government of the island province just over a decade ago, tied to a program embroiled in so much controversy they're still feeling repercussions.  Read More


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