Ottawa, April 3, 2012 – On Thursday, March 29, Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, Mario Dion, made an application to the Public Servant Disclosure Protection Tribunal (Tribunal) in the matter of Gérard Lambert and Health Canada.
Commissioner Dion determined that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Lambert’s acting appointment was terminated as a reprisal measure for having made a protected disclosure of wrongdoing, as defined under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA).
“I will be seeking an order respecting a remedy in favour of the Complainant from the Tribunal” states Commissioner Dion. “I have determined that it is in the public interest to make an application to the Tribunal, having regard to all the circumstances relating to this complaint.”
In 2011, after his appointment as interim Commissioner, Dion decided that all disclosure and reprisal files closed by the former Commissioner were to be reviewed by an independent third party. The decision to make this application is as result of this review exercise.
In March 2009, the previous Commissioner had concluded that reprisal had taken place and requested that Health Canada implement the recommendation for remedy previously proposed in 2003 by the Public Service Integrity Officer, the body responsible for handling protected disclosures before the coming into force of the PSDPA, but decided not to refer the matter to the Tribunal. The remedies recommended were for Health Canada to re-instate Lambert in an Acting Team Leader position or offer another remedy in the form of a career-enhancing opportunity that was acceptable to him.
The Commissioner will not comment further on this matter, as the Office is now a party before the Tribunal. A copy of the application is available on our website at: www.psic-ispc.gc.ca. Additional information about the Tribunal is available at: www.psdpt-tpfd.gc.ca.
This is the third application made to the Tribunal since the coming into force of the PSDPA in 2007. The first application in the matter of El-Helou and Courts Administration Service was made in May 2011 and the second application in the matter of Roberts and Atomic Energy Limited was made in September 2011.
The Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner investigates complaints of reprisal from current and former public servants who believe they have suffered a reprisal as a result of having made a protected disclosure or participated, in good faith, in an investigation into a disclosure of wrongdoing.
Every reprisal complaint is thoroughly reviewed to determine if an investigation is warranted. The Commissioner decides at the conclusion of the investigation whether an application to the Tribunal is warranted. The Tribunal has the power to determine whether a reprisal was made and can order appropriate remedy in favour of the complainant, and if requested by the Commissioner, an order for disciplinary sanctions against those who have taken reprisals.
For more information, contact:
Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada