Letter from public servant fired after raising concerns of substandard practices and providing easily implementable solutions to Clerk of the Privy Council

To: Michael Wernick
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet
Privy Council Office
Room 1000, 85 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A3
via email to info@pco-bcp.gc.ca
September 12, 2018, resent August 17, 2019 to michael.wernick@canada.ca

Dear Mr Wernick,

Regarding: harassment accusation used to fire whistleblower

Mr. Wernick, thank you for your interest in Safe Workplaces, for starting a dialogue and taking action on harassment in the public service including sharing ideas and views with you. While you express urgency and precautions including supporting managers targeting single individual public servants accused of harassment with visible consequences, there is a real-life scenario that, it appears to me, is not addressed.

Could you please describe how the following example of a real-life situation would be addressed referring to your Safe Workplaces efforts:

After a public service employee (of 4 years) raises concerns about substandard practices, providing possible solutions as per their job description, the manager (of 1 ˝ years) accuses the employee of making co-workers fear for their safety?

The employee is fired having been denied mediation, resolution, and arbitration.

Years after being fired for insubordination, the employee discovers evidence in a federal government official report that while the manager was targeting the employee for removal from the public service, the manager gave false information to federal government officials regarding a study to refine Canada’s Equalization Payments Programme.

The employee was in a government position to discover the manager’s false reporting to federal officials.

The manager and the employee had worked for an official statistical agency; therefore, had taken an oath to uphold the Statistics Act that states in Section 31:

“Everyone is guilty of an offence … who (b) knowingly gives false or misleading information or practises any other deception under this Act. R.S., 1985, c. S-19, s. 31; 2017, c. 31, s. 15”

If discovered, the manager would likely have been found guilty of deception.

Although, Safe Workplaces includes the option of involving outside investigators, in this and similar cases, early actions could, I contend, provide far better outcomes. Early actions include:

1) reference to stated standards including steps to safeguard the integrity of statistical agency analytic products - statistical (scientific) methods would have been utilized rather than non-statistical methods. The manager would not have been compelled to falsify reports if statistical methods were maintained. The employee would not have been targeted for removal.

2) if the Deputy Minister had not restricted the job posting, thereby ensuring no one else could apply, the manager position would have been filled based on merit. The Deputy Minster put the new manager into a situation he was unable to handle.

3) The Deputy Minister should not have dismissed the employee (who insisted on mediation / resolution and did not accept an “assessment of a believed behavioural problem”) while accepting the non-statistical methods and substandard practices.

4) The Deputy Minister should not have dismissed the employee “for insubordination” thereby burdening the employee with not having equal opportunities when seeking employment. Why? Because:

“…men might as well be imprisoned, as excluded from the means of earning their bread.” (John Stewart Mill, On Liberty, p. 58).

Mr. Wernick, do you think these early steps would be helpful? Also, as mentioned above, could you please describe how this situation, (where an employee who raises concerns about problems and is in a position to discover false reporting, is accused by a manager of harassment of co-workers and fired, denied mediation, resolution, and a fair hearing, fired in an attempt to disguise the source of information derived from deception such as forgery, or fraud ), would be addressed referring to your Safe Workplaces efforts.

Thank you for your emphasis on dialogue and constructive solutions. A .pdf of this letter is attached for your convenience.

I look forward to your response,

William Warren Munroe
Population Projections Project for Canada's census areas

.pdf available at: harassment accusation used to fire whistleblower

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