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Award January 26, 2021

Peter Bryce Prize for Whistleblowing

The Peter Bryce Prize is awarded annually by the Centre for Free Expression to recognize and honour individuals who serve the greater good by courageously speaking up about wrongdoing and abuses of public trust.

The prize is named after Dr. Peter H. Bryce, an early Canadian whistleblower who in 1907, spoke up about appalling public health conditions in residential schools.

Recipients of the Peter Bryce Prize will receive a $10,000 award made possible by the generosity of the Zita and Mark Bernstein Family Foundation.

Nominations for the Prize can be made by any member of the public. The nomination form (see below) should be completed no later than December 31st of each year. The winner will be selected by the Peter Bryce Prize Awards Committee. If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact Ange Holmes, Coordinator, Centre for Free Expression:

Peter H. Bryce Biography

Nomination Form
List of Recipients


Janet Merlo -  2022 Peter Bryce Prize recipient

Former RCMP Constable Janet Merlo was awarded 2022 Peter Bryce Prize that honours individuals who serve the greater good by courageously speaking up about wrongdoing and abuses of public trust.

Janet Merlo worked in the RCMP for nearly 20 years, but in 2010 the harassment and bullying she experienced finally forced her to go on medical leave. In 2012 she filed a class-action lawsuit against the RCMP which was joined by more than 3,000 other women who had suffered similar treatment. The following year she published a book "No One To Tell: Breaking My Silence on Life in the RCMP " The settlement in 2016, forced the Government of Canada to pay out more than $125 million to more than 2,300 women who faced discrimination, harassment, bullying and even sexual assault during their time as RCMP officers.

Former Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache released the final report on the claims process titled Broken Lives, Broken Dreams: The Devastating Effects of Sexual Harassment On Women in the RCMPThe report made clear that fundamental change is needed to rid the RCMP of a systemic toxic culture that tolerates hateful, sexist, and homophobic attitudes.

Read the press release 

Watch the full video of the award presentation



Dr. John O’Connor -  2021 Peter Bryce Prize recipient

Alberta physician John O’Connor was awarded 2021 Peter Bryce Prize that honours individuals who serve the greater good by courageously speaking up about wrongdoing and abuses of public trust.

His reports, starting in 2006, of an unexpected number of cancers and other health problems among the residents of the remote northern Alberta community of Fort Chipewyan were rebuffed by authorities and led to an ongoing fifteen year struggle for the health rights of this largely Indigenous community and others downstream from the Alberta oil sands.

Read the press release

Watch the full video of the award presentation

Awards Committee

Sandy Boucher, Principal and lead of corporate investigations for Grant Thornton LLP, one of Canada's top accounting and business advisory firms; 

Michèle Brill-Edwards, Pediatrician & Clinical Pharmacologist, former Canadian whistleblower;

Ian Bron, a former whistleblower who as served as a naval officer, educator, federal government regulator, and program evaluation team leader, and is currently a PhD candidate at Carleton University,  studying whistleblowing in Westminster governments;

David Hutton, the former Executive Director of Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform (FAIR) and one of the leading experts on whistleblower protection in Canada;

Peter Jacobsen, Partner of WeirFoulds LLP with over 40 years of experience in practice as a litigator and provider of legal advice in diverse sectors, notably in media;

Anna Myers, Executive Director, Whistleblowing International Network;

Amélie Perron, Professor, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa and whistleblowing researcher;

Edgar Schmidt, former General Counsel in the Department of Justice Canada and former Canadian whistleblower;

David Yazbeck, Director-National Labour Relations, Professional Institute for the Public Service of Canada,  expert in whistleblower protection law.