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List January 16, 2024

Prominent Canadian Whistleblowers

The following individuals are testimony to the inadequacy of whistleblower protection in Canada.  All spoke up when they saw wrongdoing that affected the public interest. Many helped expose serious misconduct, incompetence or corruption.

A few  have been recognized and publicly praised for their efforts – but nearly all suffered harsh retribution from their employers as a result of their actions. Their stories demonstrate the importance of whistleblowers and the need for strong legal and institutional protection for them.

This Centre for Free Expression would like to acknowledge the work of David Hutton, CFE Senior Fellow and former Executive Director of FAIR, for making this List possible. The individuals listed here represent a tiny fraction of the Canadian whistleblowers that have raised concerns and, of those, only cases already in the public domain.

Ross Alderson

Ross Alderson started his career as a police officer in Melbourne, Australia working both uniform and CID duties.  In 2008 Ross moved to Canada and joined the BC Lottery Corporation as a lottery investigator.  He worked his way through the system as a casino investigator and later came to manage investigations before transferring to the Anti Money Laundering field, ultimately becoming the    Director of AML - Investigations and Intelligence in 2015. 

During this period, Ross worked at the River Rock Casino and regularly reported suspicious activity he encountered to the police, FINTRAC and the BC Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (“GPEB”).  An investigator by training, Ross saw significant evidence of suspected money laundering of criminal proceeds through the casino and felt it was incumbent upon him to do something about it.  He was at this point admonished for refusing a suspicious transaction and for questioning casino patrons regarding suspicious funds and “refining” small denomination bank notes.  Ross continued to be concerned at the scope and scale of what he was seeing and was perturbed at the lack response or enforcement in relation what seemed to be clear evidence of blatant criminal activity.  In 2015 he recommended establishing a $20K limit to trigger a “source of funds” interview for patrons making cash buy ins at the casino, this would have been a first in North America, sadly this was never implemented.

Ross continued his work and developed practices and intelligence regarding the money laundering that was being observed in the casino.  The work of Ross and his colleagues at the BCLC led to critical information being provided to the RCMP, and this in turn led to a massive RCMP investigation of alleged underground bankers in Richmond, B.C., estimated to be laundering over $1 billion per year.  The so-called E-Pirate investigation started in 2015 and targeted Richmond-based Silver International, an alleged illegal money services business. The investigation culminated in a series of undercover raids in October 2015. RCMP said they seized millions in cash, as well as B.C. Lottery Corp. casino chips, from Silver’s office in a Richmond business complex, plus computers, cell phones and digital evidence containing tens of thousands of documents from Silver’s office and other locations.  It was believed to be the largest money laundering probe in Canadian history and a crucial prosecution for B.C.  Silver took in about $1.5 million in criminal cash deposits per day, and distributed funds to about 600 bank accounts in China, as well as using cash from Vancouver drug dealers and casino loan sharks to fund Chinese high rollers. 

The Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog which sets international standards that aim to prevent these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society).  In 2018 FATF conducted a case study of the E-Pirate investigation and estimated that the alleged “professional” laundering network washed over $1 billion per year.  One component of the network’s alleged operations was using legal and illegal casinos to help gamblers from China move money to and from Canada, and in some cases cash out chips for a “B.C. casino cheque” to deposit into Canadian banks and buy Vancouver real estate.  The FATF report also alleges that the underground bank used B.C. as a hub to perform crucial drug-trafficking and global money transfer services for Chinese Triads, Mexican Cartels, and Middle Eastern organized crime groups

This investigation validated the concerns raised repeatedly by Ross, but he continued to be frustrated by the lack of response by the authorities which appeared to be more concerned about jeopardizing provincial tax revenues from the casinos.  One of the key figures behind Silver International Paul King Jin was later found to have been behind multiple illegal casinos and became involved in property deals in BC in the $100s of millions – This later became known as “snow washing” and the Vancouver model, a finding that reverberated around the worked and reflected very poorly on Canada and Vancouver in particular.  Jin was never charged in the case, and a second police operation also failed to result in charges against him.  In September 2020, Jin and one of his associates were the victims of a shooting in a Vancouver restaurant, his associate died.

In the face of continued inaction by the relevant authorities, Ross raised his concerns up to Assistant Deputy Minister level, and ultimately went to the media with the evidence of both the criminal money laundering and government inaction.  This led Ross to meet with Sam Cooper, a Global news reporter who ultimately documented the story in his book “Wilful Blindness”.  Ross also gave an interview to CTV’s W5 investigative television show in February 2019 and the full truth about what was going on came to the attention of the then Attorney General of BC, David Eby who decided to act.  Eby retained a former RCMP investigator Peter German to look into the issues and the German report which came out in May 2019.  The report outlined very serious problems and the “Vancouver Model’ of money laundering and the term “snow washing entered the Canadian lexicon

The German report led to the Cullen Commission which is now the driving force behind significant changes in casino AML programs and the real estate market.  Ross testified before the commission in 2021 and is mentioned 282 times in the Cullen Commission’s report.   The Cullen report has garnered global attention and behind all of this is one whistleblower – Ross Alderson.  As usual, his journey has been marked by hostility, safety threats, ostracization and open attacks by all sides at the commission.  He has stayed true to his moral compass even when he had to leave the country for his own, and his family’s safety and sanity.

The consequences of Ross’s actions reach far beyond the activities in one BC casino.  The identification of this new typology for money laundering has had global implications and the Financial Action Task Force report was an early indicator of this.  Changes to British Columbia laws and law enforcement’s AML thinking and activities are the start of wider ramifications.  Control and prevention activities in casinos have become more focussed and effective and further changes are still underway.  Money laundering impacts on real estate in Canada has also now come into focus, and significant regulatory changes are starting to be felt there too.

Canada and provincial jurisdictions have finally made progress on developing effective Corporate beneficial owner registries, unexplained wealth orders are being considered and the federal government recently announced changes to the operations of FINTRAC, as well as a plan to develop better mechanisms for whistleblowers to report money laundering and better protections for those that do. 

Dr. Barry Armstrong

Dr. Barry Armstrong is the military doctor who in 1993 challenged his superiors over the death of a Somali, Achmed Aruush. Military reports claimed that the Somali had been shot in the front, that Airborne soldiers were defending the base and that "everybody behaved exactly as they were supposed to." But Armstrong's examination found that Aruush had been shot in the back.

Fearing that the incident would be swept under the carpet, Armstrong shared his concerns with his wife Jennifer, who took her husband's story to the press, triggering a public outcry for an inquiry. Among the attempts to smear Armstrong: Lt.-Col. Carol Mathieu described him as "certifiable" and others said that he had plans to sell morphine on the black market.

The Somalia inquiry ultimately exposed a sordid story of failed military leadership and an apparent cover-up that reached into high places. The final report excoriated many of the top officers in the Canadian Forces including three separate Chiefs of the Defence Staff.

  • Somalia Affair: The whistleblower | CBC Archives

Barry Armstrong speaks for the first time about what he believes happened in ... Dr. Russell Brown, a Canadian anesthesiologist in Somalia, agreed with Maj.

Dr. Michèle Brill-Edwards

Dr. Michèle Brill-Edwards is a pediatrician and clinical pharmacologist who in 1988 became Health Canada’s senior physician responsible for the regulation of clinical trials and market approvals of prescription drugs.

In 1996 she resigned from Health Canada to speak publicly against the undue influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the drug approval process, and the resulting unreliable decisions endangering human lives.

  • Michele Brill-Edwards | Wikipedia

Michele Brill-Edwards is a Canadian whistle-blower. She is a lecturer and emergency physician in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa.

  • Critical Dialogue with Dr. Michele Brill-Edwards | | May 20, 2006

Dr. Michele Brill-Edwards, former senior physician with Health Canada shares her first hand experiences with how Big Pharma influences and ...

  • Doctor Flags Dangerous Flaws In Drug Regulation

Dr. Michele Brill-Edwards is a senior physician who spent 15 years with Canada's Health Protection Branch (HPB). She resigned after becoming convinced that ...

Ian Bron

In 2005 Ian Bron began to raise concerns regarding the inadequacy of standards being developed by Transport Canada for security in our ports to prevent terrorist attacks. Management's response was to isolate and harass him.

When he wrote a formal report about his concerns in 2006 his bosses claimed that he was harassing them and launched an investigation that would ultimately last 3 years.

In 2013 Bron left the public service. He asserts that his concerns regarding security were never properly investigated and that few of the problems he identified have been addressed.

  • 'I couldn't just sit by and watch things happen': whistleblower Ian Bron | Hill Times | Jun 23, 2014

Chief of Transport Canada's marine transportation security's regulatory affairs in 2005, Ian Bron said his life was turned upside down after ...

  • Marine security riddled with gaps: whistleblower | CBC News | Jan 23, 2008

…11, 2001, terrorist attacks, writes an award-winning civil servant and former naval officer who has since left the department. Ian Bron, 41, served ...

Sean Bruyea

In 2005, former Air Force intelligence officer Sean Bruyea discovered serious flaws in a new program for injured soldiers, which was being rushed through Parliament in a secretive and underhanded manner. The legislation, known as the 'New Veterans Charter' scrapped the comprehensive life-long benefits hitherto provided to injured veterans and replaced these with a one-time lump sum payment of much lower value. Although he was not personally affected by the new program, Bruyea became an outspoken critic of the Charter and campaigned vigorously against it. He also advocated successfully for the creation of a veterans ombudsman: his writings provided the foundation of the Conservative Party 2006 election platform that promised to create a watchdog for veterans rights.

Finding Bruyea's advocacy unwelcome, Veterans Affairs bureaucrats plotted to punish him by destroying his credibility, and did so by broadcasting highly sensitive personal information from his medical files – Bruyea suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other psychological and physical injuries as a result of his service in the 1991 Gulf war. Veterans Affairs bureaucrats included large amounts of such personal information in briefing notes to various federal Cabinet Ministers, the Prime Minister’s Office and others, falsely suggesting that Bruyea was mentally unstable. Ultimately more than 800 people in the bureaucracy had access to his personal medical records – perhaps one of the worst violations ever of Canadian privacy laws.

The Public Sector Integrity Commissioner refused to investigate Bruyea's case, saying that the misconduct he was reporting did not amount to 'wrongdoing' as defined in the legislation that provides her mandate.

  • The disgrace at Veterans Affairs Canada | Globe and Mail | Oct 15, 2010

So, too, has retired captain Sean Bruyea, a 14-year air force vet with service ... After Mr. Bruyea started criticizing the department in 2005 over a ...

  • Privacy breach at Veterans Affairs 'struck terror in our hearts' | Globe and Mail | Sep 22, 2010

Sean Bruyea was a rare voice of dissent when he spoke out against a new Veterans Charter at a 2005 Senate hearing. The retired veteran of ...

Dr. Shiv Chopra

In 1998 Dr. Shiv Chopra and two colleagues at Health Canada testified to the Senate that they were being pressured to approve drugs into the food supply without the legally required evidence of human safety.

Their revelations created headlines around the world and led to bovine growth hormone rBGH -- a product used to boost cows' milk production -- being banned in most developed countries except the USA.

In 2004 the three scientists were fired simultaneously for 'insubordination'. 

In 2014, Chopra founded the Canadian Council for Food Safety and Health, saying he still had concerns about what he called the “five pillars of food safety” — hormones, antibiotics, slaughterhouse byproducts used in animal feed, pesticides and genetically modified organisms.

Shiv Chopra died January 7, 2018 at the age of 84 after spending much of the past three decades in the spotlight.

  • Website:
  • Corrupt to the Core: Memoirs of a Health Canada Whistleblower Aug 12 2009

by Shiv Chopra (Author)

  • Whistleblower Shiv Chopra remembered for 'speaking truth to power' | January 11, 2018

Shiv Chopra did not fear wading into controversy. He would do it again and again. The government scientist said it was his job to blow the whistle when the evidence showed that drugs used for animals posed a danger to the safety of Canada’s food system.

  • Whistleblower scientist not entitled to get job back, court rules | CBC | Sept 6, 2017

Dr. Shiv Chopra has lost his 13-year battle to regain the Health Canada job from which he was fired in 2004. The ruling came from the Federal Court of Appeal on Wednesday. Chopra called it a "travesty of justice." Chopra was one of three Health Canada veterinary scientists who spoke out in the 1990s

  • Dr. Shiv Chopra brings anti-TPP message to Chilliwack | Chilliwack Times | Apr 12, 2016

This Thursday, former Health Canada senior scientist and whistleblower Dr. Shiv Chopra speaks in Chilliwack about his opposition to the TPP ...

  • Effectively silencing Canada's whistleblowers | Toronto Star | Aug 13, 2011

The scientists — Dr. Shiv Chopra, Margaret Haydon and Gerard Lambert — had for years valiantly resisted repeated efforts by Health Canada ...

  • 1 of 3 Health Canada 'whistleblowers' reinstated | CBC News | Aug, 8, 2011

Dr. Shiv Chopra is one of three former Health Canada scientists who was fired in 2004. He lost a recent decision by the public service labour ...

  • Whistleblowing at Health Canada: Chopra speaks out | NCBI | Sept 2009

In 1998, Dr. Shiv Chopra and two colleagues testified to a Senate Committee that Health Canada managers had pressured them to release suspect veterinary ...

Richard Colvin

Richard Colvin was a senior diplomat posted in Kandahar and Kabul from April 2006 to October 2007. Starting in May 2006 he repeatedly raised concerns about the potential for torture of prisoners handed over by the Canadian military to Afghan police. He raised these concerns to senior officials at Foreign Affairs and National Defence, copying 79 different people across government.

During a subsequent investigation conducted by the Military Police Complaints Commission, all but one of 22 potential witnesses subpoenaed by the Commission declined to testify, allegedly after receiving threatening letters from the Department of Justice. Only Colvin agreed to testify and his allegations became public in October 2009.

  • Richard Colvin: Portrait of a whistleblower | Toronto Star | Nov 21, 2009

Richard Colvin took the place of envoy Glyn Berry, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. (PAWEL DWULIT FOR THE TORONTO ...

Allan Cutler

Allan Cutler was a procurement officer with Public Works Department who refused to go along with improper procurement practices, and as a result suffered retaliation from management over the course of many years. Cutler lodged a complaint, which prompted a departmental audit of the advertising and public opinion division. But by the time the audit was underway, Cutler was transferred to the technical and special services division of Public Works. During the Sponsorship Scandal investigation Cutler tabled an inch thick document which contained meticulous notes, memos and his own diary detailing how the rules were being broken. The evidence that he painstakingly gathered during this ordeal was vital to the Gomery Inquiry.

  • Allan Cutler was a Conservative hero | | Oct 15, 2013

Allan Cutler, a former Conservative candidate who was famous for whistleblowing during the Sponsorship Scandal, has lost faith in his former ...

  • Quebec Election 2012: Allan Cutler knows a whistleblower when he ... | Toronto Star | Aug 8, 2012

Allan Cutler, seen in 2005, is the former federal bureaucrat who blew the whistle on the now-infamous Sponsorship Program in 2003. (Tannis ...

Perry Dunlop

Constable Perry Dunlop, a police officer in Cornwall, Ontario, uncovered evidence of an alleged pedophile ring. When he discovered that Cornwall police were not taking action to prosecute the suspects he alerted the Childrens' Aid Society. As a result, he was charged with contravening his duties under the Police Act. He was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing, as judges ruled that his duties to Children’s Aid superseded his responsibilities as a police officer. Dunlop subsequently left Cornwall and moved to the west coast to escape taunts and threats against himself and his family.

A massive petition from Cornwall residents eventually spurred an OPP probe "Project Truth' which laid 114 charges against 15 men. These mostly foundered for various reasons, but in other prosecutions five paedophiles with connections to the members of the alleged ring were eventually convicted. Once the court cases were complete, a long-promised public inquiry was launched, which has been the subject of much controversy. In 2008 Dunlop was jailed for 7½ months for refusing to testify at the inquiry, saying that he had lost confidence in the justice system.

  • Perry Dunlop being persecuted as a whistleblower; Former officer's actions have taken courage | Mar 6, 2008

Perry Dunlop being persecuted as a whistleblower; Former officer's actions have taken courage.

Alayne Fleischmann

In late 2006, Alayne Fleischmann, a British Columbia native, witnessed one of the biggest white-collar crimes ever committed in America. While she was working as a deal manager at JPMorgan Chase, she saw the bank knowingly sell “scratch-and-dent loans” to investors without disclosing that they were high risk. 

This fraudulent activity contributed to the 2008 financial crises. Fleischmann was laid off and obligated to sign a confidentiality agreement. She returned to B.C. and had trouble finding work with Chase on her resume. 

In 2012, a Federal prosecutor asked Fleischmann to be a key witness in a lawsuit against Chase. But in May 2014, there was still no follow up from the investigators. In truth, the Justice Department was using her as a bargaining tool to extract money from Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon. This tactic worked. Dimon paid $9 billion to keep them quiet.

Despite that Fleischmann signed a non-disclosure agreement, could be sued into bankruptcy, and lose her license as a lawyer, she decided to speak up eight years after she left the company in a Rolling Stone article.

In January 2018, she was awarded the Wallenberg-Sugihara Civil Courage Award, which is given to B.C. citizens who have faced personal risk to stand up for human rights.

Alayne Fleischmann said, “It was like watching an old lady get mugged on the street…I can’t sit by any longer…”

  • Lawyer receives civil courage award | Terrace Standard | February 3, 2018

Alayne Fleischmann was presented the Wallenberg-Sugihara Civil Courage Award on Jan. 14, an award given to B.C. connected citizens who have faced significant personal risk to advance human rights…

  • Whistleblower ‘sick’ over JPMorgan’s settlement after financial crisis | Toronto Star | December 17, 2014

Alayne Fleischmann says even with hindsight, she would do it all over again…

Bob Gale

Bob Gale is a former Commissioner of the Niagara Parks Commission who in 2008 exposed that the commission had secretly signed a sweetheart 25-year lease extension with the current operator of the Maid of the Mist boat tours. This deal, worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the operator, shut out other potential bidders offering more favourable terms. After an eight-month investigation, two government reviews and further damaging revelations in the media, the commission was overruled by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and ordered to conduct an open competitive tender process for the lease. In 2012 the contract was awarded to a different company at an estimated saving to the taxpayer of 300 million dollars.

  • Whistleblower Bob Gale Saved Ontario Taxpayers $300 Million | Niagara At Large | Feb 23, 2012

Case also demonstrates that Ontario's whistleblower protection system needs strengthened. From David Hutton OTTAWA, February 22 —When ...

Don Garrett​

While carrying out repair work at the Kent prison in BC, Don Garrett, a successful general contractor, was exposed to deadly chrysotile asbestos, along with his work crew, guards and others. This serious incident occurred because the Public Works management responsible for tendering the work hid the presence of asbestos in the work site, even after multiple requests from Garrett for such information. PWGSC even concealed the existence of a 190-page Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) which fully set out all such hazards in the prison. 

When Garrett took his concerns to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, Mario Dion, little happened for two years, then he received a letter rejecting his claims and stating that there had been no wrongdoing by anyone. In the meantime, Garrett was bankrupted by Public Works’ apparent reprisals, such as refusing to pay him for the work done, and effectively barring him from further government contracts. 

Subsequent events

Garrett continued to fight for justice, obtaining thousands of pages of documentation through access to information, and uncovering the existence of the vital ACM report. In 2014 David Hutton, then executive director of FAIR, undertook an analysis of this case. Hutton concluded that, on the basis of the documentation available, Dion’s investigation was worse than flawed. 

Hutton believes that PSIC effectively made itself party to a cover-up of serious misconduct by Public Works, by concealing vital information from Garrett and other witnesses, by shutting down an investigator who seemed on track to expose the truth, and by concluding with a cursory three-page ‘decision letter’ riddled with errors of fact. This letter dismissed without evidence Garrett’s central allegation – that he was not informed of the asbestos hazard – when in Hutton’s opinion the documentary evidence demonstrates the opposite.

This case is important because raises serious questions regarding the disclosure of asbestos hazards in government buildings across the country, and whether staff and contractors are adequately protected during repair and maintenance work. It also raises serious questions about the performance of PSIC, the agency set up to expose government wrongdoing and to protect whistleblowers.

Joanna Gualtieri

Joanna Gualtieri exposed lavish extravagance in the purchase of accommodation abroad for staff in Foreign Affairs. The Inspector General and Auditor General of Canada later supported her allegations. Gualtieri claimed the Bureau seemed not to care, that her bosses harassed her for raising the concerns and that she was a given dead-end job after coming forward.

Ms. Gualtieri continued to battle for other whistleblowers by founding FAIR (Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform) and by serving as a director for almost 10 years.

  • Trudeau’s Words On Federal Whistleblower Law An ‘Illusion,’ Warns Former Whistleblower | HuffPost | February 15, 2021

  • 'I was a broken person': The long, hard journey of whistleblower Joanna Gualtieri | Ottawa Citizen | Nov 18, 2016

Former public servant Joanna Gualtieri, who blew the whistle on lavish spending at Canada's foreign missions two decades ago, says she lives with sadness for what her long struggle has cost her.

  • Enemy of the state: Weston | Toronto Sun | Apr 11, 2010

Joanna Gualtieri had just joined Foreign Affairs as a property ... It is now almost impossible for a future whistleblower to sue the government.

  • Whistleblower wins case against feds | Toronto Sun | Apr 6, 2010

Joanna Gualtieri, a former foreign affairs realty portfolio manager, began to file reports alleging the department was spending extravagant ...

  • Whistleblower awaits justice after 14 years | | May 15, 2006

Joanna Gualtieri's efforts to fix what she considered a corrupt ... she says, she ultimately turned into a whistleblower who has sued her former ...

Ashley Jenkins 

Ashley Jenkins is a nurse who was brought in to oversee rehabilitation of the Rosslyn nursing home in Hamilton, Ontario that had just been evacuated after a disastrous COVID-19 outbreak.  Almost all of the 86 residents and staff were infected, and 16 died. Her task was to correct the shortcomings that had caused this lethal outbreak and prepare the home to reopen.  She soon uncovered a litany of shocking problems, ranging from expired medications, missing medical records, bed bugs and vermin, to insufficient and unqualified staff. The basics of proper care and hygiene were absent, let alone the additional measures required to combat a deadly virus.

Yet the owners, the Martino family, evidently wanted the home reopened immediately, regardless of these problems, and instructed Ashley to lie to a health inspector who turned up unexpectedly. She refused, knowing that this might endanger her job, but she was unwilling to be party to a potentially deadly coverup. In the end, the Rosslyn nursing home remained closed, and six other homes, also run by the Martino family, had their licences revoked by the provincial regulator. 

Ashley Jenkins’ actions undoubtedly saved many lives, but her reward was to be fired, and to face what she believes were reprisals orchestrated by those she exposed, including a confirmed job offer withdrawn without explanation and attempts to have her nursing licence revoked.

Daniel Land

Daniel Land was in charge of testing meat for pathogens at the Pitt Meadows Meats plant in BC. When he received a positive test result for the deadly E. coli O157 he immediately told his bosses, but the plant manager told him to keep quiet about it and threw the test result into the garbage can, said Land.

The company also did not notify the authorities – a serious breach of regulations. The company fired Land and made various accusations against him: telling the media that it was because of his inability to get along with co-workers, that he was a disgruntled employee, and that they suspected him of tampering with the meat samples.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) ordered a recall and launched an investigation that resulted in a report being sent to federal Crown. No charges have been laid. The company changed its name to Meadow Valley Meats and gave up its federal license: it is no longer inspected by CFIA and does not have to test for E. coli since BC provincial regulations do not require this.

  • Pitt Meadows Meats apologizes, pleads guilty in E. coli case | CBC | Apr 13, 2015

Pitt Meadows Meats pleaded guilty on Monday to selling E. coli-tainted ... Daniel Land says the Pitt Meadows plant manager ignored a positive ...

  • Meat industry whistleblower says problems persist | CTV Vancouver | Oct 5, 2012

Daniel Land, who worked as a quality assurance inspector for Pitt Meadows Meats, is slamming the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for not ...

B.C. meat plant covers up positive E. coli test - British Columbia | CBC  | Jan 19, 2011

The cover-up came to light when Daniel Land, who oversaw the plant's quality assurance, contacted CBC News, saying officials at Pitt Meadows ...

Brian McAdam

Brian McAdam's 30-year career in the foreign service ended suddenly in 1993 after he exposed corruption at the Canadian Consulate in Hong Kong and the infiltration of Chinese organized crime members and spies into Canada. His work saved the Canadian government an estimated $50 million, prevented the entry of over 1,000 organized crime figures such as Triad, Yakuza, and Mafia members into Canada, and revealed China's extensive espionage activities in Canada, which have now been confirmed by Canada's intelligence service, Chinese defectors and others.

  • One man's China crusade | | Aug 25, 2008

For Canadian diplomat Brian McAdam, it wasn't that he had. ... Both Canadian and Chinese consular staff, he says, were selling visas to ...

Linda Merk

Linda Merk discovered that the president and business manager of Ironworkers Union Local 771 were double dipping on their travel expenses, so she raised the matter "in house” to union senior management and was fired. The union argued that double-dipping was not explicitly prohibited by its bylaws. Merk fought against her dismissal all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which in a precedent-setting decision, ruled in her favour.

  • Supreme Court: She was right | | Nov 25, 2005

Whistleblower Linda Merk has lost thousands of dollars, been without her job for four years, and fought at four levels of court -- but a win in the ...

Janet Merlo

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 published a book "No-one to Tell", setting out her experiences, and filed a class-action lawsuit against the RCMP which was joined by more than 3,000 other women who had suffered similar treatment. Settled in 2016, this lawsuit ultimately paid 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.

The claims process resulted in a scathing, 178-page report called "Broken Dreams Broken Lives," which says fundamental change is needed to rid the RCMP of a systemic toxic culture that tolerates hateful, sexist and homophobic attitudes.The report was written by former Supreme Court justice Michel Bastarache, whose team assessed more than 3,000 claims and interviewed nearly 650 women who said they'd experienced harassment or discrimination while working for the RCMP. It details allegations of bullying, intimidation and assaults ranging from unwanted kissing and groping to "serious, penetrative sexual assault."

Merlo has observed since that the sweeping reforms called for in the Bastarache report do not appear to be taking place. She believes that change in the RCMP culture will not take place without interventions from outside of the force.

Dr. John O'Connor

Dr. John O'Connor, an Alberta doctor, was startled to encounter several cases of a very rare cancer in Fort Chipewyan, in the Athabasca oil patch. His further investigations revealed unusually high rates of cancers among the residents, and he called for a thorough health review of the community. His findings contributed to concerns that oil extraction operations may be contaminating the environment with carcinogenic chemicals.

In what was perceived as an attempt to muzzle him, Health Canada doctors lodged four complaints against O'Connor with his professional body – charges which could have resulted in the loss of his license. Doctors were alarmed by this incident, since such reports from doctors in the field have been vital to the detection of new diseases such as AIDS. Consequently, in 2007 the Canadian Medical Association passed a resolution (#103) calling for whistleblower protection for doctors – apparently to protect them from Health Canada.

Dr. Nancy Olivieri

Dr. Nancy Olivieri a scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children and clinical professor at the University of Toronto discovered in 1998 evidence suggesting that a drug she was testing might be life threatening. Apotex Inc. which partly funded her research, insisted that she should not publish her results and threatened legal action if she were to inform the patients in the trials. The U of T refused to intervene, in spite of its responsibilities for public health and for scientific integrity. Critics observe that the U of T was at that time negotiating with Apotex Inc. for a multimillion dollar donation for a new building.

After independent investigations vindicated Dr. Olivieri, she took a leave of absence to pursue her research. In 2004, after six years of legal proceedings, Olivieri reached a settlement with Apotex which included a substantial payment to her. However, the company then refused to pay, claiming that Olivieri had violated the terms of the settlement by 'disparaging' the company or its drug.

In 2008, after another four years of litigation, Apotex was ordered by the Ontario Superior Court to perform all the terms of the settlement. The company immediately announced its intention to challenge this ruling, and launched a new lawsuit against Dr. Olivieri.

  • Dr. Nancy Olivieri | Canadian Association of University Teachers

The case of University of Toronto clinician, Dr. Nancy Olivieri, gained international attention when her research at the Hospital for Sick Children in the late 1990s ...

  • The Drug Trial: Nancy Olivieri and the Science Scandal that Rocked the Hospital for Sick Children - May 3 2005 by Miriam Shuchman

  • Medical research ethics whistleblower Nancy Olivieri honored again | Health News Review | May 31, 2012

One of the saddest stories about drug company influence on clinical trials and on the integrity of research is the story of Dr. Nancy Olivieri.

Ken Pereira

Ken Pereira was one of the star witnesses in the Charbonneau Commission on corruption in the construction industry. His explosive testimony blew the lid off deep ties between Quebec's largest union and organized crime.

Bernard Payeur

Bernard Payeur, a computer specialist with Foreign Affairs, wrote a financial analysis program which, to his astonishment, revealed that missions were under-reporting exchange rate gains, thus illegally keeping public money for themselves to the tune of about $7 million worldwide per year (1983 dollars). When his reports were shared with DFAIT senior management, they refused to acknowledge or deal with the issue and Payeur was told by a colleague that it was 'standard practice' for missions to keep 50% of these gains, thus apparently enabling some people to enjoy a more lavish lifestyle at the taxpayers' expense.

Payeur was subsequently moved to a tiny office and ordered to reproduce his massive computer-generated reports using only a pencil and desk calculator, without access to the source data. When he failed this impossible task he was given a punitive performance appraisal rating him the lowest grade possible on all 11 attributes, thus rendering him unemployable. He appealed this harsh treatment up to the Supreme Court of Canada without success. During the kafka-esque hearings his bosses admitted under oath that they were facilitating the theft of public funds, but no action was ever taken against any of them.

  • Shooting the Messenger: A Whistleblower's Tale | Boreal Books

by Bernard Payeur, March 22, 2013

The 'RCMP Five'

The RCMP Pension Fund scandal finally came to light through the efforts of five people, who all struggled on courageously in the face of apparent attempts by RCMP top brass to block investigations. Denise Revine was the human resource director who first uncovered the suspicious transactions and compiled a massive file of evidence. Her boss Chief Superintendent Fraser Macaulay tried to ensure that this evidence was properly investigated – and was removed from his position and given what he believed was a punitive secondment. Retired Staff-Sgt. Ron Lewis led persistent efforts to make someone in authority pay attention – first within the RCMP, then in outside agencies such as the Treasury Board and Auditor General, and finally to MPs and the media. Staff-Sgt. Steve Walker took part in the Ottawa Police Service's criminal investigation into the affair, and Staff-Sgt. Mike Frizzell was abruptly removed from the investigation as his inquiries got close to senior RCMP management.

In an unprecedented turn of events all five were given the RCMP’s most coveted award, the Commissioner’s Commendation, for outstanding service, and a Commons committee unanimously passed a motion that the five be publicly commended and that commendation be tabled in Parliament. Prior to this, no Canadian whistleblower had ever received formal thanks or recognition from the authorities.

  • High cost of whistleblowing | Toronto Star | Jun 30, 2007  

Outgoing RCMP Commissioner Bev Busson formally commended those five people with Commissioner's Commendations – the force's top ...

  • Commons committee shocked by details of RCMP pension plan allegations | | Mar 29, 2007

Five RCMP officers and a whistleblower who lost her job accused the force's senior management, led by.

Cpl. Robert Read

Cpl. Robert Read a 26-year veteran of the RCMP was fired after investigating government corruption involving the Canadian High Commission in Hong Kong. In the course of his investigation he uncovered evidence of the corruption and what appeared to him to be a massive cover-up of that evidence. Read‘s investigation involved very rich and powerful members of the business community in Hong Kong, political connections in the People‘s Republic of China and the Liberal government of Jean Chretien.

An RCMP external review committee later vindicated Read saying the Mounties had seriously mishandled investigations into complaints that Asian triads had infiltrated the embassy. The committee also found that the national police force was reluctant to investigate foreign affairs employees who were suspected of taking bribes from China‘s rich and powerful, many of whom are widely known to be part of the communist spy network. In its ruling, the committee said that Read was justified in taking his concerns to the media and ordered him reinstated. The RCMP refused.

Read took his case to the Federal Court of Canada. In June 2005 Judge Sean Harrington condemned Read for “a lack of loyalty to the government” and reaffirmed his firing. Read has since appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which in May 2007 declined to hear his case.

  • SCC won't hear appeal from RCMP whistleblower | CTV News | May 10, 2007

Robert Read, an RCMP corporal and a 26-year veteran of the force, went public through the media in 1999 with his allegations of corruption ...

  • RCMP whistle-blower fighting for job | | Jan 17, 2002

RCMP tries to fire whistle-blower of alleged corruption at Canada's Hong Kong ... Robert Reid is facing an RCMP adjudication board in Ottawa that ... that the RCMP has taken against Corporal Reid and the reason why we're ...

Luc Sabourin

Luc Sabourin had a distinguished career handling top secret documents within National Defence, moving to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in 2001. CBSA is responsible for the enforcement of immigration and customs laws. 

Sabourin was responsible for the secure storage and tracking of passports, citizenship cards and other identity-related documents that came into CBSA’s possession. For example, these might be handed in to local authorities as lost or seized in police raids. Genuine documents belonging to law-abiding citizens could be returned to the issuing authorities, but those found to be forged or belonging to known criminals were vital to assist law enforcement. These were stored in a highly secure area within an access-controlled room holding more than 30,000 items. These documents were often invaluable, containing a recent and last known picture of a wanted criminal, and were also essential as evidence in securing convictions. Information about these documents and intelligence regarding their owners was compiled in a secure database (the Lost Stolen Fraudulent Database) and made available to Canadian border agents, police, and our international allies, who could for example detain criminals at our borders and check identities properly during routine checks.  

CBSA’s documents and intelligence are therefore of vital importance to authorities in combatting crime both within Canada and internationally. These documents and intelligence are also a valuable target for criminals who, if they can gain access, can manipulate the system, for example to conceal false identities and stay under law enforcement’s radar.  

As an aside, this situation in CBSA seems eerily similar to that of the Canadian mission in Hong Kong in 1993, when Brian McAdam discovered that organized crime had infiltrated the immigration system, thus enabling senior Triad members to come to Canada as landed immigrants with clean records and set up operations here. McAdam’s career was destroyed by Canadian bureaucrats, his allegations were never properly investigated, and it is therefore unknown whether this serious breach of Canada’s security was ever properly fixed. It is only recently that China’s extensive, decades-long efforts to infiltrate and influence Canadian affairs has been acknowledged and some aspects investigated.

The wrongdoing

Given the importance of this work to combatting crime, it was extremely concerning to Sabourin that CBSA’s management of this agency was sloppy, with violations of policy and procedure commonplace, and that his warnings to senior management were ignored for years.

This situation culminated in an extraordinary incident in 2015, when an urgent order came down from senior management to illegally destroy thousands of the passports being held in the secure area – and to conceal this crime by falsifying the database, recording the destroyed passports as having been returned to the issuing agency, some of them being the allies of the Canadian Government. This mass shredding would have assisted countless wanted criminals by destroying intelligence and evidence against them. When Sabourin and his colleague refused to comply with this illegal order, management induced a more junior person to comply, whereupon Sabourin began to photograph and document what was being done. At this point management halted the process and ‘only’ about 300 passports were destroyed, but by defying his bosses in this way Sabourin became a marked man. 

The precise motivation for this mass shredding (and its urgency) remains a mystery, though one possibility is that it was an attempt to cover up some previous error or misconduct by CBSA.

The Reprisals 

The reprisals against Sabourin were bold and devastating. These included intense workplace harassment that led to a diagnosis of PTSD and his departure from the agency on medical leave. This harassment included poisoning his coffee with hand sanitizer: not enough to cause lasting harm but a potent warning of how vulnerable he was. His life was also endangered by someone leaking his name and address to known mobsters, and the administrative processing of his medical pension was delayed which had been authorized by Health Canada in 2018-2019. When he was invited to testify to Parliamentary committees, a senior CBSA official called to say that testifying may jeopardize getting his pension. if he ever wanted to see any pension. Fortunately, his pension was finally started in 2022 – after four lost years – when MPs started asking questions about his case.


In 2024 Sabourin was awarded the Peter Bryce Prize by the Centre for Free Expression.



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  1. Sabourin principal presentation to OGGO re C-290
  2. Sabourin responds to MP Johns’ questions (April 19, 2023)
Edgar Schmidt

Edgar Schmidt was a senior Justice Department lawyer who became responsible for the legally-required review of new bills to ensure that they comply with the Canadian Charter and Bill of Rights.

Schmidt found that for the past 20 years the department's instructions to its lawyers had effectively gutted this provision, allowing laws to be enacted that may infringe upon Canadians' fundamental rights.

In 2013 he took his own department to court, calling for clarification of his duty to uphold the law in the face of his bosses' instructions to the contrary.

Federal Court rules on case of whistleblower Edgar Schmidt ... 2 regarding the case of Edgar Schmidt, a former Justice Department lawyer who ...

  • The whistleblower | National  | Nov 2013

Edgar Schmidt sued his own ministry over its process for vetting legislation, exposing the ethical conundrums that government lawyers face. ... He had raised the issue over a 10-year period with higher-ups, including the deputy minister of justice and the chief legislative counsel.

  • Government whistleblower just doing 'the right thing' | Global News | Apr 3, 2013

It used to be his cottage, but now Edgar Schmidt calls the three-storey white pine loft his home. The 60-year-old lawyer relocated to ...

  • Feds ordered to pay legal costs for Justice Department whistleblower | | Mar 8, 2013

A federal judge has ordered the government to cover the legal expenses of Edgar Schmidt, a lawyer for Department of Justice who has filed ...

Bob Stenhouse

Bob Stenhouse, a much-decorated, 18-year veteran of the force with extensive undercover experience, landed in hot water in 1999 when he disclosed RCMP media strategies for outlaw biker gangs to Yves Lavigne which appear in the book Hells Angels at War. Frustrated with a lack of enforcement initiatives, Stenhouse believed the national strategy was merely a public relations exercise. Stenhouse was found guilty of discreditable conduct and ordered to resign. A court ruled his disciplinary hearing was unfair and ordered a new one which ruled he should be reinstated. In June of 2004 he was reinstated and then immediately suspended with pay while the RCMP awaits a new court-ordered disciplinary hearing.

  • Undercover Mountie: Bob Stenhouse was a cop's cop -- until he broke ... | Maclean's | Nov 26, 2001

Undercover Mountie: Bob Stenhouse was a cop's cop -- until he broke the ... in a culture marked for its conformity -- an RCMP whistle-blower.

Sylvie Therrien

In July 2013 Sylvie Therrien was suspended without pay for revealing that she, like other Employment Insurance investigators, was subject to a quota: to achieve savings of nearly $500,000 per year by denying EI benefits to applicants. In order to achieve these quotas, many deserving EI claimants were being harassed and improperly penalized, she said.

Therrien felt that she could not 'send people to the street' in order to meet these arbitrary targets, but was soon perilously close to the street herself. The government fired her for cause, which means that she would receive no EI assistance, and stripped her of her security clearance, rendering her unemployable in the public service. Unable to afford her rent, she found shelter sleeping on a friend's couch.

In October 2013, Therrien filed a complaint to the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, which was created to protect whistle blowers in the aftermath of speaking out. It has been five years and she still hasn’t received a response. 

When Therrien learned that the integrity commissioner wouldn’t investigate her case because it was involved with the labour board, she appealed. In January 2017, the Federal Court of Appeal said the commissioner was able to assess the case, but decided not to.  

  • 'Process is torturous': Federal whistleblower says Canada doesn't protect people who speak out | CBC | September 2, 2018

"Canada has the reputation internationally of being the Titanic of whistleblower legislation…"

  • Employment insurance whistleblower still seeking justice three years later| Toronto Star | Jan 31, 2016

Sylvie Therrien, a former EI fraud investigator who spoke out about being pressured to meet savings quotas by reducing payouts, says her ...

  • Whistleblower law does little to protect public servants Hamilton Spectator | Nov 18, 2013

Sylvie Therrien lost her job with Service Canada after telling the media ... OTTAWA Canada's whistleblower law, enacted by Prime Minister ...

  • Suspension of EI whistleblower sets dangerous precedent, critics say | Toronto Star | Jul 22, 2013

Sylvie Therrien leaked documents that revealed federal investigators were told to find $485,000 of Employment Insurance fraud every year.

Bob Thomson

On 11 September 1973, General Augusto Pinochet and the Armed Forces of Chile overthrew the democratic government of President Salvador Allende. In the violence that followed, thousands of Chileans were killed or disappeared and tens of thousands were detained, tortured and imprisoned.

Bob Thomson, a young employee of the Canadian foreign aid programme (CIDA) saw secret telexes from the then Canadian ambassador to Chile, Andrew Ross, recommending that Canada swiftly recognize Pinochet and refuse entry to those fleeing his regime. Concerned that the government was being misinformed, Thomson leaked the cables to a Member of Parliament.

This created a huge controversy, as a result of which Ottawa reversed its foreign policy and in the following years, Canada brought 7,000 Chilean refugees out of one of the most brutal Latin American dictatorships and welcomed them to new lives in Canada.

Thomson was never able to work again in the public service. On the 40-year anniversary of the coup, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression awarded Thomson its 2013 Integrity Award.

  • Bob Thomson: Blowing the whistle on Chile's 1973 brutality | National Post | December 6, 2013

When one of my colleagues identified me as that whistleblower, the Chilean-Canadian got up, ...

Evan Vokes

Evan Vokes is a metallurgical engineer who learned that his employer, TransCanada Pipelines, often failed to comply with the engineering codes that are essential to ensure the safety and reliability of pipelines.

After raising his concerns through the line of command to the senior executive and to the regulator without any satisfactory response, he went public with his allegations, which were featured on the CBC National news program in October 2012. Apparently stung into action by public criticism, the regulator launched an investigation which validated many of Vokes' concerns.

  • They told me to take money and run, says pipeline whistleblower | National Observer | Mar 18, 2016

Engineer Evan Vokes standing by soccer field, where pipelines are laid underground, in Cochrane, Alberta, 2015. Photo by Mike De Souza.

  • TransCanada whistleblower's complaints validated by NEB | | Feb 25, 2014

TransCanada whistleblower's complaints validated by NEB ... system conducted after the complaints of whistleblower Evan Vokes were ...

  • TransCanada Whistleblower Warns Of Shoddy Pipeline Practices | Huffington Post | Jun 11, 2013

Former TransCanada Corp. employee Evan Vokes' impassioned testimony before a Canadian Senate committee last week painted “a very, ...