Transparency International Canada has selected David Hutton to receive its Canadian Integrity Award in recognition of his work supporting whistleblowers and advocating for stronger whistleblower protection in Canada.
Mr. Hutton is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Free Expression at Toronto Metropolitan University and is a member of the CFE Whistleblowing Initiatives Steering Committee.
“We are delighted that David Hutton’s many years of dedicated work to strengthen whistleblower protection and to assist whistleblowers has been recognized by Transparency International Canada,” said James L. Turk, Director of the Centre for Free Expression. “He is only the second person to have received the Canadian Integrity Award.”
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Hutton said,
“We need the help of whistleblowers more than ever before. There’s never been a moment in history where humanity has faced such an array of serious, possibly terminal problems… [R]eliable information is one of the tools that we need most, just to understand properly what is going on, let alone work out solutions and agree on them. But instead, we face an unprecedented epidemic of misinformation, manufactured on an industrial scale by vested interests, and spread like wildfire on social media for profit.
Whistleblowers can help us in an important way to tackle many of these existential problems, simply by exposing the facts. There are so many past cases where their actions have made a huge difference…
[H]ere in Canada we have among the worst whistleblowing laws on the planet. Last year an expert study of whistleblowing laws in about 50 countries rated Canada’s the worst… After 17 years of striving for change I do feel disappointed at times when I look at our lack of progress to date in protecting Canadian whistleblowers -- and the cost of this, both to them and to us.
But I’m optimistic… because I see a powerful trend, of strong protection for whistleblowers becoming the norm around the world as people realize the benefits to society… Canada is at present a shameful outlier, but … we will catch up with our peers eventually.
TI Canada also recognized as an honourable mention, Radio-Canada’s investigative journalist program Enquête.
In addition to advocacy for better laws and organizational practices to protect whistleblowers, the Centre for Free Expression provides assistance to people who have or are contemplating speaking up on matters of public interest. CFE can be contacted on its free, confidential helpline. It also provides extensive information about whistleblowing which can be found by clicking here.