Whistleblowing - Protection Against Reprisal and Dismissal

Making the decision to report a wrongdoing takes courage, as most of us are rightfully concerned with the possible consequences of coming forward. As Department of National Defence (DND) employees and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members, it is our responsibility to report wrongdoings within the Department. The Government of Canada understands how important it is for an employee to feel safe and secure when coming forward, which is why the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA) was created, and why the Department of National Defence developed the Canadian Forces Disclosure Process for CAF members.

Here at the Internal Disclosure Office, we can answer your questions, explain the protections afforded to you under the PSDPA and the Canadian Forces Disclosure Process, and guide you through the submission process. With a thorough submission, we will be able to determine whether your wrongdoing warrants an examination.

We are here to help you.

What is ‘reprisal’?

If you are subjected to any form of reprisal for having come forward in good faith to report a wrongdoing, or if, as a witness, you are subjected to any form of reprisal for having provided information during the conduct of an investigation, you should contact us at the Internal Disclosure Office immediately.

For public servants, the PSDPA, subsection 2(1) defines reprisal as

  • a disciplinary measure;
  • the demotion of the public servant;
  • the termination of employment of the public servant;
  • any measure that adversely affects the employment or working conditions of the public servant; and
  • a threat to take any of the measures identified above.

For CAF members, reprisal is defined as

  • a disciplinary action;
  • a career remedial or other administrative action;
  • the demotion of a person;
  • the release, recommendation for release or termination of employment of the person;
  • any measure that adversely affects the service, employment or working conditions of the person; or
  • a threat to take any of the actions identified above.

The QR&O article 19.15 states that a reprisal against CAF members is a service offence under the Code of Service Discipline.

What can I do if I have suffered reprisal or have been dismissed?

  1. The first thing you should do is contact us. We can explain your options and help you decide how best to address the reprisal.
  2. If you decide to submit a formal complaint, we can help you with your submission to the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner (PSIC) of Canada, who is the sole authority to conduct investigations into allegations of reprisal throughout the government. Be aware that a complaint regarding reprisal must be filed with the PSIC within 60 days of when you knew or should have known the reprisal happened. The PSIC has the discretion to waive this caveat, depending on the circumstances. Once your complaint has been received, the PSIC has 15 days to decide whether to deal with your complaint.
  3. Whether you decide to submit a formal complaint or not, Assistant Deputy Minister (Review Services) can take immediate action to address the effects of the reprisal.

Alert: Disclosure screened out? Are you a witness?

Know that even if your disclosure of wrongdoing was screened out under the PSDPA or the Canadian Forces Disclosure Process, you are still protected against any form of reprisal.

All witnesses and those who assisted with the investigation into an alleged wrongdoing are also protected against reprisal.

Alert: If you have questions or need help, call our office

We will provide advice to DND employees or CAF members who believe they have suffered reprisal.

If you are a supervisor and are approached by a DND employee or CAF member who wants to report a wrongdoing, the Guidelines for CAF Supervisors, DND Managers and Employees (available only on the intranet) can provide you with initial guidance. Since the Treasury Board Secretariat requires all departments to report annually on the number of disclosures of wrongdoing, it is important that supervisors contact us if an employee reports a disclosure.

Date modified: