Journalists rely on their ability to protect a source’s identity when that person asks for anonymity in return for speaking about sensitive issues. However, few countries have absolute “shield laws” protecting a journalist’s right not to reveal a source’s identity. In Canada, the protection of sources is argued on a case-by-case basis, and they are often protected based on public interest arguments. However, many whistleblowers face dismissal if outed. They also may have to endure lengthy legal battles and vilification for coming forward and speaking up in the public interest. Canada has a dismal history of protecting whistleblowers (other than some cases where the media is seeking to protect their identity). Little appears to have changed despite the passing in 2007 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act and the creation of the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
français TORONTO (September 10, 2013) — Sylvie Therrien, the Vancouver-based federal fraud investigator who leaked documents she said showed that the government set quotas for denying Employment Insurance benefits to eligible claimants, will have her final grievance meeting over her suspension this Thursday, September 12. Therrien was suspended without pay in May after she sent documents to the media which alleged that investigators were told they should each find $485,000 in annual savings by denying EI claims. Read more
Experts in media law and free expression explore the cult of secrecy in the Review’s articles and signature Report Card on Free Expression in Canada. This year’s grades span the spectrum from head of the class to flunking out. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is at the bottom with a grade of “F,” singled out for its zeal in muzzling scientists and keeping critical research findings from Canadians. Featured articles Read more
(Toronto, March 26, 2013) One of Canada’s leading free speech groups is warning that a low-profile bill - coming up for second reading debate in the House of Commons today - could severely weaken the journalistic integrity of the CBC and cripple its ability to protect its journalistic sources. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) has written to government ministers and opposition members to express its grave concerns about Bill C-461 which proposes amendments to both the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. Read more
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