New Whistleblower Standard

February 5th, 2017

The Court of Appeals Ruling is not in yet.  We will report the Ruling when it is available.  In the interim, a new article as below.

 

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) did an interview last year with CBC on one of their exciting new standards.  It was a new standard for dealing with whistleblowers.

Let’s just pause a moment, let the irony sink in.

Here’s how CBC reported it;  “A national Agency best known for certifying sports equipment, appliances and technology has published a new guide aimed at helping companies create a safe environment for whistleblowers.”

Note that the reporter was told CSA was a “national Agency.”  It was a CBC reporter, part of Government, so it made sense for CSA to claim to likewise be part of Government.  The CBC then, could be sympathetic, the CSA was “one of us.”  I digress…..

Hillary Davies was CSA’s Project Manager on the new whistleblower standard.  “This guide goes beyond illegal activities” she said. “If there are activities that are deemed unethical, but not necessarily illegal, then it wouldn’t be covered by legislation or regulations, that’s where the guide really helps to expand that scope.”

Robert Shepherd, a professor at Charleton University, worked with CSA on the new standard.  Of whistleblowers, he said; ”They have to be confident that the system they’re participating in is going to protect them. The one thing that people fear the most is reprisal. How does one protect one’s self from reprisal? So we give lots of advice on ways that you might do that.”

The CSA’s Hillary Davies echoed the reprisal worry, saying; “A lot of the focus was on encouraging a ‘speak up’ culture and really looking at preventing reprisals from happening, encouraging a culture in the workplace that would allow them to talk about suspected wrong doing.” 

Alright, now compare that with CSA’s actual practices.  Said one CSA employee; “if crossed, [they] will find some way of getting someone fired so people were nervous.”

From another CSA whistleblower, about one CSA leader whose penchant for reprisal caused a sort of revolving door in their department, said;  “[a manager] went through 9 or 10 Exec. Asst. since he’s been at CSA (says a lot).”

And again;  CSA staff feared reprisal, that “he would eventually do something to them.”

But CSA’s standard says; “There is a strong relationship between the creation of a psychologically safe and healthy workplace and the creation of a whistleblowing system […] and reinforcing a culture that gives employees ‘voice.’” 

Ah, voice.  We heard that too.

We once played at cloak and daggers to meet with an insider too worried about “speaking up” to meet anywhere near CSA’s Ohio facility.  Getting to that meeting involved a pseudonymed intermediary, a fake email address, travel instructions and a long drive into the middle of suburbia and ending, less glamorously, at a Denny’s.  There we heard all about the “culture that gives employees ‘voice’.”  But that we had to meet so clandestinely spoke volumes.

The CSA’s internal whistleblowing system was featured in that discussion.  The CSA reporting system only appears objective and anonymous, in practice it’s used to hunt down the whistleblowers.  It’s “a place that we are supposed to be able to go and report unethical activity anonymously, but this is a total scam.  What they do is track you through your electronic signature and IP address to find out who you are.  They track you so there is absolutely nothing anonymous about it.”

Meanwhile, the CSA is proudly boasting of their new standard to protect these whistleblowers.

In an interview with OHS, Canada’s “occupational health and safety magazine,” the CSA announcement went like this;  “Canada’s main association for occupational health and safety standards has published a new guidebook for creating and maintaining whistleblower systems”. 

Note how the reporter was told CSA was “an association for occupational health and safety”?  It was an OHS reporter, a private OHS entity, so it made sense for CSA to claim to likewise be a private OHS association.  The OHS then, could be sympathetic, the CSA was “one of us.”  Notice how CSA claims one thing, then the opposite, depending on who their talking to?  I digress….

“Promoting and maintaining ethical practices can help organizations create an innovative workplace where employees actively contribute to the advancement of the organization,” Gianluca Arcari, CSA’s Vice President and Executive Director for Standards said.  That’s right, it’s the Goodfella.  He continued;  “This helps improve the overall performance of the company and creates a positive workplace.”

Positive workplace?  Actual CSA whistleblowers describe it differently.  For instance, of CSA leadership; “They are the worst type of people and the public needs to know.”  Said another; “I currently work for CSA at their [facility, and] I am left thinking who the hell am I working for?”  Or, if you prefer, one of our favourite quotes from a 2014 insiders’ interview, regarding the CSA workplace environment; “This place is F*cked.”

But the Goodfella kept going;  “CSA Group is proud that this new guideline can provide the basis for a culture that encourages employees to speak up and take an active role in supporting ethical practices.”

In this, the CSA standard includes “recommendations for implementation and how to protect whistleblowers from employer reprisals while encouraging employees to speak out.”

Friends, these CSA statements are so far from truth that they’re actually offensive. 

In the nearly five years since CSA launched their attacks on PS Knight Co, the owner of this newsfeed, we have endured repeated and very aggressive legal moves by CSA to try to force us to divulge the names of whistleblowers testifying against them.  There have been hours of questioning in legal Discovery on who our sources are, who inside CSA is “speaking up” and which end users inside CSA’s various monopolies have been talking off script.  The CSA has spent a lot of money to enable reprisals against the whistleblowers who speak to us.

For our part, we have spent a lot of money to protect our sources because we know -and it’s been made very clear to us- what CSA wants to do to them. 

Our commitment to the security of our sources is not negotiable.  We will not compromise their confidentiality.

In no small fit of irony, we are more dedicated to protecting CSA’s whistleblowers than CSA is.  And that’s just it;  CSA’s statements are subjective, our statements are solid.