On June 13, 2019, the Québec Ombudsman released a special report on the numerous violations by the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation (MAPAQ) in applying the Act to facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoings relating to public bodies. More specifically, it dealt with deficiencies concerning the internal process for handling disclosures.
In October 2017, MAPAQ’s disclosure officer received a disclosure from a MAPAQ employee. The investigation by the Québec Ombudsman showed that MAPAQ had not applied the Act properly. Notably, it had not taken the prescribed precautions to ensure the confidentiality of the whistleblower’s undertaking and identity.
According to the Québec Ombudsman, these violations undermine the confidence that such a mechanism must inspire. Whistleblowers can approach the Québec Ombudsman or the disclosure officer within their organization. Whistleblowers must therefore be able to trust both these bodies.
As a result, the Québec Ombudsman recommended that MAPAQ:
- establish an action plan to correct the failings exposed in the report.
It also recommended that the Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor:
- review the role and legislative framework for disclosure officers so that whistleblowers are provided adequate support. The legal framework must also ensure complete confidentiality and the handling of disclosures without conflicts of loyalty.
- News release: Handling of a disclosure of wrongdoing: serious violations by MAPAQ
- Report (summary): Application of the Act to facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoings relating to public bodies: major violations by MAPAQ (PDF, 328 KiB)
- Speech by Ombudsperson Marie Rinfret (in French)
Find out more about the Québec Ombudsman's Direction des enquêtes sur les divulgations en matière d’intégrité publique by visiting divulgation.protecteurducitoyen.qc.ca.