Handling of a disclosure of wrongdoing: serious violations by MAPAQ
Québec City, June 13, 2019 – In an investigation report released today, the Québec Ombudsman concludes that the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation (MAPAQ) committed serious violations in the way it handled a whistleblower’s disclosure of wrongdoing.
In violation of the Act to facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoings relating to public bodies, MAPAQ failed to take the necessary precautions to ensure that the whistleblower’s actions remained confidential when it handled the person’s disclosure.
"All bodies subject to the Act to facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoings relating to public bodies, including MAPAQ, must guarantee there are internal mechanisms for discretely handling disclosures and that they make public integrity central. It is crucial that citizens trust that whistleblowers are supported," said Ombudsperson Marie Rinfret.
At the end of the investigation, the Québec Ombudsman concluded that the failure of MAPAQ’s internal disclosure processing mechanism had major consequences on the credibility of disclosure management. Urgent and substantial corrections were recommended so that whistleblowers and people who cooperate in an audit will feel certain that there is the highest regard for the confidentiality of their identity in their interactions with any public body’s internal mechanism.
The Québec Ombudsman’s recommendations
In its investigation report, the Québec Ombudsman recommended:
- that no later than July 30, 2019, MAPAQ establish and send the Québec Ombudsman an action plan for correcting the failings noted and, no later than September 30, 2019, report on the measures implemented to carry out this action plan;
- that the Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor review the role and legislative framework for disclosure officers so that whistleblowers are ensured adequate support, complete confidentiality and handling of disclosures without fear of appearing disloyal.
The Québec Ombudsman: confidential, independent and impartial recourse
A reminder that a person can contact the Québec Ombudsman at any time during the handling of a disclosure that has been sent to the disclosure officer within a public body, whether it be at the outset of the process, during auditing, or when the disclosure officer has finished intervening. The identity of any person who turns to the Québec Ombudsman remains confidential and the person’s disclosure is handled independently and impartially.
For further information, see the investigation report.
– 30 –
Media Relations Manager
Phone: (418) 646-7143 / Cell: (418) 925-7994