Measuring the Effectiveness of Canadian Whistleblowing Law

128 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2015

Date Written: October 30, 2014


Due to the increasing complexity of modern organizations, one of the most powerful ways to address corruption is to allow insiders to report relevant information to a recipient who will ensure it is used in the public interest. Paradoxically, many organizations instead exercise reprisals against whistleblowers, for what they perceive as a lack of loyalty to the organization. This thesis seeks to analyse how the law can lead to cultural changes in public and private organizations that will create the right environment for reporting behaviour that is against the public interest, by undertaking an analysis of comparative literature as well as semi-structured interviews with key Canadian stakeholders. To begin with, this thesis will propose a set of criteria that may be used to measure whistleblowing effectiveness quantitatively, and then discuss the best means for whistleblowing law to achieve effectiveness in promoting the public interest. It will argue that whistleblowing is effective in promoting the public interest when (1) investigations are launched when appropriate; (2) the wrongdoing comes to an end; and (3) the organization takes steps to change its policies or procedures when necessary. This thesis will then demonstrate in what ways Canadian whistleblowing law departs from the proposed model, and how investigative journalism has mitigated the deficiencies in Canadian whistleblowing law by holding relevant organizations accountable when there was no other way to do so. The thesis concludes by proposing measures to address deficiencies identified in Canadian whistleblowing law and further research areas on whistleblowing.

Keywords: Whistleblowing, law, effectiveness, incentives, protection, reprisals, corruption, governance, investigations, media, investigative journalism, accountability, Canada, United States, United Kingdom

Suggested Citation

St-Martin, Frederic, Measuring the Effectiveness of Canadian Whistleblowing Law (October 30, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

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