Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Protection from reprisal. Your right. Our mission.
Why was the Tribunal created?
The Tribunal was established to protect public servants who report wrongdoing from reprisals.
Who are the members of the Tribunal?
The Tribunal is currently chaired by the Honourable Martine St-Louis, a judge of Federal Court. She was appointed Chairperson on December 21, 2016 for a term of five years. Her appointment has been renewed until February 24, 2027. The Honorable Elizabeth Walker and the Honorable Ann Marie McDonald, both also Judges of the Federal Court, are the two other current members of the Tribunal.
What does the Tribunal do?
The Tribunal hears reprisal complaints referred by the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner and decides if complainants have been subject to reprisals. If this is the case, the Tribunal orders remedies for the complainant and disciplinary action against the person who took the reprisal.
Which act governs the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal?
The Tribunal is governed by the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, which came into force on April 15, 2007.
How does the Tribunal operate?
The Tribunal receives reprisal complaints from the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. Hearings are generally public and chaired by one or three members. Proceedings before the Tribunal are conducted in an informal and expeditious manner.
Can I report wrongdoing to the Tribunal?
The Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to receive disclosures of wrongdoing. The only persons who can receive such disclosures are your supervisor, the senior officer of your organization designated by your chief executive or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
Can I file a reprisal complaint with the Tribunal?
The Tribunal cannot receive reprisal complaints directly. Only the Commissioner has the jurisdiction to receive these complaints. It is up to the Commissioner to decide if the complaint should be dealt with and if an application to the Tribunal is warranted.
What recourse do I have if the Commissioner does not refer my reprisal complaint to the Tribunal?
If the Commissioner decides not to refer your complaint to the Tribunal, you may apply to the Federal Court for a judicial review of the Commissioner's decision.
Who can file a reprisal complaint?
All persons employed in the public sector, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and chief executives can file a reprisal complaint. Under the Act, the public sector includes departments, other sectors of the public administration and Crown corporations. It does not include the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Communications Security Establishment and the Canadian Forces.
What is a "reprisal"?
A reprisal is a measure taken against a public servant who has made a disclosure of wrongdoing in accordance with the Act. Reprisals consist of disciplinary measures, a demotion, the termination of employment, a discharge or dismissal, any measure that adversely affects the employment or working conditions of a person, or a threat to take such measure.
What is "wrongdoing"?

Under the Act, wrongdoing consists of the following:

  • the contravention of any federal or provincial legislation or regulations,
  • a misuse of public funds or a public asset,
  • a gross mismanagement,
  • an act or omission that creates a substantial and specific danger to the life, health, safety of persons, or the environment,
  • a serious breach of a code of conduct,
  • knowingly directing or counselling a person to commit a wrongdoing.
What is a "remedy"?

A remedy is an order requiring the employer or applicable chief executive to take or rescind a measure in favour of a complainant as a result of a reprisal.

Remedies can include:

  • a return to duties (following a suspension),
  • reinstatement (following a dismissal),
  • compensation in lieu of a reinstatement (if the relationship of trust between the parties cannot be restored),
  • compensation equal to the remuneration lost or to a penalty,
  • rescinding of any disciplinary action,
  • payment of expenses and financial losses resulting directly from the reprisal,
  • compensation up to $10,000 for pain and suffering.
What is "disciplinary action"?
Disciplinary action denotes any measure, up to the termination of employment or the revocation of an appointment.
What factors does the Tribunal consider when determining which disciplinary action to order against the person who has taken reprisals?

To make its order, the Tribunal considers the following factors:

  • the person's level of responsibility,
  • his/her previous employment record,
  • his/her rehabilitative potential,
  • the gravity of the reprisal,
  • whether or not the reprisal was an isolated incident,
  • the deterrent effect of the disciplinary action.
What are my rights before the Tribunal?
All persons appearing before the Tribunal have the right to be heard, to be represented (by counsel or any other person), to have an impartial hearing and to receive a decision with reasons.
What recourse do I have if I do not agree with a decision of the Tribunal?
If you do not agree with a decision of the Tribunal, you may apply to the Federal Court of Appeal for a judicial review.
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