OHS Canada Magazine

CSA Group releases free guide on corporate whistleblowing systems

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February 23, 2016
By Jeff Cottrill

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New e-guidebook details how to implement whistleblowing system

(Canadian OH&S News) — Canada’s main association for occupational health and safety standards has published a new guidebook for creating and maintaining effective whistleblower systems in companies. The free guidebook from CSA Group (formerly the Canadian Standards Association) is intended to encourage workers to report ethical and safety issues within an established mechanism, according to a press release from the organization.

Whistleblowing Systems — A Guide became available from CSA’s Communities web page on Feb. 18; online users need to create an account with the site and then login with a username and password to download and access the guidebook. CSA developed the guidebook’s contents with assistance from nationally based law firm Grant Thornton LLP, the release noted.

“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 in a press statement upon the guide’s publication. “This helps improve the overall performance of the company and creates a positive workplace.

“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.”

The guidebook includes background information on current laws and codes in Canada about whistleblowing, as well as the performance benefits that come with an effective whistleblowing system in place. Other areas that Whistleblowing Systems touches on include important planning considerations and target outcomes of a good system, recommendations for implementation and how to protect whistleblowers from employer reprisals while encouraging employees to speak out. While whistleblower mechanisms can vary depending on the size or type of company, the basic critical elements and templates are the same, the guidebook says.


CSA suggested that companies can use the new guide as a companion to its own standard CSA-Z1003-13, or Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace: Prevention, promotion, and guidance to staged implementation. Both texts together can help organizations to establish oh&s management systems to promote accountability and give workers a voice, CSA said in the release.

Whistleblowing is “the act of reporting suspected wrongdoing, mismanagement and unethical conduct in an organization,” as CSA Group defined it in the press release. The organization also stated that government and industry wanted to promote a “speak up” culture to prevent damage to corporations resulting from unethical or unsafe practices.

Whistleblowing Systems is available from CSA at https://community.csagroup.org/community/ohs/ohs-standards—-view-access; to download the guidebook, registration or login is required at https://community.csagroup.org/welcome.


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