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NEWS: Labour Board fails to reinstate Chopra and Haydon

The CBC reports, “The union representing three former Health Canada scientists says it is disappointed by a labour board decision that resulted in a victory for only one of the workers. The union says Dr. Gérard Lambert, Dr. Shiv Chopra, and Dr. Margaret Haydon began speaking out in the 1990s after being pressured by their bosses at Health Canada to approve drugs despite concerns over human safety. In one such incident, the three scientists sparked headlines in 1998 when they raised concerns about the safety of bovine growth hormone as a veterinary drug during testimony before a Senate committee.”

The scientists were fired from Health Canada in 2004 and “the Public Service Labour Relations Board considered their cases and last week.” The Board “ruled that Lambert was dismissed unfairly and should be reinstated, but not Chopra or Haydon. ‘The scientists were all terminated on the same day, for the same reasons and we are perplexed as to why the labour relations board did not reinstate all three scientists,’ said Gary Corbett, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada. The union has been supporting Chopra, Haydon and Lambert in their bids to get their jobs back. …Corbett said the union is reviewing the board’s decision and will then determine its ‘next steps’. The union could appeal the case and bring it to federal court.”

On February 16, 2001, the Council of Canadians presented Shiv Chopra and Margaret Haydon a ‘Whistleblower Award’ and both told the audience of more than a thousand people at our ‘Science and the Public Good’ conference in Ottawa that they intended “to remain a royal pain in the side of the Canadian government” for years to come.

As noted in the Spring 2001 issue of Canadian Perspectives, “A special award ceremony recognized Canadian whistleblowers Dr. Margaret Haydon and Dr. Shiv Chopra for their courage and determination to preserve the public good in spite of reprisals from their employer, Health Canada, during the successful fight to ban Monsanto’s bovine growth hormone (BGH).”