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Groups Call for Federal Scientists’ Right to Speak to Be Recognized in Collective Bargaining and Science Integrity Policies

Ottawa, March 9, 2016 – In an open letter sent today to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal science ministers Kirsty Duncan and Navdeep Bains, two leading groups in the fight to restore evidence-based public policy are calling for scientific integrity provisions, including the right of federal scientists to speak publicly, to be added to collective bargaining agreements and formal science integrity policies at science-based departments.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents over 15,000 federal scientists, and Evidence for Democracy (E4D), which advocates for the transparent use of evidence in democratic decision making by government, have commended the government’s early announcements restoring the mandatory long-form census and lifting the muzzle placed on scientists by the previous Harper government.

Today they are calling on the Prime Minister and science ministers to take the next step by putting in place the policies and infrastructure needed to support science integrity today and to prevent future governments from muzzling scientists.

“The government clearly supports science integrity – now we need them to safeguard it from future attacks. Creating strong science integrity policies in all federal science-based departments will go a long way to ensuring that critically important government research is available to the public and used in policy development,” says E4D Executive Director Katie Gibbs.

The letter, which has also been posted on Evidence for Democracy’s website for other scientists and members of the public to sign, outlines a number of provisions needed to safeguard scientific integrity, including:

●      The right for scientists to speak out publicly about science and their research;

●      The public release of scientific information in a timely manner;

●      The right of last review for scientists to ensure that their work is not being misrepresented in communications documents; 

●      Safeguards against scientific misconduct; and

●      Protection from undue commercial influence.

“Science should never be silenced again,” added PIPSC President Debi Daviau. “By including the right of scientists to speak in collective agreements we can ensure there exists a consistent policy and a binding process to resolve disputes as well as prevent in future the kind of chill imposed by communications policies under the Harper government.”

The full letter is available here

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 For further information:

Katie Gibbs, Executive Director, Evidence for Democracy
Phone: 613-866-6921 or email: katie@evidencefordemocracy.ca

Johanne Fillion, The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC)

Phone: (613) 228-6310 ext 2303 (office) or (613) 883-4900 (cell.) or email: jfillion@pipsc.ca

Katie Gibbs

Executive Director

Katie Gibbs is a scientist, organizer and advocate for science and evidence-based policies. While completing her PhD at the University of Ottawa researching threats to endangered species, she was one of the lead organizers of the ‘Death of Evidence’ rally - one of the largest science rallies in Canadian history. Katie cofounded Evidence for Democracy and now serves as its Executive Director. She has a diverse background organizing and managing various social and political campaigns at the local and national level. Katie is frequently asked to comment on science policy issues and has been quoted and published in numerous media outlets, including the CBC, The Hill Times, the Globe and Mail and the National Post.