Yacine Agnaou is one of a handful of Canadian lawyers who took on Quebec tax authorities and plead a case so successfully that now others are trying to follow suit. Now Agnaou is immersed in another legal battle against another government department. He is trying to force the federal whistleblower watchdog to investigate his allegations of wrongdoing against the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.
Edgar Schmidt, a soft-spoken lawyer, joins a growing list of Canadian whistleblowers who quickly discover that disclosing potential wrongdoing in the workplace almost always leaves them vulnerable.
Schmidt’s court case raises thorny issues over the nature of the professional responsibilities and ethical obligations of government lawyers.
But it also underscores the tension that exists between the duty of loyalty an employee owes to his employer, freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and federal and provincial whistleblowing legislation that aims to protect whistleblowers from retribution by their employers.