Government scientists feel muzzled, advice ignored, according to union survey - Macleans.ca
 

Government scientists feel muzzled, advice ignored, according to union survey


 

OTTAWA – A new survey of science professionals in the federal public service finds nearly one in four say they’ve been directly asked to exclude or alter information for non-scientific reasons.

The survey, entitled “The Big Chill,” was commissioned by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, and paints a picture of government scientists who feel they are being muzzled.

Fully 90 per cent of respondents say they don’t feel they’re allowed to speak freely in the media about their work, while 86 per cent believe they would face retaliation if they went public with information about harm to public health, safety or the environment.

Some 71 per cent of respondents said political interference is compromising policy development based on scientific evidence, and almost half were aware of cases in which their department or agency suppressed information.

Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault is already studying how communications policy changes under the Conservative government have affected the sharing of government science with the public.

More than 4,000 federal scientists — out of more than 15,000 who were invited — responded to the union-commissioned, online survey handled by the polling firm Environics.


 

Government scientists feel muzzled, advice ignored, according to union survey

  1. Sooo let me get this straight their union does a survey and they say they are being muzzled any company I worked for I had to sign a confidentially agreement why not them?
    Truth is the union is just worried about losing members…

  2. We ought to make the availability of knowledge a matter of law…..unbreakable law. It should, in fact, be in the constitution.

  3. @JoeFrmEdm:disqus, federally funded scientists DO NOT work for a company, they work for Canada, they are scientists, there is no confidentiality, there is truthful data. Data should be used for making informed decisions about future policy. The Harper government muzzles scientists because they are constantly imposing policies that go against the evidence of what is best for our nation. Soooo why don’t you go and read a book or something and actually educate yourself?

    • Good idea, Joe.
      Also, you need to educate yourself on sentence structure and proper punctuation.
      With all due respect, you are terrible.

      • Says the man who begins a sentence with the word “Also”.

  4. Good idea, Joe.
    Also, you need to educate yourself on sentence structure and proper punctuation. With all due respect, you are terrible. Where did you go to school? …….Some Liberal ………….??

  5. We’re not discussing scientists working for pharmaceutical or biotech companies who are working on patentable technology and so, of course have to keep their research confidential (to a point. In fact all scientists publish their research eventually). We are talking about federally funded scientists. Publication of their research is imperative to the advancement of their careers and to move our collective knowledge forward globally. What is the point of science if not to share? Add to this the current government’s systematic cutting of Canadian research funding, I do wonder why they just don’t get it over with and cut science out completely. The money they save they can put towards more Government Action Plan ads. I agree with EmilyOne. Availability of knowledge, funded by the Canadian tax payer, should be a matter of law.

    • The science involved is published and shared.

      The issue is making press statements and announcements.

  6. That’s shocking news! I didn’t know that they alter information. The results of one of the surveys I conducted on SoGoSurvey revealed that the general public blindly believes the information provided. This is so misleading!