Communications

Breast cancer doctor: by being conservative, she was radical
Publish Date: 11-JAN-2015 09:39 AM
When Charles Hayter's play Radical opened in Toronto, the lineup ran round the block. There were doctors, scores of them in that line - particularly women doctors. 
 
Negotiate *this*
Publish Date: 09-DEC-2014 08:39 AM
Last week, the union that represents government scientists (PIPSC, my former union) tabled a bold negotiating position with Treasury Board (the branch of the government that you negotiate with when you’re a Union), as reported by the Ottawa Citizen. Rather than making it about salary increases, or sick days, as one might have expected, their negotiating position puts the notion of scientific integrity front and centre. My first reaction upon reading a summary of their position was something like “Hell, yes”. 
 
Public service union using science as a bargaining chip
Publish Date: 08-DEC-2014 08:11 AM
The union representing federal scientists and researchers is in contract negotiations this week, and there's more on the table than salaries and benefits. PIPSC is pushing for a 'scientific integrity' policy, which would include changes to protect scientists' right to speak publicly about their research, without government interference. Debi Daviau, president of PIPSC, joined us with the details. 
 
Federal Government Scientists Seek to Protect Scientific Integrity Through Collective Bargaining
Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:36 AM
Federal government scientists are upping the ante in their dispute with the Harper government over continuing cuts to federal science programs and the muzzling of federal government scientists by bringing their concerns directly to the bargaining table. This week, the union representing federal government scientists will table a proposal that would obligate the government to negotiate scientific integrity policies, ensuring adequate public standards of science and support for science are upheld. "Preserving scientific integrity within the federal government is crucial to ensure we can continue to protect Canadians' health, safety and the environment as well as promote genuine innovation," says Debi Daviau, President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents approximately 15,000 federal government scientists, engineers and researchers.  
 
Musellement: les scientifiques fédéraux passent par leur convention collective (French)
Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:32 AM
Las d’être «muselés» par le gouvernement Harper, les scientifiques du gouvernement fédéral adoptent une voie originale: celle de négocier des clauses de protection de l’intégrité de leur travail dans leurs conventions collectives. L’Institut professionnel de la fonction publique du Canada, qui représente quelque 15 000 scientifiques à l’emploi du gouvernement fédéral, présente à la table de négociation une proposition qui obligera le fédéral à négocier des clauses protégeant la liberté d’expression des scientifiques fédéraux, le réinvestissement dans les programmes de recherche et la protection du savoir et des bibliothèques scientifiques. 
 
Public sector union to take muzzled science issue to bargaining table
Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:30 AM
The union representing government scientists, engineers and professionals says its next contract demands will include an integrity policy to free up muzzled researchers and promote evidence-based policy making. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents 55,000 federal employees, says a scientific-integrity policy is needed to ensure innovation and to protect public health, safety and the environment. 
 
Canadian Unions to Bargain for Scientific Integrity Reform
Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:27 AM
As Canadian government scientists start bargaining for their next contract, they aren’t asking for more sick days or a sizable raise—they’re asking for scientific integrity protections, such as the ability to share their research regardless of the results. To put it simply, Canadian scientists are prioritizing the public interest over their own self-interest. On the table will be the right to speak publicly about their work, collaborate with peers, access scientific literature, and have adequate funding to carry out their responsibilities. The unions are also asking for federal departments to be required to develop enforceable policies that would protect researchers and hold those who manipulate or suppress science accountable. 
 
Scientists seeking greater freedoms
Publish Date: 02-DEC-2014 02:33 PM
Canada's federal scientists are pushing the boundaries of traditional collective bargaining in the Public Service. They are going to the bargaining table with an unprecedented package of contract changes to promote "scientific integrity" in government, including the right of scientists to speak freely and forbidding political interference in their work. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents more than 15,000 scientists, researchers and engineers, said it had released its negotiating position "in the public interest", comprising a list of demands for Treasury Board negotiators.  
 
Scientists push for ‘scientific integrity’ at bargaining table
Publish Date: 02-DEC-2014 10:25 AM
Canada’s federal scientists are going to the bargaining table this week with an unprecedented package of contract changes to promote “scientific integrity” in government, including the right of scientists to speak freely and forbidding political interference in their work. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents more than 15,000 scientists, researchers and engineers, is tabling a negotiating position for managing science in the “public interest” with a list of demands for Treasury Board negotiators that dramatically push the boundaries of traditional collective bargaining in the public service. 
 
Letter: Scientific literacy under attack in Quebec and Canada
Publish Date: 02-DEC-2014 10:21 AM
There’s a billboard on Highway 40 disfiguring the Montreal landscape by claiming that “The sun is the main driver of climate change.” This duplicity undermines the scientific education and awareness that we have been building for decades. It is all the more vicious since by their very name, “Friends of Science” — the Albertan organization that believes human behaviour is not responsible for climate change — usurps the credibility of science in order to misinform the public. 
 
Canada and the ‘war on science’
Publish Date: 20-NOV-2014 02:27 PM
It has been claimed that since 2009, Harper’s Conservative government has laid off more than 2,000 federally employed scientists. Numerous programmes devoted to the monitoring of climate change, food inspection, water quality and oil spills have been cancelled. In September, hundreds of scientists in lab coats marched on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in protest, even going so far as to hold a mock funeral to mark “the death of evidence”. 
 
No longer with the federal government, ELA biologist Michael Rennie is finally able to speak to media
Publish Date: 10-NOV-2014 09:50 AM
Michael Rennie is enjoying his new found freedom to speak. Professor Rennie is a biologist at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) research station, located in an area encompassing 58 freshwater lakes in Ontario's Kenora District. As It Happens spent months trying to arrange interviews with ELA scientists after Ottawa announced it would no longer fund the internationally acclaimed research facility. 
 
Tony Clement’s Orwellian ‘open government’ plan
Publish Date: 10-NOV-2014 09:48 AM
Seeking to combat his government’s reputation for secrecy, suppression of information and closed-door decision-making, Treasury Board President Tony Clement unveiled an ambitious “action plan on open government” last week. It was so totally disconnected from reality that the initial reaction in the nation’s capital was incredulity. Bitter criticism followed. He pledged to “maximize access to federally funded scientific research,” with no explanation of how this will happen when all 20,000 scientists on the federal payroll are muzzled by his government. 
 
Muzzled scientists : The challenges of reporting on climate change in Canada
Publish Date: 07-NOV-2014 09:43 AM
Yesterday, CJFE held an online chat, “The Chill in Canada’s Climate Science” to discuss the growing issue of climate change scientists being muzzled by the Canadian government. Moderated by CJFE’s Executive Director, Tom Henheffer, the event was held as part of the global campaign to end impunity. The two panelists for the discussion were Raveena Aulakh, environment reporter at the Toronto Star and Dr. Tom Duck, a leading atmospheric scientist. The panelists discussed the increase in censorship that scientists working for the federal government now face, and the challenge this poses to informing the Canadian public of crucial scientific matters that affect them, such as risks posed by climate change.  
 
‘Open government’ plan slams door on Access to Information Act reform
Publish Date: 07-NOV-2014 09:36 AM
The Conservative government has rejected calls to reform the Access to Information Act as part of a new openness plan. The final version of the federal blueprint on open government for 2014-16 remains silent on updating the 32-year-old law despite public pleas during several consultations — including a recent round of public feedback on a draft version. The final plan, published Thursday, commits the government to making more information and data — including scientific research, federal spending and archival records — readily available. 
 
Let my fellow scientists speak
Publish Date: 06-NOV-2014 09:32 AM
Six months ago, I was a government scientist. Then, the general consensus among my colleagues was that communications practice was more limiting than is reasonably necessary. Just last month, a letter signed by 800 international scientists echoed this sentiment, urging the Canadian government to “remove excessive and burdensome restrictions and barriers to scientific communication and collaboration faced by Canadian government scientists.” I worked with DFO for nearly four years. The difference between organizations in both communications policy and practice couldn’t be greater. Under my current employer, our communications department works hard to promote our research in the media. I and other scientists are frequently sought out to speak about our work or assist reporters looking for comment or insight aligning with our expertise. 
 
International scientists call for Canadian science funding and freedoms to be restored
Publish Date: 30-OCT-2014 09:08 AM
Over 800 scientists worldwide have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling on the federal government to restore funding cut from its science programs and to remove barriers to the ability of Canadian government scientists to collaborate internationally. The letter and list of signatories was released on October 21 by the Cambridge, MA-based Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which has fought similar cuts and restrictions against U.S. government science, and the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents over 15,000 scientists employed in 40 federal departments and agencies. 
 
From the BrainSTEM : Federal science demands democratic reform
Publish Date: 28-OCT-2014 08:59 AM
I’d like to think we live in a country where democracy is valued—a place where all groups are represented equally. Why then, is the Canadian government continuing to overhaul scientific communication policies while cutting the funding for important research programs? Recently, more than 800 scientists from 32 different countries signed an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper highlighting what they called a rapid decline in both the freedom and the funding allowed to federal scientists. 
 
New report documents federal clmapdown on scientists freedom of expression
Publish Date: 27-OCT-2014 08:57 AM
In February 2012, the scientific journal Nature published an editorial opinion piece, Frozen Out, calling on the Canadian government to reform policies that restrict media access to federal scientists. This followed numerous stories documenting delays and confusion in how different federal departments respond to requests for media interviews on scientific matters. How has the Harper government reacted? A new report, Can Scientists Speak, finds that federal media policies remain far more restrictive than those in the United States, and gives low to failing grades to nearly all 16 departments that employ scientists. 
 
International scientists call on Stephen Harper to restore funding and professional freedom in an open letter
Publish Date: 23-OCT-2014 12:46 PM
On Monday a group of international scientists published an open letter to Stephen Harper to remove financial and professional restrictions on Canadian scientists, saying the restrictions are limiting scientists work internationally. We speak to Michael Halpern who helped draft the letter.