Click here to download a poster of the silencing of science in Canada

October 2013: The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) conducted a survey of government scientists and found evidence of widespread muzzling.

Here is a summary of the results:
90% feel that they cannot speak freely to the media about their work.
48% had seen information withheld, causing the public or government to be misled or misinformed.
86 % could not report actions that might harm the public without fear of censure.
43% had been asked to exclude or alter information in government documents for non-scientific reasons.
50% had seen public health or safety compromised by political interference in science.
37% had been blocked from answering media requests in the past 5 years.


September 2013:The New York Times releases an editorial criticizing Canada for silencing scientists and compares the situation to the George W Bush years in the U.S..

September 2013: Scientists rally in 18 cities across the Canada calling on the government appropriately fund research and to let government scientists speak to the media about their work.

April 2013: Canada's Information Commissioner launches an investigation into the muzzling of government scientists following a complaint submitted by Democracy Watch.

March 2013: Federal librarians feel muzzled after strict new code of conduct is implemented at Library and Archives Canada.

February 2013: The Department of Fisheries and Oceans proposes strict confidentiality rules for a Canada-U.S. arctic science project. The U.S. scientist involved refused to sign saying that the new rules went against academic freedom and could result in muzzling.

February 2013: Democracy Watch and the University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre submit a letter to the Information Commissioner asking her to investigate whether government policies on science-communication are legal under the Access to Information Act.

February 2013: New rules came into effect making it more difficult for DFO scientists to collaborate with non-government scientists and giving new powers to the department managers to stop research from being published even when it has already been peer-reviewed and accepted by a scientific journal.

January 2013: Silence of the Labs. (Ryerson Review of Journalism)

January 2013: Editorial from the Royal Society of Canada calling for government scientists to be unshackled.

July 2012: Death of Evidence events took place across the country.

April 2012: Scientists attending the Polar Year conference in Montreal were shadowed by media relations officers.

March 2012: Ottawa Citizen reporter Tom Spears submitted a Freedom of Information request to find out why he didn’t receive an answer to his simple questions about a joint National Research Council and NASA study on snowfall patterns.

March 2012: The prestigious international science journal Nature publishes an editorial criticizing Canada’s muzzling of scientists.

February 2012: Many organizations representing scientists and science journalists signed a letter to Prime Minister Harper asking that government scientists be unmuzzled.

Fall 2011: Environment Canada environmental scientist David Tarasick was prevented from speaking publicly about his research on the ozone layer that was published in the journal Nature.

January 2011: Kristi Miller, a scientist at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans had her work on salmon published in the prestigious journal Science but was not allowed to discuss her research publicly. Documents released to Canwest News (now Postmedia News) under the Access To Information Act in July 2011 showed the Privy Council Office had intervened to prevent from Miller from discussing her work with the media when the study had been published.

April 2010: Documents released to Canwest News (now Postmedia News) under the Access To Information Act in September 2010 showed that Scott Dallimore, a geoscientist at Natural Resources Canada was prevented from doing media interviews about his research on a 13,000-year-old flood published in Nature in April 2010.

November 2007: Environment Canada implemented new guidelines stating that the department would speak with one voice, and that voice would come from the communications people. These new rules meant that all media requests to speak to scientists had to go through the media relations people.

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