Joanna Gualtieri was a pioneer in the whistleblowing movement in Canada, advocating that honest employees must have the right to speak out about workplace wrongdoing that threatens the public interest.
In the 1990s, Gualtieri worked as an analyst at Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs. She identified what she believed to be systemic and widespread abuse of public monies for extravagant offshore diplomatic residences in violation of federal laws and policies, costing taxpayers billions of dollars. As a lawyer, Joanna believed that the rule of law dictated that corrective action need be taken. As a citizen, Joanna believed that the public had a right to honest and transparent government.
Unwilling to turn a blind eye, Gualtieri brought suit against the government to hold it accountable. In a landmark case spanning over a decade, Gualtieri fought for greater integrity, accountability and whistleblower rights. She was asked to sit on the Board of, and ultimately Chair, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) — the world’s leading whistleblower organization — in Washington, D.C. She founded Canada’s first whistleblower organization the Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform (FAIR). Gualtieri drafted federal whistleblower legislation and testified numerous times to Parliamentary and Senate committees. Recognized as a leader in the field, her commentaries on whistleblower rights have been widely published. She has spoken extensively to professional organizations and, most importantly in her view, students and youth.
Currently, Gualtieri is developing TIP (The Integrity Principle), a project to educate and embolden young people about the indispensable role of integrity in vocational life by engaging them in real-life stories of ordinary people living integrity in action.