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City updates whistleblower policy

The city has updated its whistleblower policy.

The 2015 policy required revision in accordance with Quebec’s Act to facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoings relating to public bodies and based on current best reporting practices.

The new version specifies measures to protect whistleblowers from reprisals and those that preserve the confidentiality of their identity, and are intended to promote transparency, objectivity and independence in the handling of reports received by Laval’s Integrity and Ethics Office (BIEL), which reports to Laval Police. The city’s employees, elected officials and senior executives are subject to this policy.

Reports of wrongdoing allow the city to correct problematic situations and improve its means of

prevention and control, in order to preserve the integrity of its activities. Ultimately, the policy aims to maintain public confidence in the through improved processes, rules and working methods.

Key changes include measures to process and track reports, on reporting procedures, to protect the privacy of whistleblowers, and adding prohibited practices (such as dismissal) for reporting reprehensible actions.

Under the policy, these actions include illicit activity such as a city councillor taking a payoff or favour to help a business obtain rezoning for their property or permission to renovate some previously prohibited aspect of it; a director asking a supplier to break up invoices to keep them below the threshold requiring executive authorization; an employee using city equipment or materials for personal use; elected officials adopting fraudulent social media profiles to act in a manner which would embarrass the city; an elected official using his/her position (city contacts, citizen data) to facilitate raising money for a family member’s profit-making initiative.

Contact BIEL by phone: 450 575-BIEL (2435); email; or at 1200 boul. Chomedey, suite 975.

(UPAC (Unité permanente anticorruption) can be directly reached via the whistleblowing telephone line to expose any act of corruption, misappropriation of funds or inappropriate situation, real or apparent.)

Learn more about BIEL at

View the policy (in French only):

View the employee code of ethics (in French only):

View the elected officials code of ethics (in French only):

New English parents leadership elected

The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) elected a new executive during its Annual General Assembly last Saturday in Montreal.

Board members representing their respective school board Parent Committees elected outgoing Vice-President and English Montreal School Board delegate Katherine Korakakis as President, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board delegate Ailsa Pehi as Vice-President. Pierre Masson of the Central Quebec School Board was elected Treasurer.

Korakakis succeeds Rhonda Boucher who served as President for four years, thanking her fellow directors for their confidence. “I look forward to meeting the challenges that lie ahead and working with the diverse and dedicated board members who are the voice of parent stakeholders in Quebec’s English public education network.”

Unlike the Quebec English School Boards Association, which represents schoolboards via councils comprised of elected and appointed commissioners – many with few, tenuous or no links at all to the school community – EPCA is a direct representation of Parent Committees with directors elected by fellow parents of children in English public schools.

For 10 years, Korakakis has been responsible for the development of entrepreneurial initiatives and projects under the auspices of the Quebec government’s Quebec Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge program. She has authored and co-authored guidebooks on entrepreneurship education and served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations and serves as Vice-President of PME MTL Centre-Ouest and on the investment committees of PME MTL Centre and PME MTL Centre-Ouest.

A business and political consultant, Pehi is a former Sir Wilfrid Laurier school commissioner and currently serves as Vice-President of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation, and board Vice-President of the non-profit Centre d’Activités Récréatives et Educatives which serves Anglophone adults with physical disabilities.

With 16 delegates elected from eight English school board Parent Committees, EPCA has worked since 2009 with Quebec organizations and associations helping support parent committees and representing their interests to the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur.

Montreal mourns with its Persian community

During last Thursday’s evening vigil, hundreds of people gathered in front of Concordia’s GM building to honour the memory of their friends and colleagues who were killed when Iran’s Revolutionary Guards fired the missile that destroyed Ukrainian Airlines flight PS752 that was supposed to take them home. As 63 of the 176 victims happened to be Canadian, eight of the dead were also members of Quebec’s thriving Persian community who came to live and study in Montreal. As both Siavash and Sara Azar recently earned their graduate degrees out of Concordia University’s Engineering faculty, several mourners told The Suburban that their loss was “personal” because they were all immigrants, and as many of them knew the Azar couple when they were students at the university, they all had as much in common with the dead newlyweds as they did with each other.

“There are a lot of students here who identify with what happened to Siavash and Sara,” said Saman Abolfathi – the Concordia student who organized the evening’s vigil. “Several people here knew them, and we all shared their experience as students at the university.”

According to Abolfathi, Siavash and Sara Azar recently earned their Master’s degrees in Engineering at Concordia before going back to Iran to get married. Others, including Aida Farzaneh and Arvin Morattab, were recent graduates with a PhD out of Montreal’s ETS (École de Technologie Supérieure) who wanted to do some travelling in Iran before returning to work in Montreal. Like many recently arrived immigrants who discover Quebec’s generous professional training programs, Shahab Raana and his friend Saham Hatefi Mostaghim were both putting in the hours to become accredited welders when they decided to go back to see the friends and family in Iran during the Christmas break. Others, including gallery manager Niloufar Sadr were on the plane as was Mohammad Moeini, a draftsman who worked at the Bombardier Recreational Products plant in Valcourt, Québec.

As the wind blew through the busy intersection that faces the Norman Bethune Square, there were a lot of quiet tears as candles were lit in front of victim’s pictures. At around 6 p.m., everybody shared a quiet moment before various speakers began to denounce what happened to Ukrainian Airlines Flight PS752 shortly after it left Teheran’s airport. Although there were lots of questions — and more than a few accusations — about how and why a plane full of Canadians was shot down, many, including Abolfathi, said that the evening’s vigil was meant to provide time to think of the victims and their families who would have to deal with their loss.

“We’re here to show our love and support to those who lost their lives,” said Abolfathi. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to these victims, their loved ones and their families.”

“I’m glad the team came back in the second half,” Lakers coach Karim Ladicani said. “It was only a five-point difference, and that only happened in the last few minutes of the game. The only thing we can do is practice hard and come back stronger next game.”