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Canadian Sponsorship Scandal: The Whistleblower's Perspective

Case 9 100 2014 002
Case published in the International Journal of Case Studies in Management, Vol. 12, No. 2
Languages : 
  • English
  • Governance,
  • Conduct and ethics,
  • Personal values,
  • Leadership
Year of production : 
Registration date : 
Teaching notes included : 

This case is about the Sponsorship Scandal that plagued Canada’s federal government in the mid-1990s. The case is told in the words of the federal government bureaucrat who blew the whistle about the corruption. The way federal civil servants dealt with the whistleblower’s revelations is examined.

Primary domain : 
Business ethics  - Governance
Secondary domain : 
Sectors : 
  • Public administration
Source : 
Type : 
Traditional case (Descriptive or analytical case)
Type of data used in the production of the case : 
Factual data that is not public wherein the identity of the company/person is disclosed
Event location : 
Ottawa, Canada
Year of start of the event : 
Year the event ended : 
Business size : 
government agency
Main themes covered

The case deals with individual, organizational and societal issues.

It can be modified for use as a decision-making case by adding questions; for example, moral dilemma questions and questions about personal values and how students would react in a similar situation.

Teaching objectives

Upon completing this case, students should be able to:

  • Explain the personal issues faced by a whistleblower and possible actions;
  • Explain the issues of whistleblowing in organizations and their implications;
  • Understand some practical issues regarding the procurement process and approval;
  • Recognize some difficulties concerning the concepts of accountability, whistleblowing and whistleblower;
  • Recognize the difficulties of organizational practices in a hostile context.