Kelly Donovan

Canadian Police Whistleblower against an impenetrable system to improve the ethical standard

While employed as a police officer, Kelly Donovan did what she thought was her obligation and made a disclosure to the board that there were unethical practices within the police force’s internal affairs division.  As a result, she faced retaliation.  Kelly resigned from policing and published her first book titled The Systemic Misfeasance in Ontario Policing and the Coordinated Suppression of Whistleblowers to expose the problems facing modern day policing.

Kelly Donovan advocated for better protections for police whistleblowers in Ontario and effectively influenced law changes so that officers can now anonymously report internal misconduct. Throughout Kelly’s journey she has been recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder and she educates audiences about moral injury and sanctuary trauma. Kelly has become an expert on all issues relating to whistleblowing and suppressive workplace cultures. Even after resigning from the profession, Kelly continued to face reprisal for crossing the “thin blue line.”

Kelly Donovan was the 2019 Ontario Civil Liberties Award recipient and succeeded before the Ontario Court of Appeal as a self-represented litigant. Kelly published her second book in 2020, Police Line: Do Not Cross, Silencing a Canadian Police Whistleblower. Kelly Donovan now conducts workplace investigations to improve the ethical standard of workplaces across Canada.  She holds a degree in statistics from the University of Western Ontario where she was also a varsity rugby player.  Kelly’s story of staying true to one’s internal set of ethics and morals has inspired front-line workers to senior management on topics such as workplace courage, and the effects of trauma in the workplace.

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Having experienced an ethical dilemma herself and choosing to speak out despite the pressure to stay within the thin blue line, Kelly has become an expert on how fear can persuade people to sacrifice their morals. You can’t train someone to behave ethically and with integrity at all times, and you can’t teach courage. You won’t ever be immune to an ethical scandal, but there are ways to inspire and encourage a high ethical standard.

Some people want easy and comfortable. Others are not afraid to challenge status quo. Organizations and individuals who want to grow, must be capable of performing an ethical deep dive and examine their biases and schemata. Kelly’s courage to challenge status quo in Canadian policing has inspired audiences to expect more of themselves, embrace discomfort and not let fear stand in their way.

Only once whistleblowing is understood, do we start to see how important whistleblowers are to society in maintaining a high ethical standard. Kelly explores options and methods to create safe space for disclosure of wrongdoing. Having been a police whistleblower herself, Kelly knows firsthand what happens to someone who tries to follow their internal set of ethics and morals in a highly secretive workplace. Kelly inspires audiences to lead courageously and see whistleblowing for what it is; a gift.

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Wasaga Beach, Ontario

The Systemic Misfeasance in Ontario Policing and the Coordinated Suppression of Whistleblowers

This book details the issues with Ontario police legislation and uses real cases from across Canada to demonstrate the gravity of the problems and the lack of adequate governance. Police leaders have enjoyed autonomy and punished anyone who dares to challenge status quo that is the thin blue line. The abuses of power continue to cost Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars every year.

Police Line: Do Not Cross

With the defunding of police services and #BlackLivesMatter issues being on the forefront, it is more important than ever for people to understand why there are so many bystanders in policing; those who remain silent when they witness something they know is wrong. Speaking up is fatal to a Canadian police officer's career. Kelly's book Police Line: Do Not Cross is a modern-day David and Goliath.

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