Notice: register_sidebar was called incorrectly. No id was set in the arguments array for the "Content Bottom" sidebar. Defaulting to "sidebar-1". Manually set the id to "sidebar-1" to silence this notice and keep existing sidebar content. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 4.2.0.) in /home/poggtalk/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4146

Notice: register_sidebar was called incorrectly. No id was set in the arguments array for the "Sidebar" sidebar. Defaulting to "sidebar-2". Manually set the id to "sidebar-2" to silence this notice and keep existing sidebar content. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 4.2.0.) in /home/poggtalk/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4146
POGG Canada » 2014 » March
18
Mar 14

2013 Golden Whistle Award

Our sixth annual national Golden Whistle Award presentation and dinner was on Monday March 18, 2013. [credit to Canadians for Accountability for the following paragraphs] [credit to Helen Weldon for the photos]

For a .pdf copy of the program click here . Please take to scroll through the program to the list of sponsors and list of acknowledgements.

This year’s Honouree is Evan Vokes, BSc., P.Eng., of Calgary, Alberta. Mr. Vokes was a professional materials engineer and whistleblower at TransCanada Pipelines (TCPL).

Allan Cutler and Harry Weldon presenting the Golden Whistle Award to Evan Vokes.

During Mr. Vokes’ employment with TCPL he made positive technical and business changes while repeatedly questioning the business practices and competency of some managers and pipeline inspectors.

He informed TCPL through several levels of management that the failure to follow code and regulation was key in a then-recent catastrophic failure of a new pipeline. In response to an invitation from TCPL CEO, Mr. Vokes expressed concerns about what he viewed as TCPL’s negligence regarding enforcement of compliance with the National Energy Board (NEB) Onshore Pipeline Regulations. Several events of current non-compliance were tabled and it was noted that, though Mr. Vokes was accountable, he was not in control of those events. He remains concerned that welds could fail in the future and lead to pipeline failures with negative environmental impacts and personal safety consequences.

Workplace friction eventually led to stress leave in November 2011. In March 2012 Mr. Vokes met with the National Energy Board (NEB) and the Alberta Professional Association of Engineers and Geoscientists (APEGA) to discuss the response to a failed internal audit that was the cause of his stress leave. Although TCPL could find no fault in Mr. Vokes’ input to the internal audit, he was dismissed by TCPL on May 8, 2012.

In a public document addressed to TCPL in October 2012, the NEB validated Mr. Vokes’ strong concerns on pipeline joints and the required independence of inspection of pipeline to ensure compliance to code and regulation. The NEB did not reveal any other areas of the complaint by Mr. Vokes nor the response by TCPL. To date, the USA regulator PHSMA has made no statements concerning the submissions by Mr. Vokes and TCPL remains under investigation. Since May 2012 Mr. Vokes has found only limited employment.

Program and Keynote Speaker

Master of Ceremonies was Mr. Fred Litwin, President, Free Thinking Film Society. Keynote Speaker was Col. Michel Drapeau (ret’d), O.M.M., C.D.. The 2013 Golden Whistle Award was presented by Harry Weldon, Chair Emeritus, POGG Canada, 2013 Chair, Selection Committee, and Allan Cutler, President, Canadians for Accountability, 2013 Chair, Nomination Committee. Mr. Evan Vokes followed with an acceptance speech.

For information on previous recipients, click here.