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Kelly Donovan

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Her Story

Fit4Duty Founder & President, Kelly Donovan, had been a police officer for 5 years when she witnessed abuses of power within her police service when conducting internal investigations.  In May, 2016, Kelly addressed her Police Services Board since they are the oversight body responsible for the effective management of the police service.


The issues Kelly addressed were not objectively or impartially investigated and she became the subject of the very corrupt internal investigation process she had originally addressed.


Over the next 14 months, Kelly contacted every government agency responsible for police oversight to draw attention to the reprisal she was now facing and no agency was willing to intervene.  Kelly resigned from policing, after facing a protracted and corrupt discipline proceeding that would have lasting effects on her career.  She released a report to the media detailing the corruption in policing, and later published her first book.


Kelly's passion to do what's right resulted in the creation of Fit4Duty - The Ethical Standard. Kelly's goal is to provide Canadian workplaces a safe reporting mechanism to detect workplace misconduct early, protect those making disclosures and ensure independence during the investigation process.

The Price of Free Expression

*WARNING: This confusing breakdown is as simple as Kelly can make it, considering the circumstances.


When Kelly resigned from policing in July, 2017, she did not sign a non-disclosure clause preventing her from speaking about her experiences, (that is why she released her book and continues to voice her opinions to improve policing legislation).  Kelly even came back to present to the Waterloo Board again in September, 2017.  CTV News covered this appearance.


While Kelly was working on establishing her business, her new career, Waterloo appealed her Workplace Safety and Insurance Board claim for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment she was receiving.  This sent a strong message to Kelly about how much the police service cared if she recovered at all from her work-inflicted injury.


In May, 2018, Kelly filed a lawsuit in Superior Court for breach of contract against the police service. The Board believed the matter should go before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO), as opposed to Superior Court.    A motion date was set for February, 2019.  Before the motion was heard and a judge decided jurisdiction of her lawsuit...


In June, 2018, the Board filed a case against Kelly at the HRTO asking for the Tribunal to order Kelly stop talking about the Board and order her to pay the Board "significant damages" (it is an attempt to gag her).


In September, 2018, Kelly applied to Superior Court to try to have the Board's case against her dismissed because it is a gag proceeding, (as per Courts of Justice Act, s. 137.1). The result of this application was that, although Justice Favreau did not side with the Board, she ruled that our Anti-SLAPP law does not currently apply to a matter before the HRTO.  The Board could continue to try to gag Kelly.


When Kelly's lawsuit went to court in February, 2019, Justice Doi ruled in favour of the Board, stating that despite the contract that was signed upon her resignation, the Board could in fact file an appeal of her WSIB claim for PTSD benefits.  The original court decision can be read here.  Kelly appealed the ruling, and was heard on October 11, 2019, at the Ontario Court of Appeal on October 11, 2019.


Despite the court case being ongoing from the time Kelly filed in May, 2018, the HRTO has proceeded with the Board's case against her, ordering her to comply with multiple requests for documentation, or lose her right to a defence and fair hearing, (even skimming over the fact that Kelly filed her court case before the Board began their action).  A recent decision by the HRTO can be read here.


Kelly sent a Notice of Constitutional Question to the Attorney Generals of both Ontario and Canada in May, 2019, so that they could intervene in the matter, and Ontario's Anti-SLAPP laws could be broadened to protect people from being gagged, no matter the venue, court or an administrative law tribunal.  Essentially, Kelly was working towards making positive legal changes that would benefit all citizens of Ontario and protect freedom of expression on matters of public interest.


Ontario's Attorney General, Douglas Downey refused to intervene, his refusal letter is on the Downloads page.  


Ironically, the HRTO recently issued a decision telling Kelly that, if she believed the HRTO was unconstitutional, she had to take it up at Court.  In this decision, the HRTO also threatened to dismiss Kelly's case because she accused members of the Tribunal of violating their own policies.  That decision can be read here.


The HRTO continues to schedule teleconferences, not public hearings, and are allowing the Board to proceed with their gag proceeding against Kelly, who remains a self-represented litigant.


On October 25, 2019, Kelly received the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision, her appeal had been allowed, read the decision here.


These ongoing legal proceedings have prevented Kelly from fully implementing her Fit4Duty programmes, but she continues to work in the background to provide even more knowledgable and extensive investigative and consulting services to organizations.

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The Public Cost to Gag a Critic? Over $200k

The Board spent $44,250 to defend allegations made by Kelly prior to her resigning.


AFTER Kelly resigned from the police service, the Board has spent $203,472 on the lawyer to try to gag her, and that amount does NOT include their defence of her appeal at Ontario Appeal Court, (which means they will have spent much more than that - Freedom of Information Request to follow)

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The Politics of Police Corruption

Kelly is using her experience in policing as an example for legislators of why we need to change our laws to protect those who report wrongdoing.


Kelly sent her report to 201 individual politicians in Ontario, (all provincial and federal serving politicians in July, 2017).  Not one of those politicians proactively contacted Kelly to meet with her regarding the issues.


Kelly has met with Laurie Scott, PC MPP, Michael Harris, PC MPP, Hon. Marie-France Lalonde's Senior Policy Advisor, and Will Bouma, PC MPP.

 
Repeated requests to meet with Hon. Yasir Naqvi (previous Attorney General) have gone unanswered.
Daiene Vernile, Liberal MPP refused to meet with Kelly. Douglas Downey (current Attorney General) refused to meet with Kelly.


Kelly has made presentations to the following police services boards:

  • Waterloo Regional Police Services Board
  • Ottawa Police Services Board
  • Durham Regional Police Services Board

London Police Service Board denied Kelly the opportunity to address them.


Kelly addressed the Standing Committee on Justice Policy about Bill 175, (to replace the Police Services Act), on February 22nd and again on March 1st.  Those videos are on the Fit4Duty YouTube page, and are at the bottom of this page. 

Kelly's Book

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Kelly's first book about internal corruption within Canadian police services was published in October, 2017, and is available for purchase using the link below.


She is working on her second book which will detail the mental toll of staying true to one's morals in a corrupt atmosphere.

Her Speaking

Kelly has spoken to audiences about ethics, integrity, and whistleblowing at the following conferences:

  • Ethics in Administrative Law - Canadian Institute, Edmonton
  • MoMondays, Guelph
  • MoMondays, Kitchener
  • Brantford-Brant Chamber of Commerce Women in Business, Brantford
  • Transformational Social Change Symposium - Humber College, Toronto
  • Corporate Ethics and Integrity Summit - Conference Board of Canada, Toronto
  • Fearless Women's Summit - One Woman, St. John's, NL
  • Fearless Women's Summit - One Woman, Niagara Falls
  • Corporate Management Ethics Council Meeting - Conference Board of Canada, Ottawa, ON

Kelly can be booked for speaking engagements across Canada, and beyond.

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Whistleblower Heroes on Revolution Radio

Kelly Donovan on StandUp - SpeakUp

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Kelly Donovan at Queen's Park

February 22, 2018, addressing the Standing Committee on Justice Policy regarding Bill 175 (Safer Ontario Act).

March 1, 2018, addressing the Standing Committee on Justice Policy regarding Bill 175 (Safer Ontario Act).

Fearless Women's Summit - Niagara, On

Podcasts

Kelly shared her story with Karla Stephens-Tolstoy of Stand Up Speak Up