OTTAWA—Research chemist J.J.B. Pierre Blais joined the health protection branch of Canada’s Department of National Health and Welfare in 1976 in the midst of a productive career in the federal science bureaucracy. He had spent seven years at the National Research Council, and looked forward to many more satisfying years with his new agency.

For a while it was just that. An expert in the biocompatibility of implant materials, Blais has worked on projects that have led to amendments in Canada’s Medical Devices Regulations and served as section head within the department. “He’s a brilliant scientist who is always searching for the truth,” says one of his superiors, Agit Das Gupta. Blais also built a reputation as an innovative and productive investigator, with some 180 published articles, book chapters, patents, and monographs.

But six weeks ago Blais, at the age of 49, was fired from his job. And he blames...

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