Province expands whistleblower protections to public sector
Thursday, July 29, 2021 12:30 PM
More B.C. public sector employees will be protected when bringing forward concerns about serious wrongdoing with the expansion of the scope of the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA).
PIDA, which came into force on Dec. 1, 2019, currently applies to staff in government ministries and independent offices of the legislature. Bringing other public sector organizations, such as Crown corporations and agencies, under PIDA will more closely align B.C. with other jurisdictions in Canada.
“Over the past 18 months, we’ve had a chance to see these whistleblower protections for public servants in action and have fine-tuned the act to prepare for the rollout to the broader public sector,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “This expansion will support transparency and accountability across government, giving staff throughout the public sector the confidence to come forward with concerns or information about wrongdoing without fear of being punished for speaking out.”
PIDA will be implemented in a phased approach. This provides more time for sectors that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 to implement the necessary changes brought by the act.
Starting in April 2022, B.C.’s tribunals and a number of agencies, boards and commissions will be brought under PIDA. Other organizations will follow over a period of three years, including health authorities, the education sector and Crown corporations.
This phased approach broadly follows consultations with the Office of the Ombudsperson and the various organizations that will be impacted and recognizes the complexity for certain sectors to implement the act.
- PIDA allows whistleblowers to confidentially disclose concerns about issues that affect the public interest to designated officers within their organizations or to the Office of the Ombudsperson.
- The act protects employees who participate in PIDA investigations from reprisals, such as demotion or termination, and ensures employees under investigation are treated fairly.
- It also fosters transparency by requiring ministries and the ombudsperson to report the number of disclosures they receive and the results of any investigations they undertake each year.
- Government passed PIDA in May 2018 in response to the ombudsperson’s 2017 report, Misfire: The 2012 Ministry of Health Employment Terminations and Related Matters.
To read the Public Interest Disclosure Act, visit:
To learn more about PIDA and how to make a disclosure, visit:
A backgrounder follows.
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