Home Workplace News B.C.’s whistleblower legislation expands to public post-secondary institutions

B.C.’s whistleblower legislation expands to public post-secondary institutions

by HR Law Canada

As of June 1, 2024, employees in public post-secondary institutions will benefit from new protections under the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA), allowing them to confidentially report serious wrongdoing without fear of retaliation.

This development marks the first phase of PIDA’s expansion into the public post-secondary sector, with research universities set to be included later this year.

“Expanding PIDA to public post-secondary institutions will allow employees to confidentially disclose serious wrongdoing without fear of reprisal,” said Niki Sharma, Attorney General. “As we bring more employees under the protections of this legislation, we are making sure integrity and accountability in our public service is preserved and upheld.”

PIDA, enacted in response to the 2017 ombudsperson’s report, Misfire: The 2012 Ministry of Health Employment Terminations and Related Matters, provides a framework for employees to report serious wrongdoing.

The act protects disclosers and participants in investigations from reprisals, including demotion, termination, or other negative impacts on their employment conditions. It also mandates fair investigations and promotes transparency by requiring annual reports on disclosures and investigation outcomes from both organizations and the ombudsperson.

Since its inception on December 1, 2019, PIDA has been progressively implemented across various public sector entities, including government ministries, independent offices of the legislature, tribunals, Crown corporations, provincial health authorities, Providence Health Care, BC Emergency Health Services, public K-12 schools, and selected agencies, boards, and commissions.

PIDA covers a range of serious wrongdoings, such as:

  • Acts or omissions that constitute an offense under B.C. or Canadian law
  • Actions that pose a substantial and specific danger to life, health, safety, or the environment, excluding inherent job-related dangers
  • Serious misuse of public funds or assets
  • Gross or systemic mismanagement
  • Knowingly directing or counseling someone to commit wrongdoing

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