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Whistleblower Protection Finally In Place

The Institute celebrated an enormous victory when the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA) came into effect on April 15, 2007. For more than 15 years the Institute has been fighting for these protections. This legislation, though far from perfect, is the outcome of that long and sustained effort.

The legislation has been crafted as a trade-off between the government’s need for a structure for disclosure of wrongdoing and protections for whistleblowers. This means that, while reprisals against whistleblowers are now explicitly against the law, employees making disclosures must strictly follow the procedure outlined in the Act.

One area of concern in the PSDPA is the tribunal created by the government. The Accountability Act amended the existing PSDPA by creating a tribunal to address complaints of reprisals against whistleblowers. Previously, these complaints were ultimately to be heard by the Public Service Labour Relations Board. This new tribunal will deal with reprisal complaints and, of most concern, hand out discipline. This discipline cannot be grieved. With many members in supervisory positions or other positions of authority, this tribunal is a dangerous and arbitrary innovation and represents a regressive step in labour relations. The Institute will be monitoring the operation of this tribunal and will advocate strongly for change should it ultimately present a barrier instead of a support to whistleblowers. PIPSC members, as professionals, often have their own code of ethics to which they must adhere. Any regime that undermines these ethics and our members’ professionalism cannot be tolerated.

Contributor: Jamie Dunn, Negotiator

This table outlines the disclosure and reprisal complaint procedure under the PSDPA. Members who are considering blowing the whistle on wrongdoing should contact a PIPSC Employment Relations Officer for advice and support.

table

Publish Date: 11-JUL-2007 05:51 PM