About Us

The office of the Public Interest Commissioner is an independent office of the Alberta Legislature.  We provide advice and investigate disclosures of wrongdoing and complaints of reprisals made by employees of  jurisdictional public entities.

 

 

ROLE OF THE COMMISSIONER

As one of seven Legislative Officers for Alberta, Public Interest Commissioner Peter Hourihan is responsible to ensure strong protection for public sector employees who report a wrongdoing or face reprisals for doing so. The Commissioner provides oversight of disclosures and investigations as well as investigating complaints of reprisal in the public sector covered by The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act, which came into force June 1, 2013.

The legislation applies to the Alberta Public Service, provincial agencies, boards and commissions, as well as academic institutions, school boards, charter schools, and public sector health organizations. Health care professionals appointed to the medical or professional staff of a public organization, or who hold privileges with one, are also protected under the Act.

The Act also requires public entities to establish an internal process to manage and investigate reports of wrongdoing. Under the legislation, public sector bodies are required to appoint a designated officer within their organization to investigate and resolve complaints by employees who report violations of provincial or federal law; acts or omissions that create a danger to the public or environment; and gross mismanagement of public funds. Employees not satisfied with the outcome or who believe they were a victim of reprisal can take their complaint to the Office of the Public Interest Commissioner.

MEET THE COMMISSIONER

Peter Hourihan, who also serves as Alberta’s Ombudsman, was appointed as the province’s first Public Interest Commissioner on April 24, 2013.

Originally from Three Hills and later Calgary, Alberta, Peter spent 35 years in the RCMP, working throughout western Canada, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. He worked in a variety of policing roles including Criminal Operations Officer for Alberta where he oversaw all police operations and Commanding Officer for British Columbia, where he was responsible for all federal, provincial and municipal police operations and activities.

An experienced mediator, Peter has taught courses at the college level in Saskatchewan and was involved heavily in the internal RCMP program where he assisted in developing programs and delivering training. He has also worked internationally with the Department of Public Safety in Texas, USA, in the development and implementation of its mandatory mediation program. Additionally, Peter has significant experience as a decision-maker as well as an advisor in the areas of discipline and grievances.

Peter has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Athabasca University and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ottawa. He received the Long Service medal in 1996, Bronze Clasp in 2001 and Silver Clasp in 2006. He received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.

Peter and his wife Donna enjoy meeting new people, the outdoors, travel and the big prairie sky. They have two adult children, Chris and Michelle.

MEET THE DIRECTOR

Ted Miles is the first Director of the office of the Public Interest Commissioner.

Ted’s background includes more than 33 years’ experience in policing in Alberta with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, retiring at the rank of Superintendent.  Some of his most recent positions were as the manager of the federal Witness Protection Program and as the Operations Director for the Criminal Intelligence Service Alberta.  In 2007, Ted was selected by the Board of Directors as CEO of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT), a not-for-profit corporation focused on fighting organized and serious crime throughout the province.  For more than six years, Ted led ALERT through significant advancements to integrated policing, and achieved an unprecedented impact on organized crime. This unique model of policing was recognized both nationally and internationally as a best practice. During his tenure, ALERT expanded from 100 personnel (three agencies in two locations) to over 400 police officers (nine agencies in seven locations) throughout Alberta.

In June 2013, following the enactment of the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act, Ted sought an opportunity outside policing, and was selected as the first Director of the office of the Public Interest Commissioner.  As Director, he brings numerous years of supervisory and leadership experience, and demonstrated ability to develop and implement focused and effective teams.

In this role, Ted’s goal is to ensure public sector employees have an avenue to voice concerns internally without fear of reprisal, and, when appropriate, disclose wrongdoings externally to the Public Interest Commissioner, advancing accountability and transparency.