ROLE OF THE COMMISSIONER
As one of seven Legislative Officers for Alberta, the Public Interest Commissioner is responsible for ensuring strong protection for public sector employees who report a wrongdoing and 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.