The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act gives employees a clear process for voicing concerns about significant and serious wrongdoing, and provides a legislated process for reporting and investigating wrongdoing. Protection from reprisal includes confidentiality, anonymity, and the legal ability to disclose confidential and private information.
The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act applies to Alberta employees within the following categories:
- Alberta government departments
- Offices of the Legislature
- Provincial agencies, boards and commissions
- School boards
- Accredited private schools that receive public funding
- Post-secondary academic institutions
- Public sector health authorities, including Alberta Health Services
- Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and their offices
- Ministers and their offices
- The Premier and his/her office
- Prescribed service providers
What is a wrongdoing?
Wrongdoing is defined as:
- a contravention of an Act, a regulation made pursuant to an Act, an Act of the Parliament of Canada, or a regulation made pursuant to an Act of the Parliament of Canada;
- an act or omission that creates a substantial and specific danger to the life, health or safety of individuals;
- an act or omissions that creates a substantial and specific danger to the environment;
- gross mismanagement of public funds or a public asset;
- gross mismanagement of the delivery of a public service, including the management or performance of
- a contract or arrangement identified or described in the regulations, including the duties resulting from the contract or arrangement or any funds administered or provided under the contract or arrangement, and
- the duties and powers resulting from an enactment identified or described in the regulations or any funds administered or provided as a result of the enactment;
- gross mismanagement of employees, by a pattern of behavior or conduct of a systemic nature that indicates a problem in the culture of the organization relating to bullying, harassment or intimidation;
- knowingly directing or counselling an individual to commit a wrongdoing mentioned above.
What is a reprisal?
Reprisals can take many forms, and may include:
- A dismissal, layoff, suspension, demotion or transfer, discontinuation or elimination of a job, change of work location, reduction in wages, changes in hours of work or a reprimand;
- Any measure that adversely affects the employment or working conditions of the employee; or
- A threat to take any of the previously mentioned actions.