The Act applies to provincial government departments, offices of the Legislature and to public entities. Public entities include any agency, board, commission, Crown corporation, or other entity designated in the Regulations.
The purposes of the Act are to:
- Facilitate the disclosure and investigation of significant and serious matters an employee believes may be unlawful, dangerous or injurious to the public interest;
- Protect employees who make a disclosure;
- Manage, investigate and make recommendations respecting disclosures or wrongdoings and reprisals; and
- Promote public confidence in the administration of the departments, Legislative offices and public entities.
The Regulations were approved by Cabinet on May 15, 2013.
The Transitional Regulation sets out circumstances the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act applies as it exists before March 1, 2018 and in what circumstances the Act applies as it exists on and after March 1, 2018.
TIMELINES AND FINES
The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Regulation establishes the following timelines for managing disclosures:
- Time to acknowledge receipt of disclosure: Five business days from date disclosure received;
- Time to conduct preliminary analysis: 20 business days from date disclosure is received; and
- Time to conduct investigation and reporting of findings: 120 business days from date disclosure is received.
The Act establishes strict penalties of up to $25,000 for the first offence, and up to $100,000 for each subsequent offence. Offences include the following:
- Committing a reprisal (section 24);
- Withholding information, making a false or misleading statement, or counseling or directing another person to do so (section 46);
- Obstructing, counseling or directing another person to obstruct, any individual acting in an official capacity under this Act (section 47); and
- Destroying, mutilating, altering, falsifying, or concealing any document or thing that may be relevant to an investigation; or directing or counseling another person to do so (section 48).