– – – Government welcomes Recommendations form Review of Public Interest Disclosure Act: Minister Howard
The Manitoba government has made the report on the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act (PIDA) available following a review of the legislation, Finance Minister Jennifer Howard, minister responsible for the Civil Service Commission, announced today. The review was conducted by Dianna Scarth, former executive director of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.
“We believe that people should feel that they are able to bring forward concerns when they see wrongdoing without the fear of reprisal,” said Minister Howard. “We were the first province to bring in stand-alone legislation to protect whistleblowers and we welcome these recommendations which will allow us to make the legislation even stronger.”
PIDA was proclaimed in April 2007. The act facilitates disclosure and investigation of significant or serious wrongdoing in or relating to the public service, and protects people who make disclosures from reprisal.
The report contains a total of 10 recommendations made in the context of the evolution of whistleblower protection legislation across Canada since 2007. The recommendations fall within four major areas:
recommendations to ensure all employees receive adequate education programs and that designated officers are adequately trained;
recommendations to create a central process to ensure that all bodies covered by PIDA have effective measures in place to provide them with support when creating procedures and interpreting the act, and to track and gather data related to internal disclosures among all departments, bodies or organizations, and make it available to the public;
recommendations that would clarify and amend procedures relating to the ombudsman’s responsibilities under PIDA; and
recommendations to strengthen the protections available to address allegations of reprisal by giving the ombudsman the authority to investigate and take immediate action to address acts of reprisals.
In addition to recommendations, the report found that overall PIDA has functioned effectively and that its procedures and protections were carefully considered and appropriate for the time the legislation was drafted and proclaimed. The report also notes that PIDA is comprehensive, stand-alone legislation which sets out clear definitions of wrongdoings and provides options for employees.
Minister Howard committed today to providing all government employees with annual updated info on whistleblower protection.
“We recognize that as whistleblower protection in Canada evolves, we need to build on the solid foundation we already have here in Manitoba. Ensuring all employees have the tools they need is a big part of that,” said Minister Howard. “We will be reviewing these recommendations and consulting with stakeholders to see the best way to update our legislation.”