B.C. expands whistleblower protection for public-sector organizations
British Columbia has expanded whistleblower protection to additional agencies, boards and commissions.
Effective April 1, 2022, more employees will be protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) as part of a phased expansion that will bring more public-sector organizations under the act.
PIDA allows employees to confidentially share information about a serious wrongdoing that affects the public interest with designated officers within their organizations or to the Office of the Ombudsperson.
It also provides protection to employees who participate in PIDA investigations from reprisals, such as demotion, termination or other measures that adversely affect the employee’s work conditions. It also ensures employees under investigation are treated fairly.
The Province passed PIDA in 2018 in response to the Ombudsperson’s 2017 report, Misfire: The 2012 Ministry of Health Employment Terminations and Related Matters.
The act, which came into force on Dec. 1, 2019, currently applies to staff in government ministries and independent offices of the legislature. Bringing other public-sector organizations, such as agencies, boards and commissions, under PIDA will more closely align B.C. with other jurisdictions in Canada, the province said in a press release.
More agencies, boards and commissions will be brought under PIDA in December 2022, alongside Crown corporations. Recognizing the impacts of the pandemic on certain sectors, other organizations will follow in 2023 and 2024, including health authorities and the education sector.
List of covered agencies, tribunals and commmissions
On April 1, 2022, the first group of B.C.’s agencies, boards, tribunals and commissions will be brought under the Public Interest Disclosure Act. They include:
- BC Games Society
- British Columbia Farm Industry Review Board
- British Columbia Review Board
- British Columbia Safety Authority
- British Columbia Utilities Commission
- Building Code Appeal Board
- Civil Resolution Tribunal
- Community Care and Assisted Living Appeal Board
- Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal
- Employment Standards Tribunal
- Environmental Appeal Board
- Financial Services Tribunal
- Forest Appeals Commission
- Forest Practices Board
- Health Professions Review Board
- Hospital Appeal Board
- Human Rights Tribunal
- Industry Training Appeal Board
- Labour Relations Board
- Mental Health Review Board
- Oil and Gas Appeal Tribunal
- Oil and Gas Commission
- Passenger Transportation Board
- Property Assessment Appeal Board
- Provincial Agricultural Land Commission
- Public Guardian and Trustee
- Safety Standards Appeal Board
- Surface Rights Board
- Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal