As of Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, more employees at B.C.’s agencies, boards, commissions, and a number of Crown corporations will be protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act.
The act allows current and former 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. The act fosters transparency by requiring ministries and the ombudsperson to report each year the number of disclosures they receive and the results of any investigations they undertake.
It also provides employees who participate in investigations under the act with protection from reprisals, such as demotion, termination or other measures that adversely affect the employee’s work conditions. It ensures that employees under investigation are treated fairly.
The Province passed the Public Interest Disclosure Act in 2018 in response to the ombudsperson’s 2017 report, Misfire: The 2012 Ministry of Health Employment Terminations and Related Matters. The Province has implemented all 41 recommendations in the report.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act, which came into force on Dec. 1, 2019, applied to staff in government ministries, independent offices of the legislature and tribunals, as well as select agencies, boards and commissions. Bringing other public-sector organizations, such as Crown corporations and more agencies, boards and commissions, under the act will more closely align B.C. with other jurisdictions in Canada.
The Government Body Designation (Public Interest Disclosure) Regulation was amended effective Dec. 1, 2022, to include 39 more organizations that will be covered by the act. (A list of organizations added is attached as a backgrounder.)
Other organizations, including health authorities and educational institutions, are expected to be brought under the act in 2023 and 2024.
Read the Public Interest Disclosure Act:
Learn more about the Public Interest Disclosure Act and how to make a disclosure:
A backgrounder follows.