The Public Interest Disclosure and Wrongdoing Act came into force in Yukon on June 15, 2015. The Actcovers the following public sector organizations:
- A department, directorate, secretariat or other similar executive agency of the Government of Yukon
- The Legislative Assembly Office
- The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer
- The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate
- Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board
- Yukon College
- Yukon Development Corporation
- Yukon Energy Corporation
- Yukon Hospital Corporation
- Yukon Housing Corporation
- Yukon Liquor Corporation
Employees of these public sector organizations are provided with a reporting mechanism to report on conduct that is illegal, dangerous to the public, or injurious to the public interest. Any reports made by a whistleblower must be made in good faith. It is contrary to the Act for an employee to make a false or misleading report.
The Act protects whistleblowers from reprisal and establishes a system to deal with allegations of reprisal by the employer. Any employee who has been the subject of reprisal can report the matter to the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner, which is a position created by the Act. In addition, if the employee so chooses, a complaint of reprisal can be dealt with under the grievance procedure of the individual’s collective agreement. If the employee chooses to go this route and files a grievance with respect to an alleged reprisal, the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner will not become involved.
The Act also addresses situations where whistleblowers can go to the media and the procedure:
“An employee can make a public disclosure if he/she reasonably believes that time is of the essence to prevent or mitigate an imminent, significant danger to people or the environment, and there is not enough time to make the disclosure through one of the regular channels.
Before going ‘public’, the employee must contact an appropriate law enforcement agency (e.g., RCMP), and is subject to any direction the agency considers necessary in the public interest.”
After “going public” in these circumstances, the whistleblower must then make the complaint under the usual process established by the Act.