B.C.’s ombudsperson has launched his first investigation as a result of new legislation protecting whistleblowers.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act, which came into force on Dec. 1, 2019, aims to provide a way for current and former government employees to report wrongdoing without fear of reprisal.
In his first annual report, released Wednesday, ombudsperson Jay Chalke said his office received 57 contacts in the first four months since the law took effect.
Of those, 22 were disclosures of alleged wrongdoing — 11 of which have been reviewed and one of which has prompted an investigation. The report did not disclose the branch of government or substance of the allegations.
“While it is too early to report on any outcomes of investigative work, it is encouraging that public servants are aware of the act and are availing themselves of the opportunities provided by it,” said Chalke in the report’s forward.
Ten of the disclosures didn’t meet the legal threshold to be investigated because the person was not qualified to make a report or the issue did not qualify as wrongdoing.
Another 11 contacts have yet to be reviewed.
According to the report, the remaining contacts included 17 requests for advice and 18 general inquiries about the new law.