Advertisement

One investigation begun under B.C.’s new whistleblower protection law

The British Columbia Legislature is reflected in the waters of Victoria harbour in the early morning in Victoria, B.C. Monday, Jan. 16, 2012.
The British Columbia Legislature is reflected in the waters of Victoria harbour in the early morning in Victoria, B.C. Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

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.

Global News exclusive with whistleblower from legislature scandal report
Global News exclusive with whistleblower from legislature scandal report

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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

READ MORE: Whistleblower warned B.C. casino in 2000 of alleged ‘co-operation with organized crime’

“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.

READ MORE: Whistleblower alleges legislature expense issues beyond clerk and sergeant-at-arms

According to the report, the remaining contacts included 17 requests for advice and 18 general inquiries about the new law.

‘I’m a very candid kind of guy and that gets me in trouble’: Plecas on controversial comments
‘I’m a very candid kind of guy and that gets me in trouble’: Plecas on controversial comments