PIDA - The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act - applies to provincial government departments, offices of the Legislature and to public entities. Public entities include any agency, board, commission, Crown corporation, or other entity designated in the Regulations.
PIDA facilitates the disclosure and investigation of alleged Wrongdoing of employees of public entities and protects employees who report alleged Wrongdoing from reprisal. PIDA applies to public entities created by the Province of Alberta, including the University of Calgary. PIDA applies only to alleged Wrongdoing committed after June 1, 2013.
PIDA does not apply to complaints by students or about students. These are addressed by other university policies and procedures.
A disclosure under PIDA is when an employee of a public entity, acting in good faith, reports an alleged Wrongdoing by the public entity to the public entity's designated PIDA officer. The university's designated PIDA officer is the Protected Disclosure Advisor, Shirley Voyna Wilson.
PIDA defines Wrongdoings as:
a) a contravention of legislation or regulations passed by the province of Alberta or by the federal
government of Canada;
b) an act or omission that creates:
(i) a substantial and specific danger to the life, health or safety of individuals other than a danger
that is inherent in the performance of the duties or functions of an employee, or
(ii) a substantial and specific danger to the environment;
c) gross mismanagement of public funds or a public asset; or
d) knowingly directing or counseling an individual to commit a Wrongdoing mentioned above
PIDA provides protection from reprisals for employees who in good faith seek advice about making a disclosure, make a disclosure, cooperate in an investigation or refuse to participate in a Wrongdoing. PIDA defines reprisal as:
a) a dismissal, layoff, suspension, demotion or transfer, discontinuation or elimination of
a job, change of job location, reduction in wages, change in hours of work or
b) any other measure that adversely affects the employee's employment or working
c) threats to do any of the above.
PIDA requires employees who wish to make a disclosure to utilize the public entity's internal disclosure procedures as the first step for reporting alleged Wrongdoing. The university's disclosure procedures are outlined in the Procedure for Protected Disclosure.
The university's Protected Disclosure Advisor is the designated PIDA officer and the first point of contact for employees who want to disclose alleged Wrongdoing. The Protected Disclosure Advisor is responsible for assessing whether or not to investigate; overseeing investigations of alleged Wrongdoing; reviewing the report of the investigation's findings and making recommendations to the President of the University, who is the University's Chief Officer for purposes of PIDA.
Where internal procedures fail to resolve the matter and in some other instances, such as reprisal, employees may also disclose directly to the Public Interest Commissioner.
Under PIDA, a disclosure must be in writing. If made verbally the Protected Disclosure Advisor must make a written record of the disclosure and the person making the disclosure must date and sign it.
The written disclosure must include the following information if known:
a) A description of the alleged Wrongdoing;
b) The name of the individual(s) alleged to have committed the Wrongdoing or to be about to
commit the Wrongdoing;
c) The date(s) of the alleged Wrongdoing;
d) If the disclosure is made to the Public Interest Commissioner, whether the disclosure has been
made pursuant to the procedures established by the public entity to investigate disclosures or
Wrongdoing and if so, a copy of the response;
e) Any additional information that the designated PIDA officer or Public Interest Commissioner may
reasonably require to investigate the matters set out in the disclosure.
The identity of employees who make a disclosure or seek advice, witnesses and persons who are alleged to be responsible for a Wrongdoing, will be protected to the extent possible.
An investigation of a disclosure must also comply with the principles of procedural fairness and natural justice. As a result, the person against whom the allegation has been made will be told about the allegation and may also be told who made the report.
Employees are encouraged to report allegations of Wrongdoing or misconduct to their supervisor or other authorities as specified in relevant university policies. Reports will be carefully considered and appropriate action will be taken to resolve the concerns. Contact the Protected Disclosure Advisor if you are not sure how to proceed.
ConfidenceLine is a third party service provider retained by the university, which allows individuals to anonymously report Wrongdoing and sensitive issues in the workplace. ConfidenceLine will communicate the reported concerns to the Protected Disclosure Advisor.
The Protected Disclosure Advisor will acknowledge receipt of the disclosure, assess the disclosure based on the information provided, determine next steps, and inform ConfidenceLine accordingly. ConfidenceLine will then communicate this information to the individual who made the report.
The Protected Disclosure Advisor reviews the disclosure to determine if it should be dealt with as a Protected Disclosure of Wrongdoing: referred to an alternate, more appropriate process; dismissed for being frivolous or vexatious in nature and made in bad faith; or dismissed for another valid reason. If the Protected Disclosure Advisor determines the disclosure should be dealt with as a Protected Disclosure of Wrongdoing, the complaint will be dealt with in accordance with the Procedure for Protected Disclosure.
The identity of a disclosing employee and others involved in the disclosure and investigation process, as well as the information collected, will be protected to the extent possible. Information will be shared only with those who have a legitimate need to know the information.
The Protected Disclosure Advisor, the person making the disclosure and those participating in the investigation have a responsibility to maintain confidentiality and should discuss the disclosure only with those who have a legitimate need to know the information.
The Protected Disclosure Advisor will advise the complainant of the progress of the investigation and whether the complaint was substantiated or not.
An employee who commits a Wrongdoing may be disciplined up to and including dismissal, in addition to and separate from any penalty provided by law. Disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with the provisions of any applicable collective agreement.
A disclosure may be withdrawn. However, the University may be obliged to review or investigate concerns of Wrongdoing(s) in the absence of complaint.
An employee against whom a disclosure has been made will be advised of the allegations against them and given an opportunity to respond in accordance with the Procedure for Protected Disclosure.
Click here for more information on the Procedure for Protected Disclosure at the University of Calgary.