Originator: Vice President – Finance and Administration
Approver: President’s Council
Effective: May 11, 2010
Replaces: New

Download the PDF version of this policy

1. Preamble

On April 2, 2007, legislation entitled The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act was proclaimed. The purpose of this Act is to provide a clear process for the disclosure and investigation of significant and serious matters in public service that are potentially unlawful, dangerous to the public, or injurious to the public interest. The Act also provides protection from reprisal for an employee or third party observer who makes a good faith disclosure of a situation they reasonably believe shows Wrongdoing has been or is about to be committed.

The College will not allow or condone “any practice, activity, decision or organizational circumstance that is either imprudent, illegal, in violation of commonly accepted business and professional ethics, not in keeping with the College’s statement of values, or in contravention of applicable laws, Board policies or Board directives.”1

2. Policy

It is the policy of Red River College that a Person who becomes aware of Wrongdoing as defined by the Public Interest Disclosure Act has the obligation to make disclosure of such information. There will be no reprisal against a Person who has made such a disclosure in good faith.

While this Policy deals with disclosures of Wrongdoing made by employees, the same principles and procedures apply to a disclosure by a third party observer who may make a disclosure to the office of the Manitoba Ombudsman.

3. Definitions

3.1.

The Act – The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act.

3.2.

Public Interest Disclosure Officer – the Act requires every chief executive to designate a senior official to be the designated officer for the purpose of this Act, to receive and deal with disclosures by employees. The Red River College Public Interest Disclosure Officer is the Vice President – Finance and Administration.

3.3.

Person – An employee or a student who makes a disclosure.

3.4.

Reprisal – Reprisal is any of the following measures taken against a Person, or any third party, because of having, in good faith, sought advice about making a disclosure, made a disclosure, or co-operated in an investigation:

  1. a disciplinary measure;
  2. an effect on academic evaluation;
  3. a demotion;
  4. termination of employment or contract;
  5. any measure that adversely affects his or her employment, learning or working conditions; or
  6. a threat to take any of the measures referred to in clauses (a) to (e).
3.5.

Wrongdoing – The Act defines Wrongdoing in or relating to the public service as:

  1. an act or omission constituting an offence under an Act of the Legislature or the Parliament of Canada, or a regulation made under an Act;
  2. an act or omission that creates a substantial and specific danger to the life, health or safety of persons, or the environment, other than a danger that is inherent in the performance of the duties or functions of an employee;
  3. gross mismanagement, including of public funds or a public asset; or
  4. knowingly directing or counseling a person to commit a wrongdoing described in clauses (a) to (c)

4. Procedures

Making a Disclosure
4.1.

A disclosure of Wrongdoing must be made in writing and include the following information:

  1. the name of the person making the disclosure;
  2. a description of the Wrongdoing;
  3. the name of the person(s) alleged to have committed or is about to commit the Wrongdoing;
  4. the date of the Wrongdoing; and
  5. whether the Wrongdoing has already been disclosed and a response received
4.2.

The written disclosure can be made to any of:

  1. in the case of an employee:
    1. the employee’s supervisor;
    2. the College Public Interest Disclosure Officer; or
    3. the office of the Manitoba Ombudsman.
  2. in the case of a student:
    1. the Dean of Student Services;
    2. the College Public Interest Disclosure Officer; or
    3. the office of the Manitoba Ombudsman.
  3. in the case of any other party:
    1. the office of the Manitoba Ombudsman.
4.3.

Upon receipt, each disclosure will be marked to show the date of receipt.

4.4.

Each disclosure must be maintained in a separate file.

4.5.

Disclosures and related correspondence must be kept and handled in paper form only. Information received by electronic mail must be printed and the electronic mail deleted. The electronic mail must not be forwarded or responded to by using the “reply” option.

4.6.

Disclosure files will be treated as strictly confidential, maintained in a secure manner and location, and protected from unauthorized access.

4.7.

Care must be taken at all times to protect the identity of the disclosing Person, any witnesses, and the alleged wrongdoer.

4.8.

All written information obtained as a result of the receipt of the disclosure, review of the disclosure, or the investigation of the alleged Wrongdoing must be included in the disclosure file. All pertinent information obtained verbally must be documented in writing in the disclosure file and dated and signed by the person receiving the information.

Responsibilities of Supervisors/ Dean of Student Services
4.9.

A supervisor or the Dean of Student Services who receives a disclosure from a Person must arrange to have a private discussion with the Person within ten working days of receiving the disclosure.

4.10.

The supervisor or the Dean of Student Services will advise the Person that all information regarding their identity as a disclosure will be protected to the fullest extent possible.

4.11.

The supervisor or the Dean of Student Services will advise the Person that they have a responsibility to protect information related to the disclosure and must protect the identity of the alleged wrongdoer.

4.12.

The supervisor or the Dean of Student Services will then notify the Public Interest Disclosure Officer and transfer the disclosure in a confidential manner for further review and handling.

Responsibilities of the College Public Interest Disclosure Officer
4.13.

The Public Interest Disclosure Officer who receives a disclosure from a Person or any third party must arrange to have a private discussion with the disclosing employee within ten working days of receiving the disclosure.

4.14.

The Public Interest Disclosure Officer will advise the disclosing Person or any third party, that they have a responsibility to protect information related to the disclosure and must protect the identity of the alleged wrongdoer.

4.15.

When a disclosure is received, the Public Interest Disclosure Officer will review the disclosure to determine the disclosure meets the following criteria:

  1. The disclosure was made in good faith, and is not frivolous;
  2. The disclosure falls within the categories of Wrongdoing covered by the Act;
  3. The Person has a reasonable belief that the information could show that a Wrongdoing has been or is about to be committed.
4.16.

A disclosure must be reviewed promptly to determine if the matter disclosed represents a Wrongdoing as defined in the Act and to determine the appropriate action to be taken. Every effort will be made to complete the review within 30 working days from the initial receipt of disclosure.

4.17.

Investigations must be managed by the Public Interest Disclosure Officer, with appropriate assistance as required. This responsibility cannot be delegated.

4.18.

Investigations will be conducted promptly and in a confidential manner, with due regard for the protection of the identity of all individuals involved. The investigation will adhere to all principles of procedural fairness and natural justice.

4.19.

The Public Interest Disclosure Officer will document the outcome of the investigation in the disclosure file. If the investigation results in a finding of Wrongdoing, the disclosure file will include any recommendations of corrective actions to be taken. If the investigation results in a finding that no Wrongdoing has occurred, the file will include reasons why no corrective action was recommended or taken.

4.20.

An employee who commits Wrongdoing is subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

Advising of Outcome of an Investigation
4.21.

The Public Interest Disclosure Officer will inform the disclosing Person, the alleged wrongdoer and the Chief Executive Officer of the outcome of an investigation within 60 days. The Public Interest Disclosure Officer must include a note in the disclosure file, signed and dated, confirming this communication has occurred.

4.22.

If the Public Interest Disclosure Officer finds an investigation is not warranted, the reason for this determination and any action that has been taken is to be documented in writing in the disclosure file. The disclosing Person and the Chief Executive Officer will be advised promptly that the review of the disclosure has been concluded.

Withdrawal of a Disclosure
4.23.

If, after submitting a disclosure, the disclosing Person wishes to withdraw the disclosure, the Public Interest Disclosure Officer must request that the disclosing Person provide written advice of the withdrawal. Upon receipt of the withdrawal notice, the Public Interest Disclosure Officer must close the disclosure file.

4.24.

In the event that a disclosure is withdrawn, the Public Interest Disclosure Officer must determine whether any action regarding the subject matter of the disclosure needs to be taken. This action is independent of the disclosure process, and is to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Protection from Reprisal
4.25.

There will be no Reprisal against a Person or any third party if the Person or third party has, in good faith:

  1. sought advice about making a disclosure from his or her supervisor, the Public Interest Disclosure Officer, or the provincial Ombudsman;
  2. made a disclosure; or
  3. co-operated in an investigation under this Act.
4.26.

If a Person or third party believes that there has been a reprisal due to his disclosure of Wrongdoing, he may seek redress by filing a written complaint with the office of the Manitoba Ombudsman.

4.27.

If a disclosure is deemed to have been frivolous or malicious, a Person may be subject to disciplinary action.

5. Responsibilities

5.1.

The Chief Executive Officer has the responsibility to appoint a Public Interest Disclosure Officer.

5.2.

The College Public Interest Disclosure Officer has the responsibility to oversee all aspects of the disclosure, investigation and reporting process of the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

5.3.

A Person who becomes aware of Wrongdoing has the responsibility to make disclosure of this information in writing according to the procedures of the Policy.

5.4.

The Supervisor of an Employee who makes a disclosure has the responsibility to accept that disclosure and follow the procedures of this Policy to transfer ownership of the information to the Public Interest Disclosure Officer.

Related Policy and Legislation

2.0 Global Executive Limitation – Executive Limitation Board of Governors Policy Manual

The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act S.M. 2006. c. 35

Footnotes

1 Red River College Board of Governors Policy