Public Interest Disclosure Act
Red River College is designated a “government body” under The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act, C.C.S.M., c.P217 (“PIDA”). As such, the College has procedures in place to manage disclosures about certain types of legal or financial Wrongdoings. Examples include gross financial mismanagement, creating a danger to health or safety, or counselling a person to commit a Wrongdoing.
Any person who makes a good faith disclosure of a Wronging is protected from reprisal. Disclosures will be kept confidential to the fullest extent possible.
A disclosure of Wrongdoing must be made in writing.
A member of the public can make a disclosure of Wrongdoing to the Manitoba Ombudsman.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is PIDA?
The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act (“PIDA”) facilitates the disclosure and investigation of certain types of wrongdoings, in or relating to public bodies. PIDA protects employees who make disclosures of wrongdoing from reprisal, including discipline, demotion, termination or any other measure that adversely affects their employment.
PIDA applies to employees of government departments, Crown corporations, and a number of other government agencies, authorities and boards. Red River College is among the hundreds of public bodies to which PIDA applies.
What types of wrongdoings can be reported?
Under PIDA, a “wrongdoing” is defined as:
- 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 (i.e. breaking the law);
- an act or omission that creates a substantial and specific danger to the life, health or safety of persons, or to the environment, other than a danger that is inherent in the performance of the duties or functions of an employee;
- gross mismanagement, including of public funds or a public asset; or
- knowingly directing or counselling a person to commit a wrongdoing as described above.
If the matter does not relate to one of the above, then PIDA does not apply. Where an employee who has concerns about a matter that does not relate to a wrongdoing defined under PIDA, they are encouraged to consult their organization’s policies and procedures. Other organizational policies (for example, the Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment Policy) and/or provincial legislation such as The Labour Relations Act, The Workplace Safety and Health Act, and The Human Rights Code, may provide appropriate avenues for addressing employee concerns not covered under PIDA.
How are employees protected?
PIDA protects employees who make a disclosure of wrongdoing from reprisal.
“Reprisal” refers to any of the following measures taken against an employee because the employee has sought advice about making a disclosure, made a disclosure, or cooperated in an investigation:
- a disciplinary measure
- a demotion
- termination of employment (being fired)
- any measure that adversely affects employment or working conditions
- threat to take any of the above measures.
Reprisal in an offence under PIDA. A person who takes a reprisal against an employee is liable to prosecution under the Act and may be punished with a fine of up to $10,000.
How to make a disclosure of wrongdoing?
Employees of organizations covered by PIDA may make a disclosure of wrongdoing to their supervisor, the organization’s Designated Officer or the Manitoba Ombudsman. Note that if you make a disclosure to your supervisor, it will be provided by the supervisor to the Designated Officer.
The designated officer for Red River College is the Vice President – Finance and Administration.
An employee who is considering making a disclosure may request advice from the Designated Officer or the Manitoba Ombudsman.
Persons outside the organization wishing to make a disclosure about a possible wrongdoing at the College may do so through the office of the Manitoba Ombudsman. Information on how to do so is available on their website.
What if the Disclosure if urgent?
Under section 14(1) of PIDA, where the subject matter of a disclosure constitutes an imminent risk of a substantial or specific danger to the life, health or safety of individuals, or to the environment, an employee may make a disclosure to the public. Before making a public disclosure of wrongdoing, an employee must first make the disclosure to an appropriate law enforcement agency or, if it is a health-related matter, to the chief medical officer of health. The employee must follow any direction given by law enforcement or the chief medical officer of health.
Immediately after the public disclosure is made, the employee must disclose the matter to their supervisor or the Designated Officer for their organization (the Vice President – Finance and Administration at RRC).
How to deal with reprisal?
Any employee or former employee who believes they have been reprised against for making a disclosure of wrongdoing should make a written complaint of reprisal directly to the Manitoba Ombudsman.
Everyone involved in the handling and investigation of a disclosure is responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information they receive throughout the process, including the name of the person making the disclosure (i.e. the whistleblower).
The College will maintain confidentiality to the fullest extent possible. There may be situations where an individual’s identity needs to be disclosed to investigate the allegations. Where this is necessary, the individual will be advised.