Best practices in whistleblower legislation: Upcoming research project

Carroll Boydell, an instructor in the Department of Criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, is working with BC FIPA on a new research project that will look at best practices in whistleblower legislation.

We are working on a new project that will identify and analyze best practices in legislation that governs whistleblowers’ rights and protections.

Typically, whistleblowers are employees who refuse to commit illegal or wrongful acts, or who report instances of illegal or wrongful acts committed by fellow employees or employers. Though the typical goal of whistleblowing is to uncover and cease wrongdoing, whistleblowers often face retaliation in the form of hostility from superiors, being wrongfully terminated from their jobs, or by having violence perpetrated against them.

Whistleblower acts are statutes intended to protect employees from retaliation as a result of disclosing institutional wrongdoing. Until recently, limited protections were offered to whistleblowers in BC. However, the Public Information Disclosure Act, recently passed through the BC Legislative Assembly, now outlines procedures for how BC government employees may engage in whistleblowing and affords protections against reprisal for reporting wrongdoing.

In addition to BC legislation on whistleblower protections, we will analyze legislation from other Canadian provinces, with a critical look at protections offered for whistleblowing on misconduct related to transparency and access to information in the public sector.

Finally, this paper will examine the limits and scope of the protections offered to whistleblowers and discuss best practices for laws and policies that guide those who seek to reporting wrongdoing.