Best Practices in Whistleblower Legislation: An Analysis of Federal and Provincial Legislation Relevant to Disclosures of Wrongdoing in British Columbia

Best Practices in Whistleblower Legislation, prepared by Carroll Anne Boydell, instructor of criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University on behalf of the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, compares BC’s new whistleblower legislation, the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA), to international best practices standards.

Best practice principles exist for laws, regulations, and procedures aimed at the protection of those who report wrongdoing. The purpose of this paper is to examine selected legislation containing whistleblower protections that are relevant to those who disclose wrongdoing in British Columbia to determine how well they follow best practice principles. Several best practice principles were reflected in the legislation reviewed, and the introduction of the new Public Interest Disclosure Act in British Columbia is a positive development in the protection of whistleblowers who are employees of the provincial government.

However, not all best practice principles are enshrined in the laws examined here. For example, there are still types of whistleblowers that do not have adequate protections, such as private sector workers and those in the public sector who are not employed by a provincial ministry, government body, or office. In addition, though types of protected disclosures have been expanded under the PIDA, there are still some disclosures of wrongdoing that may remain unprotected, such as interference with freedom of information requests. Some issues were also found related to transparency of decisions made about investigations into disclosures of wrongdoing and complaints of reprisal against whistleblowers, as well as about the accountability of government agencies in protecting whistleblowers. Therefore, some refinements and amendments to whistleblower laws and disclosure management procedures are needed to ensure that adequate protections are afforded to those who disclose wrongdoing in British Columbia.

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For more than twenty years, the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association has relied on the support of our community to provide resources, educational programming, and one-on-one advice. By making a contribution to the Association in exchange for this resource, you’re helping us provide another two decades of service to Canadians and supporting more publications like this in the future. There is no minimum donation amount. Every bit helps.

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Let us know what you think: If you have comments, questions, or concerns about the report, please send them to FIPA at fipa@fipa.bc.ca or tweet to us @BCFIPA.

Access in the Academy: Bringing FOI and ATI to Academic Research

AccessAcademy_CoverAccess in the Academy, developed by the Freedom of Information and Privacy Association and Mike Larsen of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (Instructor, Dept. of Criminology), and generously funded by the Law Foundation of British Columbia, is a brand new educational resource that provides a unique and practical look at how researchers, students, and others in the higher education can make the most of FOI and ATI practices.

Although they shed valuable light on just how public records are produced, managed, and distributed (or withheld), FOI and ATI remain a rarity in the university classroom. This resource hopes to change that. By outlining the general contours of our federal and provincial access regimes and by providing strategies for how to incorporate both into your research designs, Access in the Academy makes a much-needed and highly accessible contribution to the Canadian legal research landscape.

Written by one of Canada’s leading FOI and ATI researchers, produced by Canada’s only non-profit organization solely dedicated to protecting and advancing the information rights of citizens, and extensively reviewed by a diverse team of information experts, librarians, advocates, educators, and students, Access in the Academy is a valuable addition to any research syllabus.

For more than twenty years, the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association has relied on the support of our community to provide resources, educational programming, and one-on-one advice. By making a contribution to the Association in exchange for this resource, you’re helping us provide another two decades of service to Canadians and supporting more publications like this in the future. There is no minimum donation amount. Every bit helps.

Click here to make a donation. We hope you consider supporting the Association, but more importantly, we hope you find Access in the Academy a valuable and practical addition to your research activities!

Download the resource.

About the Author: Mike Larsen is a Professor of Criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. He is also Co-Managing Editor of the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons (jpp.org), a prisoner-authored and peer-reveiwed journal dedicated to experiential narratives and analysis related to spaces and practices of incarceration. His current research draws on a case study analysis of the Canadian security certificate regime to explore issues at the intersection of national security politics and contestations around access to information and secrecy. Mike has recently compiled an edited volume (with Kevil Walby) called Brokering Access: Politics, Power and Freedom of Information in Canada (UBC Press, 2012). Other forthcoming works discuss systemic access to information requests as a research technique for critical social science and questions of accountability and transparency related to collaborative security practices.

Let us know what you think: If you have comments, questions, or concerns about Access in the Academy, please send them to FIPA at fipa@vcn.bc.ca.