Whistleblower Protection

Staff within an organization such as government may feel intimidated by people who hold positions of power—real or perceived—and this means that reporting on an offence perpetrated by someone in a higher or more influential position, in particular, can lead to fear that some form of retribution will be taken against the person reporting the offence.

Fear of retribution can keep an employee from speaking out against wrong doing

An employee requires assurance that he or she will not be discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed or be discriminated against in any way because of any lawful act this employee undertakes while providing information to superiors (or other appropriate disciplinary or government agencies) regarding conduct the employee reasonably believes violates the code of conduct or any applicable laws, rules and regulations, or in assisting in an investigation of these types of violations.

In 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada endorsed the critical importance of laws protecting employees making good-faith disclosures of wrongdoing by their employers. Although the facts of the case were about an employee’s disclosure of wrongdoing by her private sector employer, the Court’s comments about the purpose of “whistleblower” legislation apply to public sector employees—City of Abbotsford employees—as well.

Whistleblower legislation helps thwart abuse by employers

Whistleblower laws create an exception to the usual duty of loyalty owed by employees to their employer. When applied in government, of course, the purpose is to avoid the waste of public funds or other abuse of state-conferred privileges or authority. The underlying idea is to recruit employees to assist the government in the suppression of unlawful conduct. This is done by providing employees with a measure of immunity against employer retaliation.

As your mayor, I will work with city council to design and implement a whistleblower policy designed to protect the informant from any form of retribution.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly.