Thinking About Making a Public Interest Disclosure?
The below information applies to employees in government ministries as outlined in HR Policy 24.
Employees from other public sector organizations, including agencies, boards and commissions should direct PIDA inquiries to their specific organization.
Are You Thinking About Making a Public Interest Disclosure?
You may have seen something in your workplace that you think shouldn’t be happening. Not sure what to do about it?
There are a number of ways that you can report an issue, including under the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA). Before you do, consider the type of information that you have.
Is it about bullying or harassment?
Under the Standards of Conduct, you are required to report incidents of bullying, breaches of the Standards of Conduct and wrongdoing. Consult Address discrimination, bullying and harassment and talk to your supervisor or your ministry ethics advisor. If the matter is about sexual harassment, consult Address sexual harassment and talk to your supervisor or your ministry ethics advisor.
Is it a workplace grievance or about workplace conflict?
Is it a workplace health and safety issue?
Consult the HR policy 04 – Occupational safety and health (PDF, 124KB) and speak to your supervisor or Occupational Safety and Health Committee representative. If you are a supervisor, consult Managing occupational health and safety.
Is it about one of the following situations?
- A serious act or omission that, if proven, would be an offence under an enactment of B.C., or Canada
- An act or omission that creates 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 an employee’s duties or functions
- A serious misuse of public funds of public assets
- Gross or systemic mismanagement
- Knowingly directing or counselling a person to commit a wrongdoing of one or more of these four types
These are situations you may choose to report by making a public interest disclosure. For other workplace concerns, there are other resources and people to go to.
Review HR Policy 24 – Public Interest Disclosure (PDF, 372KB) and the Public Interest Disclosure Procedure (PDF, 276KB) for details of who can disclose, how to disclose, how you are protected, and other aspects of the process. Seeking advice about disclosing is a good step.
Ready to make a disclosure?
If you are a ministry employee and wish to report wrongdoing, and want to do that under PIDA, you can make your disclosure:
Internally, to one of the following people:
- Your supervisor
- Your ministry ethics advisor
- The Public Service Agency (Agency) designated officer
- Directly to the Office of the Ombudsperson
It’s important to make the disclosure in writing. The easiest way to do this internally is by filling out the online disclosure form. This form is submitted directly via email. The Public Interest Disclosure Procedure (PDF, 276KB) states what kind of information should be included wherever possible.
If you are a political staff member, use the political staff version of the form (PDF, 329KB).
Seek advice. Under PIDA, employees can seek advice from a specific set of people. Employees who seek advice from any of these individuals will be protected from reprisal under the legislation. More resources are available at Getting Advice About PIDA and Public Interest Disclosure Act: Internal Roles and Responsibilities.
Even if you decide that the information you have does not meet the test of a PIDA disclosure, it’s still important to speak up and fulfill your responsibilities to report under the Standards of Conduct. Talk to your supervisor or ethics advisor about your concerns, even if they’re not examples of serious misconduct under PIDA. Remember, if you see something, say something.