Yukon Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner
News Release: Allegations regarding Yukon group homes prompt advice from Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner
Fri, Mar 23, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 23, 2018
Allegations regarding Yukon group homes prompt advice from Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner
WHITEHORSE – Yukon’s Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay is offering advice to government employees who may have information associated with recent allegations concerning Yukon government group homes.
Recent reports in local media have included allegations that youth in government group homes have been subject to physical violence and conflict, which led to debate in the Yukon Legislative Assembly. The discussions in the legislature and the media indicate that employees working within the Department of Health and Social Services are speaking out about this matter.
“It’s important in these circumstances that government employees understand the protections afforded to them through the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act,” said McLeod-McKay. “I want to highlight that if any employees are concerned that wrongdoing has occurred or may be occurring in relation to these allegations, they are protected against reprisal for making a disclosure of wrongdoing, but only if the disclosure is made in accordance with the legislation’s requirements.”
The Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act (PIDWA) defines a wrongdoing as:
(a) a contravention of an Act, a regulation made under an Act, an Act of Parliament, or a regulation made under an Act of Parliament;
(b) an act or omission that creates a substantial and specific danger (i) to the life, health or safety of individuals, other than a danger that is inherent in the performance of the duties or functions of an employee, or (ii) to the environment;
(c) gross mismanagement of public funds or a public asset;
(d) knowingly directing or counselling an individual to commit a wrongdoing described in any of paragraphs (a) to (c).
PIDWA protects an employee against reprisal if they disclose a wrongdoing in one of three ways. The disclosure must be made to an employee’s immediate supervisor, their deputy minister, or to the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner. Disclosing a wrongdoing any other way could result in a loss of protection against reprisal. Reprisal protection under PIDWA is provided when seeking advice about making a disclosure, making a disclosure, cooperating in an investigation under PIDWA and declining to participate in a wrongdoing.
PIDWA gives the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner authority to offer advice about making a disclosure. Any employee wishing to receive advice or to disclose wrongdoing can contact her office at 867-667-8468 or toll free at 1-800-661-0408 (ext. 8468).
Diane McLeod-McKay, Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner