Yukon Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner
2017 Annual Report Highlights Opportunities for Improvement
Mon, Apr 16, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2018
2017 ANNUAL REPORT HIGHLIGHTS OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Yukon Ombudsman, Information and Privacy Commissioner, and Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner points to changes needed to benefit Yukoners
The Yukon Ombudsman, Information and Privacy Commissioner, and Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner, Diane McLeod-McKay, has released her 2017 annual reports for all three of her roles, entitled Working Hard for Yukoners.
The reports outline the work done by her office throughout the past year, including progress achieved and areas that still require improvement.
“My first five-year term concludes in June and I am pleased with the way my staff and I have met the many challenges of taking on the role of Yukon’s first full-time Ombudsman and Information and Privacy Commissioner, as well as the territory’s first ever Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner,” said McLeod-McKay. “I was very pleased to be reappointed in these roles for the next five years and have set out a number of goals in my annual reports for the coming term.”
One of these goals is to begin discussions with the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly about reviewing the Ombudsman Act, to bring it in line with legislation that exists in other parts of the country. A potential improvement that McLeod-McKay recommends is to change the act to allow the Ombudsman to initiate investigations on her own. “This past year, a number of news stories came to our attention about matters that we believe warranted an Ombudsman investigation,” said McLeod-McKay. “But we have no authority to do this, unless we receive a complaint from someone personally aggrieved by an authority.”
As Information and Privacy Commissioner, McLeod-McKay took part in the recent review of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPP Act). She is looking forward to seeing draft amendments to the ATIPP Act soon, as the government has committed to putting them out for consultation this spring. One change she is hoping to see is a requirement for mandatory reporting of privacy breaches, which is an important way to keep public bodies accountable.
As Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner, McLeod-McKay completed the first ever investigation under the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act, often referred to as whistle blower legislation. That investigation was into disclosures received about contracting and development at Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport.
“The purpose of our investigation was to bring any wrongdoings to the attention of the public entity involved, which is the Department of Highways and Public Works, so that they could be remedied,” said McLeod-McKay. “In this case, we found that some of the allegations were founded, but others were not. We made a number of recommendations, all of which were accepted by Highways and Public Works.”
Also in 2017, McLeod-McKay’s office created an outreach plan which she will implement during her next term, to increase awareness and provide information about all three of her roles and the legislation that guides her work. She noted the need for this kind of outreach in her 2016 annual reports.
The annual reports were tabled by the Speaker of the Yukon Legislative Assembly on April 16, 2018. They are now available at www.ombudsman.yk.ca. Hard copies can be obtained at McLeod-McKay’s office, located in Suite 201, 211 Hawkins Street in Whitehorse.
The Ombudsman, Information and Privacy Commissioner and Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner is an independent officer of the Yukon Legislative Assembly. For more information, please go to www.ombudsman.yk.ca.
Yukon Ombudsman, Information and Privacy Commissioner & Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner