Yukon Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner
2018 Annual Reports Point to Accomplishments, Challenges & Need for Change
Mon, Apr 29, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 29, 2019
Annual Reports Point to Accomplishments, Challenges & Need for Change
Yukon Ombudsman, Information and Privacy Commissioner, and Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner reports on increased workload & complex investigations
The Yukon Ombudsman, Information and Privacy Commissioner, and Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner, Diane McLeod-McKay, has released her 2018 annual reports for all three of her roles.
The reports outline the work done by her office throughout last year, including a number of challenges and others still to come.
“2018 was an incredibly busy year for my office,” said McLeod-McKay. “We experienced a significant change in staffing and had to manage double the workload as compared to 2017. In addition, we saw increased complexity in our work.”
As Yukon’s Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner, McLeod-McKay’s office received numerous disclosures and complaints of reprisal under the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act (PIDWA), which resulted in large and complicated investigations. “Consistent with other jurisdictions, the work generated by PIDWA was slow to come, but has now arrived. In 2017, we opened only two cases under PIDWA, compared to 2018, when we opened 14, a notable increase,” said McLeod-McKay.
As part of her work as Information and Privacy Commissioner, McLeod-McKay’s office was extensively involved in the re-draft of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPP Act), which is expected to be in force in the coming years. She was pleased to see that many of her recommendations were incorporated into the new law. In 2019, McLeod-McKay and her staff expect to review the ATIPP Act regulations, once they are developed.
McLeod-McKay’s report also identifies the need for the Yukon government to evaluate its access to information programs and associated delays in processing access requests, with an eye to making improvements. Her office has already begun working on search methodology to help public bodies search for records. She plans to offer a workshop on this topic in 2019.
McLeod-McKay highlights again in her 2018 Annual Report of the Yukon Ombudsman about the need for the Ombudsman to have own motion power, which would give her the authority to start an investigation on her own initiative, rather than only when a complaint is received from someone directly affected. This authority is in place in all other jurisdictions in Canada and McLeod-McKay saw a number of instances in 2018 where own motion power could have been helpful.
With increasing demands on her office, which has multiple responsibilities under four different Yukon laws, McLeod-McKay has requested and been granted some increases in resources, including one new staff member to manage the increase in workload under PIDWA. She plans to request and acquire additional resources to ensure her office is able to deliver on her expanded mandate under the new ATIPP Act and to continue work on improving public awareness and other education initiatives.
The annual reports were tabled in the Yukon Legislative Assembly and distributed to every MLA. They are also 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 http://www.ombudsman.yk.ca/.
Yukon Ombudsman, Information and Privacy Commissioner & Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner