One investigation begun under B.C.’s new whistleblower protection law

B.C.’s ombudsperson has launched his first investigation as a result of new legislation protecting whistleblowers.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act, which came into force on Dec. 1, 2019, aims to provide a way for current and former government employees to report wrongdoing without fear of reprisal.

In his first annual report, released Wednesday, ombudsperson Jay Chalke said his office received 57 contacts in the first four months since the law took effect.

Of those, 22 were disclosures of alleged wrongdoing — 11 of which have been reviewed and one of which has prompted an investigation. The report did not disclose the branch of government or substance of the allegations.

“While it is too early to report on any outcomes of investigative work, it is encouraging that public servants are aware of the act and are availing themselves of the opportunities provided by it,” said Chalke in the report’s forward.

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