Public Interest Disclosure Act
Speaking up when things aren’t right within our organization supports our values of respect, integrity and trust, and the safety and well-being of our patients, communities, and colleagues. Effective June 1, 2023, the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) applies to all B.C. health authorities and PHC, which will further encourage this speak up culture.
What is PIDA and what does it cover?
PIDA is B.C.’s whistleblower protection legislation for current and former employees (including medical staff) of public sector organizations, which include health authorities and Providence Health Care. PIDA provides mechanisms for investigating allegations of serious or systemic wrongdoing and for addressing any wrongdoing that may be found. PIDA also provides legal protection from reprisal if you speak up about wrongdoing within PHC.
Not all misconduct is “wrongdoing” under PIDA. PIDA defines wrongdoing as:
- A serious act or omission that, if proven, would constitute an offence under an enactment of B.C. or Canada;
- An act or omission that creates a 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 or public assets;
- Gross or systemic mismanagement (i.e., mismanagement of funding, services, or people in a way that is highly inappropriate, irresponsible, or reckless, or mismanagement that is broad, longstanding, recurrent, or inherent to a public sector organization's culture and practices); and
- Knowingly directing or counselling a person to commit any of the wrongdoing described above, whether or not the person commits the act or omission.
You can report wrongdoing that has happened in the past, is currently taking place, or is about to happen. (Former employees can only report wrongdoing that they discovered, or that occurred, while they were employed).
You can report wrongdoing even if you are not sure that it meets the definition of wrongdoing under PIDA. There is no penalty if a report does not qualify as wrongdoing.
What do I do if I want advice about PIDA or wish to report a wrongdoing?
If you want confidential advice relating to PIDA or wish to make a report of wrongdoing under PIDA, you can contact any of the following:
- Your leader/supervisor
- Your PHC’s Designated Officer (see Contacts section below); and/or
- The B.C. Ombudsperson.
You can also seek advice from your union or employee representative association or a lawyer (at your own expense).
You can request advice or make a report anonymously. If you do choose to disclose your identity, your identity will be protected.
Reports of wrongdoing must be in writing and can be submitted confidentially using PHC’s online reporting form. You can also contact your leader/supervisor or PHC’s Designated Officer to make a report of wrongdoing, or contact the B.C. Ombudsperson.
The wrongdoing reporting mechanisms under PIDA are in addition to existing options that are available at PHC to report misconduct (e.g. Safe Reporting, Respect at Work). It is your choice which reporting mechanism you wish to use.
How am I protected under PIDA?
PIDA protects your identity if you report wrongdoing, make a reprisal complaint, or ask for advice about reporting wrongdoing or making a reprisal complaint. PIDA also protects you from reprisal, including threats of reprisal, as a result of doing any of those things. Reprisal can include demotion, disciplinary measures, termination of employment, or any measure that adversely affects your employment or working conditions.
What happens after I make a report of wrongdoing?
If you make a report of wrongdoing internally, the Designated Officer will determine if the report meets the criteria under PIDA for investigation. If you have chosen to disclose your identity, you may be asked for further details about your report. If the Designated Officer determines that the report meets the PIDA criteria, an investigation will be conducted and at the conclusion of such investigation, you will be provided with a summary of the outcome of the investigation.
What if I experience reprisal as a result of asking for advice or making a report under PIDA?
You can contact the B.C. Ombudsperson. Only the B.C. Ombudsperson can investigate reprisal complaints under PIDA. Reprisal complaints must be in writing and can be made using the B.C. Ombudsperson’s online Reprisal Complaint Form. For more information about reporting reprisals, please visit the B.C. Ombudsperson’s website or contact the B.C. Ombudsperson by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 1-800-567-3247.
Providence Health Care:
PHC Designated Officer for PIDA:
The Neutral Zone:
The Neutral Zone, 252-2055 Commercial Drive Vancouver, BC V5N 0C7
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