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The Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act (PIDWA) provides a process that employees can follow if they believe a wrongdoing has been committed or is about to be committed in an organization covered by the Act, or if they believe they have been unfairly treated as a result of raising concerns about a wrongdoing.PIDWA is intended to address wrongdoings, which under the Act means:
Any disclosure must be made in "good faith", which means that the individual making the disclosure is doing so honestly, in the public interest (i.e. not out of malice), and reasonably believes that they have information that could show that a wrongdoing has been committed or is about to be committed. Knowingly making a false or misleading statement is a violation of the act (s. 48).
This act is intended to deal with significant and serious matters that an employee believes may be unlawful, dangerous to the public or injurious to the public interest. This act is not intended to deal with routine operational matters, individual grievances or workplace conflicts. These issues are more appropriately dealt with by existing workplace policies (e.g., Respectful Workplace Policy) or grievance procedures.
If an employee wishes to make a disclosure or seek advice about making a disclosure they may do so to the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner (PIDC), to the chief executive of their organization (e.g., deputy minister), to their immediate supervisor or to a designated officer, if one has been identified by their chief executive to receive and deal with disclosures from employees in their organization.
A reprisal is a retaliatory action such as a disciplinary measure, a demotion or termination of employment, or threat of such an action against an employee.
Under PIDWA it is prohibited for someone to reprise against an employee who in good faith sought advice about or made a disclosure; co-operated in an investigation under the Act; or declined to participate in a wrongdoing.
If an employee believes they have been reprised against, they can file a complaint with the PIDC.
The complaint must be made not later than 90 days after the day on which the employee knew that the reprisal was taken; however, the PIDC has discretion to accept a later complaint, depending on the circumstances.
Employees of organizations covered by the act may also have other options for bringing forward a complaint, such as a procedure under another Yukon or federal act, a collective agreement, an employment agreement or policy. If a complaint commences or has already commenced using another option then the PIDC cannot investigate and must cease any open investigation. The PIDC may also decide not to investigate or to cease an investigation for various reasons, including if it is determined that other more appropriate avenues exist (s.30).
For more detailed information about PIDWA, please refer to the Highlights document (4 pages), the Act Overview document, or use the Frequently Asked Questions.
The Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner (PIDC) is responsible for investigating wrongdoing disclosures and complaints of reprisal received by that office. Yukon's Ombudsman serves as the PIDC.