Diane McLeod-McKay, the Yukon’s public interest disclosure commissioner, has highlighted issues with the Yukon’s whistleblower protection legislation. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Diane McLeod-McKay, the Yukon’s public interest disclosure commissioner, has highlighted issues with the Yukon’s whistleblower protection legislation. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Commissioner highlights issues with whistleblower protection legislation

March 24 was Canada’s first Whistleblower Awareness Day

Diane McLeod-McKay, the Yukon’s public interest disclosure commissioner, is highlighting issues with the territory’s legislation protecting whistleblowers.

Whistleblowers are government employees who report potential wrongdoings within their departments or organizations.

The Yukon’s Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act (PIDWA) intends to protect employees from being penalized for reporting.

PIDWA is an important component of ensuring accountability amongst those who work in public entities,” said McLeod-McKay in a press release. “It also promotes public confidence in the administration of the entities covered by the legislation.”

McLeod-McKay highlighted PIDWA’s failings in honour of the first inaugural Whistleblower Awareness Day on March 24, organized by Canadian disclosure offices.

PIDWA came into force in the Yukon in 2015. McLeod-McKay said she has found several issues with the legislation’s implementation in the past five years.

She noted that no public entities have procedures effectively managing the disclosure process, nor protecting the identity of the discloser. Government employees are also not receiving adequate training on how to make a disclosure.

Some employees have made disclosures to their managers, who have not recognized them as disclosures and treated them as human resources matters.

A lack of set procedures and designated reporting office has caused problems, McLeod-McKay explained.

“Every one that we’ve had so far, because there is no clear path, we’re having to go back and say did you make a disclosure … and evaluate whether requirements were met,” she said. “We’re seeing it quite a bit.”

Because disclosures are not being properly managed, there is risk that disclosers might be reprised. There is also no clear authority for McLeod-McKay to obtain evidence for an investigation ensuing from a PIDWA disclosure.

PIDWA is mandated for review five years after it comes into effect, and as such, it is currently under review, McLeod-McKay said.

Contact Gabrielle Plonka at gabrielle.plonka@yukon-news.com


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A competitor takes a jump in front of a crowd at the Mount Sima Up Hill Challenge in Whitehorse on April 17. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Spring shred: Snowmobiles gather on Mount Sima for 2021 Uphill Challenge

Riders had a sunny and warm day on the hill, but still plenty of snowpack on the uphill course.

Sheila MacLean tosses her winter blues in the fire to be burned away in Whitehorse on March 24, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Burning permits will be revoked April 25

The Whitehorse Fire Department extended the open burning season

Maura Forrest/Yukon News File photos from Beaver Creek White River First Nation
Bessie Chassé elected as new chief of White River First Nation

“I was happy that the membership saw that I was ready for this position.”


Wyatt’s World for April 21, 2021.… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Yukon MP Larry Bagnell speaks at an announcement in Whitehorse on July 8, 2019.
Federal budget includes changes to Northern Residents Deduction, minimum wage, green energy funds

The massive budget included some rare references to the territory.

Doug Bell photographed in Whitehorse in 2008, for an article about his role as Yukon Commissioner in the early 1980’s. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon remembers former commissioner Doug Bell

Bell passed away in Whitehorse on Sunday, at the age of 94.

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Whitehorse International Airport in Whitehorse on May 6, 2020.
NAV CANADA suspends review for Whitehorse airport traffic control

NAV CANADA announced on April 15 that it is no longer considering… Continue reading

A bulldozer levels piles of garbage at the Whitehorse landfill in January 2012. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Rural dump closures and tipping fees raise concern from small communities

The government has said the measures are a cost-cutting necessity

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: Hands of Hope, the quilt of poppies

Toilets are important Ed. note: Hands of Hope is a Whitehorse-based non-profit… Continue reading

Most Read