The Yukon government tabled its much-anticipated whistleblower protection legislation Thursday.
The Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act includes one change that was called for by Yukon’s ombudsman and opposition parties.
During consultations on the proposed law earlier this year, the discussion document suggested that investigators could only recommend a remedy if an employer was found to have punished someone for speaking out about wrongdoing.
As tabled, an arbitrator could be appointed and that person could make a binding ruling, requiring the employer to allow the employee back to work and compensate for lost wages, among other things.
Earlier this year an advocate for whistleblower protection in Canada told the Yukon News that Yukon is basing its law based on failed legislation elsewhere in the country.
“They’re copying legislation that’s not working,” said David Hutton, executive director of the Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform.
The laws prohibit whistleblowers from speaking with media about the wrongdoing, and require that employees exhaust internal complaint processes before going to an ombudsman.
“It just becomes a black hole where whistleblowers go and their allegations die, and they die with them,” said Hutton.
Six Canadian provinces currently have whistleblower legislation and according to the annual reports of those offices not a single one among them had ever found an occurrence of wrongdoing, according to a recent study by Hutton’s group.