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Administrative Procedures

Administrative Procedure 561

Public Interest Disclosures by Employees

Background

Preamble:

Wild Rose School Division No.66 is committed to the highest standard of ethical and accountable conduct, and recognizes the importance of working to deter and detect, and if necessary correct, wrongdoing within the operations of the Division, and to promote public confidence in the administration of the Division.  To ensure this, the Division is committed to maintaining a positive and supportive environment whereby employees can disclose potential wrongdoing, or seek advice about disclosing a potential wrongdoing, without retribution.

The Province of Alberta has enacted the “Public Interest Disclosure Act” (PIDA) in order to:

  • Facilitate the disclosure and investigation of significant and serious matters in or relating to public bodies, including school boards that an employee believes may be unlawful, dangerous to the public, or injurious to the public interest.
  • Protect employees who make those disclosures.
  • Manage, investigate and make recommendations respecting disclosures of wrongdoings and reprisals.
  • Promote public confidence in the administration of public bodies.

 

Under the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act (PIDA), an employee of the Division may make a disclosure of a wrongdoing, which the Division will investigate in accordance with these procedures set out herein.

Under PIDA, no person may make reprisals against an employee for making a disclosure, seeking advice about making a disclosure, or taking any other steps under PIDA, so long as the employee is acting in good faith.

Procedures

Regulations:

Chief Officer

1.        The Superintendent of Schools is designated the Chief Officer for the purpose of the overall administration and reporting required under the Act. 

 Designated Officer

2.        The Associate Superintendent – Central Services is designated as the Designated Officer for the purpose of administering and investigating disclosures under the Act.

Application

 3.        This Administrative Procedure applies to “wrongdoings” in or relating to Wild Rose School Division No.66, its schools, departments and employees that involve:

a)    a contravention of an Act of Alberta or Canada or the Regulations related to those acts,

b)    an act or omission that creates :

  •  substantial and specific danger to the life, health or safety of individuals other than a danger that is inherent in the performance of the duties or functions of an employee, or
  • substantial and specific danger to the environment, or
  • Gross mismanagement of public funds or a public asset, or
  • Knowingly directing or counseling an individual to commit one of the wrongdoings listed above.

 

4.         Day-to-day workplace issues that fall short of “wrongdoings” should be dealt with using existing Division procedures and practices.


No Reprisals

5.         An employee who, in good faith:

  • Seeks advice about making a disclosure
  • Makes or made a disclosure
  • Cooperated in an in investigation , or
  • Declined to participate in a wrongdoing

will not be subject to actions or threats of dismissal, layoff, suspension, demotion, transfer, discontinuation or elimination of a job, change of job location, reduction in wages, change in hours of work, or reprimand, or any other measure that adversely affects the employee’s employment or working conditions.

6.         An employee may make a written complaint to the Public Interest Commissioner if the employee alleges that a reprisal has been taken or directed against the employee. Such a written complaint must, according to the Act, be made on the Complaint of Reprisal Form” .

See Appendix B

7.         Reasonable human resource management decisions made in good faith do not constitute a reprisal.

Disclosure

8.         Disclosures of wrongdoing must be made to the Associate Superintendent – Central Services ( the Designated Officer ) in writing. The form Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act Disclosure Form outlines the information required in a disclosure.

            See Appendix A

9.         In the event that disclosure to the Associate Superintendent - Central Services is not appropriate due to conflict of interest with respect to the nature of the disclosure or the person involved, disclosure may be made to the Superintendent of Schools (the Chief Officer).

10.        Disclosures of matters dealing with “ imminent risk” (matters that require immediate attention as they pose significant risk to public health or safety, or a danger to the environment) must be made directly to the Public Interest Commissioner, who will then communicate with the appropriate authorities. The employee must also disclose the wrongdoing to the Associate Superintendent – Central Services as soon as practicable thereafter. 

11.        An employee considering making a disclosure may seek advice from the designated officer, chief officer or the Public Interest Commissioner.

12.        Anonymous disclosures may be dealt with, but an investigation may be hampered by the request for anonymity.

Investigations

13.        Upon receiving a disclosure, the person receiving the disclosure shall determine whether or not an investigation is warranted.

14.        An investigation may involve both internal and external sources to assist in determining whether a wrongdoing has occurred and what corrective action may be appropriate. 

15.        Confidentiality of the disclosure, as well as other individuals involved in the disclosure process , of a wrongdoing shall be maintained to the extent possible consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.

16.        Investigations shall be conducted in accordance with the principles of fairness and natural justice.

 Timelines

17.      A disclosure of wrongdoing or complaint of reprisal shall be acknowledged not more than five (5) business days from the date on which the disclosure of wrongdoing or complaint of reprisal is received.

 18.       The employee who submitted a disclosure of wrongdoing or complaint of reprisal shall be advised no more than 10 business days from the date on which the disclosure of wrongdoing or complaint of reprisal is received or whether an investigation will be made.

 19.       An investigation must be concluded not more than 110 business days from the date on which the disclosure of wrongdoing or complaint or reprisal is received. The employee who submitted a disclosure of wrongdoing or complaint of reprisal shall be advised of the result of the investigation in writing.

 20.       These timelines may be extended by up to 30 days by the Superintendent of Schools, or for a longer period of time if approved by the Public Interest Commissioner.

 Good Faith

 21.       An employee who submits a disclosure of wrongdoing or complaint of reprisal must act in good faith.

 22.       Deliberately false or malicious allegations by an employee will form the grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

 

APPENDIX A - PIDA DISCLOSURE FORM

Under the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act (PIDA), an employee of the Division may make a disclosure of a wrongdoing, which the Division will investigate in accordance with Administrative Procedure 450 - Public Interest Disclosures by Employees. Under PIDA, no person may make reprisals against an employee for making a disclosure, seeking advice about making a disclosure, or taking any other steps under PIDA, so long as the employee is acting in good faith.

 

Please submit this form to:

Associate Superintendent - Central Services

Wild Rose School Division No.66

4912 43rd Street

Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, T4T 1P4

Phone: 403-845-3376

Toll-free:  800-771-0537

 

Please note that employees may seek advice from the Associate Superintendent

about making a disclosure or any other steps under PIDA before submitting this form.

 

Administrative Procedure 570 - Public Interest Disclosures by Employees has the following definition:

1.8        “wrongdoing” means:

a.         a contravention of an Act, a regulation made pursuant to an Act, an Act of the Parliament of Canada or a regulation made pursuant to an Act of the Parliament of Canada,

b.         an act or omission that creates:

i           a substantial and specific danger to the life, health or safety of  individuals other than a danger that is inherent in the performance of the duties or functions of an employee, or

ii.          a substantial and specific danger to the environment,

c.         gross mismanagement of public funds or a public asset, and

d.         knowingly directing or counselling an individual to commit a wrongdoing mentioned above.

General Information

Name:   _______________________________ Title:_________________________

 

Mailing Address:_____________________________________________________

                     Enter street address, rural address or postal box number here.

 

City :____________________ Province_____________ Postal Code____________

 

Telephone:        Work_____________ Home______________ Cell___________

 

Email (Optional) ______________________________________

 

Best Time to Contact       ☐ Day   ☐ Evening    ☐ Weekend

 

Information about the Wrongdoing

 

Please provide a brief description of the alleged wrongdoing. Please include all relevant dates, locations, etc. Please attach any available supporting documents.

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

 

 

Please list the individuals involved in the alleged wrong doing.

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

 

 

Is there any additional information about the alleged wrongdoing you wish to provide?

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

 

Please attach any available supporting documents or any other information you wish to present.

Declaration

I believe that all the information provided is true to the best of my knowledge.*

                       

Signature______________________________________

 

Date:_________________________________________

 

*Knowingly making a false or misleading statement is an offence pursuant to the Act.

 


APPENDIX B - PIDA REPRISAL COMPLAINT FORM

 

This form must be used to submit complaint of reprisal. Your responses will assist in reviewing the matter under the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act. Please send this form directly to the Public Interest Commissioner at:

Office of the Public Interest Commissioner (PIC)

10303 Jasper Avenue NW, Suite 2800

Edmonton, AB T5J 5C3

Phone: 780-427-2756    Fax: 780-427-2759

In Alberta you can call the numbers above toll-free through RITE operator at 310-0000; or North America: (toll-free) 1-888-455-2756

Reprisal

24         No person shall take or direct, or counsel or direct a person to take or direct, any of the following measures against an employee because the employee       has, in good faith, sought advice about making a disclosure, made a disclosure, cooperated in an investigation under this Act, declined to participate in a wrongdoing or done anything in accordance with this Act:

(a)        a dismissal, layoff, suspension, demotion or transfer, discontinuation or elimination of a job, change of job location, reduction in wages, change in hours of work or reprimand;

(b)        any measure, other than one mentioned in clause (a), that adversely affects the employee’s employment or working conditions;

(c)        a threat to take any of the measures mentioned in clause (a) or (b).

 

General Information

Name:   ________________________________  Title:_______________________

 

City:____________________  Province: ______________ Postal Code ____________      

 

Telephone:        Work: _____________  Home: _______________ Cell: ______________

Email :______________________________________ (Optional)

 

Best Time to Contact:    ☐ Day         ☐ Evening       ☐ Weekend

 

Name of Employer: Wild Rose School Division No.66

Information about the Reprisal

Please provide a brief description of the disclosure of wrongdoing you made or participated in. Please include all relevant dates, locations, etc. Please attach any available supporting documents. ______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

Please provide a description of the reprisal(s) or threat(s) that have occurred or are occurring. Be sure to include all relevant dates, locations, etc. Please attach any available supporting documents. ______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

Is there any additional information about this complaint of reprisal you wish to provide? Please attach any available supporting documents.

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

Declaration

I believe that all the information provided is true to the best of my knowledge.*

                       

Signature:_______________________________               Date:______________

*Knowingly making a false or misleading statement is an offence pursuant to the Act.

References

Legislative References:

Public Interest Disclosure (Whistle Blower Protection) Act, Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Regulations