Institutions under the Public Interest Disclosure Act, have several responsibilities under the Act to ensure their employees understand how they are protected and to establish the structures and processes for accepting and dealing with disclosures.
Here is an overview of some of your key responsibilities as an institution.
Role of Permanent Heads
Permanent heads include:
- deputy ministers
- the president or other official in charge of a government institution, who is directly responsible to a minister or the Premier
- chief executive officers of Crown corporations
- the chairperson of a prescribed government institution
Sections 5, 6 and 8 of the Act assign specific responsibilities to permanent heads.
Section 5: Appoint a Designated Officer
As a permanent head, you must appoint a senior official to be the designated officer for the purposes of the Act. If you do not designate a senior official then you are the designated officer.
Section 6: Establish Procedures to Manage Disclosures
As permanent head for your institution, you must establish procedures to manage disclosures from employees. Section 6 of the Act provides more details about this requirement.
Section 7: Exceptions to the Requirements Under Sections 5 & 6
If you believe your institution is so small that it would not be practical for you to appoint a designated officer and establish procedures, you may decide that these requirements will not apply to your institution, but you must first consult with the Commissioner. Once you have done so, you have the authority to make this decision. You would then be responsible for ensuring your employees know that they need to come directly to the Commissioner’s Office to make disclosures.
Our list of institutions that have exception status is here.
Section 8: Communicate Widely with Public Sector Employees
As permanent head for your institution, you must ensure that information about the Act and your disclosure procedures are widely communicated to all employees at your institution.
The Role of Designated Officers
Designated officers are often the first point of contact for public sector employees who want to disclose their concerns or to seek advice within their workplaces.
Designated officers must receive and deal with disclosures according to the requirements of the Act (e.g. confidentiality, procedural fairness).