Ethics and Integrity in the Public Service

The Public Interest and Disclosure and Whistleblower Protection policy came into effect on October 13, 2015. This policy enhances accountability and promotes ethical conduct within government by providing employees with a path for the disclosure of wrongdoing, as well as protection in the event of employment-related reprisal caused by the good faith reporting of wrongdoing.

Who handles conflict of interest issues for public service employees?

The deputy head of a department or agency is responsible for the administration of the Conflict of Interest Guidelines for employees.

Does the Ethics and Integrity Commissioner provide information and advice to employees?

Deputy ministers and other senior officials who report to the Ethics and Integrity Commissioner for conflict of interest purposes may seek the Commissioner’s advice on their obligations with regard to executive division conflict of interest or other ethical matters. An employee who is considering making a disclosure of a wrongdoing or reporting a reprisal may seek the advice of the commissioner before making a decision.

Is there an oath of office for public service employees?

The Civil Service Act requires that all employees of the executive division and the classified division take the oath of office in Schedule II to that Act (below). This act provides that employees of the casual division may be required to take the oath of office.

“I, (A.B.) solemnly and sincerely swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully
and honestly fulfil the duties that devolve upon me by reason of my
employment in the civil service and that I will not, without due authority in that behalf, disclose or make known any matter that comes to my knowledge by reason of such employment. (In the case where an oath is taken add, “So Help Me God”.)”

Is the whistleblower process confidential?

The Public Interest Disclosure and Whistleblower Protection Policy (section 7.06) states that "the identity of persons involved in the disclosure process (including the employee, the person alleged to have committed wrongdoing and any witnesses) shall be kept confidential, subject to the principles of natural justice and fairness and consistent with the need to conduct a proper investigation."

The commissioner is available to meet with an employee to answer questions regarding the confidentiality of the process.  

How will an employee or the public know if action has been taken on a reported wrongdoing?

The employee who reports a wrongdoing will be informed when an investigation report has been completed and will be provided with any information respecting the report that is considered appropriate in the circumstances.

The Ethics and Integrity Commissioner will prepare and file an annual report on the activities of the office with the premier.

Is there a time limit on reporting wrongdoing or reprisal?

There is no strict time limit on reporting; however, employees are encouraged to report in a timely manner. In general, a more robust investigation is possible the shorter the time between an occurrence and a report. An investigation of a wrongdoing may not occur if so much time has elapsed between the occurrence and the report that the investigation would not serve a useful purpose.   

 

Published date: 
August 16, 2016