Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner Releases First Annual Report




Today, Saskatchewan’s Acting Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner (PIDC) Janet Mirwaldt released her office’s first annual report. In its first year of operation, the office responded to several inquiries from public servants who wanted to know if the concerns they raised could be considered a wrongdoing under The Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA). While none fit that definition, Mirwaldt says it was important for her office to be available. “People in the public service need to know where to turn when they are aware of a potential wrongdoing.”
She views the annual report as an opportunity to share that message. “This is still a new office, so we included definitions and examples of our work, which we hope will help public servants understand what to bring forward and how the process works. Speaking out can take a lot of courage and we hope public servants will feel that they can contact us or their designated officer if they have a question or wish to disclose a wrongdoing.” In this context, a wrongdoing is an action or omission that creates a substantial and specific danger to people or the environment, or gross mismanagement of public funds or a public asset. It is also considered a wrongdoing to direct another person to commit a wrongdoing. It is an offense to make a reprisal against someone for bringing a potential wrongdoing forward to the Commissioner or a designated officer.

The Commissioner’s office has worked with the Public Service Commission to train designated officers and to increase awareness among public servants and will continue to do so. The 2012-13 annual report is available at www.saskpidc.ca. The Commissioner for 2012-13 was Kevin Fenwick and this report was prepared under his guidance.

The Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner is an officer of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan to whom public servants can disclose a potential wrongdoing as defined by PIDA. (Public servants can also disclose potential wrongdoings to a designated officer within their organization.) Reprisals received for disclosing a wrongdoing are, in themselves, considered wrongdoings and public servants who experience reprisals can also disclose this information to the Commissioner. Based on PIDA, Saskatchewan’s Ombudsman serves a dual role as the province’s Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner. For more information about PIDA, the Commissioner, or disclosing a wrongdoing, visit the PIDC website at www.saskpidc.ca.

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Media contact:
Leila Dueck
Director of Communications
Ombudsman Saskatchewan
Phone: 306-787-7369
E-mail: ldueck@ombudsman.sk.ca

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