The disclosure process
You may want to know…
What is a protected disclosure?
It is a disclosure made in good faith and in accordance with the provisions of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), e.g. by making a disclosure to your supervisor, your organization's Senior Officer for Disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada.
A disclosure is also protected if it is made:
- in the course of a parliamentary proceeding;
- in the course of other procedures established under any other Act of Parliament; or
- when lawfully required to do so.
Will my identity be protected?
Yes. The disclosure process is confidential. Your identity and other information regarding a disclosure is protected in accordance with the Act.
The PSDPA also requires that any personal information collected or created in the course of an investigation is to be protected and not disclosed, even after the investigation is completed.
What are the disclosure options under the PSDPA?
Normally an employee may make a disclosure within their organization to their supervisor or their designated Senior Officer for Disclosure. Organizations must create their own procedures for dealing with disclosures. Contact your Senior Officer for Disclosure for details.
Employees can also take their disclosures directly to the independent Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
Can I make a disclosure directly to the public?
As a public servant, you are strongly encouraged to raise issues of suspected wrongdoing with your supervisor, Senior Officer for Disclosure or the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, who is an independent agent of Parliament.
A disclosure to the public is protected only if there is not enough time to make it in accordance with the PSDPA and you believe that there has been a serious breach of federal or provincial laws, or there is an imminent risk to the life, health and safety of persons or the environment.
What if my organization does not have a disclosure process?
Some small organizations do not have an internal disclosure process. In this instance, employees are encouraged to directly approach the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner to make a disclosure or to seek advice.
How do I make a disclosure of wrongdoing?
Preferably, employees should make their disclosures in writing. A disclosure should include the date and description of the alleged wrongdoing and your name and contact information.
Keep in mind that the PSDPA requires public servants to follow established procedures to ensure the secure handling of information.
What happens if I make a disclosure within my organization?
Depending on your organization's procedures, the person handling your disclosure—your supervisor or your Senior Officer for Disclosure—reviews the disclosure to determine if there are sufficient grounds to investigate. A neutral and professional investigator may be called upon. Cases concerning criminal activity will be referred to the appropriate law enforcement authority.
Any recommendations based on an investigation are reported directly to the chief executive of your organization (e.g. the Deputy Minister) who has the authority to take appropriate action.
What happens if I make a disclosure to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner?
The Public Sector Integrity Commissioner has the authority to investigate, report his or her findings and make recommendations on corrective measures to the chief executive concerned (e.g. the Deputy Minister). The Integrity Commissioner also reviews reports on measures taken in response to his or her recommendations.
The Public Sector Integrity Commissioner has the right to refuse to deal with a disclosure or to start or stop an investigation. For example, he or she might do so if the matter should be dealt with under another process (such as the grievance process).
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