Saskatoon City Council Approves Government Whistleblower Policy

Canadian Whistleblower Policy Change

The Saskatoon City Council in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan has approved a whistleblower policy for city employees, according to an August 31 CTV News article.

The whistleblower policy “provides a framework for city employees who want to speak out about potential wrongdoing by management or other colleagues.” A report from the city administration states that the policy includes protections for whistleblower retaliation and “allows for the creation of a whistleblower protection program which would be overseen by the city’s internal auditor,” according to CTV News. The whistleblower protection program will begin permanently when the council appoints a City Internal Auditor, but for now, “an interim program is set to begin Sept. 28.”

The city administration’s report also covers the whistleblower policy’s limits, stating that “it does not address situations involving personal or personnel issues such as bullying and harassment”—the policy also excludes “disagreements between an employee and the organization over issues such as processes or vacation time.” The report justifies these exclusions by stating that “These types of issues are properly addressed through other workplace policies, human resource processes, and collective bargaining agreements.”

The whistleblower policy will not apply to City Council members, “those part of the City’s statutory boards or directors and employees of controlled corporations,” according to CTV News. The statuary boards include the Saskatoon Public Library and the Saskatoon Police Service; currently, the library does not have a whistleblower program but “identified a whistleblower policy as ‘needed’,” according to a Saskatoon StarPhoenix article. The Police Service “has said there are other channels for internal reports to be dealt with.”

Saskatoon mayor Charlie Clark called the new policy a “‘very important’ step toward building ‘a strong culture of safety and ability to identify concerns at city hall,’” according to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. The new program is also “expected to include a hotline for employees to report suspected wrongdoing.”

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