New Alberta whistleblower law comes into effect
Critics say new rules aren't strong enough
Alberta's new law to protect people who speak out against their employer takes effect Saturday.
The new law is intended to protect people who report government misconduct, and applies only to provincial employees working for the Alberta’s school boards, health organizations and academic institutions. Employees of Alberta Public Service are also covered by the act.
The law guarantees any employer who takes action against a whistleblower will face fines of up to $25,000.
Service Alberta minister Manmeet Bhullar said the new law will protect people who speak up against the abuse of taxpayer dollars.
But critics of the new law say it needs to go further.
David Hutton with FAIR, a national organization that supports whistleblowers, describes the new law as "shameful."
"It's by far the worst in Canada," he said. "What they've done is copied other legislation that is outdated and that is clearly not producing results and they've made it worse."
Hutton says the law needs a massive overhaul — including protection for whistleblowers from reprisals at work.
And at least one former whistleblower agrees.
Evan Vokes was fired in 2012 after he spoke out against former employer TransCanada for what he called substandard practices.
"I would be very careful, certainly under the wording of the legislation where there’s no accountability to the government," he said. "You can end up in a very bad situation very quickly, similar to what I did."