Yukon’s proposed whistleblower legislation ‘weak:’ ombudsman

Yukon Ombudsman, Diane McLeod-McKay, says proposed legislation offers no guarantees to workers who blow the whistle on wrongdoing.

Yukon's Ombudsman says the territory's proposal for whistleblower legislation won't offer adequate protection to government workers who expose wrongdoing.

Diane McLeod-McKay says if a government worker is fired or demoted after reporting wrongdoing, the Ombudsman could only recommend a fix.

“It would be up to the department to make a final decision about whether or not to accept that recommendation,” McLeod-McKay says. “There's no guarantee of protection.”

McLeod-McKay says the legislation won’t work unless somebody has the authority to override any reprisals.

"It's at least half the importance of this legislation, and without it, it'll be a chilling effect on individuals to make a report,” she says.

The whistleblower legislation has not yet been tabled.

But opposition politicians agree that the proposed legislation in its current form doesn’t provide enough protection, because it gives employers the final say.

"Guaranteed protection against reprisal is of particular importance in Yukon given its size,” says NDP leader Liz Hanson.

Opposition parties say the government should follow the recommendations of a legislative committee on whistleblower protection and amend the legislation before it's tabled.

Currie Dixon, the minister responsible for the legislation, says it's still being developed and the Ombudsman's comments will be considered.