Saskatchewan

'Whistleblower policy' being reviewed by City of Regina

The new policy is being discussed at an executive committee meeting on Wednesday. If passed it would require City Council approval.

The new policy is being discussed at an executive committee meeting on Wednesday

The City of Regina Executive Committee is reviewing a new Code of Conduct for employees which includes a Whistleblower Policy. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

The City of Regina is updating policies and introducing a new whistleblower policy for city employees. 

If passed, the whistleblower policy would allow employees to report wrongdoing about the city confidentially without fear of reprisal. 

The policy is one of a number of updates in front of the executive committee, which is city council in committee form.

The policy is on the agenda on Jan. 15.

Under the new whistleblower policy, a person could take a complaint to the city manager. With the new policy, a confidential email address, mailbox, and confidential telephone number have been created. 

Then the city manager would review, and choose someone to investigate, whether a city staff member or a third-party investigator. 

The City of Regina Executive Committee is meeting on Wednesday, January 15 to discuss the new Code of Conduct for employees. (Kevin O'Connor/CBC)

If someone does report a wrongdoing, the policy stops anyone from taking punitive action against the employee. 

The investigations will be documented, according to the policy, and a copy of the complaint would be sent to the city solicitor. If there is a problem, the city manager would assign responsibility and "mitigate the risk of further occurrences," the policy said. 

The policy doesn't include complaints about City Council decisions or about the mayor and council itself as those are directed to the integrity commissioner or ombudsman. 

Revamp of Code of Conduct will be 1st since 2002

The Executive Committee will also be reviewing a new Code of Conduct for City of Regina employees. The current Regina Code of Conduct and Disclosure Bylaw was approved in 2002. 

The new policy, sets up conflicts of interests, interactions with others, interactions with social media, theft and fraud, management of information, gifts, personal relationships and employment of relatives. 

Under the policy, city employees cannot use their position to further their personal interests or relatives' interests and employees have to disclose in writing any situations where a conflict of interest is involved. The former policy only requires people to disclose their interests in land. 

The "interactions with others" section is new in 2020. It has rules over people's behaviour in their own private lives, especially with social media, the policy said. 

Under the new Code of Conduct, employees would need to watch that their social media usage reflects the City of Regina if they are identifiable as an employee. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

The revamped policy means City of Regina employees will have to be careful about how their social media accounts reflect on the city's image. 

When it comes to employment of relatives, a City employee's child, spouse, or parents "would not be considered for employment" if placement would mean that a person would report to someone they are related to.