Review of City of Calgary's whistleblower program comes up with 24 recommendations

·2 min read
The whistleblower program allows people to confidentially report waste or wrongdoing by city employees. (Monty Kruger/CBC - image credit)
The whistleblower program allows people to confidentially report waste or wrongdoing by city employees. (Monty Kruger/CBC - image credit)

A Toronto lawyer has found that the City of Calgary's whistleblower program is effective, but with changes it can become better.

The city asked Liliane Gingras with the law firm of Rubin Thomlinson to do an assessment of how the program is functioning.

The whistleblower program allows people to confidentially report waste or wrongdoing by city employees.

Gingras found that the program does many things well. Her list included tracking of complaints, maintaining confidentiality and explaining on its website how to report.

24 recommendations

However, her report includes 24 recommendations that would improve the whistleblower program.

These recommendations include:

  • Notifying people who are the subject of complaints about the allegations against them in writing.

  • Amending the program's procedure manual.

  • Simplifying the template for investigation reports.

  • Clarifying what can be reported through the program and what cannot.

Gingras told city council's audit committee on Thursday that current policies are unclear on what issues should be reported to the whistleblower program versus other city offices.

"Not all matters are suited for whistleblowing. For example, if a matter is being dealt with through another channel, it may not be a good use of resources to also deal with it through the whistleblower program," said Gingras.

Coun. Evan Woolley says the review validates that the program is working well.
Coun. Evan Woolley says the review validates that the program is working well.(Justin Pennell/CBC)



Her review found, for example, that employees sometimes report workplace harassment or discrimination issues through the whistleblower program as well as to the city's respectful workplace office.

That office did not exist at the time council created the whistleblower program.

The chair of the audit committee, Coun. Evan Woolley, said these technical changes can be made but the big takeaway from the review is positive.

"This assessment validates that our program is working effectively," said Woolley.

All of the recommendations have been accepted by the city, and Woolley said they'll be implemented in the coming months. The review cost $25,000.

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