August 22, 2013

Health report outlines PC failure on whistleblower legislation

EDMONTON, AB (August 22, 2013): The Health Inquiry report outlines Alberta’s weak whistleblower legislation and the PC government’s failure to protect real whistleblowers, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

“We knew from the very beginning this so-called whistleblower legislation was full of holes,” Fox said. “Yet Associate Minister Don Scott and his government continued to mislead the public while leaving the health professionals who work on the front-lines completely unprotected.”  For months, the PC government had said their whistleblower legislation, “gives public sector employees the confidence and protection they deserve for reporting a wrongdoing.”  Scott even said that the legislation will cover, “health care professionals appointed to medical or professional staff of a public organization, or who hold privileges with one.” –Edson Weekly Anchor, July 22 2013  However, the second recommendation in Justice Vertes’ report says the PC legislation, “does not apply to independent contractors such as physicians or other health care providers,” and calls for the legislation to be expanded.  Vertes goes on to say that beefed up legislation, “would give added safety to professionals in the health care system who speak out about resource or policy issues or challenge improper procedures.”  “Last fall, the PCs shot down 21 sensible amendments to their whistleblower legislation which included protecting health care professionals and all provincially licensed health and seniors facilities,” Wildrose MLA Heather Forsyth said.  “Instead, the PC government bull dozed through bad legislation and once again need to make changes to fix their own mess.  We need to go back to the drawing board, re-write the legislation so it protects the whistleblower and not the government.”  Other Wildrose amendments for the act included allowing the Crown Prosecutor’s office to determine if political pressure, personal influence, or mismanagement has led to the dropping of cases and to make the legislation retroactive to Jan. 1, 2003 so workers can speak out on previous wrongdoing. 



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