Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Overview

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (RSPEI 1988, c F-15.01) protects public sector employees who have disclosed information, in writing, regarding a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public. The Act protects employees against reprisals for making a protected disclosure.

What kind of disclosure is protected?

The Act protects employees of a public body who, while acting in good faith and on the basis of reasonable belief, have disclosed information s.69(1) & (5) to the Commissioner regarding a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public, or regarding information that is clearly in the public interest s.30.

Who is eligible for protection?

The Act protects employees of a public body, including anyone who performs a service for the public body as an appointee, volunteer or student, who has disclosed information regarding wrongdoing. 

Under the Act,public body s.1 is defined as:

  • a department, branch or office of the Government of Prince Edward Island, 
  • an agency, board, commission, corporation, office or other body designed as a public body in the regulations, 
  • the Executive Council Office, 
  • the office of an officer of the Legislative Assembly, or 
  • the Court of Appeal of Prince Edward Island, the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island or the Provincial Court of Prince Edward Island.

How are whistleblowers protected?

The Act prohibits any kind of reprisal s.69(5) against an employee who has made a protected disclosure.  Any person who knowingly takes any kind of reprisal against an employee is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction of a fine not more than $10 000 s.69(6)

If an employee has made a protected disclosure, their identity will remain confidential unless they consent to otherwise s.69(3). Additionally, an employee will not be liable to prosecution under any Act for copying a record or disclosing it to the Commissioner s.69(4). However, if an employee has acted in bad faith, they may be liable to prosecution.

How should disclosures be made?

Be careful! Despite presenting some challenges for follow ups, one of the best protections for whistleblowers is their anonymity. Be cautious when providing any information through electronic means, especially emails! Read the security tips section.

The wrongdoing must be disclosed to the Commissioner, in writing in any form, by mail.

For additional information regarding the whistleblowing process following a disclosure, please visit the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner Website.