Pharmaceutical Services Act

Overview

The Pharmaceutical Services Act (SBC 2012, c. 22) protects employees in the health sector who have disclosed a contravention of the Act to the Minister of Health, a provider, a data administrator, a professional health college, or the Information and Privacy Commissioner. Any reprisal taken against an employee is an offence, subject to a fine or imprisonment. 

What kind of disclosure is protected?

The Act protects any employee who, while acting in good faith and on the basis of reasonable belief, has disclosed information about a contravention or possible contravention of the Act to the Minister of health, a provider, a data administrator, a professional health college or the Information and Privacy Commissioner s.32(a)

Under the Act, a provider s.11 includes a person who is enrolled as a provider. A provider generally includes an owner of a pharmacy, facility or other place where drugs, devices, substances or related services are provided to persons s.11(1)&(2).

Under the Act, a health college s. 17 of the Health Professionals Act is a corporation consisting of members of the board who are appointed by the Minister or elected or appointed by the Board in accordance with bylaws and who are registrants of the college. 

The Act does not define “wrongdoing” or “protected disclosure.”

Who is eligible for protection?

The Act protects public or private sector employees who have disclosed information regarding a contravention of this Act.

The Act does not define “employee.”

How are whistleblowers protected?

The Act prohibits any person from taking any kind of reprisal against an employee who has made a disclosure regarding a contravention to the Act to the Minister of Health, a provider, a data administrator, a professional health college or to the Information and Privacy Commissioner s.32(a). The Act also protects an employee from any reprisal if they have followed the law as prescribed by the Act s.32(b), or have refused to do anything in contravention of the Act 32(c).

Under the Act, a reprisal s.32(a) includes disciplinary measures, demotion, suspension, termination of employment or any measures that adversely affect the employment or working conditions of the employee.

Any person who knowingly takes any kind of reprisal against an employee for making a protected disclosure is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine up to $200 000 and/or to imprisonment for a term up to 6 months s.51 and 52.

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.

In order to submit a complaint regarding health care, complete the following form and submit it by email, fax or by mailing it to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner at the address below.  

Fax: (250) 387-1696
Email: info@oipc.bc.ca

Mail:
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Colombia
P.O. Box 9038, Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9A4

Not all claims will be investigated. If the employee’s complaint is declined, they will receive a letter explaining why it is not being investigated. If the complaint is accepted, they will receive a notification letter to this effect.

For additional information on the process to submit a privacy disclosure to the Information and Privacy Commissioner, please visit: https://www.oipc.bc.ca/for-the-public/how-do-i-make-a-complaint/.