Public Health Act

Overview

The Public Health Act (CCSM c P210) protects any person who discloses information regarding a health hazard to a medical officer, inspector, or other person specified in the regulations. Any reprisals made against a person who makes a protected disclosure is deemed to be an offence by the Act and is subject to fines.

What kind of disclosure is protected?

The Public Health Act protects any person who, while acting in good faith and on the basis of reasonable belief, discloses information regarding a health hazard that may exist to a medical officer, inspector or other person specified in the regulations s.40(1). The Act protects disclosures even if they include personal information, personal health information, or proprietary or confidential information s.40(3)

Under the Act, a “health hazards.1(1) is defined as:

  • a condition of a place or premises,
  • a plant, animal or other organism 
  • a substance or thing
  • a solid, liquid or gas, or any combination of them; or
  • an activity, condition or process 

It also includes a failure by a hospital, personal care home or other facility or place to take adequate precautions to control or minimize the risk of transmission of a communicable disease s.40(2).

Who is eligible for protection?

The Act only protects persons who have disclosed information regarding a health hazard to a medical officer, inspector or other person specified in the regulations.

How are whistleblowers protected?

The Act prohibits any person from taking any kind of reprisal against a person who has made a protected disclosure s.104

Under the Act, a reprisal s.104 includes disciplinary measures, disadvantage against, suspension, demotion, dismissal, discharge, harassment, or interference of a person.  

Any person who knowingly takes any kind of reprisal against an employee for having made a protected disclosure is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine no more than $50,000, or imprisonment for no more than 6 months s.90(4), or both.

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.

For details on how to disclose a health hazard, please contact the Minister of Health by phone, mail or e-mail:

Minister of Health
Phone: 204-945-3731
Fax: 204-945-0441
Email minhsal@leg.gov.mb.ca

For more information on regulated health professions, please contact: 

Legislative Unit
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living
300 Carlton Street
Winnipeg MB  R3B 3M9
Phone:  204-788-6608
FAX:  204-945-1020