Need Legal Advice?
Proceedings under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (the Act) are meant to be as informal as possible. To help you better understand your rights and obligations under the Act, the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner (the Commissioner) can provide up to $3,000 to obtain legal advice from a lawyer of your choice, if you do not already have access to legal advice at no cost to you.
Access to this funding is discretionary. In determining whether to grant funding for legal advice, the Commissioner will take into account the public interest, as well as the degree to which you may be affected by your involvement in a proceeding under the Act. When applying, it is important that you provide the Commissioner with as much relevant information about your situation as possible.
You can submit your request for funding by completing the online form.
Who Can Apply?
- Any person who is considering making a protected disclosure of wrongdoing under the Act, either to the Commissioner, their supervisor or the Senior Officer for Disclosure (Senior Officer) in their workplace;
- Any public servant who has made a disclosure to the Commissioner, their supervisor or the Senior Officer in their workplace;
- Any person who is considering making a reprisal complaint under the Act;
- Any person who is or has been involved in a reprisal complaint, including a person who has made a complaint or has been accused of taking reprisal;
- Any person who is or has been involved in any investigation conducted by the Commissioner’s Office or the Senior Officer in their workplace.
How Can Legal Advice Be Useful?
You may seek legal advice to discuss your situation and concerns in relation to a disclosure of wrongdoing or reprisal complaint by:
- Helping you understand your rights and obligations under the Act, including determining whether a disclosure or complaint is the most appropriate recourse for you;
- Assisting you in focussing on key issues regarding the disclosure or complaint you are considering making to ensure that relevant information is provided to the Commissioner or a Senior Officer;
- Helping you understand your rights and obligations if you are involved in a proceeding under the Act. For example, your lawyer can help you:
- Prepare for an interview with an investigator;
- Respond to a request for information from the Commissioner or a Senior Officer;
- Provide comments on a preliminary investigation report;
- Assisting you during a conciliation process related to a reprisal complaint;
- Assisting you before the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal.
- Act quickly and request access to legal advice as soon as you believe a lawyer may be helpful. The Commissioner will decide on your application as soon as possible, and requests considered urgent will be dealt with on a priority basis.
- When applying for access to legal advice, describe the alleged wrongdoing or reprisal and how you may be affected by your involvement in making the disclosure or complaint, or by participating in the investigation or proceeding.
- If the Commissioner has approved funding, this does not mean that an investigation under the Act will be conducted or that a finding of wrongdoing or reprisal will be made.
- If the Commissioner has approved funding, look for a lawyer who can best assist you in your situation. Do your research, ask around for referrals and don’t be afraid to ask questions when you first speak to a lawyer. Typically, lawyers who practise labour and employment law, human rights law or those who represent employees before tribunals or in court would be well suited to help you. For information about lawyers available in your area, you can contact the provincial law associations:
- Law Society of Alberta
- Law Society of British Columbia
- Law Society of Manitoba
- Law Society of New Brunswick
- Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Law Society of the Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society
- Law Society of Nunavut
- Law Society of Ontario
- Law Society of Prince Edward Island
- Barreau du Québec
- Chambre des notaires du Québec
- Law Society of Saskatchewan
- Law Society of Yukon
- Discuss early on with your lawyer your expectations and your limits for fees and costs. Plan ahead with your lawyer how best to use your funds. Please note that additional funding for the same matter is generally not permitted.
If you have more questions, you can contact the Office.