Whistleblower program keeps employers alert

Will $5-million award tempt Ontario workers?
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/21/2017
Ontario Securities Commission
The Ontario Securities Commission’s whistleblower program should “encourage companies to strengthen their compliance systems.” Credit: Google Street View

Launched last summer, the whistleblower program offered by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is meant to enhance protections for investors and reporting employees by revealing wrongdoing. While not providing exact numbers, the commission said the program has been “fruitful out of the gate.”

For employers, the change is also having an impact — not only do they need to have updated policies and agreements, they must also take greater care when it comes to terminations and internal reporting processes, according to experts.

“It requires companies to take a really hard look at their processes, at their programs, and make sure that their employees understand their rights, make sure management understands their obligations to ensure that complainants are not hampered in their ability to provide information about the organization, including their supervisors, safely in the organization. And also to make sure that their employment contracts and policies reflect the evolving norms that are reflected in these policies,” said Lawrence Ritchie, a partner at Osler in Toronto.