Ombudsman begins duties as Public Interest Commissioner

Peter Hourihan, Alberta’s Ombudsman, has officially begun his duties as the province’s first Public Interest Commissioner.

The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act came into effect June 1, 2013, and in the weeks following Mr. Hourihan’s appointment as Commissioner, he was been working to set up the Public Interest Commissioner’s office, hiring staff and developing an interactive and informative website.

The Act provides Alberta’s public servants with an avenue to speak out about wrongdoings in their workplace – and provides them with protection from reprisals for speaking out.

The Public Interest Commissioner is independent from government and government institutions, and is an officer of the Legislative Assembly.

Among his duties in this role, Mr. Hourihan will provide the oversight of disclosures and investigations in the public sector.

The Commissioner can also provide advice to public servants regarding wrongdoings, resolve complaints, and investigate matters and make recommendations to government.