Nova Scotia Federation of Labour President Danny Cavanagh wants protection for all workers – particularly in the long-term care sector – to have the broadest protection possible to report to authorities or the public if the conditions in facilities or for residents are unacceptable, unhealthy, unsafe, or otherwise inhumane.
“COVID-19 has brought to light conditions in long-term care homes across Canada that are inhumane and unacceptable.
“The armed forces who helped staff facilities in Ontario were free to report what they saw because there were no potential repercussions – workers should be extended that same liberty and protection,” says Cavanagh.
Of the six provinces that have whistleblowing laws, only one (Ontario) provides a mechanism for whistleblowers who have suffered reprisals to seek a remedy. None of Canada’s whistleblowing laws contains adequate measures for preventing or halting reprisals in the first place, before the whistleblower suffers serious harm.
There is a formal process in Nova Scotia under the Protection for Persons in Care Act that is a bit daunting and relies on a long process of investigation, etc. The protection for workers in that legislation should be extended more broadly to protect those acting in good faith who report – even if they report outside the formal legislative process.
“This type of protection should be extended to not only those making a good faith complaint under the act but raising a good faith concern about the health and safety of staff and employees generally,” says Cavanagh.