Effective September 15, 2004, employers who threaten or retaliate against “whistleblower” employees may be subject to criminal sanctions under recent amendments to the Criminal Code. The amendments make it a criminal offence for an employer to threaten or retaliate against an employee who discloses or intends to disclose an offence under any federal or provincial law which the employee believes the employer has committed or is committing.
The protection extends to disclosure of offences committed by an officer or another employee, or, if the employer is a company, a director. The employee disclosing the offence must do so to an official whose responsibilities include enforcing the law.
While the provisions are included as part of a broader package of amendments to the Criminal Code which are intended to deter capital markets fraud and encourage its disclosure, they also apply to an employee’s disclosure of any federal or provincial offence.