Duty to Report

Overview

The ethical obligation for registrants to raise concerns about another registrant, firm, employer or any person’s conduct or regulated practice is well established in our Code of Ethics and is an important role that registrants play to protect the public interest. In addition to the ethical obligation in our Code of Ethics, there is a new statutory duty to report under the Professional Governance Act (PGA).

Under the PGA and in accordance with the Code of Ethics, registrants, including registrant firms, have a duty to report situations where the regulated practice of another registrant or other person, including a firm, may pose a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public or a group of people, or where another person, including a firm, is engaged in regulated practice that is, or has made decisions that are, illegal or unethical.

Any report made under a registrant’s duty to report is treated as a complaint. Failure to meet the duty to report is a breach of the PGA and the Code of Ethics.

Duty to Report Requirements

Code of Ethics

During their daily professional activities, registrants may observe circumstances or situations that they believe pose a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public, or that are illegal or unethical.

  • In keeping with Principle 1 of the Code of Ethics, registrants have a duty to hold paramount public safety and protection of the environment. They cannot choose to look the other way and ignore what they observe.
  • Principle 9 of the Code of Ethics requires registrants to report if they believe that the continued practice of a regulated practice by another registrant or other person, including firms and employers, might pose a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public or a group of people. Registrants must also report illegal or unethical practices by any person or firm, not just registrants.

For details on how to follow the duty to report obligation under the Code of Ethics, please review section 4.9 of the Guide to the Code of Ethics.

Professional Governance Act

In addition to the ethical duty to report under Principle 9 of the Code of Ethics, registrants are also under a statutory duty to report pursuant to the section 58 of the PGA. The duty to report under the Code of Ethics and under section 58 of the PGA are closely related as both impose an obligation upon registrants to report on situations that they identify as posing a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public or a group of people.

However, the statutory duty to report differs from the requirements set out in the Code of Ethics in several ways:

  • The obligation to make a report in accordance with the statutory duty to report extends to non-registrants such as employers and partners of registrants, if they terminate the employment or revoke or suspend a registrant’s privileges or dissolve a partnership with the registrant, based on the non-registrant’s belief that the registrant engaged in the regulated practice in a manner that may pose a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public or a group of people.
  • There is a requirement to report on any other registrant governed under the PGA, not just within one’s own profession.
  • The potential harms must be linked to an identified registrant engaged in their regulated practice.
  • Section 103 of the PGA prohibits taking reprisal action against a registrant for meeting their statutory duty by making a report.

Reporting Considerations

The most appropriate way for registrants to discharge their duty to report will vary according to the specifics of the situation. We recommend reviewing section 4.9.6 of the Guide to the Code of Ethics, which outlines considerations for registrants in reporting a significant risk of harm, illegal activity, or unethical behaviour. If you have questions when considering to report, contact [email protected]. If you have questions about the duty to report and complaint process, contact [email protected].

Reprisals

A reprisal is an act of retaliation against a registrant who makes a report under section 58 of the PGA. To ensure registrants are protected, section 103 prohibits anyone from evicting, discharging, suspending, expelling, intimidating, coercing, imposing any pecuniary or other penalty on or otherwise discriminating against a registrant who makes a report. Section 106 of the PGA makes reprisals against whistleblowers an offence, and any person convicted is subject to penalties.

Resources

Registrants and registrant firms should be familiar with the following resources to ensure their compliance with the duty to report:

Have a question about considering when to report? Contact [email protected].