Fraud and Waste - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)>
The Hotline can be used by members of the public and all City of Ottawa employees. The Fraud and Waste Program does not deal with issues relating to the Mayor or City Councillors or their political office staff, the Ottawa Police Services Board, the Board of Health for the City of Ottawa Public Health Unit and Ottawa Public Health, or the Ottawa Community Housing Corporation. For issues regarding these organizations, please contact them directly.
Yes, the FWHL is a confidential and anonymous service that allows you to report incidents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Hotline is independently operated by a third party and is accessible by phone or Internet. When you make a report, the OAG will not be able to identify you. Individuals making a report are not required to provide their name or any other personal information when submitting a report. Every report is given a unique tracking number and a password, so users can follow the progress of their case, provide additional information, and see what action has been taken.
This service is administered by the OAG, which reports directly to Council and is independent of the City’s administration. The OAG conducts an objective and impartial assessment of each reported case and, as appropriate, determines whether management or our office is best suited to investigate the matter.
When a case is received, the following steps are taken:
- The OAG conducts an objective and impartial assessment to determine if the matter reported constitutes a potential fraud or waste.
- If the case is deemed to be a fraud or waste matter under the City’s Fraud and Waste Policy, the OAG then determines if sufficient information was provided to undertake a fulsome investigation or if more details are needed.
- As required, the OAG will request, through the FWHL system, clarification, or additional information to be provided by you.
- If you provided an email address when you submitted your report, you will receive an automated email alerting you each time a new message is posted to your case (communication through the FWHL system does not compromise your anonymity).
- Once there is sufficient information to undertake an investigation, the Auditor General determines whether the OAG or Management is best suited to investigate the matter. An investigation typically takes 9 weeks. However, for complex cases, an investigation could take up to a year. Once the matter has been investigated, the OAG will provide an update to the reporter through the FWHL system. If you provided an email, you will be alerted that you can review the results of the investigations.
Often, the OAG can only share limited information and details from an investigation with you, as disclosure of specific information on progress, actions taken, and/or outcomes is governed by the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).
No detail is too small. Please include as much information as you can to help us effectively investigate. Examples of key information include:
- details of incident, date(s), time(s) and location(s) of the incident(s);
- individual(s) or tool(s) involved in the incident; and
- any law(s) or policy(ies) that may have been breached as a result of the reported incident(s).
The automated reporting system will guide you through the process of capturing these details and give you the opportunity to include text, documents, images or anything else that you think may be relevant.
The FWHL is operated independently by a third-party vendor (Whistleblower Security Inc.) using the IntegrityCounts ethics reporting tool and case management system. Any information submitted through this website and over the phone which is collected through the IntegrityCounts portal is provided directly and securely to the City of Ottawa’s OAG.
To ensure your anonymity and confidentiality, there is no way for the OAG or the third-party vendor to reset your password for you to regain access to your report. The FWHL functionality allows you to select your own password. We recommend that you create a strong but memorable password to avoid such a situation.
None. If an allegation of fraud or waste is substantiated by the investigation, disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, shall be taken by the appropriate level of Management in consultation with Labour Relations and in compliance with the City's policies and procedures and any collective agreement requirements. The OAG has no role in this process.
No, the FWHL is only to report activities performed by or under the responsibility of the City of Ottawa. If a situation did not involve a City employee or service, deemed applicable under the Fraud and Waste Policy, the Hotline would not be the appropriate mechanism to report your issue.