Report Fraud, Wrongdoing or Waste
The general public, City staff and anyone doing business with the City can report suspected fraud, waste, or wrongdoing involving City resources. The City of Toronto’s Fraud & Waste Hotline Program is operated by the Forensic Unit of the Auditor General’s Office.
The following are the various ways to make a complaint to the Fraud & Waste Hotline:
- Complete the secure online form on the web
- Call the Fraud & Waste Hotline 416-397-7867 – answered 24/7 by an independent call centre
- Download the PDF report form and email it to AuditorGeneral@toronto.ca
- Write a physical letter and mail it to: Auditor General’s Office, Fraud & Waste Hotline, 55 John Street, 9th floor, Toronto, ON M5V 3C6
In order for an effective investigation into a complaint, please provide specific information to support any allegations that answers these questions: Who? What? Where? When? and How?
Specifically, complaints should try to answer these questions:
- Do the allegations involve a City employee? Someone conducting business with the City?
- Do the allegations involve potential fraud, waste or wrongdoing related to City funds, assets or resources?
- What funds, assets or resources were involved?
- Who else may be aware of the incident?
All contacts will be handled in confidence in accordance with the City’s privacy statement and policies. Complaints will remain confidential for those willing to identify themselves, and anonymous calls will also be investigated. If a caller identifies themselves, the identity of the caller will not be disclosed unless the Auditor General is compelled to do so by law. All participants in a fraud investigation are required to keep the details and results of the investigation confidential.
- Breach of Public Trust
- Children’s Services Fraud
- Conflict of interest
- Excessive overtime
- Improper employee conduct
- Inappropriate use of corporate time
- Irregular benefit claims
- Irregular employee work hours
- Irregular purchasing
- Loss of City revenue
- Misuse of City funds and resources
- Theft of City Assets
Wrongdoing: Wrongdoing, as defined by the Disclosure of Wrongdoing and Reprisal Protection Provisions, refers to serious actions that are contrary to the public interest including but not limited to: Fraud; Theft of City assets; Waste; Violations of the Conflict of Interest provisions; Breach of public trust.
Waste: The mismanagement of City resources or assets in a wilful, intentional or negligent manner that contravenes a City policy or direction by Council, as defined by the Disclosure of Wrongdoing and Reprisal Protection Provisions. Waste also includes incurring unnecessary costs because of inefficient or ineffective practices, systems or controls.
Fraud: Fraud is the act of using dishonesty as a tool for personal gain. Fraud (and other similar irregularities) includes, but is not limited to: Forgery or alteration of cheques, drafts, promissory notes and securities; Any misappropriation of funds, securities, supplies, or any other asset; Any irregularity in the handling or reporting of money transactions; Stealing or selling for private gain City furniture, fixtures and equipment; Seeking or accepting anything of material value from vendors, consultants or contractors doing business with the City in violation of the City’s Conflict of Interest policy; Unauthorized use or misuse of City property, equipment, materials or records; Any computer-related activity involving the alteration, destruction, forgery or manipulation of data for fraudulent purposes or misappropriation of City-owned software; Any claim for reimbursement of expenses that were not made for the exclusive benefit of the City; Any similar or related irregularity.
All City employees who are aware that wrongdoing has occurred will immediately notify their manager, their Division Head, or the Auditor General’s Office. Employees who report wrongdoing in good faith will be protected from reprisal.
Any employee who knowingly makes a false complaint in bad faith or who knowingly makes a false or misleading statement that is intended to mislead an investigation of a complaint, may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal as determined by the City Manager in consultation with the City Solicitor and Human Resources.
City employees who disclose wrongdoing will fully co-operate with the Auditor General’s Office, other involved Divisions and law enforcement agencies during the course of an investigation and will make all reasonable efforts to be available to assist the above noted persons with the investigation.
See the City’s Disclosure of Wrongdoing and Reprisal Protection Provisions.
All City employees who are aware that wrongdoing has occurred will immediately notify their manager, their Division Head, or the Auditor General’s Office.
Managers are responsible to:
- Promote ethical conduct and support ethical decision-making in their areas of responsibility;
- Undertake investigations of alleged wrongdoing seriously and appropriately;
- Report the results of investigations of alleged wrongdoing to the Auditor General;
- Investigate and resolve allegations of employee misconduct that do not constitute wrongdoing as defined in the Disclosure of Wrongdoing and Reprisal Protection provisions;
- Ensure that City employees under their supervision, who, in good faith, report wrongdoing are protected from reprisals in accordance with the Disclosure of Wrongdoing and Reprisal Protection provisions;
Establish and maintain a system of internal controls to detect and prevent wrongdoing; and
- Be familiar with the types of wrongdoing that could occur within their area of responsibility and be proactive in taking steps to guard against such activities.
Managers will support and co-operate with the Auditor General’s Office, other involved Divisions, and law enforcement agencies in the detection, disclosure and investigation of wrongdoing
You can discuss this with the staff at the Auditor General’s Office or the Office of the Integrity Commissioner to determine what is appropriate in the circumstances. Generally, the Integrity Commissioner investigates and reports to Council when a complaint is filed against a City Councillor alleging a violation of the Councillor’s Code of Conduct.
Each complaint received is tracked and screened by designated intake staff, with appropriate supervisory review. Each complaint is reviewed by the Forensic Unit staff and in some cases the Auditor General, to determine the appropriate disposition or how to deal with the complaint. Disposition options that may be assigned to a complaint or a particular allegation within a complaint include:
- Led by the A-G Office
- Led by or Coordinated with Division (with report back to the A-G Office)
2) No Action:
- Not enough information
- Additional information only (regarding an existing complaint)
- Outside our jurisdiction
- Preliminary Inquiries conducted suggest no further action warranted
3) Future Audit by A-G Office
4) Referral to Division:
- Complaints may be referred to an internal corporate division for review and report back to the A-G Office
If a complaint is actionable, we do not disclose the specific action taken to the complainant nor do we disclose the nature of any disciplinary action taken by divisional management. We are unable to provide complainants with any details as to the progress or outcomes of a review/investigation given the sensitive and personal nature of the information collected.
See the City’s Disclosure of Wrongdoing and Reprisal Protection Provisions.
No person shall take a reprisal against a City employee because the employee:
- has sought information or advice about making a disclosure about wrongdoing;
- has made a disclosure about wrongdoing in good faith;
- has acted in compliance with the Disclosure of Wrongdoing and Reprisal Protection provisions;
- has initiated or co-operated in an investigation or other process related to a disclosure of wrongdoing;
- has appeared as a witness, given evidence or participated in any proceeding relating to the wrongdoing, or is required to do so;
- has alleged or reported a reprisal; or
- is suspected of any of the above actions.
Reprisal protection may not be able to be extended to employees whose identity cannot be confirmed.
If a suspicion of fraud or other wrongdoing is substantiated by the investigation, disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal shall be taken by the appropriate level of management, in consultation with the Human Resources Division, the City Solicitor as appropriate
The Toronto Public Service By-Law includes Disclosure of Wrongdoing and Reprisal Protection provisions for all City employees. Specific applicability can be found on the Toronto Public Service By-Law website.
The By-Law applies to members of the public service which includes both City of Toronto employees and applicable Agency employees. This includes:
- This includes City of Toronto employees working in City Divisions, Toronto Public Health and in the 10 Association of Community Centres
- It also includes employees for the following City agencies:
- Arena Boards
- Exhibition Place
- Heritage Toronto
- Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
- St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts
- Toronto Centre for the Arts
- Toronto Parking Authority
- Toronto Transit Commission
- Toronto Zoo
- Yonge-Dundas Square
The Public Service By-law does not apply to Members of Council. Members of City Council and their staff are not members of the public service. However, they are governed by similar ethical provisions through the Members Code of Conduct. Their ethical provisions reflect that Members of Council and their staff are not required to be politically neutral and impartial in the same manner that the public service must be.
Accountability Officers are independent and accountable to City Council and are not members of the public service. Chapter 3 of Toronto’s Municipal Code governs the responsibilities of Accountability Officers – similar ethical provisions do apply to them and their staff, however these are codified in their Chapter.
The City’s Disclosure of Wrongdoing and Reprisal Protection Provisions, in effect since December 31, 2015.