The City of Hamilton provides a convenient, confidential and anonymous way for members of the public, its employees and contractors/vendors to report suspicion or proof of wrongdoing, defined as any kind of activity that could be deemed illegal, dishonest, wasteful or a deliberate violation of a City of Hamilton policy.
The Fraud & Waste Hotline is managed by the Office of the City Auditor, an independent and objective office that is accountable to Council. The Office will review and assess each report and, if necessary, launch an investigation. An appropriate, objective and impartial assessment is conducted, regardless of the alleged wrongdoer's position, title, and length of service or the relationship with the City of any party who might be involved in such an assessment and investigation.
The Hotline empowers all members of the public and City of Hamilton employees to enable the City of Hamilton to operate with a high level of honesty and integrity. Please remember, report of fraud to the Hotline should be made in good faith.
Confidential and anonymous
The Hotline is operated independently by a third party and is accessible online or by phone, mail, email and fax. You are not required to provide your name or any other personal information when submitting a report of suspected fraud or waste, unless you chose to do so. Complaints will remain confidential for those willing to identify themselves.
If a caller identifies themselves, the identity of the caller will not be disclosed unless the City Auditor is compelled to do so by law. All participants in a fraud and waste investigation are required to keep the details and results of the investigation confidential.
Track your report
Reporters are given a unique login and password for their report. This allows you to follow the progress of your case, submit further information and view the action taken, you may also receive a request for additional information about your report. Note: If the reporter does not respond within 30 days to questions posted by the Audit staff, the City Auditor may close the case.
If you choose to provide your email address (which remains confidential within the system), you will receive notifications when a reviewer from the Office of the City Auditor posts questions or comments regarding the report.
If you do not submit your email address as part of your report, you can access and review updates with the provided login and password.
About the Fraud and Waste Hotline
The City of Hamilton has a Fraud Policy and Protocol (PDF, 167 KB). Its purpose was to protect the City of Hamilton’s revenue, property, information and other assets from being misappropriated either by members of the public, contractors, vendors, agents or its own employees.The City also has Whistleblower By-Law 19-181 (PDF, 120 KB), It's purpose is to encourage City of Hamilton employees to report serious wrongdoing and protect reporters that have come forward to disclose the wrongdoing in good faith from reprisal.
In July 2018, Hamilton City Council approved the establishment of a three-year pilot Fraud and Waste Hotline which is a confidential and anonymous service that allows members of the public and City of Hamilton employees to report suspected or witnessed cases of fraud or waste involving City resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Employees of the City of Hamilton may use the hotline without fear of reprisal under Whistleblower By-Law.
What is Fraud?
Fraud includes an array of irregularities and illegal acts characterized by intentional deception. Dishonest or fraudulent activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Forgery or alteration of documents (cheques, promissory notes, time sheets, independent contractor agreements, purchase orders, etc.)
- Misrepresentation of information by an individual
- Misrepresentation of information on documents
- Misappropriation of funds, securities, supplies, or any other asset
- Unauthorized use, disappearance, or destruction of City property, equipment, materials or records
- Improprieties in the handling or reporting of money transactions
- Authorization or receipt of payments for goods not received or services not performed
- Authorization or receipt of payment for hours not worked
- Any claim for reimbursement of expenses that are not made for the exclusive benefit of the City
- Any apparent violation of Federal, Provincial or local laws related to dishonest activities or fraud
- Any similar or related activity
What is Waste?
The mismanagement of City resources or assets in a willful, intentional or negligent manner that contravenes a City policy or direction by Council. Waste also includes incurring unnecessary costs because of inefficient or ineffective practices, systems or controls.
Importantly, waste goes beyond fraud and most waste does not involve a violation of law. Rather, waste relates primarily to mismanagement, inappropriate actions and inadequate oversight.
What Should be Reported
The following suspected cases of, but not limited to:
- Theft of City assets
- Conflict of interest situations
- Forgery or alteration of cheques
- Irregularities in money handling
- Fraudulent claims of reimbursement expenses
- Misuse of City-owned hardware and software
- Unauthorized use of City property, equipment, material or records
- Activities that are in violation of the Employee Code of Conduct, by-laws or regulations
- Authorizing or receiving payments for goods or services not received or performed
- Disclosure of confidential or proprietary information to outside parties
The following are not within scope of the Fraud and Waste Hotline:
- Contravention of Occupational Health and Safety Act
- Break Ins
Fraud unrelated to City of Hamilton operations
The following resources can be used to report fraud which is not related to City of Hamilton operations.
|Type of Report||Organization Name|
|Phone Call Scams:
Offering or selling products
Asking for donations or contributions
Collection agencies threatening to seize assets
|Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre|
Potential Fraudulent Tax Related Claims:
|Canada Revenue Agency|
|Social Assistance/Welfare Fraud||Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services|
|Anonymous Reporting to the Police||Crimestoppers|
|Concerns for the safety of children||Child and Family Services|
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can use the Hotline?
The Hotline is intended to be used by any Hamilton resident or City of Hamilton employee. Employees and contractors/vendors of the City of Hamilton may use the hotline without fear of reprisal under the Whistleblower By-Law.
How is the Hotline independent?
The Hotline is operated independently by a third party (Whistleblower Security Inc.) and is accessible by phone or Internet, along with several other methods (mail, fax, email). You are not required to provide your name or any other personal information when submitting a report of suspected fraud or waste.
What information should I include in my report?
When making a report to the Fraud and Waste Hotline please provide as much information as possible to support the allegations.
Try to provide the following information:
- Circumstances of the incident(s) noted (names, dates, times, places)
- Location of any available evidence (physical evidence or electronic records)
- Names and contact information of witnesses
- What funds, assets or resources were involved
- Who else may be aware of the incident
- If you have previously reported this incident
Can I make an anonymous report?
You can report anonymously through the following:
- Talking with an independent operator but opting not to provide any of your personal information. You will still receive a login and password to follow-up on the status of your report.
- Making a report via the online reporting process, but not opting not to provide any of your personal information. You will still receive a login and password to follow-up on the status of your report.
- Sending an anonymous letter to the P.O. Box address.
Please note that the Office of the City Auditor can only act on anonymous reports if sufficient information is provided to carry out a complete assessment. Reports need to be made in good faith and be about a specific incident and must, to the extent possible, include details such as who, what, when and where.
What will happen to my report once it is received?
A preliminary assessment will be completed by the City Auditor's Office for all reports submitted to the Fraud and Waste Hotline.
If there is insufficient information to complete an assessment, and the report was made anonymously, the Office of the City Auditor will pose additional questions via the case management system. If you chose to provide your email address (which remains completely confidential within the system), you will receive an email notification when a reviewer from the Office of the City Auditor posts questions or comments regarding the report.
If you do not submit your email address as part of your report, you will not receive an automatic email confirmation but will instead use your unique login and password (which is automatically issued upon report submission) to access your report by periodically logging into the system.
If no response is received within 30 days of the request for additional information, the report will be closed.
Where contact information was provided, the City Auditor's Office staff will try to obtain enough information to investigate or resolve the matter. An objective and impartial assessment will be conducted for each report.
If a report is actionable, the Office of the City Auditor does not disclose the specific action taken to the reporter nor do we disclose the nature of any disciplinary action taken by management. We are unable to provide reporters with any details as to the progress or outcomes of an assessment or investigation given the sensitive and personal nature of the information collected.
What if the City Auditor is implicated?
If the City Auditor is implicated and the reporter identifies this, the report will be routed directly to the City Manager by the independent third party (Whistleblower Security Inc.). The City Manager does not have access to the case management system.
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