You have made a disclosure of wrongdoing - what do you need to know?

What does the Office of the Integrity Commissioner do after it receives my disclosure materials?

The Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 (the “Act”) sets out the authority of the Integrity Commissioner. Disclosures are assessed to determine that they are within the Commissioner’s authority. In assessing your disclosure, staff will review your submission as follows:

-Confirm that you are a current or former public servant as defined by the Act;

-Assess whether your allegation is in the nature of wrongdoing, as defined by the Act;

-Check that the information is complete. In some cases you may be asked to clarify information or to speak with staff to provide more details; and

-Review the disclosure in the context of section 117 of the Act, which restricts the Commissioner from dealing with certain allegations (including whether the issue is being considered by another body or if it is a labour or employment matter).

The OIC has no discretion to take on matters that are clearly not permitted by the legislation.

The OIC has accepted my disclosure of wrongdoing complaint. What can I expect now?

The OIC refers the matter to a senior official within the Ontario government. This might be a deputy minister or the chair of a public body. The senior official has 30 days to investigate and report to the Commissioner regarding the investigation. The report is called the “Report after Referral”. The Commissioner can grant an extension beyond the 30-day deadline.

The Commissioner reviews the report to make sure that the allegations are addressed in a meaningful and appropriate way. The Commissioner can make recommendations, request additional information, or conclude that the report addresses the allegation.

Disclosers do not receive a copy of the report and the report is not made public. The Commissioner will provide the discloser with as much information as possible. If the Commissioner is not satisfied with the report,  a new investigation can be initiated and you will be informed that the matter is moving to investigation.

Will my name remain confidential?

The OIC conceals the identity of the discloser whenever possible. All those involved in the disclosure of wrongdoing framework – including the senior officials – are required to carry out their duties in a manner that protects your identity, unless the interests of fairness require otherwise.

How does this work?

 When the Commissioner decides to refer a disclosure to a senior official, OIC staff work with you to develop a summary that protects your identity as much as possible. However, there are some cases where the allegations are so unique that a discloser’s identity will be obvious from the facts. In these cases, the OIC cannot guarantee that a discloser’s identity remains confidential.

Why don’t I get a copy of the report?

The OIC wants to provide you with as much information as is possible related to your disclosure. Often times the information in a report contains personal information relating to another public servant. The Act stipulates that this kind of information cannot be disclosed.

Will I be protected from reprisal in the workplace?

The disclosure of wrongdoing framework contains protection from reprisal, but the Commissioner does not have authority to enforce the anti-reprisal provisions. If you believe that you are the subject of a reprisal, and your employment is covered by a collective agreement, you should seek assistance and information from your union. The OIC can work with your union to provide information about the process.

If you do not have union representation you can contact the Ontario Labour Relations Board or the Public Service Grievance Board regarding remedies that are available to you. The OIC can provide you with information about these avenues.

You may also be interested in our fact sheet: The Disclosure of Wrongdoing Process

PDF versions of the fact sheets are available below.

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