Wrongdoing Hotline

 

The Wrongdoing Hotline is a confidential and anonymous third-party service. Everyone may use this service, including citizens, municipal employees and municipal contractors, seven days a week and 24 hours a day 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 city policy. Employees and contractors of the City of Greater Sudbury may use the hotline without fear of reprisal under Whistleblower policy of the city’s employee handbook.

Dial 705-688-7588. An operator will record and submit your complaint.

Submit a secure form online at  www.sudburycomplaints.ca

Where should I file my complaint?

Residents who require assistance or have general questions or complaints about City services such as waste collection, snow plowing and By-law Services or other programs should not contact the hotline to resolve their complaint. Concerns about the City’s services and programs should be reported to the City’s 311 Call Centre for resolution.

Staff should not use the hotline to report workplace issues unless they continue to be unresolved after being brought to the attention of their immediate supervisors.

The hotline should only be used to report allegations of wrongdoing which is defined as any kind of activity that could be deemed illegal, dishonest or wasteful or a deliberate violation of city policy. Several definitions of wrongdoing activities are provided below.

What is Theft?

Theft is taking another person’s property without permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of the object. In this case, “person” includes the City of Greater Sudbury. Examples of theft include, but are not limited to:

  • Misappropriation, embezzlement or theft of city funds, supplies or any other asset.
  • Inappropriate use of corporate time or corporate facilities.

What is Fraud?

Fraud is a wrongful or criminal deception that results, or has potential to result, in financial or personal gain. Examples of fraud include, but are not limited to:

  • Forgery.
  • Irregularities in the handling or reporting of monetary transactions.
  • Unauthorized use or misuse of city property, equipment, materials or records.
  • Misuse of city-owned hardware and software.
  • Claims for reimbursement of expenses that were not made for the exclusive benefit of the city.
  • Irregular claims for benefits.

What is Waste?

Waste refers to the inefficient use of municipal resources and refers to any operation, process or activity in which municipal resources may be used without due regard for value for money and/or where opportunities may exist to save money.

What is Abuse?

Abuse involves behavior that is deficient or improper when compared with behavior that a prudent person would consider reasonable and necessary, given the facts and circumstances in a business practice. Abuse also includes the misuse of authority or position for personal financial interests or those of a family member or business associate. Examples of abuse include, but are not limited to:

  • Conflict of interest.
  • Seeking or accepting anything of material value from vendors, consultants or contractors doing business with the city.
  • Bribery.
  • Nepotism.
  • Unauthorized access, use or misuse of privileged or personal information.
  • Improper employee conduct.

Who Can Be Investigated?

Complaints may be filed regarding City of Greater Sudbury employees, management, contractors and political office staff.

The wrongdoing hotline should not be used to file complaints about the Mayor or Members of Council. These complaints should be filed separately to the City's Integrity Commissioner

Agencies, Boards and wholly-owned corporations of the City of Greater Sudbury, including the Greater Sudbury Public Library Board, Greater Sudbury Police Services Board, Downtown Sudbury Business Improvement Area Board, Flour Mill Business Improvement Area Board, Sudbury & District Health Unit, Greater Sudbury Utilities Inc., Greater Sudbury Development Corporation, Greater Sudbury Housing Corporation and Sudbury Airport Community Development Corporation are not included in the city’s complaint resolution process. Please contact these organizations directly with your complaint.

What are Workplace Issues?

Workplace issues include concerns about staff members that have been raised but not addressed by a staff member's immediate supervisor or manager. Complaints about staff members that have not been resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant should be forwarded to senior management or to Human Resources personnel for resolution or included in a formal grievance.  

The hotline should not be used by City staff to address workplace issues unless they continue to be unresolved after being brought to the attention of their immediate supervisors or raised through one of the internal reporting mechanisms for health and safety concerns or the prevention of workplace violence, harassment and discrimination.

How is my Identity Protected When Submitting a Complaint?

The Wrongdoing Hotline is operated independently by a third party. In the City of Greater Sudbury, Baytek Systems Consulting International and On Call Centre of Ottawa have been awarded two year contracts for the operation and maintenance of online and telephone hotlines.

While complaints may be submitted anonymously to the Hotline, in some circumstances investigators may be unable to follow up on a complaint without knowing the identity of the complainant. In these circumstances, the complainant will be asked whether they consent to revealing their name to the investigator.

Who Conducts the Investigations?

Allegations of illegal, dishonest, wasteful or deliberate violations of City policies will be forwarded to the following individuals for investigation. All are bound by confidentiality provisions of their employment.

  • The Auditor General’s Office will conduct investigations regarding City contractors in consultation with the Chief Administrative Officer.
  • The Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development will coordinate investigations regarding City staff in consultation with the General Manager of Corporate Services.
  • The Chief Administrative Officer will coordinate investigations regarding the Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development in consultation with the Auditor General’s Office.
  • The Auditor General’s Office will conduct investigations regarding the City’s Chief Administrative Officer in consultation with the Office of the Mayor.
  • The Chief Administrative Officer will coordinate investigations regarding the Mayor and political office staff in consultation with the City Clerk.
  • The Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development will coordinate investigations regarding the Auditor General’s Office in consultation with the Audit Committee of Greater Sudbury Council.

Anyone who believes their complaint remains unresolved following conclusion of the local complaint resolution process has the right to contact the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman for further investigation. Please note the Ontario Ombudsman will not accept complaints for investigation until an investigation has concluded at the municipal level. The website of the Ontario Ombudsman states that: “The Ombudsman recommends solutions to fix problems of maladministration. He cannot overturn decisions made by municipalities, school boards or universities.”

How are Investigations Conducted?

Complaints should be about a specific incident. Please include “who, what, when and where” in your report. Providing specific and detailed information will help with the investigation, including the person(s) involved, time and date of the incident and location of where the incident took place.
Complaints are reviewed for accuracy to determine whether the submission is reasonable and valid for further investigation. When required, information may be forwarded to law enforcement or other outside legislated authorities.

Every complaint that is submitted is assigned a case identification number and a password, so you can follow the progress of your case and see what action has been taken, in total anonymity. You may be asked questions regarding your complaint via your secure website form. You can also submit additional information on the website form.

If you prefer to speak with someone to submit your complaint, you can dial the hotline at 705-688-7588. The operator will require your case identification number and password to provide verbal updates of the contents of your website form. The operator will not ask for any personal identifying information.

If you prefer to be notified of updates concerning your case, you have the option of subscribing to email notification. The email will alert you that updates or questions are available on your secure website form. If your email address includes your name, you may wish to create a non-identifying email account.

Complainants have the option of submitting their name and personal contact information if they wish to be contacted by the staff member who is conducting the investigation. In some cases, it may not be possible to further the investigation without asking the complainant whether they consent to provide their name to the investigator.

Complaints under investigation will receive an appropriate, objective and impartial investigation, regardless of the alleged wrongdoer’s position, title or length of service with the city.  Complaints may be dismissed summarily, however, if they are found to be frivolous, vexatious or repetitive.  

Anyone who believes their complaint remains unresolved following conclusion of the local complaint resolution process can contact the Auditor General of the City of Greater Sudbury at 705-674-4455 ext 4402 or by email to auditor.general@greatersudbury.ca.

Complainants also have the right to contact the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman to request a further investigation if they remain unsatisfied with the outcome of the investigation of their complaint. 
Please note the Ontario Ombudsman will not accept complaints for investigation until an investigation has concluded at the municipal level. The website of the Ontario Ombudsman states that: “The Ombudsman recommends solutions to fix problems of maladministration. He cannot overturn decisions made by municipalities, school boards or universities.”

When will Complaints be Resolved?

The City has established the following targets for resolving complaints: 

Deliverable

Targets for Complaint
Resolution Process

Initial assignment of complaint

5 business days

Preliminary review of complaint

30 calendar days

Simple complaint

60 calendar days

Substantial complaint

90 calendar days

Complex complaint

120 calendar days

If your complaint is not being resolved in accordance with the above time lines, you should contact the Auditor General’s Office for an explanation.  If you remain unsatisfied, you can escalate your concern to the Chair of the Audit Committee. 

How are Investigations Monitored and Reported to Council?

The Auditor General’s Office oversees the wrongdoing hotline. Staff in the Auditor General’s Office assign complaints for investigation, monitor their status, review the outcome of investigations, and report their status semi-annually to Council. 

A report regarding the Complaint Resolution Process was presented to Council on January 26, 2016.

A request for decision regarding a two year contract with a service provider to operate a Wrongdoing Hotline was presented to Council on April 12, 2016.

An amendment to the City of Greater Sudbury Employee Handbook providing “whistle-blower” protection for municipal employees and contractors is available here.