Report Fraud, Waste or Wrongdoing
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 other ways to make a complaint to the Fraud & Waste Hotline:
- Call the Fraud & Waste Hotline at 416-397-7867 – answered 24/7 by an independent call centre
- Download the 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 St., 9th floor, Toronto, ON M5V 3C6
Are you a City employee? Learn about specific fraud and waste guidelines that may apply to you.
What Information to Include in a Complaint
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, complainants 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?
How the Auditor General's Office Handles the Confidentiality of Complaints
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.
What Happens after Complaints Are Made
Each complaint received is tracked and screened by designated intake staff, with appropriate supervisory review. Forensic Unit staff, in consultation with the Auditor General, 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 Auditor General’s Office
- Led by the Division (with a report back to the Auditor General’s 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 the Auditor General’s Office
4) Referral to Division:
- Complaints may be referred to divisional management for review and report back to the Auditor General’s 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.
Definitions of Wrongdoing, Waste and Fraud
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:
- Theft of City assets
- 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
Types of Allegations the Auditor General’s Office Investigates
- Breach of Public Trust
- Subsidy Fraud
- Conflict of interest
- Excessive overtime
- 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
Are Complaints Against Elected Officials Filed with the Auditor General or Integrity Commissioner?
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.
What Happens to City of Toronto Employees Who Commit Fraud or Other Wrongdoing
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 and the City Solicitor as appropriate.
About the Fraud & Waste Hotline Program
The Fraud and Waste Hotline program provides City of Toronto staff and members of the public with a means to report any observed or suspected fraud, waste or wrongdoing involving City resources.
The Auditor General’s Forensic Unit, established in July 2005, administers the program. The unit:
- processes all complaints received through the program
- screens each complaint to determine the disposition: no action, refer to division or investigate
- tracks each complaint through its lifecycle
- conducts investigations
- provides oversight on investigations led by City divisions
- reports annually to Council on the activity of the program
In 2002, the City of Toronto was the first city in Canada to establish a Fraud and Waste Hotline program. A number of other Canadian cities have since established similar programs.
Financial accountability is a top priority for the City of Toronto. The Disclosure of Wrongdoing and Reprisal Protection formalizes the expectations of City officials and employees to report wrongdoing if they suspect it.