Handling of disclosures
Disclosures are handled with complete confidentiality and according to the disclosure handling procedure (PDF, 255 KB) we have established. Personal information is protected and can only be accessed by the people authorized to use it in the exercise of their functions.
Before handling the disclosure, we make sure that it is within our jurisdiction. If it is not, we refer you to the appropriate resource : the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Occupation du territoire (MAMOT), a police force, the Anti-Corruption Commissioner (UPAC), the Autorité des marchés publics, the Commission municipale du Québec, the Inspecteur général de la ville de Montréal, a professional order, etc.
- When we have reasonable grounds to believe that a wrongdoing has occurred or is about to occur, we conduct an audit and launch an investigation if necessary.
- We gather the relevant information from the parties concerned (the whistleblower if the person's identity is known, the public body concerned, the person about whom the disclosure was made and anyone else who can help us shed light on the alleged facts).
- In investigating, the Québec Ombudsman has the same powers as the commissioners appointed under the Act respecting public inquiry commissions, except the power to impose imprisonment. It can therefore require the provision of documents and summon anyone who has information needed for the investigation.
- The public bodies must cooperate throughout the investigation, give us access to all documents and answer all our questions.
- When the investigation is completed, we must report our conclusions to the highest ranking administrative official within the public body concerned, or if the circumstances warrant it, to the minister responsible for the public body.
- Where applicable, we make recommendations and see to it that they are implemented.
- If we feel that the follow-up to our recommendations is unsatisfactory, we notify the minister responsible for the public body concerned. If we feel that it is called for, we may also report the situation in our annual report or in a special report tabled in the National Assembly.
- At the end of the investigation, we inform the whistleblower that the investigation is over and, if we deem it appropriate, we inform him or her of the outcome.
The rights of whistleblowers
The people about whom a disclosure has been made are entitled to a fair investigation. That is why the Québec Ombudsman allows them to provide their version of the events, whether by meeting with them or by any other appropriate means (in writing, for example).