If your disclosure concerns a municipal body or a municipality, you may make a disclosure to the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation. In certain cases, the Québec Ombudsman may also handle your disclosure.
If your disclosure concerns several bodies, including a municipality or a municipal body, you can make a disclosure to either the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation or to the Québec Ombudsman.
Contact us and we will refer you to the appropriate body.
As soon as we receive your disclosure, we acknowledge receipt by contacting you in writing (if we know how to reach you) within 5 working days.
Next, if your disclosure is admissible (that is, if the Québec Ombudsman can intervene), we conduct an audit during pre-investigation. Once this is done, we decide whether to proceed with a formal investigation.
During pre-investigation and investigation, we let you know that your disclosure is still being processed. When the investigation has been completed and our conclusions have been delivered, we make recommendations to the public body concerned. If the Québec Ombudsman considers it appropriate, it can inform you about the follow-up to the disclosure.
The Québec Ombudsman sends you an explanatory notice when handling of your disclosure is completed.
According to the Act, the following are considered wrongdoings:
- A contravention of a law or regulation applicable in Québec;
- A serious breach of the standards of ethics and professional conduct;
- A misuse of funds or property belonging to a public body, including the funds or property it manages or holds for others;
- Gross mismanagement within a public body, including an abuse of authority;
- An act or omission that seriously compromises a person's health or safety or the environment.
The fact of ordering or advising a person to commit one of these wrongdoings is also considered a wrongdoing.
See the What is a wrongdoing? section for more details.
A few examples :
- A wrongdoing that is the subject of court proceedings or that relates to decision rendered by a court.
- A wrongdoing by an elected municipal official consisting of a breach of the person’s code of ethics and professional conduct.
- A wrongdoing committed within a private company and that does not involve a public body.
- Breach of the rules for public contract call for tenders.
Note that disclosure for purely personal purposes is not admissible, for example, if you disclose:
- inappropriate behaviour towards you only by a manager.
For other examples of situations in which the Québec Ombudsman cannot investigate, see the What is a wrongdoing? section.
Anyone who has committed a wrongdoing within or relating to a public body may have a disclosure made about them, namely:
- A member of the personnel of a public body, regardless of rank;
- Any person, business, group or other entity who or that commits a wrongdoing concerning a public body (e.g. awarding of financial assistance).
You may know that wrongdoing has occurred without knowing exactly who did it. This should not prevent you from disclosing the information you have.
You can make a disclosure even if you are not an employee of the public body in question. Anyone who has information that may show that wrongdoing concerning a public body has occurred or is about to occur can make a disclosure. For example, a subcontractor who has information that may show that wrongdoing has occurred or is about to occur can make a disclosure.
No. You may know that wrongdoing has occurred without knowing who did it. You may also have documents that suggest that wrongdoing has occurred. In these situations, do not hesitate to disclose the information you have to us and we will carry out the required checks.
If the wrongdoing poses a serious risk to a person’s health or safety or to the environment and the situation is urgent and you cannot contact us or the officer responsible for dealing with disclosures within the public body concerned, you can speak out publicly or through the media.
However, note that in these situations, you must meet the following two conditions to benefit from the protection against reprisal afforded by the Act:
- you contacted a police force or the Anti-Corruption Commissioner first before going public or to the media;
- disclosure does not have the effect of hindering measures to avoid serious risk to a person’s health or safety or to the environment.
If in doubt, contact us.
Proof is not required. However, to enable us to conduct an audit or investigation, when one is required, you must describe the wrongdoing, indicate the public body concerned and provide us with as much information as possible. You can make a disclosure immediately using our secure online form.
If your disclosure concerns a childcare centre (CPE), a subsidized daycare centre or a home childcare coordinating office, you can make a disclosure to the Québec Ombudsman or to the Ministère de la Famille.
If your disclosure concerns a private daycare centre, you must contact the Ministère de la Famille only.
The Québec Ombudsman cannot process disclosures concerning the federal government. If you are federal public sector employee, you can contact the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada.
The Act to facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoings relating to public bodies authorizes whistleblowers to disclose to the Québec Ombudsman or the disclosure officer information that the whistleblowers would not be allowed to disclose otherwise.
When you contact the Québec Ombudsman, you can tell us what you know without being afraid that you are being disloyal to your employer or that you have disclosed information despite your obligation of confidentiality or professional secrecy.
Note that when a disclosure is made to anyone other than a person provided for in the Act, the whistleblower is not protected against reprisal. A person may be penalized if he or she discloses confidential information to a third party other than the Québec Ombudsman or the officer responsible for dealing with disclosures.
Furthermore, the exemption from professional secrecy does not apply to attorney-client or notary-client privilege.
See the Protection section for more information about protection against reprisal.
No. If you are a member of the personnel of the public body concerned (the staff of childcare centres, subsidized day care centres and municipal bodies are not included), you can contact either the Québec Ombudsman or the officer responsible for dealing with disclosures within the public body.
You can make a disclosure to the Québec Ombudsman at any time even if you have already done so to the disclosure officer and audits are underway. You may also contact the Québec Ombudsman if you are dissatisfied after the audits by the disclosure officer are completed.
If you are not a member of the personnel of the public body concerned, you must go to the Québec Ombudsman.
Do you have information to disclose? Do it now.
You can check the Intranet of the public body for which you work, or, contact us if necessary.