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We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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Safe Disclosure Policy

Classification number LCG 1119
Framework category Legal, Compliance and Governance
Approving authority Board of Governors
Policy owner University Secretary
Approval date April 20, 2016
Review date April 2019
Supersedes Whistleblower Policy, December 2008

Purpose

The University is committed to ethics, integrity and compliance in all of its activities.  The purpose of this Policy is to set out the principles for Good Faith disclosure of Improper Activity and to describe the University’s response to concerns from such disclosures.   The Policy reflects the University’s commitment to accountability and ethical conduct, and supports the ability of University Members to disclose concerns in good faith, without fear of Reprisal. This Policy is intended to address only disclosures that cannot be addressed under other policies or procedures that govern the subject matter of the disclosure.

Definitions

For the purposes of this Policy the following definitions apply:

 “Delegated Decision-Maker” means the:

  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Improper Activity that is finance-related, or the Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee where the disclosure may implicate the CFO; or

  • General Counsel (GC) for Improper Activity that is non-financial, or the Chair of the Governance, Nominations and Human Resources Committee (GNHR) where the disclosure may implicate the GC.

“Good Faith Disclosure” means a written report made by a University Member under this Policy concerning any actual or perceived Improper Activity where the report is:

  • Made to a Disclosure Recipient;

  • Based on a reasonable belief or information that the Improper Activity has occurred, or could potentially occur; and

  • Not malicious, frivolous, vexatious and/or knowingly false.

“Improper Activity” means an act of misconduct that a University Member knew or should reasonably have known to be wrong or inappropriate.  Improper Activity includes, but is not limited to:

  • Significant financial misconduct or mismanagement;

  • Theft, fraud, and/or misappropriation of University assets;

  • Significant contravention of University policies and procedures;

  • Violation of the University’s legal or regulatory obligations;

  • Forgery, falsification, and/or inappropriate alteration or destruction of University records (paper and electronic);

  • Making a disclosure that is not in Good Faith;

  • The act of concealing or attempting to conceal Improper Activity, and/or knowingly directing or assisting in the commission or concealment of Improper Activity, will also be considered a form of Improper Activity under this Policy.

“Innocent Violation” means an Improper Activity that is inadvertent or where the University Member could not reasonably be expected to have known the Improper Activity was wrong or inappropriate.

“Reprisal” means taking action or threatening to take action against a University Member for making a Good Faith Disclosure. 

“University Member” means any individual who is:

  • Employed by the University;

  • Registered as a student, in accordance with the academic regulations of the University;

  • Holding an appointment with the University, including paid, unpaid and/or honorific appointments; and/or

  • Otherwise subject to University policies by virtue of the requirements of a specific policy (e.g. Booking and Use of University Space) and/or the terms of an agreement or contract.

“University Recipient” means the:

  • Appropriate Supervisor or Manager;

  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Improper Activity that is finance-related, or the Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee where the disclosure may implicate the CFO; or

  • General Counsel (GC) for Improper Activity that is non-financial, or the Chair of the Governance, Nominations and Human Resources Committee (GNHR) where the disclosure may implicate the GC.

Scope and authority

This Policy applies to all University Members.

The University Secretary, or successor thereof, is the Policy Owner and is responsible for overseeing the implementation, administration and interpretation of this Policy.  

Policy

Any University Member having information or reasonable grounds to believe Improper Activity has occurred, is occurring or may occur, is encouraged to make a Good Faith Disclosure to individuals in authority at the University.

Reporting Improper Activity

  1. Concerns or allegations of Improper Activity will normally be reported and addressed in accordance with the existing University policies or procedures that govern the activity in question. The University Recipient for such concerns or allegations will normally be the next appropriate supervisor or manager, or as specified in the relevant procedures.  

  2. A Good Faith Disclosure will be addressed under this Policy and the associated Procedures where:

    1. The Improper Activity may involve the next appropriate supervisor or manager; or
    2. There are no other established University procedures governing the activity;

  3. A Good Faith Disclosure under this Policy will be made to the appropriate University Recipient.

Responding to Disclosures

  1. The University will take appropriate steps to properly review and/or investigate and address all Good Faith Disclosures in accordance with this Policy and Procedures, the Administrative Fairness Policy, and other applicable University policies and procedures, as amended.  

Confidentiality

  1. The University will use all reasonable efforts to keep the details of a Good Faith Disclosure confidential, and will protect the identity of the individual making the Good Faith Disclosure to the fullest extent possible under legislation, regulation, and University policy.

Violations

  1. A University Member who is found to be culpable of Improper Activity following an investigation may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, as appropriate.

  2. A University Member who is found to have committed an Innocent Violation will not be subject to discipline. Steps may be taken by the University to manage the University Member and/or situation in order to prevent the misconduct from occurring in the future.  

No Reprisal

  1. No University Member who makes a Good Faith Disclosure will be subjected to Reprisal, either directly or indirectly.  The University will investigate and take all appropriate action to address allegations of Reprisal.

Consequences for Disclosures Not in Good Faith

  1. Any University Member who makes a report of Improper Activity that is determined to be malicious, frivolous, vexatious, and/or knowingly false will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, as appropriate.

Reporting

  1. The CFO will report annually to the Audit & Finance Committee of the Board.  The General Counsel will report annually to the GNHR Committee of the Board. The reports will include a summary of the number, nature and disposition of all disclosures made under this Policy, as well as recommendations to address and mitigate future Improper Activity. The Board Committees will report to the Board as they deem appropriate.  

Monitoring and review

This Policy will be reviewed as necessary and at least every three years.  The University Secretary, or successor thereof, is responsible to monitor and review this Policy.

Relevant legislation

University of Ontario Institute of Technology Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, Chapter 8, Schedule O

By-Law Number 1 of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, as amended.

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter F. 31

Related policies, procedures & documents

Safe Disclosure Procedures

Fair Processes Policy