Whistleblower Policy

General

MANUAL: CORPORATE

CP103 Whistleblower

Revision number: 1

CREATED: September 2019

 

LAST REVIEWED: December 2019

LAST REVISED: December 2019

 

POLICY STATEMENT:

Prospect Human Services Society (Prospect) is committed to the highest standards of integrity and ethical behaviour in the workplace, and will foster and maintain an environment where employees, contractors, volunteers and Board Members (Members) can work safely and appropriately, without fear of retaliation or negative impact on their employment status.

This Whistleblower Policy and Procedure is intended to encourage and enable Members and others to raise serious concerns so that Prospect can address and correct inappropriate conduct and actions. It is the responsibility of all Members to report concerns about violations of Prospect’s Code of Conduct (see Code of Conduct Policy CP102) or suspected violations of law or regulations that govern Prospect’s operations to the Chair of the Governance Committee.

This policy is designed to provide an assurance that those who bring forward good faith concerns about unethical or illegal activities within Prospect will be protected from reprisals or victimization.

The Whistleblower Policy, including all contact information, will be posted on Prospect’s website.

RESPONSIBILITY:

It is the responsibility of the Governance Committee to ensure that Prospect has established appropriate procedures for:

  1. The submission, receipt and review of reports regarding Prospect’s business practices or matters affecting the property or reputation of the organization;
  2. The investigation of reports; and
  3. Responding to reports whether or not a violation of any law, Company Policy or Company Procedure has been confirmed.

As a matter of sound corporate governance, these procedures are designed to provide a readily understood, prompt and effective means of addressing reports or other concerns.

DEFINITIONS:

  • Anonymous – means without designation or attribution that might lead to the disclosure of information about the identity of the individual who has brought forward a report under this Whistleblower Policy.
  • Acting in good faith - a whistleblower is deemed to be acting in good faith when the report is based on reasonable belief or grounds, and not made with malicious intent, solely for self-interest and/or in support of a specific agenda.
  • Confidential – means authorized for access by only those persons who have a need to know. A need to know normally arises from an obligation to investigate or to take remedial or disciplinary action.
  • Reporter - any person who submits a report.
  • Retaliation - is defined as any kind of negative action against a whistleblower that takes the form of punishment, and creates a hostile, threatening or uncomfortable environment as a result of their report.
  • Report – means any adverse information provided to Prospect, whether in the form of a concern, request or demand for action, or a report relating to a suspected violation of law or Company policy, that relates to the Company's accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters, business practices, ethics violations, individual conduct concerning the work or services performed for or on behalf of the Company, safety violations, unsafe work practices or any other concern affecting the property or reputation of the Company.
  • Respondent – the individual whose alleged conduct is the subject of a report.

PROCEDURE:

Prospect seeks to resolve claims of inappropriate conduct in the workplace as expediently as possible. Investigations will be conducted and appropriate actions taken no longer than 90 business days following the filing of a report, whenever possible.

Reporters are encouraged to raise concerns with their immediate supervisor or Human Resources. However, if for whatever reason a Reporter does not wish to do so, they can address their concerns to the following:

Reporters may make a report anonymously but are encouraged to identify themselves to assist in the investigation.

Submission, Receipt and Review of Reports

  1. The Governance Committee Chair or designate is responsible for investigating, and making appropriate recommendations to the Board of Directors, with respect to all reported reports.
  2. The Governance Committee Chair or designate will promptly address all reported reports. Upon notification from the Whistleblower hotline, the Chair of the Governance Committee will notify the Governance Committee, the Board Chair and Chief Executive Officer of any such report. Within five business days of receipt of the report, the Chair of the Governance Committee or their designate will notify the sender to acknowledge receipt.
  3. The Governance Committee Chair or designate will ask the Reporter to provide as much detailed information as possible regarding the matter of the report, including: names, dates, places and events that took place, information as to why the incident(s) may be a violation of law, Company policies and procedures, and any other comment the person wishes to make, including what action(s) the Reporter proposes be taken to resolve the report.
  4. Any action taken by the Governance Committee must include a conclusion and/or follow-up with the Reporter for complete closure of the report. The Governance Committee has the authority to retain outside legal counsel, accountants, private investigators, or any other resource deemed necessary to conduct a full and complete investigation of the allegations. Note: it will not be possible to follow-up with the Reporter of an anonymously submitted report.
  5. On an annual basis, the Chair of the Governance Committee will report to the Board the list of the reports received during the year and how the report was resolved.

No Retaliation

Any effort to retaliate against any person making a report is strictly prohibited and shall be reported immediately to the Governance Committee. Allegations of retaliation towards a Reporter will be investigated and dealt with in accordance with these procedures.

Treatment of Reports

All reports, whether or not received anonymously, will be treated as Confidential. Although a person making an anonymous report may be advised that maintaining anonymity could hinder an investigation, the anonymity of the Reporter will be maintained, if permitted by law, until they indicate that they no longer wish to remain anonymous. Any system established for exchanging information with a person making a report will be designed to maintain anonymity.

Anyone filing a written report concerning a violation or suspected violation must be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates a violation. Any allegations that prove not to be substantiated and which prove to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false will be viewed as a serious, disciplinary offense.

The Governance Committee will conduct a preliminary review of all reports and may dismiss any report it determines is made in bad faith, is frivolous or meritless. Such reports will be reported to the Board as “dismissed” and will cite the reasons for dismissal. The Chair of the Governance Committee will notify the Reporter of the decision within five business days of the decision, if able to do so.

As deemed appropriate by the Governance Committee, and at the Company's expense, the Governance Committee may engage independent advisors including legal counsel or auditors other than the Company's external auditor for the purpose of investigating or remediating any report.  All Members of the Company have a duty to cooperate in an investigation into a report.

Following the investigation and evaluation of a report, the Chair of the Governance Committee will determine any recommended disciplinary or remedial action.  Recommendations of the Governance Committee will be brought to the Board or to the appropriate members of Human Resources and senior management of the Company for authorization and/or implementation.  If the action taken to resolve a report is deemed by the Governance Committee to be material or otherwise appropriate for inclusion in the minutes of the Governance Committee, the decision will be so noted in the minutes.

Retention of Records of Report

The Governance Committee will maintain the record and investigation materials of all reports for ten years from the date following resolution of the report. Records pertaining to a report are the property of the Company and will be retained:

  • In compliance with applicable laws and Prospect’s document retention policies;
  • Subject to safeguards that ensure their confidentiality and, when applicable, the anonymity of the Reporter; and
  • In such a manner as to maximize their usefulness to the Company’s overall compliance or governance programs.

The records will only be available to Human Resources and Senior Managers of the appropriate department, and only in the following circumstances:

  • When determining an appropriate disciplinary action for subsequent workplace wrongdoing reports;
  • When a Respondent is a candidate for a promotion to a supervisory position;
  • When a report against retaliatory action is made; or
  • When a decision or resolution is reviewed.

Any records concerning employees will be maintained in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. Both the Reporter and the Respondent are eligible to obtain copies of hearings or of their own statements made throughout the course of the investigation.