Ethics and Efficiency Hotline Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the hotline?

The new Ethics and Efficiency Hotline provides you with a convenient and confidential way to:

  1. report suspected cases of waste or fraud and/or
  2. provide specific tips and recommendations to streamline town operations and make them more efficient.

This hotline is available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week.

Who may use the hotline?

The hotline can be used by members of the public and Town of Oakville employees, including Oakville Public Library employees.

It also does not apply to the Members of Council or local boards as they are governed by their own code of conduct. Requests for a formal inquiry into any behaviour or activity by a member of Council or a local board that is in contravention of their code of conduct must be submitted to the Town Clerk in writing.

This hotline does not apply to issues relating to the Halton Regional Police Services, Halton Region, Oakville Hydro or other town corporations. For issues regarding these corporations, please contact them directly.

What should you report to the hotline?

You can:

  1. report suspected cases of waste, dishonest activity or fraud, such as:
    • Unauthorized use of town property
    • Misuse of town property, equipment, materials, records or time
    • Misuse of town-owned hardware and software
    • Forgery
    • Misappropriation of funds (theft)
    • Irregularities in the handling of money
    • Seeking or accepting anything of material value
  2. provide specific recommendations to make areas more efficient or effective.

How do you submit a hotline report?

You can submit a report 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week

Do you have to identify yourself?

No. You are not required to provide your name or any other personal information when submitting a report.

Once you have submitted a report, you will be given a report number and a password. You can update or view the status of your report by using this report number and password. Please keep your password confidential.

During our review, the town may also post questions to you if we need more information. It is important to visit the site often to see if we have contacted you.

To speed up this process, you have the option of providing us with your email address so we have more direct and timely communication with you.

Note: We will make every effort to maintain confidentiality. However, in a small percentage of cases, some investigations may result in legal action in which case disclosure may be required.

Is there a time limit to file a report?

If you are submitting a report about suspected waste or fraud, generally you should submit your report within 30 days of the date the alleged incident occurred. However, we will consider reports over 30 days old if you can demonstrate you were unable to meet the time requirement due to extraordinary circumstances.

If you are submitting a report to provide a recommendation there is no time limit.

What can you expect when you file a hotline report?

The hotline team will evaluate your report and determine if the matter warrants investigation.
You will be given a report number and a password. Please keep your password confidential. Review Question “Do you have to identify yourself?” for more information.

While the investigation is ongoing, we can only tell you whether the case is open. Once the investigation is closed, you will be notified by our hotline provider that your allegations were substantiated or unsubstantiated. For confidentiality, specific details about the outcome will not be provided. Each report is unique so we ask that you be patient and not to expect instant action on your request.

What is expected from someone who wants to submit a report about waste or fraud?

Before submitting your report, we ask that you gather information by answering the following questions:

  • Who — employee's full name, and position, if known
  • What — specific details and why you believe the activity was misconduct. If possible, include the code, regulation or law you think they violated
  • Where — location where the wrongdoing occurred
  • When — specific dates and times
  • How much — estimated dollar loss
  • Why and how — describe why and how you believe the individual perpetrated the offense

Remember, the more information you provide, the better. Be prepared to provide supporting evidence.
This hotline is one part of our ongoing efforts to remain transparent and accountable to our residents. It provides all town employees and the public with a way to express their concerns or recommendations.

Willfully and knowingly filing a false report will not be tolerated. Anyone suspected of doing so may be banned from using the hotline.

Do we guarantee an investigation will be conducted?

No, but the hotline team will evaluate each report and determine if the matter warrants investigation. The Town of Oakville reserves the right to decline to investigate any matter brought to our attention due to insufficient information.

We will send you confirmation that we received your report or what action, if any, was taken.

How long does it take to investigate a report?

Most investigations are completed within 60 days, but can take longer depending on the complexity of the case.

Can you withdraw a report once you submitted through the hotline?

No, once you submit a report you cannot withdraw it or prevent the town from proceeding with the investigation, if warranted.

How do you find out about the status of your report?

You can update or view the status of your report by entering your report number and password.

While the investigation is ongoing, we can only tell you whether the case is open. Once the investigation is closed, you will be notified by our hotline provider that your allegations were substantiated or unsubstantiated. For confidentiality, specific details about the outcome will not be provided.

If you do not agree with the results of the investigation, can you ask for reconsideration?

Yes. If you have new information to support your complaint, the case may be reconsidered. If, on the other hand, you are merely unhappy because you do not agree with the outcome, the town will not conduct another investigation.