an act or omission that targets a person because he or she has made a disclosure protected by the Act to facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoings relating to public bodies or has cooperated in an audit or an investigation and that causes harm to that person;
threats or intimidation to prevent a person from making a disclosure or from cooperating in an audit or an investigation;
dismissal, demotion, suspension and any other disciplinary action that adversely affects such a person's employment or conditions of employment.
Protection against reprisals
If you believe you are a victim of reprisals or threats of reprisals, you may make a complaint to the CIME, Indeed, the Act to facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoings relating to public bodies (AFDWPB) prohibits any person from taking reprisals against anyone who, in good faith, makes a disclosure to the CIME or cooperates in an audit or an investigation related to a disclosure The AFDWPB also prohibits threatening a person with reprisals so that such a person abstains from making a disclosure or cooperating in an audit or an investigation.
In the matter of reprisals and threats of reprisals, severe penalties are provided in the Act for offenders and may be doubled in case of a subsequent offence. The fines range from $2,000 to $20,000 for a natural person.
When a legal person is involved, they range from $10,000 to $250,000. A legal person means an entity such as an organization, an enterprise or a corporation.
Note that a disclosure that is not made directly to the CIME (for example, to a union representative, a superior, a colleague, a family member or a friend) is not protected against reprisals. A person could be the object of penalties if he or she discloses confidential information to a third party when not authorized to do so.
In matters of employment
If the reprisals concern your employment or your conditions of employment, the complaint must be filed with the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) within 45 days after the alleged acts. Any employee, whether unionized or not, may file such a complaint, including managers and interns. A unionized employee may also address his or her union.
To file a complaint in case of reprisals or threats of reprisals, you must give your identity and provide your contact information to the CIME so that he can contact you. In addition, the complaint must be made within a maximum period of one year after the date of the offence. However, if serious grounds and the public interest justify it, the CIME may deal with complaints regarding events that would have occurred over a year previously. However, in this case, no penal prosecution may be instituted.
Your complaint must contain the following information:
your identification and your contact information;
the number assigned to you, if applicable, as a whistleblower or a witness in the disclosure case related to the reprisal complaint;
the identification of the person or persons concerned by the complaint;
the identification of the witnesses and their role in taking the alleged reprisal, if applicable;
the description of the reprisals or threats of reprisals proffered;
an explanation of the connection between the disclosure or cooperation in an audit or an investigation and the reprisals;
the contest in which the reprisals occurred or in which the threats of reprisals were proffered;
the place and date the reprisals occurred or the threats of reprisals were proffered.
To make a complaint
Complete this secure form . The confidentiality of the information is assured. OR
Send your information by email to email@example.com , by fax to 418-644‑2656 or by mail to the address below. The confidentiality of the disclosures made by one of these three means cannot be fully guaranteed.
Commissaire à l’intégrité municipale et aux enquêtes Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Occupation du territoire Aile Cook, 3rd floor 10 Rue Pierre-Olivier-Chauveau Québec, Québec G1R 4J3
Call the CIME on business days, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon or from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., toll free at 1-855-280-5348, or in the Québec region at 418-691-2071.
On business days, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon or from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., visit the office of the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Occupation du territoire, located at the following address:
10 Rue Pierre-Olivier-Chauveau Québec, Québec
If penal prosecutions are brought against the perpetrator of the reprisals, the victim will have to report the facts allowing the prosecutor to press charges. It is also likely the victim will have to testify in a trial. Therefore, it is impossible to guarantee the confidentiality of information obtained during an investigation. Indeed, the rules of law in penal matters require that all the evidence supporting the statement of offence be disclosed to the person concerned.
Processing of reprisal complaints
Receiving a reprisal complaint
If you make an oral complaint, the staff of the CIME, during the discussion, will explain the conditions of its processing. If certain questions or concerns remain, the CIME will contact you again, as agreed.
In the case of a complaint made in writing or if you give your identity and the telephone number to contact you, the CIME undertakes to communicate with you by this means within no more than 15 business days. If you provide an email or postal address, an acknowledgment of receipt will be sent to you within five business days.
Audits and investigations
In the context of analysis of the merits of a complaint, the CIME does the verifications he considers appropriate. The CIME may request any person to provide the information or documents he considers useful.
The priority given to the verifications primarily depends on the seriousness of the alleged reprisals or threats of reprisals.
The decision related to the admissibility of a complaint will be made within 15 business days of the date of its receipt.
The verifications should be completed within 60 days of the date of receipt of the complaint.
At the end of these verifications, an investigation could be undertaken. The CIME's objective is to complete his investigations within six months.
Obligation to cooperate in the audits and investigations
Every person has the obligation to cooperate in the audits and investigations conducted by the CIME. Whoever hinders or attempts to hinder the CIME's action, refuses to provide information or a document or conceals or destroys evidence is liable to a fine. This fine varies from $4,000 to $20,000 and is doubled for a subsequent offence.
Conclusions and follow-up with municipalities
At the end of a verification, the CIME may conclude that the complaint is unfounded or that the alleged reprisals or threats of reprisals are unrelated to the disclosure of wrongdoing or to cooperation in an audit or an investigation of a disclosure. The CIME also decides whether an investigation will be conducted relating to the complaint. In this case, the cooperation of the presumed victim is essential.
At the end of an investigation, the case is submitted to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DCPP). The DCPP will determine whether sufficient evidence exists to institute a penal prosecution. The DCPP will also evaluate whether the filing of a statement of offence should be authorized.
In the event the investigation docket is not sent to the DCPP or the DCPP concludes that no penal prosecution will be authorized, the CIME will submit his conclusions and, if applicable, his recommendations, to the director general of the municipality concerned. The CIME may also inform the council of the municipality and any local municipality related to it.
The CIME may ask the municipality to be informed, within the specified period, of the corrective actions taken to follow up on his findings.
If you give your identity and leave your contact information in writing, you will be notified as soon as the processing of your complaint is completed. If processing must continue more than 60 days after the date of receipt of the complaint, you will also be notified in writing and every 90 days subsequently, until the CIME has completed the processing.
If the CIME only has your telephone number, he will contact you when processing of your complaint is completed.