Whistleblowing without worry

Canadian Securities Administrators want to implement changes that will mean workers can blow the whistle without worrying about blowing their chance to keep their jobs.

You know the time you discovered your boss funnelled $50,000 into her personal account? And you didn't say anything, for fear of getting canned? If the Canadian Securities Administrators have anything to do with it, you should soon be able to blow the whistle without worry.

On June 30, the CSA's whistle-blower regulations, Multilateral Instrument 52-110, go into effect. The policy requires publicly traded companies to ensure employees can anonymously and confidentially report any questionable “accounting or auditing matters.” Tattle away.

Since 2004, Toronto-based ClearView Strategic Partners has offered a whistle-blowing service called ClearView Connects. Depending on the size of the organization, the cost ranges between less than a dollar to upwards of $3 per employee, per year.

“We are a conduit,” says ClearView founder Ron Paquette. With this system, employees can report wrongdoing either online or via telephone to one of ClearView's call centres–whichever they feel most comfortable doing. Once the report is made, it is time- and date-stamped, and the record is indelible. An e-mail is automatically generated notifying pre-authorized reviewers from the organization that a report has come in. From that point on, every action is logged.

Keeping detailed logs is important in case the information is ever needed for investigations or audits. “We want to be able to have a chain of evidence,” says Paquette. “We want to be able to establish when the thing came in, who saw it, what we did with it and how it was resolved.”

But if a web report is made from a computer at work, can't an organization trace it back? “Technically, yes,” it says on ClearView's site, “however the senior managers of your organization have subscribed to our service in order to provide a confidential and anonymous system and have agreed that no attempts will be made to trace reports.” Hmm. Perhaps tattle away from home.