Safe Disclosure Reporting

ConfidenceLine - anonymous reporting option

The safe disclosure reporting mechanism is provided by ConfidenceLine, and is an alternative option to report any wrongdoing at the University of Saskatchewan. An external third-party company runs ConfidenceLine and you can remain anonymous if you so choose. There will be no retribution made to someone who submits an issue in good faith. 

ConfidenceLine is available 24/7, and can be reached online at www.usask.confidenceline.net or by phone at 1-844-966-3250

Why ConfidenceLine is Available

The University of Saskatchewan is committed to an environment where all university members can report good-faith concerns or allegations without fear of retaliation. For those situations where members of our university community feel uncomfortable using our existing internal reporting processes and channels, the University of Saskatchewan has created a safe disclosure reporting mechanism as a way for individuals to report allegations of irregularities, wrongdoing, and ethical issues or concerns anonymously and confidentially.

Internal USask Options

Normal reporting channels

For university employees, the normal existing internal reporting channel is through your immediate supervisor, and the regular procedure is to make a report to that supervisor. Your supervisor is required to take your report to the appropriate next step, which will be based on University of Saskatchewan policies, and on the nature of your report. For example, if your report concerns alleged fraud or financial irregularities, the supervisor must immediately forward that report to the university auditor, Audit Services.

For students, the internal reporting channel is through the student’s department head, dean, executive director or designate of the student’s college or school. If the matter falls outside of the student’s college or school, the normal reporting channel is to the provost and vice-president academic.

Reports from all other university members should be directed to one of the following: university auditor, director of protective services, vice-president finance and resources, provost and vice-president academic, or to the university president.

Additional internal channels

There are a number of internal channels through which you can raise issues or submit a complaint, including

We encourage members of the university community to utilize these support resources as needed.

About ConfidenceLine

Any university member who suspects any irregularity, wrongdoing, or fraudulent activity, must immediately report it through the university’s established internal reporting channels or through ConfidenceLine. Examples of reportable activities include the following:

  • Theft or misappropriation of university property
  • Altering or deliberately recording incorrect financial or personal information for either a personal or University advantage
  • Unauthorized use of University property and resources for personal advantage or gain
  • Any claim for reimbursement of expenses that were not incurred for the benefit of the University of Saskatchewan, or that the employee has already received reimbursement for—either from the University or some other source
  • Breach of confidentiality
  • Bribery or kickbacks
  • Conflict of interest
  • Discrimination, harassment, physical assault or bullying
  • Identity theft
  • Forgery, falsification or inappropriate alteration of any document, such as cheques, reference letters, resumes, grant applications, time sheets, requisitions, accounting records, etc.
  • Authorizing or receiving payment for goods not received or services not performed
  • Misrepresentation of credentials or status with the University of Saskatchewan
  • Threats of violence or other concerning behaviors
  • Vandalism
  • Authorizing or receiving payments for hours not worked
  • Any activity or potential activity that deliberately disregards university policies, regulations, procedures, internal controls or codes of conduct/ethics, or any other perceived misconduct or unethical behavior

Employees are often in the best position to notice possible financial irregularities, and they have a responsibility to report any suspicions or concerns. All university members (including, faculty, staff, trainees, students and adjuncts of the University of Saskatchewan) can use ConfidenceLine to report suspected fraud, financial misconduct, or other irregularities or wrongdoing, if they are not comfortable using existing internal reporting channels. ConfidenceLine will also accept reports from alumni, vendors, suppliers and contractors working with the university, and from the general public.

All information and data that is received by ConfidenceLine is stored in Canada in a secure facility that meets all federal and provincial privacy legislation, and is not subject to the provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act.

ConfidenceLine is intended to be an anonymous reporting service so that members of our university community can report matters of fraud, irregularity or other wrongdoing without having to provide their name, contact information or any information that may lead to their identity.

While all complainants will be given an opportunity to disclose their identity, as having this information may allow for more effective follow-up, complainants can remain anonymous. ConfidenceLine and the University of Saskatchewan will not trace or track the telephone numbers or IP addresses of any complainant.

After receiving an anonymous report, ConfidenceLine administration transmits the report to the designated university safe disclosure officers.  If the report is from an anonymous complainant, ConfidenceLine will serve as the communications vehicle for the safe disclosure officer to acknowledge receipt of the complainant’s report and to ask for any additional required information.

The University of Saskatchewan will ensure that the Safe Disclosure Policy continues to protect all individuals who make good-faith reports. The university’s designated safe disclosure officers who receive the ConfidenceLine reports, and the university, are committed to protecting any complainant who makes a good faith report from any reprisal or retaliation.

Once you access the website, you will be able to click on instructions for using the reporting program. Information will also be provided on how to contact ConfidenceLine if you need help making your report.

Here’s what to expect:

  • You will be assigned a user name to give you future access to your report while maintaining your anonymity. You will also be asked to create a password specific to your report. You should keep both your user name and your password in a safe secure location as you will require both to access your report in the futur
  • The program will prompt you to answer a series of questions, including the:
    • location of the incident(s), 
    • time(s) and date(s) of the incident(s), 
    • names and titles of involved individuals and/or witnesses, and 
    • information on whether you have made previous reports about your concerns.
  • After you have made your report, ConfidenceLine will summarize it and will forward it to the university’s designated safe disclosure officers.
  • The university’s safe disclosure officers will go online, open the anonymous report file through ConfidenceLine, and use it to acknowledge receipt of your concern. This will happen within two to three business days after the completion of your report.
  • You can choose to access the anonymous report during this time using your user name and password. You may be asked additional questions, which will appear in the report file. The additional details that you provide may be critical to how and if the analysis and investigation of your report is continued.

Your call will be answered by a trained experienced ConfidenceLine agent, who will ask questions and create an online report file to record information about your concern. Translation services are available for university members who wish to communicate in languages other than English or French.

Here’s what to expect:

  • The ConfidenceLine agent will ask you to identify the name of the organization you are calling about (i.e. University of Saskatchewan).
  • You will be asked for specific information relating to your concern, so you should have the following details readily available during your telephone call:
    • The location of the incident(s)
    • Time(s) and date(s) of the incident(s)
    • Names and titles of involved individuals and/or witnesses
    • Information on whether you have made previous reports about your concerns
  • The ConfidenceLine agent will then assign a unique user ID to you, which you will require for any further communication with ConfidenceLine about your report. You should record this user ID and keep it in a safe location as the user ID is what ConfidenceLine uses to retrieve and open your report.
  • Once you have made your report, ConfidenceLine will summarize it and forward it to the University’s designated Safe Disclosure Officers.
  • A university safe disclosure officer will contact ConfidenceLine within two to three business days to acknowledge receipt of the report.
  • The university’s designated safe disclosure officers will ensure that the appropriate action is then undertaken by the university.
  • You can choose to call ConfidenceLine again during this time to see if any additional information or clarification is required. You will need your user ID so that the ConfidenceLine agent can retrieve and open your report file. The additional details that you provide may be critical to how and if the analysis and investigation of your report is continued by the university.

The University of Saskatchewan is committed to conducting all investigations in a fair and balanced manner, in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness, and in compliance with all associated university policies and collective agreements.

The university’s Fraud Deterrence Policy states that: “All university members involved in an investigation of alleged fraud or irregularity will retain and be accorded the rights, privileges and protections provided to them through the applicable labour legislation, university policies and collective agreements in effect at the time the alleged fraud or irregularity was committed.”

This policy also states: “All university members involved in an investigation of fraud, irregularity or wrongdoing must keep the details and results of the investigation confidential, in order to safeguard and protect the rights of those involved in the allegations, and preserve the legal validity of all evidence collected. The university will protect the confidentiality of individuals and events under investigation, except where disclosure is required by law. The details and particulars of any investigation will not be disclosed or discussed with any individuals or parties other than those deemed necessary for investigation purposes, or as required by law.”

Investigations will be completed internally by qualified individuals who have expertise in investigating the particular allegations. The employees of ConfidenceLine will not have any direct involvement in the completion of any investigations.

You will I have an opportunity to respond and to provide your perspective

The respondent will be invited to provide his or her response by meeting with the investigator, or by written submission. The respondent may seek advice independently, or from the investigator, regarding the information to be submitted and issues to be addressed, which may serve to expedite or simplify the investigation, or make further investigation unnecessary. The University of Saskatchewan will take all reasonable steps to protect the position, reputation, privacy and confidentiality of an innocent respondent. The university will respect the legal rights of all respondents.

The university’s internal Safe Disclosure Reporting Mechanism Implementation Committee researched four different Canadian organizations as possible providers of this service. The committee evaluated each organization, and their submitted proposal, for qualifications and expertise, the management plan and functionality of the proposed service, and proposed service costs. ConfidenceLine was chosen based on the results of the committee’s evaluation.

This third-party service provides all members of the university community with access to an independent reporting mechanism that maintains confidentiality and offers the security of anonymity without fear of personal or professional reprisal or retaliation. This service provides a user-friendly conduit of information, on a 24/7 direct-access basis, either by telephone or a direct web-based correspondence system. The university has added this best-practice service as additional support and enhancement for existing internal processes and protocols.

Questions?

ConfidenceLine is available 24/7, and can be reached online at www.usask.confidenceline.net or by phone at 1-844-966-3250. 

Contacts for further information:

Beth Bilson
University Secretary
Room E290 Administration Building (105 Administration Place)
Phone: 306-966-4632
Email: safe.disclosure@usask.ca

Greg Thorimbert
Financial Analyst, Financial Reporting
Room E223 Administration Building (105 Administration Place)
Phone: 306-966-2641
Email: safe.disclosure@usask.ca