Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hotline for fraud tipsters heading for vote

  • Print

Local tipsters may be given a formal structure to anonymously report fraud to the City of Winnipeg.

This week, city council will vote on a recommendation to expand Winnipeg's internal fraud and waste hotline to the public. If approved, city auditor Brian Whiteside said it will take about 60 days to set up and Winnipeg will have a public tip line ready by the end of May.

Related Items

The move comes nearly one year after Winnipeg first established a fraud hotline for employees to report tips about wrongdoing in city departments. Last April, the city launched the hotline after an audit found many cases of waste and fraud likely go unreported because the city requires staff to report allegations to a supervisor.

In its first eight months, the hotline received a total of seven complaints -- including three reports of theft, embezzlement and fraud, three complaints regarding violation of laws, policies and procedures and one report of conflict of interest or unethical behaviour. A city report said one complaint was substantiated and auditors recommended Winnipeg revise how it issues receipts to citizens for payments and enhance controls and surveillance of cash-handling areas.

The report said although the hotline's initial use was low, it is important to enhance "public confidence in civic government by providing a method to the public to report fraud and wrongdoing."

Whiteside said other cities such as Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa have fraud hotlines that are open to the public, and Winnipeg residents will be able to call a toll-free number or make an anonymous report online.

The hotline is operated by a third party.

"It's just another way of opening the door to providing information from not only staff but the public that may alert us to fraud or other wrongdoing," Whiteside said. "It's another avenue to receive information to help us manage the detection of fraud better."

Whiteside said other cities have found there's not enough evidence to take action on about 30 per cent of the calls to the hotline, noting some reports are vague or are simply a tipster's opinion. However, he said getting more information is key to detecting instances of fraud.

Toronto identified the need to improve its monitoring of employee benefits after their hotline received a complaint an employee on long-term disability was working for a second employer, according to a 2012 audit report. The city received 774 complaints through the hotline, according to the auditor general's report, and a number of complaints continue to involve conflict of interest, abuse of sick leave and eligibility of employees on long-term disability.

Whiteside said City of Winnipeg auditors were able to identify some weak spots in how the city issued cash receipts after the hotline received a tip regarding confusing receipts. He said Winnipeg has now clarified its paperwork policy and put more controls in place.

Whiteside said it's hard to predict how many more calls the city will receive if the tip line becomes public.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 19, 2013 A7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Doug Speirs auditions for 14th Annual Big Daddy Tazz and Friends

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A mother goose has chosen a rather busy spot to nest her eggs- in the parking lot of St Vital Centre on a boulevard. Countless cars buzz by and people have begun to bring it food.-Goose Challenge Day 06 - May 08, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Will you be boiling your water until the city gives the all-clear?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google