FAQ – Confidential Disclosure (Whistleblower) Process
- What is the purpose of the CER Confidential Disclosure (Whistleblower) Process?
- What is an act of non-compliance by a regulated company?
- What are some examples of non-compliance?
- I suspect that a regulated company may not be complying with the CER Act and Regulations. How can I make a confidential disclosure of non-compliance to the CER?
- Can I make an anonymous disclosure?
- How does the CER protect my confidentiality and anonymity?
- What will happen with the information I provide to the CER?
- Will I qualify for a reward if my information is helpful?
- How long will it take the CER to respond?
- How long could the entire process take?
- Will the CER provide me with feedback on the status of my disclosure?
- Once I have filed a disclosure alleging an act of non-compliance by a regulated company can I change my mind and drop or withdraw my complaint?
1. What is the purpose of the CER Confidential Disclosure (Whistleblower) Process?
The CER’s Confidential Disclosure (Whistleblower) Process has been created pursuant to the Canadian Energy Regulator Act (CER Act). Its purpose is to:
- Facilitate the reporting of alleged non-compliances by CER-regulated companies.
- Create robust and reliable process to assess, manage, and resolve disclosures in a timely and efficient manner.
- To provide prospective tipsters Footnote 1 with information about the program.
- To protect the confidentiality and anonymity of tipsters and their disclosures to the greatest extent possible.
- To provide tipsters, to the extent practical, feedback on the status of their disclosure.
2. What is an act of non-compliance by a regulated company?
Companies that are regulated by the CER are required to follow the CER Act and Regulations. An act of non-compliance is defined as a contravention of the Act or a Regulation made pursuant to the CER Act.
3. What are some examples of non-compliance?
Examples of non-compliance could include violations of the CER Act and Regulations involving the safety of pipelines and facilities, pipeline integrity, environmental protection, emergency management and security, damage prevention, and others factors. In 2011, the CER began posting information regarding compliance and enforcement activities on its website. Click here to read more about the types of non-compliance activities the CER has investigated.
4. I suspect that a regulated company may not be complying with the CER Act and Regulations. How can I make a confidential disclosure of non-compliance to the CER?
The CER has long encouraged the reporting of non-compliances associated with its regulated companies, and are committed to providing a safe, easy and anonymous way for the public to report information.
Using Clearview Connects, confidential disclosures can be submitted either:
- Online through the secure website at www.clearviewconnects.com
- Over the phone 24/7 to a ClearView operator through the CER’s dedicated toll-free number 1-866-358-1718
- By mail through the confidential post office box at: P.O. Box 11017, Toronto, Ontario, M1E 1N0
It is important to note that by reporting online or via telephone through the CER’s approved reporting mechanism, tipsters are provided with a confidential password and control number to authenticate the tipster during any future electronic communication.
5. Can I make an anonymous disclosure?
Yes. The CER accepts anonymous disclosures. You are not asked for your name when making an online or telephone report and the CER’s procedure is structured to so as to maximize confidentiality and security.
It is important to note, however, that in certain instances the CER may be required by law to provide information that could identify a tipster. While we do our best to maintain your privacy, absolute confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. You will be advised if there is a lawful release of information that could identify you.
6. How does the CER protect my confidentiality and anonymity?
The CER’s procedure is structured so as to maximize confidentiality and security over the original disclosure and information that might reveal the identity of the tipster. To maintain the integrity of this process, we use the following procedures:
- You will never be asked to identify yourself to the CER
- Only trained CER staff who are members of the Disclosure Evaluation Committee are permitted to review disclosures
- All written disclosures, information regarding the tipster’s identity, correspondence to and from the Tipster, and other documents that could reveal the tipster’s identity will be physically and electronically collected, stored, secured, and managed in a secure manner
- All physical and digital (electronic) documents are marked as protected documents
7. What will happen with the information I provide to the CER?
Your information will be assessed by specially trained CER staff. If the circumstances warrant further action, the CER may undertake compliance verification activities to determine the validity of the allegation(s). The decision on what action, if any, the CER might take rests completely with the CER
8. Will I qualify for a reward if my information is helpful?
The CER appreciates any and all reports of alleged non-compliances of its regulated companies; however no compensation is provided in exchange for information. Compensation in this regard means a reward, financial payment, consideration, indemnification, offer of employment, actual employment, or any other benefit.
9. How long will it take the CER to respond?
Our procedure has defined service standards. If we require any clarification or follow-up information, you will be contacted through the ClearView system within 10 business days.
10. How long could the entire process take?
The entire process may require weeks and even months to conclude depending on the complexities of an allegation.
11. Will the CER provide me with feedback on the status of my disclosure?
Yes. Through the ClearView Connects web portal, the CER will provide high-level general information at the conclusion of the disclosure process, and may request further information from the tipster. It will be up to the tipster to log into the reporting system to check the status of the disclosure.
The CER will not provide tipsters with specific details regarding any compliance verification activities we have undertaken, for example the names of people we have interviewed, or the final results of our work.
12. Once I have filed a disclosure alleging an act of non-compliance by a regulated company can I change my mind and drop or withdraw my complaint?
Yes. You can provide new information at any time in the process through the ClearView Connects web portal, including a request to withdraw the complaint. Once a disclosure has been received from a tipster, though, that information becomes the property of the CER. The CER will assess the information and decide on the appropriate course of action regardless of whether the complaint is dropped or withdrawn.
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