Anti-Corruption Act

Overview

The Anti-Corruption Act (CQLR 2016, c. L-6.1) prohibits any reprisal against a person who has reported any wrongdoing covered by the Act to the Anti-Corruption Commissioner. The Commissioner must take all necessary steps to preserve the anonymity of the whistleblower, though the whistleblower’s name may be provided to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions.

What kind of disclosure is protected?

The Act protects any person who, while acting in good faith and on the basis of reasonable belief, has disclosed information regarding a wrongdoing that has occurred within the public sector, to the Anti-Corruption Commissioner and the Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit (UPAC). 

Such denunciation can take place even if its subject is related to information protected by other Quebec laws s.27

Under the Act, a wrongdoing s.2 is defined as: 

  • a contravention of a federal or a Québec law or of a regulation made under such a law, if the contravention pertains to corruption, breach of trust, malfeasance, collusion, fraud or influence peddling in, for example, awarding, obtaining or performing contracts granted, in the exercise of their functions, by a body or a person belonging to the public sector, or in the administration of justice or the granting of rights and privileges, such as an authorization, an appointment or a subsidy, by a body or a person belonging to the public sector;
  • a misuse of public funds or public property or a gross mismanagement of contracts within the public sector; or
  • directing or counselling a person to commit a wrongdoing. 

A person disclosing a wrongdoing may do so despite the disclosure being contradictory to the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information (chapter A-2.1), the Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector (chapter P-39.1), any other communication restrictions under other laws of Québec and any duty of loyalty or confidentiality that may be binding on the person, in particular, with respect to an employer or a client.

How are whistleblowers protected?

The Act prohibits any person from taking any kind of reprisal against a person who has made a disclosure regarding a wrongdoing.

Under the Act, a reprisal s.33 is defined as the demotion, suspension, termination of employment or transfer of a person who has disclosed a wrongdoing or any disciplinary or other measure that adversely affects the employment or working conditions of such a person.

Any person who commits a reprisal against someone who disclosed a wrongdoing is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine of $2,000 to $20,000, in the case of a natural person, and $10,000 to $250,000, in the case of a legal person s.34. For any subsequent offence, the amounts are doubled. 

To the extent possible, all necessary precautions will be undertaken to ensure that the anonymity of the person reporting the disclosure is preserved.

How should disclosures be made?

Be careful! Despite presenting some challenges for follow ups, one of the best protections for whistleblowers is their anonymity. Be cautious when providing any information through electronic means, especially emails! Read the security tips section.

In order to make a disclosure, fill out the following online form.

Contact information for the person disclosing the wrongdoing must be disclosed, but it will be kept confidential by UPAC. UPAC may contact such persons for additional information.