Government also protecting identity of whistleblowers
Nova Scotia is arming employees with a tool to help them report incidents of fraud, financial impropriety or suspicious financial activity involving organizations funded by the skills and learning arm of the provincial government.
With the tool, staff, board members and clients of third-party organizations funded by the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration’s skills and learning branch can report such incidents via a safe and easy-to-use platform.
“We take the integrity of our programs and services seriously, and we are committed to guarding against all forms of fraud or abuse,” says Jill Balser, minister of labour, skills and immigration. “This new fraud reporting service will further support the rigour we put into monitoring programs to empower people to do the right thing while fostering a culture of integrity and responsibility.”
The internal audit centre of Service Nova Scotia and the Office of the Auditor General recommended that the provincial government implement a confidential fraud reporting system following an audit and investigation into a former service provider.
Earlier this year, the records of about 55,000 records of past and present certified and permitted teachers in Nova Scotia — including name, address, date of birth, years of service and educational background — were stolen in the MOVEit cyber security breach.
The government’s fraud reporting service is available through ClearView Connects. Nova Scotia signed an agreement for one year at a cost of $1,700 with a one-time set-up fee of $1,000.
Whistleblowers can remain anonymous and will not have to provide their names unless they choose to do so. They can submit reports online, by telephone or mail.
Reports will be encrypted, IP addresses and telephone numbers will not be tracked, and calls will not be recorded. The department will investigate all allegations of fraud.
Earlier this year, an individual who previously worked for the Ontario government pleaded guilty to multiple charges of fraud, breach of trust and money laundering. The illegal activities add up to $47 million over 10 years, according to a Global News report.
Also, in 2022, a total of 12,700 Canadians sued the federal government for what they claimed to be “system negligence” which resulted in a massive data breach at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).