Whistleblowing - Submit a Disclosure of Wrongdoing

The term "whistleblowing" refers to the act of calling attention to a questionable or illicit activity in an attempt to have it brought to an end. Within the Department of National Defence (DND), the term whistleblowing is referred to as a "disclosure of wrongdoing."

When a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member or DND employee becomes aware of wrongdoing, they have a responsibility to report that wrongdoing. Public servants can submit a disclosure under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), while CAF members can submit a disclosure using the Canadian Forces Disclosure Process.

What is a wrongdoing?

For DND employees and public servants, the PSDPA defines a wrongdoing as

  1. a contravention of an Act of Parliament or of the legislature of a province, or any regulation made under any such Act. (eg, Financial Administration Act);
  2. a misuse of public funds or a public asset (eg, contracting irregularities);
  3. a gross mismanagement in the public sector (eg, abuse of authority);
  4. an act or omission that creates a substantial and specific danger to the life, health or safety of persons, or to the environment, other than a danger that is inherent in the performance of the duties or functions of a person. (eg, circumventing safety protocols);
  5. a serious breach of a code of conduct – Values and Ethics Code (eg, ethical scenarios); and
  6. knowingly directing or counselling a person to commit a wrongdoing as described above.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, S.C. 2005, c. 46

For CAF members, the Canadian Forces Disclosure Process defines a wrongdoing as

  1. a contravention of an Act of Parliament or of the legislature of a province, or any regulation made under any such Act (eg, Financial Administration Act);
  2. a misuse of public property or non-public property (eg, contracting irregularities);
  3. a gross mismanagement (eg, abuse of authority);
  4. an act or omission that creates a substantial and specific danger to the life, health or safety of persons, or to the environment, other than a danger that is inherent in the performance of the duties or functions of a person (eg, circumventing safety protocols);
  5. a serious breach of the Code of Service Discipline (CAF members). (eg, ethical scenarios); and
  6. knowingly directing or counselling a person to commit a wrongdoing as described above.

Canadian Forces Disclosure Process

You can read about founded wrongdoings that have occurred in the department since 2009/10.


Submit your disclosure

Before you submit your disclosure… You should consider whether your allegation meets the definition of serious wrongdoing as outlined in the PSDPA or the Canadian Forces Disclosure Process. If there is an existing recourse mechanism available (eg, the grievance or harassment process, alternate dispute resolution), please use it. It may be better suited to resolve your concern as we cannot replace existing departmental processes.

Note: If you are unsure about your disclosure, you can always contact us for advice or assistance.

Fill out and print the Disclosure of Wrongdoing Form. Once complete, you can submit it in one of the following ways:

Alert: Not a Government Employee

Are you aware of a wrongdoing but aren’t employed by the Government of Canada?

You can still contact the Internal Disclosure Office at 1-866-236-4445 (North America).

Refer: DND/CAF Employees

Guidelines for Department of National Defence (DND) Managers and Employees, and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Supervisors and Members

Refer: Government Employees

Are you a public servant, working in another department?

You should contact your respective Internal Disclosure Office. Every department is required to have procedures in place for employees to submit disclosures of wrongdoing. If you cannot locate your Internal Disclosure Office, we may still be able to help.

Refer: Not a DND employee?

1. Mail to:

Internal Disclosure Office
Assistant Deputy Minister (Review Services)
Department of National Defence
Major-General George R. Pearkes Building
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0K2

2. Fax to:

(613) 943-2857

3. Hand deliver to:

Internal Disclosure Office (IDO)
Assistant Deputy Minister (Review Services)
66 Slater Street, Ottawa

For advice, guidance, and assistance in reporting wrongdoings, public servants or CAF members can contact the Principal, Internal Disclosure Office by phone or email:


Once you've submitted your disclosure of wrongdoing

We will register your disclosure and examine the specifics of the allegation to determine whether the disclosure meets the definition of "serious wrongdoing" under the PSDPA or the Canadian Forces Disclosure Process. We will also determine if there are other recourse mechanisms better suited to resolving the allegation.

  1. If the disclosure meets the definition of ‘serious wrongdoing’ and there are no other suitable recourse mechanisms available…
    One of our investigators will conduct a preliminary assessment to determine if a formal investigation is warranted. If the disclosure is considered a ‘serious wrongdoing’ but the problem may be quickly resolved if the chain of command was made aware of the concern, then Assistant Deputy Minister (Review Services) (the Level 1 for the Internal Disclosure Office) will contact the appropriate Level 1 within the organization in question. He can then provide the discloser's organization with the opportunity to conduct an internal investigation.

    In this case, the chain of command is required to provide the Assistant Deputy Minister (Review Services) with the results of their internal investigation.
  2. If an investigation is warranted…
    We will conduct an investigation. Once the investigation has been completed, the Assistant Deputy Minister (Review Services) will review and approve the investigation report. Once approved, the Assistant Deputy Minister (Review Services) will advise the chain of command of the results of the investigation if appropriate. The Principal, Internal Disclosure Office will provide the discloser (you) with a verbal debrief of the investigation findings and the investigator will advise the subject.

If the investigation confirms that the allegations are founded…

We will post the results of the investigation founded disclosures online, as mandated by the PSDPA. The findings of the investigation will be written in a generic manner, ensuring that your identity, the identity of any witnesses, the identity of the person(s) involved in the allegation, and the identity of the organization in question are not disclosed and cannot be determined.

If your disclosure does not meet the definition of a ‘serious wrongdoing’ under the PSDPA or the Canadian Forces Disclosure Process…

We will advise the Director Special Examinations and Inquiries that the disclosure has been screened out and the Director will consider the best course of action available to resolve your concern. The Director may determine that:

  1. there is insufficient evidence to suggest that wrongdoing has occurred and therefore there is nothing we can do. We will advise you of this decision and close the file;
  2. the allegation is not within our mandate and therefore you should take advantage of existing recourse mechanisms in order to resolve your concern. We will advise you of this decision and close the file. If you can demonstrate that a specific recourse mechanism was conducted inappropriately, we will consider reviewing the process and the results of the recourse mechanism in question; or
  3. a preliminary assessment is warranted so that the allegation can be examined. In accordance with DAOD 7024-1 (Internal Procedures for Disclosure of Wrongdoing in the Workplace), we can conduct an administrative investigation in response to reports or complaints of misconduct, impropriety, mismanagement, or other irregularities. We will advise you of this decision.

Alert: Protection Against Reprisal

If you are subjected to any form of reprisal for having come forward in good faith to report a wrongdoing, or if, as a witness, you are subjected to any form of reprisal for having provided information during the conduct of an investigation, you should contact the Principal, Internal Disclosure Office immediately.

More information about how we can protect you…

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