Achēv Whistleblowing Policy
Both the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Board of Directors are committed to maintaining the highest standards of business and personal integrity and ethical behavior in the conduct of duties and responsibilities at Achēv. The purpose of this policy is to provide a mechanism for the immediate reporting of any suspected wrongdoing.
The CEO and all Board members, employees, contractors, community partners, employers, clients and volunteers are expected to comply with and uphold compliance with Achēv’s Code of Conduct and other corporate policies and not accept or condone any conduct that could potentially undermine the reputation of Achēv. The CEO, jointly with the Board of Directors, must ensure that an adequate process for reporting and addressing ethical complaints is in place.
This policy should be interpreted in conjunction with Achēv’s Code of Conduct Policy.
For the purposes of this policy, wrongdoing includes any fraudulent or dishonest conduct by the CEO, a member of the Board of Directors, an employee, contractor, community partner, employer, client or volunteer that include, but is not limited to:
- Violation or suspected violation of any federal or provincial laws or regulations;
- Improper or fraudulent financial reporting or accounting practices;
- Violations of Achēv’s Code of Conduct Policy and other corporate policies;
- Intentional physical / emotional harm to people or property;
- Theft of funds or other property belonging to Achēv;
- Illegal or unethical use of property belonging to Achēv;
- Knowingly misrepresenting Achēv;
- Failure to disclose a conflict of interest;
- Abuse of authority/power;
- Any form of discriminatory behavior, including racism, sexism, etc.
Reporting a Breach or Violation
Anyone who reasonably believes that an individual covered by this Policy has engaged in wrongdoing is to report the wrongdoing or suspected wrongdoing in accordance with this policy. A witness to such wrongdoing or suspected wrongdoing is encouraged to make known in confidence and without fear of retaliation or reprisal, any material information that may have been hidden and/or withheld from management’s or the Board’s knowledge for potential investigation and resolution in order to protect the reputation and sustainability of the organization:
If the person filing the report is an employee, the employee should immediately report the concern to the direct supervisor, in writing, via email. If the employee is not comfortable reporting the concern directly to the supervisor, then one of the following alternatives should be followed:
- Report the concern to a Human Resources Representative or any other member of the management team whom the employee trusts and is comfortable with;
- Report the concern to a member of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT);
- Report the concern directly to the CEO of the organization; or
- Report the concern directly to the Chair (or Vice-Chair) of the Board of Directors
Employees are encouraged to follow channels through management first, unless they have reason to believe that management may be involved or that the reporting of the matter may adversely affect them, or are otherwise uncomfortable due to some aspect of the report. In these instances, employees may bypass the usual chain of command (management structure) and take their concerns directly to a member of the SLT, the CEO or the Chair (or Vice-Chair) of the Board, as applicable. Employees receiving a complaint from an external source are advised to follow the above-mentioned procedure.
Employees who wish to file a report under this policy directly to the CEO or the Chair (or Vice-Chair) of the Board of Directors, may do so in strict confidence by completing and submitting the Whistleblower Report Form.
External parties may file a report directly to the CEO or the Chair (or Vice-Chair) of the Board of Directors, by completing and submitting the Whistleblower Report Form.
Either employees or external parties may file a report using a confidential voicemail system that allows a message to be left for either CEO, Chair (or Vice Chair). This is accessed through a telephone number available on Achēv’s website (Whistleblowing Policy). The fully automated process will generate an audio recording of the message which will be directly sent to the chosen recipient via email.
If the individual reporting under this policy is not comfortable to report to the CEO for any reason, including if there is reason to believe the CEO may be involved, or if the individual is not satisfied with the response received from the CEO, the individual has the right to report to the Chair of the Board of Directors. If the individual is not comfortable to report to the Chair of the Board of Directors for any reason, including if there is reason to believe the Chair of the Board of Directors may be involved, or if the individual is not satisfied with the response received from the Chair of the Board, the individual is encouraged to report to the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors.
Reports of alleged wrongdoing should be in writing, factual, rather than speculative, and should contain as much specific detail as possible to allow for proper assessment. The complaint should be candid and should clearly set forth all of the information that the person knows regarding the allegation or concern.
Every effort will be made to protect the confidentiality of anyone reporting a violation or wrongdoing in
good faith. Reports of violations or suspected violations will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.
No one who reports in good faith a suspected wrongdoing or violation of the Code of Conduct, ACHĒV policies, or the law, will be subjected to any form of penalty or reprisal, harassment, retaliation or adverse employment consequences, even if the report or concern is, after investigation, not substantiated. The same goes for those assisting (such as witnesses) in investigations of such alleged violations. However, anyone filing a complaint or report under this policy, maliciously or in bad faith, with the intent to harm an individual or ACHĒV as a whole, may be subject to legal action (external complaints) or disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment (internal complaints).
An employee who retaliates against another employee who has reported a violation in good faith is subject
to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
The intention of this policy is to encourage and enable employees and others to raise legitimate concerns about suspected violations or wrongdoing in a safe and secure manner.
The Chair (or Vice-Chair) of the Board of Directors – is responsible for promoting the right and obligation of every Board member, employee, contractor, community partner, employer, client, volunteer to report any suspected fraud or misconduct without fear of reprisal or victimization, and to ensure appropriate reporting procedures are in place. The Chair and the Vice-Chair of the Board are also responsible to satisfactorily address any fraud, misconduct or wrongdoing that are brought forward to their respective attention and to inform the Board of Directors, no later than the next scheduled Board meeting.
The CEO – shall ensure that members of the Board of Directors, employees, contractors, community partners, employers, clients, volunteers are made aware of this policy and the procedures that have been established to allow confidential and discreet disclosure of any suspected misconduct or fraud. The CEO is also responsible to satisfactorily address any fraud, misconduct or wrongdoing that is brought forward in a timely fashion and to inform the Board of Directors no later than the next scheduled Board meeting.
Supervisors – are responsible to create an environment in which staff can raise business conduct concerns or violations under this policy without fear of retaliation.
Whistleblower – must ensure that the complaint or report is being made in good faith and that the issue falls within the scope of this policy. Issues that fall within the scope of this policy are not trivial and have the potential to damage the reputation of Achēv, create risks of legal exposure, cause serious financial hardship or harm to others. Information on which the complaint is based must be correct and complete.
Records pertaining to a complaint are the property of Achēv and shall be retained:
- In compliance with applicable laws and Achēv’s Records Retention and Disposal Policy;
- Subject to safeguards that ensure confidentiality Handling of Reported Violations
All complaints will be treated seriously and will be addressed promptly and confidentially.
All complaints will be kept confidential unless disclosure is required by law. Any individual required to be part of the investigation will be informed of the confidential nature of the investigation and will be advised to maintain such discussions on a strictly confidential basis.
For all submitted complaints:
- If required, the complaint will be reported to the police or the appropriate regulatory authorities;
- Any effort to retaliate against any person making a complaint in good faith is strictly prohibited and shall be reported immediately to Human Resources, a member of the Senior Leadership Team, the CEO and/or the Chair (or Vice-Chair) of the Board;
- All complaints under the Whistleblower Policy will be directed either to the CEO or the Chair (or Vice- Chair) of the Board of Directors; the CEO or the Chair (or Vice-Chair) of the Board will promptly acknowledge receipt of the complaint and inform the complainant that an investigation will take place;
- An investigation plan will be developed based on the nature of the complaint, and the plan will be approved by the CEO and/or the Chair (or Vice-Chair) of the Board; All complaints will be promptly investigated, either internally (HR, Finance) or externally, by an independent 3rd party, such as a legal or accounting firm, as appropriate;
- A final written report related to the investigation, evaluation and recommended remedial action will be provided to the CEO or the Chair (or Vice-Chair) of The Board of Directors shall be informed of all such complaints or reports no later than the next scheduled Board meeting.
- Appropriate corrective action will be taken, if warranted by the investigation, and the complainant will be informed of the final outcome of the investigation, provided the contact information is known. All responses to the complainant will be in writing and sent to the complainant’s home address;
Approved by the Board of Directors on February 8, 2018 Revised: October 26, 2021
Revised for GNC February 10, 2022 Meeting