Should I complain or report?
A complaint to the Québec Ombudsman is usually filed by the person who personally experienced the situation for which the complaint was lodged. The complaint can also be filed by a family member. A complaint can concern either a failing or infringement of rights by a department or an agency of the Government of Québec, or a lapse within the health and social services network. Note that in the latter case, most of the time the Québec Ombudsman acts as a second level of recourse, after a complaint has been filed with the local or regional service quality and complaints commissioner.
A report is made by someone who has witnessed shortcomings or injustice in public services, whether a government department or agency or a body or an institution within the health and social services network. The report is made with the well-being of the persons concerned in mind. Whatever the sector, we act directly on the front line.
The formalities for filing a complaint or report are very simple and cost-free. All investigations are conducted confidentially.
Can I file a complaint on your Facebook page?
No. To ensure personal information is protected and information is kept confidential, the Québec Ombudsman does not handle complaints on social media, even via private messenger.
However, we will be happy to answer your questions on our Facebook page, via private messenger, if you need information or explanations before filing a complaint with the Québec Ombudsman.
What happens after I file my complaint/I send in my form?
As soon as the Québec Ombudsman receives your complaint, it acknowledges receipt by contacting you by phone or in writing (email, letter or fax) within the next two working days. Then if your complaint is admissible (in other words, if the Québec Ombudsman can intervene), it begins an investigation involving all the parties concerned. When the Québec Ombudsman has reached a conclusion, whether or not your complaint is substantiated or recommendations are made, you are informed verbally or in writing.
How can I be sure my private data will not be shared?
Your complaint will be handled confidentially and respectfully. Personal information is protected at all times and can be accessed only by the people authorized to do so in the performance of their duties. Only the information needed for handling your complaint is collected.
What’s more, the complaint form available on our website is secure, so your personal information is protected.
Do I have to give out my personal contact information when I file a complaint?
Yes. Section 20 of the Public Protector Act specifies that every person who applies to have the Québec Ombudsman intervene must give his or her name, address and telephone number before stating the facts and providing the Québec Ombudsman with any other information or document considered necessary for a clear understanding of the facts.
As for reports, you do not have to provide your personal information unless you want feedback from the Québec Ombudsman, in which case you must use a Power of Attorney form (PDF, 124 Ko), which requires contact information.
How long will it take for my file to be handled?
The Québec Ombudsman does its utmost to act within the following time frames:
20 seconds or less: the wait time before we take your call.
2 days*: the time it takes for you to get a verbal or written acknowledgement of receipt from us or to be referred to the right resource if your complaint is not under our jurisdiction.
Between 10 and 31 days*: the average time it takes to process a complaint concerning the public service. More than 73% of complaints regarding government departments and agencies are handled within 10 days*.
Between 60 and 100 days:* the average time for handling a complaint concerning a body within the health and social services network. Half of these complaints are handled within 60 days.*
* Working days
I have not heard from you since filing my complaint. Is this normal?
No. As soon as the Québec Ombudsman receives your complaint, it acknowledges receipt by contacting you by phone or in writing (email, letter or fax) within the next two working days. Then if your complaint is admissible (in other words, if the Québec Ombudsman can intervene), it begins an investigation involving all the parties concerned. However, whether or not your complaint is substantiated or recommendations are made, the Québec Ombudsman will inform you of its conclusions, verbally or in writing, only after the investigation is completed.
Can I file a complaint if I am not a Canadian citizen or Québec resident?
Yes. You can ask the Québec Ombudsman for its help even if you are not a Canadian citizen or have permanent resident status. For example, you can file a complaint if you want to immigrate to Québec, so long as your complaint concerns a public service of the Government of Québec, in other words, a department, an agency or an institution that is part of the health and social services network.
I have witnessed a worrisome situation involving public services. Even if I am not directly concerned, can I report the situation?
Yes. This is called making a report to the Québec Ombudsman. Note that you do not have to provide your personal information to make a report unless you want feedback from the Québec Ombudsman, in which case you must use a Power of Attorney form (PDF, 124 Ko), which requires contact information.
Can I file a complaint on behalf of someone else?
Yes. If a member of your family, one of your friends or an organization cannot lodge a complaint, you can do so for them. However, if you want to be informed about the Québec Ombudsman’s conclusions, the person or organization has to fill out the Power of Attorney form (PDF, 124 KB) for that purpose beforehand.