Can the Québec Ombudsman drop in unannounced during an investigation?
After a report, a complaint or on its own initiative, the Québec Ombudsman must make regular visits to institutions of the health and social services network, such as:
- family-type intermediate resources;
- private seniors' residences;
- resources accommodating children entrusted by the Director of Youth Protection.
The reasons for the visit are generally related to the quality of care, services and the living environment, and the physical organization of the premises. Sometimes the following questions are raised: are the institutions concerned warned in advance of the arrival of the Québec Ombudsman's representatives? If so, is there reason to fear that the people responsible for these institutions will be prepared and that the results of the investigation will be skewed?
Are they warned in advance? The answer is no.
When the Québec Ombudsman receives the complaint or decides to intervene, the Act requires that it must inform the institution where it intends to conduct its investigation. So, in this sense, it gives warning of its intervention. But there is no requirement to disclose when itwill pay a visitit might consider relevant. However, it is possible, due to the reasons for the investigation and the seriousness of the facts, that the Québec Ombudsman will not send this notice by mail or by email. Instead it will deliver it in person to the individuals concerned at the time of its visit. By not announcing its visit in advance, the effectiveness of its investigation is then not compromised.
To summarize, the Québec Ombudsman always gives notice to the institution concerned that he is dealing with a complaint or is about the intervene, but the timing varies depending on the facts reported and the nature of the investigation. In all cases, the institution and its employees are required to cooperate with the Québec Ombudsman's intervention.
How do Québec Ombudsman investigations work?
The Québec Ombudsman remains neutral and independent. When a complaint falls under our jurisdiction, we interview all the parties concerned (you and the instance involved). We examine the facts impartially and confidentially.
At the fact-examination and investigation phase, we have the powers of investigation commissioners. This means that we can require public services or health and social services institutions to provide us with access to the relevant information and answer our questions.
If the investigation we conducted shows that your complaint was substantiated, we recommend that the situation be corrected. Our recommendations are approved in more than 98% of cases. If on the other hand, the finding is that public services responded adequately, we tell you why.