The Québec ombudsman's powers | Protecteur du Citoyen

The Québec ombudsman's powers

Can I go to the Québec Ombudsman for a complaint concerning a bank?

No. Banking institutions have their own ombudsmen. You must send your complaint to them. See the website of the bank in question for the contact information about the ombudsman.

If your situation has not been resolved after this step, contact the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments.

If your complaint concerns a public fund manager, contact the Autorité des marchés financiers instead.

Can I contact the Québec Ombudsman for a complaint about my insurance company?

I want to file a complaint about a physician. Can the Québec Ombudsman help me?

The Québec Ombudsman cannot intervene regarding physicians, even if they are part of the health network. This is the role of medical examiners and the Collège des médecins du Québec.

Medical examiners are located in health and social services institutions. They handle complaints about physicians or medical residents. If you are dissatisfied with the analysis of your complaint, the file can be transferred to the institution’s review committee.

The primary mission of the Collège des médecins is to protect the public. It ensures that physicians abide by the Professional Code, the Medical Act and any regulation stemming from these statutes.

If I want to file a complaint about a school, is the Québec Ombudsman the right form of recourse?

No. The Québec Ombudsman cannot accept complaints about schools, whether they be public or private. Instead, you must contact the student ombudsman of the institution concerned. The student ombudsman is responsible for handling complaints concerning teaching staff or school principals, for example. The contact information for student ombudsmen is on the Gouvernement du Québec website.

Can I make a complaint to the Québec Ombudsman concerning the CNESST?

Yes. We handle complaints concerning the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail.

Note that the Québec Ombudsman cannot have a court or tribunal decision modified or overturned:

  • administrative tribunals (Tribunal administratif du Travail, Tribunal administratif du Québec, etc.);
  • courts of justice (Municipal Courts, Court of Québec, Superior Court, etc.).

However, we can handle your complaint if it concerns the administrative functions of these bodies (service quality, wait times, etc.).

If you wish to file a complaint, use our online form available anytime. You can also call us at 1-800-463-5070 Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Can I complain to the Québec Ombudsman about a police force?

No. The Québec Ombudsman has no jurisdiction in that area. Your complaint must be made to the Police Ethics Commissioner instead.

Can the Québec Ombudsman have legislation modified?

No. The Québec Ombudsman is not empowered to do so. To discuss the possibility of having legislation modified, contact your MNA.

Does the Québec Ombudsman handle complaints about universities?

No. The Québec Ombudsman has no jurisdiction in that area. You must file a complaint with the ombudsman of the university in question.

Can the Québec Ombudsman intervene to have the Premier of Québec modify decisions?

No. The Québec Ombudsman is not empowered to contest decisions by the Premier, ministers or any other elected officials. What’s more, it cannot comment on government appointments, announcement of public subsidies or the outcome of negotiations.

As an impartial and independent ombudsman, it acts regarding the services provided by government departments and agencies or health and social services institutions. When necessary, it makes recommendations aimed at rectifying any abuse, mistake or failing. Examples? Long wait times, misinformation or unwarranted administrative decisions.

However, the Québec Ombudsman can also act upstream by commenting on bills introduced in the National Assembly or government draft regulations.

Can the Québec Ombudsman handle medical complaints?

Many people turn to the Québec Ombudsman to file complaints against a hospital pharmacist, dentist, physician or resident. It’s important to know that the Québec Ombudsman’s jurisdiction does not extend to these professionals.

In such a case, who do you go to?

  1. First, you file a complaint with the service quality and complaints commissioner of the institution that the professional is associated with.

  2. The commissioner sees that your complaint is forwarded to the institution’s medical examiner.

  3. If you disagree with the medical examiner’s conclusions, you can complain to the institution’s review committee.

If the acts for which you filed a complaint occurred in private practice, you have to go to the professional order of competent jurisdiction:

Note that the complaint assistance and support centre (CAAP) in your region can help you put together the complaint. CAAP is an independent organization mandated by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux to assist users file complaints.

Can the Québec Ombudsman have a decision by the Directeur de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ) overturned?

The first thing to remember is that, generally speaking, the Québec Ombudsman handles complaints concerning the Directeur de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ) as a second instance. In other words, you have to take your complaint to the service quality and complaints commissioner first. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome (commissioner’s decision, grounds, attitude, processing time), then you can turn to the Québec Ombudsman.

However, the Québec Ombudsman cannot challenge a DPJ decision regarding, for example, the assessment of a report or any measure to help a young person and his or her family. 

However, it can look into whether the administrative rules specific to DPJ operations were applied correctly for the case submitted to it. For example, did the caseworker check the facts thoroughly and gather all the information on the child’s situation? There is a procedure for this. Was it followed? 

If necessary, the Québec Ombudsman recommends that the DPJ make the required changes. 

If the DPJ and the parents of a child disagree about the child being removed from the family environment, for example, the Chambre de la jeunesse can hear the case and its decision is then applied by the DPJ. Here again, the Québec Ombudsman cannot act to have the decision overturned, but it can act concerning the DPJ’s compliance with rules and practices.

Can the Québec Ombudsman have a tribunal decision overturned?

No. The Québec Ombudsman cannot act to have a decision by a tribunal amended or overturned. That is why it is very important for you refer to the Québec Ombudsman BEFORE deciding to take legal action, especially regarding the administrative tribunals and agencies listed below:

  • Commission d’accès à l’information;

  • Conseil de la justice administrative; 

  • Conseil de la magistrature;

  • Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales;

  • Régie du logement;

  • Tribunal administratif du Québec;

  • Tribunal administratif du travail.

However, we have the authority to handle a complaint regarding the administrative functions (service quality, wait times, etc.) of these tribunals. For any questions on this subject, feel free to call one of our offices.

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