The Québec Ombudsman's powers

The Québec Ombudsman cannot act concerning complaints against health professionals (physicians, medical residents, pharmacists, dentists). 

If the health professional you want to complain about works for an institution (CISSS or CIUSSS)

  1. Go to the service quality and complaints commissioner. The complaint assistance and support centre (CAAP) in your region can help you.
  2. The commissioner forwards your complaint 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 you questioned occurred in private practice, you have to go one of the following professional orders: 

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.

The Québec Ombudsman remains neutral and independent. When a complaint falls under our jurisdiction, we interview all the parties concerned (you and the entity involved). We examine the facts impartially and confidentially.

At the fact-examination and investigation phases, we have the powers of investigation commissioners. This means that we can require public services to provide us with access to the relevant documents and to answer our questions.

If the investigation shows that your complaint was substantiated, we make recommendations aimed at correcting the situation. 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.

No. The Québec Ombudsman is not mandated to contest decisions by the Premier, ministers or any other elected official.

We cannot comment on government appointments, announcement of public subsidies or the outcome of negotiations. 

As Québec’s ombudsman, we are impartial and independent. We act concerning the quality of public services (government departments and agencies, health and social services institutions). We make any required recommendations aimed at rectifying abuse, mistakes or failings (e.g. long wait times, misinformation or unwarranted administrative decisions).

As a rule, the Québec Ombudsman handles complaints concerning the Directeur de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ) at the second level.

First you have to take your complaint to the service quality and complaints commissioner. The complaint assistance and support centre (CAAP) in your region can help you.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome (decision by the commissioner’s office, grounds, attitude, processing time), you can then contact us.

Please note: The Québec Ombudsman cannot challenge a DPJ decision or have a social worker’s or another professional’s assessment report changed (e.g. a decision about the assessment of a report or any measure to help a young person and their 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? Did the DPJ comply with court orders about child access or other issues? When relevant, 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. 

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 contact the Québec Ombudsman BEFORE going to 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; 
  • Tribunal administratif du logement; 
  • Tribunal administratif du Québec; 
  • Tribunal administratif du travail. 

However, we have the authority to handle complaints about the administrative functions (service quality, wait times, etc.) of these tribunals. For any questions on this subject, feel free to contact us.