2020-2021 Annual Report

  • September 30, 2021
2020-2021 Annual Report

Health and social services

  • September 30, 2021
  • 2 001 requests processed
  • Substantiated complaints and reports: 39.2 %
  • Intervention concerning 138 bodies

The three main grounds for substantiated complaints:

  1. Poor service quality: 21.4 %
  2. Lengthy wait times: 18.4 %
  3. Failure to respect rights: 13.7 %

Complaints concerning the health and social services network:

  • 1st level of recourse: the institution's service quality and complaints commissioner.
  • 2nd level of recourse: the Québec Ombudsman (if the person has not heard from the commissioner within 45 days or if he or she is dissatisfied with the outcome).
  • LThe Québec Ombudsman may act directly at the first level in the case of a report.



  • People with disabilities who must live in a residential setting struggle to find an appropriate format given their condition and specific needs. The Québec Ombudsman has stepped up its actions in this regard with the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux. The Department has acknowledged the shortcomings and has announced performance targets, but concrete gains remain to be seen.

Troubled youth

  • Young people in a foster family supervised by a CISSS or a CIUSSS are entitled to a daily allowance of $5. An adolescent told the Québec Ombudsman that in the two years she had lived with her foster family, she had almost never been given the allowance. Feeling that the CISSS in charge had not supervised the situation properly, the Québec Ombudsman acted so that the young girl was given the amount owed her.

Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec

  • In 2018, the Québec Ombudsman released a report on Québec-born children who did not qualify for health insurance because of their parents’ precarious migratory status. The Québec Ombudsman recommended that the children be eligible as of birth. On December 10, 2020, the government tabled a bill in response to the recommendation.

Mental health

  • A person who was receiving treatment for a mental health disorder wanted a new psychiatrist, but no one within the section of the CISSS concerned knew what to do with the request. There was no formal procedure for this kind of request for intra-and inter-institutional transfers within the same region or between regions. The Québec Ombudsman recommended that such a procedure be drafted promptly.

Physical health

  • At the start of the pandemic, a Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux directive prohibited visits to residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs) but allowed palliative care unit visits. The directive was not always followed, especially in a hospital where visits were restricted. The Québec Ombudsman acted so that the hospital complied with the directives in effect.

Home support

  • Year after year, the slate of home support services remains insufficient to meet demand. New exclusion requirements have been added yet again. For example, some institutions have cut back on the number of baths to service users who do not have skin problems—from two or three baths to a single bath a week. The Québec Ombudsman recommended urgent corrective measures and is pressing the Department to act.

Support for elderly autonomy

  • The Québec Ombudsman received numerous complaints about problems that worsened within private seniors’ residences due to the health crisis: staff shortages and constant turnover, mistakes in administering medication, poor supervision of the premises, and services ill-adapted to the residents. CISSSs and CIUSSSs do not monitor these residences with equal rigour, even though it is an important component of their role.

Service support

  • When discharged from hospital after receiving care, people may have to spend time at a resource for other kinds of services (e.g. pre-placement assessment, rehabilitation). If there is no place available, the person may have to remain in hospital in the meantime. Some institutions bill for such stays even though, under these circumstances, people are not always required to pay. For such a financial contribution to be billable, it must be written into the law. The Québec Ombudsman recommended that the Department produce clear guidelines about this kind of billing.