Concern for informal caregivers’ access to assistance resources | Protecteur du Citoyen
January 5, 2021

Concern for informal caregivers’ access to assistance resources


Deux mains réconfortantes en tenant une autre

The complaint

An informal caregiver wanted to see a social worker, but her local community service centre (CLSC) denied her request. The woman complained to the Québec Ombudsman.

The context

  • A citizen was an informal caregiver. She asked to meet with a social worker at the CLSC. The nurse in charge refused, explaining that psychosocial services were for service users.
  • The citizen did not understand the decision. She felt that informal caregivers need help and a sympathetic ear too.

What our investigation showed

  • According to the nurse, the informal caregiver was not a health and social services network user. Furthermore, as the nurse saw it, the citizen did not seem to be exhausted to the point of needing psychosocial support. She had therefore denied her request.
  • In the Québec Ombudsman’s opinion, it is up to social workers to assess whether such help is needed. Because the social worker had detected that the citizen was somewhat fatigued, the nurse should have approved the request.
  • Moreover, informal caregivers must be considered network users, as indicated in the home support policy.

The outcome

The Québec Ombudsman intervened with the institution responsible for the care and services provided by the CLSC. It recommended that it:

  • Ensure psychosocial services to the informal caregivers who request them;
  • Check for signs of informal caregiver burnout;
  • Follow-up as needed.

The institution implemented these recommendations and the citizen was able to meet with a social worker.

This case was taken from our 2019-2020 Annual Report.

The Québec Ombudsman ensures that your rights are upheld in your dealings with Québec public services. Are you dissatisfied with the services of a Government of Québec department or agency? Or with those of a health and social services network institution (2nd level of recourse)? File a complaint with the Québec Ombudsman by calling 1-800-463-5070 or use our online complaint form.