October 31, 2017

Investigation report by the Québec Ombudsman: The process for handling complaints within the education system must be reviewed

Québec City, October 31, 2017 – Today the Québec Ombudsman released a report on school boards’ and schools’ complaint handling procedure. The findings are clear:

  • Too many steps and people involved;
  • Lengthy processing delays;
  • Lack of information about recourse;
  • Lack of training for Student Ombudsmen and expertise-sharing among them;
  • Student Ombudsmen’s independence needs strengthening;
  • Student Ombudsmen not empowered to act on their own initiative;
  • Accountability flaws;
  • Follow-up to Student Ombudsman recommendations hard to ensure.

The special report’s 19 recommendations are aimed at making recourse with Student Ombudsmen simpler and quicker and more effective and impartial.

Among the Québec Ombudsman’s recommendations is that the school board’s Student Ombudsman be the gateway to the complaint examination procedure within the education system. As Ombudsperson Marie Rinfret sees it, the fact that, at present, Student Ombudsmen intervene near the end of the process is a major problem: “At that stage, nothing is working right because things have dragged on too long, and solutions are hard to put in place.”

Moreover, the Québec Ombudsman recommends that it be empowered to act impartially and independently as a second level of recourse for parents and students dissatisfied with the conclusions of the school board’s Student Ombudsman, as it does regarding the health and social services network.

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Media relations: Carole-Anne Huot, (418) 646-7143/(418) 925-7994
carole-anne.huot@protecteurducitoyen.qc.ca