Client Rights & Complaints

At the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre, we respect all our clients and take their rights very seriously. Specifically, we believe that our clients have the right to:

  • Be treated in a courteous and respectful manner, and to be free from mental, physical, and financial abuse by the service provider.
  • Expect that all care provided will be conducted in a professional manner. The client has the right to information regarding the qualifications of staff working at the Centre.
  • Be recognized for their individuality, needs and preferences, including ethnic, spiritual, linguistic, familial, cultural, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity factors.
  • Be informed about the nature of, and approach to, service being proposed by staff prior to the intervention occurring. For consent to be ‘valid’, the client must be able to understand the implications of the service provided, as well as the benefits and costs of the service. The client must be physically and mentally able of providing consent.
  • Receive service in French if participating in a program that has been designated as bilingual (i.e., English/French).
  • Participate in the service provider’s assessment of their needs, the development of the plan of service, and in the service provider’s subsequent evaluations and revisions.
  • Know about other available services appropriate to their needs.
  • Voice concerns or recommend changes to their service, without fear of interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal.
  • Refuse service and be informed of the consequences.
  • Be made aware of the limits to confidentiality, including harm to self or others and legal requirements.
  • Have their records kept confidential in accordance with the law. Clients have a right to privacy that will be respected by staff throughout the WOCRC. Information gathered from the client throughout the course of the service provided will be subject to the rules of confidentiality.
  • Issue a complaint regarding their service at the WOCRC.
  • Correct factual errors in their record.
  • Ask that their information be released to a third party. 
  • Know when they are receiving services of a student and/or volunteer and the right to refuse these services.
  • Review agreements between the various funders and the WOCRC.

Along with the WOCRC’s Guiding Beliefs, these Client Rights are a fundamental part of our approach to serving residents of our community.

Policy

The WOCRC recognizes that in spite of efforts to meet client needs, there may be times in which clients are not satisfied with the services received. Any correspondence received in French from a client in a designated program, for the purposes of a complaint, Complaint Policy and Procedure to be followed and addressed in French. For all other un-designated programs, efforts will be made to respond accordingly.
In this situation, clients have the right to have their complaints heard and responded to. Complaints may include but are not limited to

  1. Ineligibility for a service;
  2. Services excluded from plan of care;
  3. The quantity of a service;
  4. Termination of a service;
  5. The quality of a service;
  6. Alleged violation of the Rights of Clients policy;
  7. No accessibility to francophone services in designated programs.

Procedure

  • Upon first visit to the Centre, clients will be presented with the Welcome Package, which will outline the complaints process.
  • If it is appropriate (determined by the nature of the complaint and/or the skills of the client) the client will be encouraged to identify their concerns with the employee(s)/volunteer(s) involved.
  • If the client is unable to discuss their complaint directly with the staff member(s)/volunteers(s) involved, or is not satisfied with the response, the client may direct the complaint to the immediate supervisor of the identified employee(s)/volunteer(s). Should the complaint involve the Executive Director, the client may direct the complaint to the Board Chair.
  • The supervisor is responsible for gathering all appropriate information and will initiate an investigation and render a decision within two weeks. This may include a review of written documentation, interviews with the complainant and the employee(s)/volunteer(s). The supervisor must complete a Client Complaint Report (see appendix).
  • Appropriate supports will be provided to both the client and the employee(s)/volunteer(s). The employee(s)/volunteer(s) will be told the nature of the allegations. The names of the complainant will be released to the parties concerned.
  • The decision of the supervisor may be appealed to the Executive Director. This appeal must be made in writing and submitted to the Executive Director within five business days of receiving the decision by the supervisor. Where the Board Chair has rendered a decision regarding complaints involving the Executive Director there will be no appeal and the Chair’s decision is considered final.

The Executive Director will conduct a further investigation and render a decision, on the appeal, within two weeks. A written report will be provided which will include a summary of the facts, an analysis, and a conclusion.

  • The decision of the Executive Director may be appealed to the Board of Directors. This appeal must be made in writing and submitted to the Board Chair within five business days of receiving the decision of the Executive Director. Where the Board Chair has rendered a decision regarding complaints involving the Executive Director there will be no appeal and the Chair’s decision is considered final.
  • A summary of client complaints is reported annually to the Board of Directors through the Executive Director.  In the event that there is a serious complaint that may put the organization or client at risk, the Executive Director will report this immediately to the Board through the Executive Committee.
  • Health Services Appeals Board.
  • Complaints related to policy items listed above and regarding services provided by programs that receive funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care may be appealed by the client to the Health Services Appeals Review Board (HSARB).  The client will be provided with this information should they wish to have their appeal heard at this level.

Additional Considerations

Where warranted an employee(s) may be given leave with pay immediately until an investigation takes place.  In the case of a volunteer(s), the volunteer(s) work may be suspended immediately until an investigation takes place.

Where warranted, a specialist or outside consultant (e.g., human rights specialist, expert in the service field) may be involved in the interests of obtaining expert advice or settling the dispute.
Mediation/conflict resolution will be provided if all parties wish it. 

Should the investigation conclude the employee(s)/volunteer(s) is guilty, the consequences will be determined by the severity and frequency of the misconduct.

Depending on the severity of the offence, the penalty could include a reprimand, a request for a written apology to the complainant(s), a suspension or a dismissal.

The Executive Director, or designate, will report any breaches in professional codes of ethics to the specific professional college.

Confidentiality and access to information:

  • It is the responsibility of the employer to take the necessary action to ensure confidentiality of complaints, including disciplinary measures when confidentiality is not respected.
  • Once a formal investigation has begun, opportunities must be given to both parties to be fully aware of all information being gathered which is relevant to the complaint, including the names of witnesses.  The respondent must know the details of the case being made against her/him and be given an opportunity to respond. Witnesses need to be advised that information they provide, which is relevant to the case, will be shared with both parties. The investigation report that will provide the basis for reaching a decision on.
  • Client complaint files and reports are kept separately in the office of the Executive Director. This information will be kept confidential and will not be placed in the personnel files of the employee(s)/volunteer(s) except in situations that require the application of discipline as determined by the employer.  Complaints regarding the Executive Director will be kept separately and confidentially in the office of the Human Resources Manager but will not be considered as part of the Executive Director’s personnel file except in situations that require the application of discipline as determined by the employer.
  • Access to the file may only be obtained with the permission of the employer.