Calls and formal complaints to Patient Ombudsman are extremely high at this time.

For new complainants: expect delays in returning your call.

For current complainants: expect delays in progressing your complaint file.

Our sincere apologies – we are doing our best to respond to you as quickly as possible. Our team is prioritizing the most urgent complaints. We appreciate your patience.

COVID-19 questions and information

Thank you,
Patient Ombudsman Team

Useful Terms

1. Consent

2. Early Resolution

3. Intake

4. Investigation

5. Own Initiative Investigation

6. Non-jurisdictional

7. Personal Health Information

8. Substitute Decision-Maker


Consent: An individual agrees or gives permission for something to happen.


Early Resolution: The process that determines if a complaint is premature and if so refers the person to the right place. If Patient Ombudsman can help, then the Early Resolution Specialist will attempt to resolve the complaint through discussion, mediation and/or negotiation.


Intake: The process that determines if a complaint is non-jurisdictional, or whether or not Patient Ombudsman has the mandate to help the complainant.


Investigation: The Patient Ombudsman may decide to investigate complaints that weren’t resolved in the early resolution stage.


Own Initiative Investigation: An investigation initiated by the Patient Ombudsman’s own initiative and can occur without a complaint. This type of investigation is generally about a systemic issue or a serious problem that is the result of trends in complaints about one issue or a matter of high public interest.


Non-jurisdictional: The situation that occurs when the complaint made is not within the mandate of Patient Ombudsman (e.g., a public health agency, a retirement home, a private hospital) or if the person complaining does not meet the legislated description of who can complain (e.g., friend who isn’t a substitute decision-maker)


Personal Health Information: Information about an individual’s physical or mental health, the provision of health care, the eligibility or payment of health care, financial information related to the provision of care and the individual’s health card number. This information could include your name, address, gender and age in addition to your health information.


Find more information at the following links:



Substitute Decision-Maker: An individual who is at least 16 years old with the authority to give or refuse consent on behalf of a patient, a resident or a client who is incapable with respect to treatment, admission to a long-term care home, or a personal assistance service in accordance with the Health Care Consent Act, 1996, from the following list who is willing to assume the responsibility of giving/refusing consent:


  1. Guardian of the person (if they have authority to consent/refuse treatment, admission or personal assistance service)
  2. Attorney for Personal Care (if they have authority to consent/refuse treatment, admission or personal assistance service)
  3. Representative appointed by Consent and Capacity Board
  4. Spouse or Partner
  5. Child or Parent (except parent with only right of access); Children’s Aid Society; other person lawfully entitled to give/refuse consent
  6. Parent with only right of access
  7. Brother or sister
  8. Any other relative – related by blood, marriage, or adoption
  9. Public Guardian and Trustee – come in if (i) there is no person above who meets the age/capacity requirements or (ii) there are two or more people who meet the requirements and rank above all others, but are unable to agree whether to give or refuse consent to treatment




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