Ask the Ombudsman - Answers for children and youth in care
Ask the Ombudsman - Answers for service providers
Download the brochure (printable PDF)
Why should I call the Ombudsman’s office?
Do you feel like no one is listening, you aren’t being treated fairly, or you have nowhere to turn?
The Ombudsman’s Children and Youth Unit can help. We can take complaints from any young person in care.
Contact us at 1-800-263-2841, email@example.com or use the form on our website.
We will listen, answer your questions and make sure you are treated fairly.
We can also give you information about your rights and connect you with others who can help.
It is your right to contact us. We can help you in English and French – and many other languages.
Adults can also complain to the Ombudsman, including parents, guardians and service providers.
Will I get in trouble if I make a complaint?
No, everyone has the right to call the Ombudsman’s office.
You have the right to contact us privately, without delay. If you have any trouble, let us know by phone, email or in person.
What can the Ombudsman’s office do?
We help people with their complaints about Ontario government bodies.
This includes children’s aid societies, foster homes and group homes, mental health treatment centres and youth custody facilities. We can also take complaints about school boards, colleges and universities, social services, and many other things.
Government workers must answer the Ombudsman’s questions and co-operate with our investigations.
What are my rights in care?
You have the right to be safe, to be heard and to be part of all decisions about you that affect you.
You have many other rights that we can explain to you when you contact us.
You can find out more about how the Ombudsman can help on the “Children & Youth” section of our website.
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What is the Ombudsman’s Children and Youth Unit?
The Ombudsman’s Children and Youth Unit can take complaints from any young person in care, or adults, including service providers. We can take complaints in English and French – and many other languages.
Anyone experiencing a problem with any service provided under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 – such as from children’s aid societies, residential licensees (foster homes and group homes), mental health treatment centres and youth custody facilities – should contact the Ombudsman.
We can look into individual and systemic issues and recommend constructive solutions.
What can I expect when the Ombudsman calls?
We assess all complaints and will refer people to existing mechanisms for quick resolution wherever possible.
We may contact the organization in question for more information. The Ombudsman is impartial and does not advocate on behalf of individuals, but seeks to ensure they are treated fairly.
We resolve the vast majority of complaints informally. If resolution is not possible, the Ombudsman can launch a formal investigation, and make findings and recommendations.
All organizations within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction must co-operate with our investigations.
What are my obligations as a service provider?
Service providers must:
Inform young people about the Ombudsman’s Office and how they can contact us;
Allow them to contact us in private without delay;
Distribute notices and materials about the Ombudsman, and display them prominently where young people will see them.
Children’s aid societies and residential licensees must also inform the Ombudsman
in writing and without unreasonable delay;
if they learn of the death or an incident of serious bodily harm to a young person who had sought or received service within 12 months of the day the incident occurred.
The notification form is in the “Children & Youth” section of our website.
Service providers are welcome to contact us with questions; you don’t have to file a complaint.
What can the Ombudsman do for young people in care?
The Ombudsman can answer questions, inform young people of their rights, resolve or investigate issues, or connect them to others who can help.