Info Sheet: Guidance for Service Providers (accessible PDF)
The Children and Youth Unit at the Ontario Ombudsman’s Office takes complaints from children, youth and adults. Anyone experiencing a problem with a children’s aid society, residential licensee (foster home, group home), youth justice facility or secure mental health treatment centre should contact the Ombudsman’s Children and Youth Unit for assistance.
Did you know?
Under the law, service providers have a number of obligations to uphold young people’s rights in care. Your obligations can be found in the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017, the Ombudsman Act, and regulations to both acts.
ALL service providers funded under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017, must:
If you are a children’s aid society or a residential licensee (foster home, group home, youth justice facility or secure mental health treatment facility), you must:
Inform young people about the existence and role of the Ombudsman’s Office and how to contact the Ombudsman;
Provide a young person in your care who wishes to contact the Ombudsman with the means to do so privately and without delay;
Prominently display notices and distribute materials about the Ombudsman’s Office so young people will see them;
Allow young people to speak in private with, visit and receive visits from staff from the Ombudsman’s Office;
Ensure written communications to or from the Ombudsman to a child in care are not examined or read by the service provider or service provider’s staff;
Inform the Ombudsman’s Office – in writing and without unreasonable delay – if you learn of the death or an incident of serious bodily harm to a young person who has sought or received service within 12 months of the day the incident occurred. The notification form can be found on the Ombudsman’s website.
If you have any questions about these obligations or young people’s rights, please contact us at 1-800-263-2841 or 416-325-5669, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 O Reg 155/18 s 6.
 Ombudsman Act, RSO 1990 c. O.6, s 14.0.1 (1)
 Ombudsman Act, RSO 1990 c. O.6, s 14.0.1 (2)
 Ombudsman Act, RSO 1990 c. O.6, s 14.0.1 (4)(a)
 Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017, SO 2017, c. 14, Schedule 1, s 10 (1)(b)(iii)
 Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017, SO 2017, c. 14, Schedule 1, s 10 (3), (4)
 O Reg 80/19
Brochure: Ask the Ombudsman - Answers for service providers (accessible PDF)
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.