What are my rights to receive health care services in French?

4. Make a complaint

If you don’t get services in French from a health service provider who was supposed to provide them in French, or their French services were not good enough, you can make a complaint. Who you should contact depends on your situation.

Complain directly to the organization

Your first step should always be to contact the health service provider and let them know you are not satisfied with the French language services you received. Make notes about who you spoke to and what they said.

Contact the Patient Ombudsman

The Patient Ombudsman is responsible for fairness in Ontario’s health care organizations. They supervise the public hospitals, long-term care homes, and home and community care services managed by Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS’s).

Before going to the Patient Ombudsman, try to resolve your issue by contacting the health service provider or the HCCSS. If you’re not satisfied, make a complaint with the Patient Ombudsman.

The Patient Ombudsman will try to resolve the issue between you and the provider. They may also choose to start an investigation.

Contact the Ontario Ombudsman

You can file a complaint with the Ontario Ombudsman French Language Services Unit about:

  • a service that did not meet your needs
  • a service that does not exist

The Ombudsman’s job is to make sure the French Language Services Act is followed. This includes making sure that:

  • the rights of people who live in Ontario are respected
  • the designated agencies provide the services they are supposed to

If you have questions or want the Ombudsman to find out more about a situation, call 1-866-246-5262 or 416-847-1515.

You can make a complaint to the Ombudsman by phone or by completing a Complaint form online. All complaints are confidential.

In your complaint, include details like:

  • your name
  • your phone number
  • your mailing address
  • your email address
  • a brief description of the incident or the situation, with the date, time, and location

Staff at the Ombudsman’s office will contact you if they need more information. If your issue is one they can help with, they will first try to resolve your complaint by talking to the people involved. Most complaints are resolved this way within 2 weeks. If your complaint can’t be resolved, the Ombudsman may start an investigation.

The Ombudsman doesn’t have the power to order the designated agency to do anything. But they can write a report that says what their investigation found and suggest ways the agency can improve their services.

They will tell you what happens with your case. The Ombudsman also publishes the results of their investigations in Annual Reports.

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