Human Rights Legal Support Centre

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Complaints Policy and Form

Members of the public may file a complaint with the HRLSC about the quality or extent of the services provided by the HRLSC, the application of the HRLSC policies and procedures, or the conduct of HRLSC personnel. The purpose of this policy is to create a transparent and expeditious process for responding to and resolving public complaints in a manner consistent with the principles of fairness. HRLSC staff and board members will respond to each complaint in a considerate and respectful manner while attempting to find an appropriate resolution.

Important points about the policy

This policy is only intended to respond to complaints about the quality of HRLSC services, the application of policies or procedures or the conduct of staff. If it is unclear whether or not your complaint falls within this policy, you will be given an opportunity to clarify the nature of your complaint. Questions or general comments about an HRLSC policy or decision will generally be responded to outside of this complaints policy.

This complaints policy is not intended to respond to complaints about the outcome of your case. If you are unhappy with the outcome of your mediation or hearing before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, you may wish to discuss your legal options with the Legal Support Worker or Staff Lawyer assigned to your file.

The HRLSC will respond to your complaint and make every reasonable effort to resolve it to your satisfaction. If this is not possible, the HRLSC will make every reasonable effort to ensure that you understand the reasons for the decisions made by the HRLSC and feel that you have been treated fairly.


Clients, former clients, and individuals who have received brief or summary services or who request access to HRLSC services, or who are affected by the services provided by the HRLSC, can lodge a complaint under this policy.

Complaints can be made with respect to any interaction between a member of HRLSC staff and a member of the public including:

  • ineligibility for or limitation of service to a potential client;
  • quality of services provided; and
  • conduct of staff.

Complaints made under this policy can be made orally or in writing. The person making the complaint must give their name and contact information.

Complaints will be treated as confidential except as necessary to investigate the complaint. In all cases, as a matter of fairness, the person who is the subject of the complaint will be informed of the complaint.


An oral complaint about a specific member of the HRLSC staff may be made to that person’s immediate supervisor. If the supervisor is not able to resolve a complaint, the individual concerned may file a written complaint to the Executive Director or may make the complaint orally to the Complaints Officer.

All written complaints will be directed to the Executive Director.

All written and oral complaints that are directed to the Executive Director or made to the Complaints Officer will be dealt with by the Executive Director or his/her delegate with the assistance of the Complaints Officer.

Upon receipt of a written or verbal complaint, the Executive Director or delegate shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint within five (5) business days.

Within fifteen (15) business days of receiving the complaint, the Complaints Officer will discuss the complaint, and any possible basis for resolution of the complaint, with the complainant and the staff member(s) familiar with the situation. Based on the information received, the Complaints Officer shall prepare a report for the Executive Director. The Complaints Officer will advise the complainant if s/he is unable to meet this timeline.

The Executive Director shall provide a written response to the complaint to the person making the complaint.

If, following the response of the Executive Director, the individual concerned remains dissatisfied with the disposition of the complaint, the Executive Director or the Complaints Officer shall advise the person that, upon request, the Board of Directors will review the response of the Executive Director to his/her complaint.

An individual who is requesting that the Board of Directors review the handling of his/her complaint, must submit this request in writing (e-mail or letter) to the Complaints Officer. The person complaining may make a further written submission to the Board along with the request. If an individual has any difficulties in making a written request or submission, the individual can contact the Complaints Officer by telephone for assistance.

Where a request is made for a review by the Board of Directors, the person seeking the review will be asked to formally consent to release information relating to the complaint to the Board of Directors to allow a full consideration of the circumstances of the complaint. If consent is not provided, the complaint will proceed to the Board but will not include personal identifying information.

Within sixty (60) business days of receiving a complaint, the Board, or its delegate, or a Complaints Committee, shall,

  • consider the complaint, in consultation with the Executive Director, to determine if a resolution is still possible;
  • review the process followed by the Executive Director in considering the complaint to determine if the complaint has been handled in a manner that is consistent with HRLSC policies; and,
  • respond to the complaint or return the complaint to the Executive Director with directions for further action.

The Board of Directors shall report its decision in writing with reasons, and provide a copy of the decision to the staff members who were the subject of the complaint.

If the Complaints Committee handles a complaint, it shall report to the full Board of Directors on its disposition of the complaint.

A complaint concerning the Chief Administrative Officer shall be referred to the Executive Director and a complaint concerning the Executive Director shall be referred to the Chief Administrative Officer. The appropriate person will acknowledge the complaint and forward it directly to the Chair of the Board of Directors.

A complaint against the Chair of the Board of Directors may be made to the attention of the Attorney General. A complaint against the Chair that is with respect to an ethical issue or a potential conflict of interest may be directed to the Ontario Conflict of Interest Commissioner.

This policy does not affect the right of an individual to raise concerns with the Ombudsman of Ontario if they are dissatisfied with how the HRLSC responded to a complaint and with the results of the HRLSC consideration of the complaint.

To submit a complaint use our Complaint Form  Download in MS Word Download the PDF