The three main grounds for substantiated complaints:

  1. 1.Poor service quality: 22.4%

  2. 2.Failure to respect rights: 16.6%

  3. 3.Lengthy wait times: 14.1%

Complaints concerning the health and social services network:

  • 1st level of recourse: the institution’s service quality and complaints commissioner.

  • 2nd level of recourse: the Québec Ombudsman (if the person has not heard from the commissioner within 45 days or if he or she is dissatisfied with the outcome).

  • The Québec Ombudsman may act directly at the first level in the case of a report.


Health and social services

Child communicating through sign language


  • Once children start school, they no longer qualify for the speech therapy services they had been receiving from the health and social services network. It would be inaccurate to say that the education system takes over with the same intensity.

Troubled youth

  • Investigations show that youth centre staff lack training, support and supervision, especially new hirees. Young people and their families may be affected.

Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)

  • A person with reduced mobility and without a driver’s licence had to use adapted transportation twice to have his or her health insurance card renewed. This entailed having a photo taken at a pharmacy, followed by other formalities at a local community services centre (CLSC). However, anyone can go to a Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) service outlet to have this done all at once. The Québec Ombudsman recommended that RAMQ do a better job of informing the public.

  • In 2018, the Québec Ombudsman criticized the fact that Québec-born children do not have access to healthcare because of their parents’ precarious migratory status In the Québec Ombudsman’s opinion this contravenes the applicable legislation because these children are Canadian and live in Québec. RAMQ still refuses to act on this recommendation, even though no legislative amendment would be needed.

Mental health and addictions

  • The care provided to people at risk for suicide, including youth, is flawed in many ways. One of the problems is a lack of screening tools. In one institution, lengthy wait times for obtaining mental health services were also seen.

Physical health

  • The Québec Ombudsman had to remind an institution that even without a health insurance card, anyone who goes to an emergency room must be triaged.

Home support

  • In some regions, people with a mental disorder are increasingly excluded from home support programs. The facts show that, all too often, the assessment of their needs is limited to their physical condition and their psychological state is neglected.

Support for elderly autonomy

  • Brought into glaring focus by the COVID-19 pandemic, understaffing drastically affects residences, including residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs). The Québec Ombudsman remains very concerned about this problem that persists despite its numerous interventions over the years.

  • Too often people with dementia are not housed in environments adapted to their condition. The Québec Ombudsman recommended that institutions clarify the resident profile best suited to their resources in order to prevent a mismatch between needs and means.

Service support

  • The Québec Ombudsman intervened with the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux for a review of hospital room rates and stoppage of billing when a room corresponds to the basic room offered in a specific unit or when the room is medically necessary. With no follow-up thus far, the Québec Ombudsman continues its action on this front.