Health and Social Services

  • 1,708 requests processed
  • 40.5% of processed requests concerned hospital centres
  • Intervention concerning 116 institutions
  • 45.5% of complaints and reports were substantiated

The three main grounds for substantiated complaints and reports:

  1. Service quality: 18.7%
  2. Lengthy wait times: 16.2%
  3. Incompetence or inadequate behaviours: 14.5%

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.

Highlights Health and Social Services


  • Rehabilitation services decrease or stop when children start school. Health and social services institutions and educational institutions pass the buck.
  • People with severe behavioural disorders or who need special care must have a safe living environment adapted to their condition. As at March 31, 2018, the Department had not published the action plan slated for this.

Troubled youth

  • When an Aboriginal child is placed far from home outside of his or her community, youth centres do not always make sure to preserve the child’s cultural identity.

Mental health

  • Community organizations mismanaged conflicts involving people who use their services. They were expelled without a scale of sanctions being used, without a clear explanation and without the opportunity to voice their opinion.
  • Important advances: As the result of legislative amendments, the Department published a reference framework for applying the Act respecting the protection of persons whose mental state presents a danger to themselves or to others.

Physical health

The rate of registration with a family doctor –85% in December 2017– was below the projected level as at March 31, 2018, despite the progress made.
  • The Québec Ombudsman exposed shortcomings of the system to foster access to a family doctor: long wait times and priority assignment of patients that is inadequate at times.
  • Falls during hospitalization and the resulting injuries are frequent, often take a heavy toll on the person and are ultimately costly for the healthcare system.
  • Sometimes nursing staff are too quick to use means of control when a person displays violent or threatening behaviour that poses a danger to his or her own safety or that of others.

Support for elderly autonomy

  • Substantial failings at certain private seniors’ residences —staff training, cleanliness and safety of the premises— confirm that the public institutions in charge do not systematically exercise the required oversight.
  • When there are staff shortages, CHSLD residents do not receive the care and services they need. This situation is tantamount to maltreatment as defined in the Act to combat maltreatment of seniors and other persons of full age in vulnerable situations.
As for services to the elderly, we have noted that residential and long-term care centre (CHSLD) staff can barely keep up. Healthcare teams frequently cope with work shifts when there is a shortage of personnel, which requires the reorganization of care.

Home support

  • In February 2018, the Québec Ombudsman alerted the ministerial authorities to the need for an immediate turnaround in the slate of home support services. On March 27, 2018, an extra investment was announced in Québec’s 2018-2019 budget. The Québec Ombudsman is delighted with this but insists on the importance that it not be a one-off measure.

Service support

  • Because of a lack of information, people pay hospital room fees when they could have chosen a no-cost option had they known about it.

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