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Your Right to Complain to a Children’s Aid Society Or Indigenous Society

If you have a question or concern about services from a children’s aid society (society), you can talk to the worker who is helping you, the worker’s supervisor, or someone else at the society. If you do not want to first speak to them or if speaking to your worker or others at the society does not answer your questions, you have the right to start a formal process to complain to the society at any time. Societies are required, by law, to establish an Internal Complaints Review Panel (ICRP) to review formal complaints submitted in writing. Your society may also offer alternate complaints processes (for example, an Elders Forum).

Make a complaint

You can make a complaint about a society by submitting a complaint:

Review the complaint

If you've submitted a complaint directly to a society, the society will respond within seven days to determine if a review is needed. If so, a meeting will be scheduled with the society’s internal complaint review panel within 14 days.

If you've submitted a complaint to the Board, you'll receive a response within seven days. If your complaint requires a review, notice of a hearing will be sent to you within 20 days.

Receive a decision

If you've met with the society’s internal complaint review panel, you'll receive a decision in writing within 14 days.

If you were required to attend a Board hearing, you'll receive a decision in writing within 10 days.

Keep in mind that the society and Board review processes cannot consider:

Learn more details about filing a complaint about a society with the Board, the Ontario Child Advocate, or the French Language Services Commissioner.

Complaining directly to a Society

The first step in the formal complaint process is to complete a Formal Complaint to a Society’s Internal Complaints Review Panel (ICRP) Form and submit it to your local society by delivery, mail, fax or e-mail.

Explain your problem clearly and include all of the details that are important to you, so that those reviewing your complaint will understand your concerns.

Reviewing the complaint

The society’s internal complaint review panel will consist of a small number of people who have not been directly involved with your case. The society’s executive director will select panel members from society staff, including one senior manager, and will also choose one person not employed by the society.

Meeting with the society’s internal complaint review panel

The society’s complaint review process is designed to be fair and objective. You will be able to discuss your complaint with people who are not directly involved with your case. The goal is to deal with your complaint as quickly as possible in a way that works for everyone. An interpreter may be provided by the society if you need one. You can bring one person to support you at the meeting, as well as a representative from each of your bands or listed First Nations, Inuit or Métis communities, if applicable.

The review panel may ask questions to better understand your concerns. Within 14 days after the meeting, the panel will send you and the executive director of the society a written summary of the results of the meeting, including any agreed upon next steps. If at any point in the complaint review process the complaint is resolved to your satisfaction, the society will send you confirmation of the resolution in writing.

Complaining to the Child and Family Service Review Board

You do not always need to go through the society’s internal complaints review panel process before complaining to the Child and Family Services Review Board (the Board). In most situations, you can file a complaint with the Board directly and follow their steps on how to proceed.

When you have concerns about the Board

Decisions of the Board cannot be appealed. However, if you have concerns about the Board, the Ontario Ombudsman may investigate complaints and may report and make recommendations arising from such reviews.

Complaining to the Ontario Child Advocate

The Ontario Child Advocate (the Advocate) provides advocacy services and can receive and respond to complaints from children and youth. If you are a child or youth, you may complain directly to the Advocate about any matter, without beginning or completing a process to complain to a society’s internal complaints review panel.

The Advocate can also conduct investigations. If you are a child or youth with a concern or someone with a concern about a child, you may complain to the Advocate to investigate a matter only as a last resort. You must exhaust all other complaints procedures before a request for an investigation can be made.

Complaining to the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner

You may complain to the French Language Services Commissioner at any time when you believe that your right to be served in French was not respected.

Contact information

Child and Family Services Review Board
655 Bay Street,
14th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 2A3
Telephone: (416) 327-0111
Toll Free: 1-888-777-3616
TTY: (416) 327-9247
Fax: (416) 327-0558

Ontario Child Advocate
401 Bay Street, Suite 2200
Toronto, ON M7A 0A6
Telephone: (416) 325-5669
Toll Free: 1-800-263-2841
TTY: (416) 325-2648
Fax: (416) 325-5681

French Language Services Commissioner
800 Bay Street, Suite 402,
Toronto, ON M5S 3A9
Telephone: (416) 847-1515;
Toll Free: 1-866-246-5262;
TTY: (416) 640-0093;
Fax: (416) 847-1520