The Ministry of Health and Social Services (Ministrère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux – MSSS) is tasked with maintaining and enhancing the health and welfare of Québecers through integrated and quality health and social services. The Ministry oversees the development and delivery of public services, pursuing objectives that relate to quality and accessibility. The Ministry shares its responsibilities with eighteen regional authorities, each responsible for organizing services within their region. The MSSS provides a list of User Rights along with its description of complaints processes on its site. These rights include the right of the user to; file a complaint without the risk of reprisal, to be informed of the complaint examination procedure and, if required, to be accompanied or assisted in the procedure.
Helpful tips for navigating the site
Information is found on the Health and Social Services (MSSS) Quebec website in both English and French. The home page for the MSS lists categories along the left side. Information about lodging a complaint can be found under the heading Networks and then clicking on the Complaint Examination System link. Here, user rights are listed along with information on how to file a complaint and on how your complaint will be processed. Contact lists for regional service quality commissioners are also included. Notably, the Complaint Examination System page includes a section on how to get help with formulating a complaint as well as how to get assistance with the complaints process. Assistance can be provided through CAAP (Centre d'aide et d'accompagnement au plaintes) for patients or the respondents.
Steps in the complaints process and timeline
In all cases, the site recommends that you first talk to the people in charge of the care and services in question.
If you are concerned with:
- a health and social services institution
- an intermediate resource
- a family-type resource or any organization, company or person the institution uses
Complaints may be filed either in written format or verbally with the local Service Quality and Complaints Commissioner (you can get the name and phone number from personnel at the institution).
If you are concerned with:
- a community organization
- a private nursing home
- a residence for the elderly
- an ambulance transport service*
- or a health and social services agency
A verbal or a written complaint should be filed with the regional service quality and complaints commissioner. Alternatively, you can call Services Quebec's You can also call Services Québec toll-free at 1-877-644-4545.
*If you are in the Montreal and Laval areas your complaint should be lodged, in writing or verbally, with the Corporation d'Urgences-santé's Service Quality and Complaints Commissioner. They can be reached at 514-723-5606.
After a commissioner has been contacted
- The Quality Commissioner will help you formulate your complaint.
- To do this the commissioner will ask you to provide a description of the event and explain your concerns. He/She will then examine the complaint to clearly ascertain the problem.
- Further information will then be gathered from any other people involved.
- The commissioner will intervene in the manner they deem most appropriate and inform the you of examination findings. Conclusions will be accompanied by the solutions or corrective measures recommended for those involved.
- If the you requires further action, the complaint may be taken to the Complaints Commissioner at the Provincial Office of the Ombudsman. There is an office of the Ombudsman in Quebec city as well as one in Montreal. Phone numbers for these offices as well as a web address and email are given on the site.
How long will this take?
It is stated that you must be informed of the findings of the commissioner's examination within 45 days of filing your complaint.