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Our Policies
Social Media, Email and Complaints

Our policies & procedures

A big part of the work we do at the Ombudsperson’s Office is reviewing policies and procedures to make sure they are fair and equitable.

But, we also have a few of our own. If you have any questions about these policies, please feel free to give us call.

We are accessible to everyone

The BC Ombudsperson provides services in a manner that is respectful of all persons. We recognize that some individuals require additional assistance and we are able to accommodate individual needs. Our office is wheelchair accessible and guide dogs are welcome. We also offer translation services in 300+ languages (via teleconference with an interpretation service) and Telus Relay Service (TRS) to ensure all British Columbians can use and benefit from our services. To learn more about the languages available for interpretation, please visit Ethnalogue.

Social media policy

We use social media to raise awareness of our work, to reach a wider audience, and to learn about communities and their needs.

We are active on our social media accounts, X, formerly known as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 4:30pm.

Links to external sites or content that we include will be solely for the convenience and interest of our audiences. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information contained on these sites, nor do we endorse the sites or their content.

We follow X, formerly known as Twitter, accounts, Facebook pages and LinkedIn company pages that are relevant to our work and mandate. Our decision to follow an individual or an organization does not imply we endorse that person or that organization or its products/services.

Please refrain from:

  • Abusive, obscene, indecent or offensive language
  • Defamatory, harassing, hateful remarks or accusations against individuals or organizations
  • Comments on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, age, creed, gender, marital status, socio-economic status, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation
  • Sexual content or links to sexual content
  • Solicitations, advertisements, announcements, or endorsements of any commercial, financial, labour or political organization
  • Excessive links and code
  • Posts revealing too much personal information
  • Content that violates a legal ownership interest of any other party
  • Comments not related to the particular post or material being commented on
  • Comments that are repetitive or are considered spam.

We reserve the right to restrict any person’s access or remove any content that we deem in violation of this social media policy or any applicable law.

If you choose to engage in a conversation with us via social media, please remember that you do so within the public domain. To protect your privacy and that of others, we recommend you not include personal information in your posts.

Please note: we do not accept complaints via social media. Complaints can be made online, telephone, fax, mail or in person at our office.

Any personal information that you provide to us through social media is collected, used and disclosed by our office for its mandated purpose – to administer the BC Ombudsperson Act, the Public Interest Disclosure Act, and to educate the public about, and comment on, these Acts and fairness issues in general.

Staff may be active on social media under their own names as private citizens. Despite their professional affiliation, their posted content does not represent the official position of the BC Ombudsperson. Any names we use to illustrate our work on social media or elsewhere, such as case summaries examples, are not real names of complainants. All names are chosen at random to protect the confidentiality of complainants.

Social media accounts are hosted by a third party service providers and are not on the BC Ombudsperson’s servers. We encourage you to read their respective terms of service and privacy policies before engaging in their use.

Email policy

When you send an email to the BC Ombudsperson, you’re trusting us with your personal information. We’re mandated by the provincial legislature to keep the information we receive confidential, and we take this responsibility very seriously. Email communication allows us to be more accessible to more people, but also limits our control over the confidentiality and privacy of our communications with you.

This policy sets out what members of the public and the staff of the BC Ombudsperson can expect of each other when communicating by email.

Please note we do not accept complaints by email.

1. What you can expect from us

Choice in how you communicate with us. We recognize that accessibility requires different approaches for different people, and will make every effort to respect your preferences in how we communicate with you – whether by phone, mail, email or other means. However, we reserve the right to require that you speak with us if we decide that it is necessary. We may need to speak with you in order to collect and verify the information we need to assess and, if necessary, investigate your complaint. We will, however, make reasonable efforts to accommodate you if you tell us about any barriers you have that may limit your ability to speak with us by phone or in person.

We treat your email like any other form of correspondence. We try to respond to all correspondence as soon as possible, and your choice about how you correspond with us won’t affect how quickly we respond. We don’t prioritize email ahead of mail, fax or any other kind of written correspondence. We prioritize some correspondence and complaints if we consider them urgent – usually if there is an imminent risk to a person’s physical security, or an immediate food or shelter crisis. We will take the same care in reviewing and responding to your email that we would take if we were responding to or sending a letter by mail.

Respect for your privacy. We maintain strict confidentiality over our records and any communications we receive. Our legislation, the Ombudsperson Act and the Public Interest Disclosure Act, require this. We also ensure that our records are secure and comply with applicable privacy legislation, including the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The email service provider or the computer you’re using to communicate with us might not meet the same privacy and security standards. If you choose email to communicate with us, we can’t guarantee that email transmissions or storage outside our network are secure or encrypted, or that your information is not being transmitted or stored outside of Canada.

In order to meet our own confidentiality and security requirements we will only communicate with you or other parties to your complaint. If you include CC recipients in an email you send to us, our response will not include those CCs unless they are already registered on our file, including their email address, as a party to the complaint (this may include your advocate, lawyer or anyone else acting as your formal representative). You can share our response with other people if you choose.

2. What we expect from you

Respect for our staff. Please communicate with courtesy and patience, and do not send us large volumes of email communications or file attachments unless we have asked you for those documents. If we have any concerns about the appropriateness or volume of your email communications, we’ll let you know about those concerns so that we can continue to communicate with you by email. Any form of abuse, harassment or other inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated. If inappropriate behaviour or unreasonable volumes of correspondence continue over time, we may set limits on the ways that we will communicate with you.

Clear and concise information about the issues you are concerned about. For more about what information we need from you, click here if your concerns relate to a complaint under the Ombudsperson Act, or click here if your concerns relate to potential wrongdoing under the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

Responding to our questions and requests for information. Once we have had a chance to review your complaint, or while we are conducting further assessment or investigating your concerns, we will likely have questions for you. Responding directly, thoroughly and clearly to our questions or requests for specific documents or information will ensure that we are able to move your complaint forward in a timely manner, and may also limit the number of times we need to interview you in person or by phone.

Have complaints about our service?

The BC Ombudsperson is committed to high standards of practice in our work. We take complaints seriously and aim to address any areas where we have not delivered to the standards we expect of ourselves. We value complaints and continuously strive to improve our services.

If you disagree with a decision we made or are concerned about our service, you should first try to resolve the matter with the person who made the decision or who did not meet your service expectation. If you are unable to resolve the matter, you may make a complaint to the person’s supervisor. It is very helpful to us if you outline your concern in writing but you may also contact us by phone if you’re unable to complete a complaint form in writing. We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint and inform you at the conclusion of our review.

*Please note complaints about our service must be made within 45 days of the decision that was made.

To enable us to respond to your concerns about our service, we will need some specific information from you:

  • Please identify the decision we made, action we took or inaction on our part that concerns you.
  • Please explain why you believe that a decision was unreasonable or were dissatisfied with other aspects of our service. Please be as specific as you can.
  • Please indicate what outcome you are seeking.

We may decide to not accept some complaints about our service for further review. Reasons to decline a review of a complaint may include:

  • the complaint is unrelated to our service
  • the complaint doesn’t identify a specific concern that could form the subject of a review
  • we have previously responded to the same complaint and no new issues are raised, or
  •  the complaint contains abusive, discriminatory or threatening language.

Once the supervisor has had an opportunity to review your complaint, they will communicate the outcome of their review in writing. Please note that it may take some time for the supervisor to conduct a thorough review of the electronic file relating to your complaint. The supervisor’s review is final.

Please download and save our complaint form and fill in the specific details of your complaint. You may submit your completed written complaint in the following ways:

By Mail:

BC Ombudsperson
PO Box 9039 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC  V8W 9A5

By Email (please put your file number in the subject line of the email):

If you are unable to submit your complaint within the 45-day timeframe, or require assistance completing the complaint form, please call us toll-free for assistance: