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What to Expect

We are committed to being timely, accessible, respectful and fair to everyone who contacts our office. This page explains what you can expect from us when you make a complaint or disclosure. It also explains what we expect from you in return.

These policies apply to all functions of our office under the Ombudsperson Act and Public Interest Disclosure Act.

Our commitments to you

  • We strive to respond in a timely way to your contact with our office.
    • We answer telephone calls promptly and you can speak with a member of our staff without delay.
    • We will prioritize communications that we determine are urgent – usually if there is an imminent risk to a person’s physical security, or an immediate food or shelter crisis.
  • You can contact us in a variety of ways, and we will accommodate requests for assistance in accessing our services.
    • Our office is wheelchair accessible and service animals are welcome. We also offer translation services in 300+ languages (via teleconference with an interpretation service) and Telus Relay Service (TRS).
  • If you are making a fairness complaint, you can have an Elder, advocate or other support person assist you in communicating with our office. You can request that we communicate directly with that person instead of you.
  • When you contact our office, you’re trusting us with your personal information. We maintain confidentiality over our records and communications we receive, as mandated by our legislation.
  • We will only ask you for information we consider necessary to understand your concerns, and we will explain why we need that information.
  • If you make a complaint under the Ombudsperson Act and we investigate, we may disclose your name and other relevant personal information to the public body that is the subject of your complaint.
  •  If you make a disclosure under the Public Interest Disclosure Act and we investigate, we will not identify you as a discloser.
  • We may publish anonymized summaries of our investigations in public reports, including in our annual report.
  • We will give you clear information about our role under the Ombudsperson Act or Public Interest Disclosure Act, what we can and cannot do and how we handle complaints and disclosures.
  • We will carefully review the relevant information you provide to us. Sometimes we may need extended time to review your information and if so, we will let you know.
  • We will conduct our work impartially and base our decisions on all the relevant evidence and the legal standards and principles that guide our work. This means we will not advocate for you but, in accordance with our legislation, will hold public bodies accountable when we find unfairness or wrongdoing.
  • We will inform you of decisions we make about your file and will provide you with information about those decisions.
  • Our communications with you will be clear, accurate and, to the extent possible, in the format you prefer.
  • If we can’t help, we will do our best to refer you to an organization that can.
  • Our staff will listen to you and take time to understand your concerns.
  • Our staff will be professional, respectful and courteous in all verbal and written communications with you.
  • We recognize that sharing your experience can be difficult, and we will strive to provide our services in a culturally safe and trauma-informed way.
  • We will review and respond to concerns about the services we provide. If we make an error, we will acknowledge it, apologize, and use the experience to improve our service.

What we expect from you

For more about what information we need from you, click here if you are making a complaint under the Ombudsperson Act, or click here if you are a current or former public employee seeking advice or making a disclosure under the Public Interest Disclosure Act. Please don’t provide us with large volumes of correspondence or documents unless we have specifically asked you for them.

We can serve you best if you are available to answer our questions and can provide us with supporting documents when we require them to assess your complaint or disclosure. Please let us know if you can’t provide documents, if you don’t understand something we have told you or if talking about your experience is too difficult for you.

We recognize that some individuals require additional assistance, and we can accommodate individual needs. Our office is wheelchair accessible and service animals are welcome. We also offer translation services in 300+ languages (via teleconference with an interpretation service) and Telus Relay Service (TRS). 

Our staff are not required to acknowledge or respond to verbal or written communication that is threatening, abusive, obscene, derogatory or otherwise inappropriate.

We do not tolerate communications that are discriminatory, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, anti-Indigenous or that express hatred toward any individual or community.

We also ask that you do not record conversations with our office without our express permission.

We may limit our communication with you if your communications with our office:

  • are disrespectful or inappropriate,
  • disrupt or negatively affects our operations, or
  • undermine the physical safety or emotional well-being of our staff.

We may not respond to repeated calls, emails or voice mails, particularly if they do not raise any new issues or provide information relevant to a complaint.

We may not always be able to give you the outcome you are looking for, but will carefully consider your information and communicate our decisions.

We want to be able to contact you so please let us know if your telephone number, email address or other contact information changes while we are dealing with your matter.

Our communications policies

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 or disclosures via social media. Complaints can be made online, telephone, fax, mail or in person at our office. Disclosures can be made through our online form.

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. Our staff will not accept any communication via their personal social media accounts. 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 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. If you communicate with our office by email, please note the following:

  1. We do not accept complaints or disclosures by email. Please use our online forms or call us if you would like to make a complaint or disclosure.

  2. We will treat your email like any other form of correspondence and will respond based on when it is received and our assessment of urgency.  We don’t prioritize email ahead of mail, fax or any other kind of written correspondence.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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 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.
  • 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 mail or email us this form.

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

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:

call-contact  1-800-567-3247

You may submit your completed written form in the following ways:

By Mail:

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

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