1. Definitions

Complaints division: the complaints division at the Direction de soutien aux familles d’enfants autochtones disparus ou décédés.

Directorate: the Direction de soutien aux familles d’enfants autochtones disparus ou décédés.

Institution, body or religious congregation: a health and social services institution, a religious congregation or a body (including the Directorate) to which the Act applies.

Act: the Act to authorize the communication of personal information to the families of Indigenous children who went missing or died This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only) after being admitted to an institution.

Minister: the Minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs.

Complainant: a person referred to in section 5 of the Act who files a complaint concerning the services received as part of a search for information from an institution, body (including the Directorate) or religious congregation.

2. Object

The Minister has set up a procedure to examine complaints in order to understand and improve practices at institutions, bodies and religious congregations with respect to the services provided during searches for information pursuant to the Act.

3. Scope

A person referred to in section 5 of the Act who has made a request for information, may report being dissatisfied with the services received, including from the Directorate. This procedure applies to all stages in the search process under the Act to obtain information from an institution, body or religious congregation.

4. Person responsible for the processing of complaints

4.1 Person responsible

The person responsible for processing complaints works for the complaints division at the Directorate.

4.2 Duty to provide assistance

The complaints division must ensure that complainants receive assistance in filing their complaints or in any related task, if needed.

4.3 Guarantee of independence

The Minister must take all possible steps to ensure, at all times, the independence of the staff of the complaints division in the performance of their duties.

In particular, the Minister must ensure that the staff of the complaints division perform no other duties at the Direction de soutien aux familles.

4.4 Obligation of equity and diligence

The complaints division must process all complaints with equity and diligence.

4.5 Cultural security

Cultural security This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French only) is an approach that recognizes the presence of inequities for Indigenous people and seeks to reduce their effects through relevant methods.

The complaints division must apply the procedure for examining complaints in a way that incorporates the various principle of cultural security, including

  • ongoing consideration for Indigenous beliefs and practices;
  • recognition of past and current trauma and its repercussion on Indigenous health and wellbeing;
  • respect for Indigenous cultures, in particular through the provision of services in a chosen language;
  • actions with Indigenous people as partners in their own health and wellbeing.

5. Filing of complaints

5.1 Procedure for filing a complaint

A complaint must be filed in writing with the complaints division. If needed, the complainant will be assisted in the filing of the complaint, in particular with respect to drafting or the use of Internet.

The complaints division supports the use of the E-form available on the Québec government website dedicated to the Act and support for families. However, complaints filed using other means, or filed verbally, will also be processed.  

5.2 Information to be included in a complaint

A complaint must include the following information:

  • the complainant’s first name and last name;
  • the complainant’s full address;
  • the complainant’s telephone number, if applicable;
  • the complainant’s email address, if applicable;
  • the complainant’s preferred method of communication (telephone, email or regular mail);
  • the preferred language of correspondence (French, English or an Indigenous language);
  • the name and full address of the institution, body or religious congregation concerned;
  • the name and position of the person or persons at the institution, body or religious congregation with whom the complainant has been in contact for the purpose of the search;
  • an outline of the factual situation;
  • the reason for the complainant’s dissatisfaction;
  • the expected outcome;
  • any other relevant information.

5.3 Confidentiality

All personal information disclosed by a complainant is confidential and protected under the Act respecting access to documents held by public bodies and the protection of personal information (chapter A-2.1).

6. Reception of complaints

6.1 Processing time

The complaints division must process a complaint within no more than 30 days after it is received.

Where justified by the complexity of the case, the complaints division may have a further 30 business days to process the complaint, provided that the complainant and the management of the institution, body or religious congregation concerned are informed of the extension before the expiry of the initial 30 days.

6.2 Acknowledgment of receipt

When a complaint is received, the complaints division must acknowledge receipt by email or regular mail, as the complainant indicates, within 3 business days.

The acknowledgment of receipt must state

  • the date on which the complaint was received;
  • the name of the person or persons responsible for processing the complaint;
  • the maximum time allowed for processing a complaint;
  • the fact that the complainant will be contacted by the complaints division to present observations;
  • the other recourses open to the complainant, including the possibility of filing a complaint with the complaints division of the institution, body or religious congregation concerned or of contacting the Public Protector if necessary.

The complaints division may also ask the complainant to provide any information that is missing from the file.

6.3 Notice to the management of the institution, body or religious congregation

The complaints division must send a written notice to the management of the institution, body or religious congregation concerned. The notice must state

  • the factual situation described by the complainant;
  • the reason for the complainant’s dissatisfaction;
  • the name and position of the person or persons at the institution, body or religious congregation with whom the complainant has had contact during the search for information;
  • the date on which the complaint was received and the processing time of 30 business days;
  • the name or the person or persons responsible for processing the complaint;
  • the fact that the management will be contacted by the complaints division to present observations.

7. Processing of a complaint

7.1 Observations by the complainant and the institution, body or religious congregation

The complaints division must allow the complainant to present observations, in particular after providing the information needed to properly understand the facts. It must also allow the management of the institution, body or religious congregation to present observations.

The complaints division must record, in writing, any observations made verbally.

7.2 Conclusions

The complaints division must send its conclusions, with reasons and in writing, to the complainant and to the institution, body or religious congregation. The conclusions must state

  • the degree to which the institution, body or religious congregation participated in the process to examine the complaint or, where applicable, its refusal to participate;
  • the methods that the institution, body or religious congregation must improve;
  • the recommendations made to the institution, body or religious congregation to allow it to understand and improve practices, particularly by raising awareness about Indigenous realities.

For the purpose of ensuring assistance and support, the complaints division must also schedule a meeting with the complainant to present its conclusions and set out the main points verbally. The meeting may take place in person, by telephone or by videoconferencing.

8. Follow-up on the recommendations made to an institution, body or religious congregation

No more than 30 days after sending its conclusions, the complaints division must follow up with the institution, body or religious congregation concerned to find out what actions have been undertaken in response to the recommendations made.

The complaints division must submit observations to the Minister each year concerning the improvements made to practices by the institutions, bodies and religious congregations implicated in complaints and the effectiveness of the awareness-raising measures implemented.

9. Revision of the complaints examination procedure

The complaints division may make recommendations to the Minister concerning ways to improve the processing of complaints, including a revision of the examination procedure.

10. Publication of the complaints examination procedure

The procedure for examining complaints and the contact information for the complaints division must be posted on the websites of the Minister and the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones.