Calls and formal complaints to Patient Ombudsman are extremely high at this time.

For new complainants: expect delays in returning your call.

For current complainants: expect delays in progressing your complaint file.

Our sincere apologies – we are doing our best to respond to you as quickly as possible. Our team is prioritizing the most urgent complaints. We appreciate your patience.

COVID-19 questions and information

Thank you,
Patient Ombudsman Team

Frequently Asked Questions


Patient Ombudsman’s role is to help resolve complaints from current or former patients residents or their caregivers about experiences with public hospitals, long-term care homes, home care, and community surgical and diagnostic centres.

We work with all sides to try and find a fair resolution.

Patient Ombudsman’s online complaints form lists all health care organizations that we can receive complaints about. See the second tab called “HSO Details” to find lists of hospitals, long-term care homes, home care services, and community surgical and diagnostic centres.

The Ministry of Health also provides a list of all community surgical and diagnostic centres licensed under the Integrated Community Health Services Centres Act, 2023.

Patient Ombudsman receives complaints from current or former patients, residents or their caregivers from the following health care organizations:

  • Public hospitals

  • Long-term care homes

  • Home care

  • Community surgical and diagnostic centres

Patient Ombudsman’s online complaints form lists all health care organizations that we can receive complaints about. See the second tab called “HSO Details” to find lists of hospitals, long-term care homes, home care services, and community surgical and diagnostic centres.

You can contact Patient Ombudsman by email, regular mail, phone (including toll free), or by fax. You can make a confidential complaint through our online complaint form or by mail.

Patient Ombudsman may be able to help you if your complaint falls within our jurisdiction and if you have already tried to have your complaint addressed by the health sector organization. Learn more.

Your complaint must have the following elements:

  • It must be about an action or inaction of a health sector organization within Patient Ombudsman’s jurisdiction;

  • It must involve the care or health care experience of a current or former patient or resident of the health sector organization; and,

  • Your complaint cannot be within the jurisdiction of another person or entity.

Patient Ombudsman is an office of last resort. This means that you need to try to address your issue through the complaint process at the health sector organization before contacting our office. If you are not sure about your next steps, please give us a call and we can try to help refer you to the right place or direct you to someone who may be able to assist you.

Your willingness to bring forward your complaint may improve future health care experiences for you and others.

You can submit a complaint through our online complaint form, by fax or by regular mail. You can also call us for assistance in filing your complaint.

Patient Ombudsman’s services are free of charge.

We will require your name and other relevant personal information in order to proceed with your complaint.

All complaint information is kept strictly confidential and only shared with those who need to know it the purpose of facilitating a resolution, conducting an investigation or otherwise required by law.

We have whistleblower protections in place for situations where you may not be able to identify yourself.

Yes. Patient Ombudsman will require consent from the patient, resident, or substitute decision-maker (if a complaint is being made on someone’s behalf) to resolve a complaint. We will not identify a complainant without permission.

If you are making a complaint on behalf of a patient or resident who has died, Patient Ombudsman requires the consent from the trustee or administrator of the estate.

The estate trustee or administrator is the person named in the will or appointed by court to conduct the business needed to close the estate (e.g., distribute assets left to others in the will, pay bills, complete paperwork).

Once we’ve determined we’re the right place for your complaint, we’ll start to gather information. We may ask you to submit your complaint in writing so that it can be assigned to an Early Resolution Specialist, and we may ask for you to provide consent so that we can contact the health organization for more information. We want to understand the situation from all perspectives to determine what is fair.

You can help by telling us what happened, who was involved, and what would put things right. Next, we’ll reach out to the health care organization to hear its perspective and to gather additional information. We work with all parties when trying to resolve complaints.

Once we’ve reviewed the complaint and all the relevant information, we’ll work with both sides to see if a resolution is possible. We apply fairness principles to determine whether the health care organization acted fairly. Sometimes, we may need to escalate the complaint to our investigations team.

Every complaint is different, and every resolution can be too. Maybe you're looking for an apology, or you want to make sure that what happened to you doesn’t happen to anyone else. It takes courage to bring forward concerns about a negative health care experience, and these complaints give us the opportunity to improve Ontario’s heath care system for everyone. Once we feel the issue has been addressed to our satisfaction, we’ll let everyone involved know and close the file.

If we are unable to come to a satisfactory resolution, Patient Ombudsman may consider conducting an investigation. An investigation is a formal process that involves providing notices to the health sector organization and complainant that an investigation is going to take place. Patient Ombudsman has the power to compel the production of information from health sector organizations and anyone who provides services through or on behalf of the organization, obtain warrants for entry, summons people to give evidence under oath and make recommendations to the health sector organization.

Patient Ombudsman is required to conduct investigations in private. Your name may be provided to others for the purpose of facilitating a resolution to your complaint, or to conduct an investigation. This will be done with your consent. Otherwise we will only disclose your name when required by law. 

Patient Ombudsman must make a report to the Minister of Health at least annually. These reports are available to the public on this website.  Although the subject-matter of your complaint may be included in a report, no personal or personal health information will be included in a public report. 

We review and acknowledge all complaints that we receive. We receive a high volume of complaints and appreciate your patience as we prioritize time-sensitive patient care and safety concerns.

It is difficult to say how long it will take to address your complaint. The length of time will depend on a number of factors, including: the complexity of the complaint; access to witnesses; and access to other relevant information. Depending on these factors, it may take several months or even longer to respond to your complaint.

All Ontarians have the right to raise concerns about their health care experiences. No one should fear consequences or reprisals in their quality of care from raising a legitimate complaint or concern. In our experience, most health care organizations take complaints seriously, and recognize the importance of trying to find a fair resolution. If you think a health care organization is threatening to or is retaliating against you for making a complaint to our office, you should tell us about it right away.

Patient Ombudsman recognizes that it takes a lot of courage to come forward with your concerns, both at the point of care and to our office. Voicing complaints is important and leads to better care for everyone by helping prevent others from going through a similar experience.

For those who work or volunteer at health care organizations, Patient Ombudsman also has whistleblower protections in place.

Patient Ombudsman can start an investigation on our own initiative, without a specific complaint. Generally, these investigations focus on systemic concerns in health sector organizations.

Patient Ombudsman is fully compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Accommodation will be provided to meet the needs of individuals wishing to access our services.  In an effort to make our services accessible, we provide, for example: interpretative services when communicating with our staff; information pamphlets in multiple languages; and an AODA compliant website.




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