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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.

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Thank you,
Patient Ombudsman Team

Patient Ombudsman’s Blog


March28th, 2024

Better Experiences, Better Health Care


What do we mean when we say we want high-quality health care?

Many health care organizations agree that when measuring quality, health care needs to be safe, effective, patient-centered, efficient, timely and equitable. These six domains are an important framework to evaluate quality, but they’re not the only measure.

There are times when someone receives the care they need but still has a negative experience. As an ombuds, our office uses a fairness lens in our review of the processes, decisions and behaviours that contributed to a negative health care experience.

Unique Perspective

As one of the only ombuds offices in Canada dedicated to health care, Patient Ombudsman has a unique role in Ontario’s health care system. Unlike other ombuds offices, which may have oversight over a variety of government services and may be addressing complaints about things as varied as housing and education in addition to health, Patient Ombudsman is focused on health care alone. We are also the only organization in Ontario that resolves and investigates complaints about care and health care experiences from patients, residents and caregivers across different sectors of the health care system.

This unique perspective allows us to have a bigger picture on what patients, residents and caregivers are experiencing. We can share what we’re hearing and make recommendations to help improve experiences for everyone.

Quality Improvement

Complaints provide a unique perspective from which to learn and share to improve the quality of the health care experiences for everyone. When working to resolve a complaint, we listen to what happened, who was involved, and ask what would make it right. We also reach out to the health sector organization involved and ask for its perspective so that our decisions and recommendations are fair and unbiased.

Using a fairness framework, we often ask if patients, residents and caregivers had an opportunity to ask questions and did they receive information in a clear and timely way? How were decisions made and how were those decisions communicated? This kind of framework doesn’t focus solely on whether a person received the care they were supposed to, but whether they received the care in a fair and equitable way.

Resolving a complaint may have the health sector organization updating a policy or procedure to better reflect what should happen in similar situations or putting a whole new process in place to address the problem. These kinds of changes go beyond the individual complaint and result in widespread change across the organization, benefiting future patients, residents and caregivers.

This emphasis on improving experiences across the health care system is at the heart of our newly released 2024-2027 strategic plan, which shares the aims and objectives of our work over the next three years. We want to use this plan as a tool to engage with and inform the people we serve and with whom we work. Our strategic plan outlines how we see ourselves evolving as an organization and the commitments we’re making to improve the quality of our services while advancing our goals of better health care experiences for patients, residents, and caregivers across Ontario.

Read our 2024-2027 strategic plan to learn more about how Better Experiences results in Better Health Care.


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