Adopted by the Board of Directors on July 20, 2009
Reviewed by the Board: August 16, 2021
A – PRINCIPLES
• To ensure that the right to make a complaint and the procedures involved are available to all.
• To ensure that complaints are dealt with fairly and expeditiously.
B – POLICY
1. Complaints may include, but are not limited to:
-denial of service to a potential client
-the quality of legal services provided
-the scope of the clinic’s authority to utilize public funds for a
2. Complaints can be made orally or in writing.
3. Every precaution will be taken to ensure that information concerning a client, former client, or staff person is kept confidential unless that person consents to its disclosure.
C – PROCEDURE
4. Definition of a ‘Complaint’ – Any comments or concerns received where the
party defines the matter as a complaint will be treated as a complaint under this
When comments or concerns are expressed by a client or an outside party
concerning the delivery of service, or any other matter of concern to JFCLS, the
staff or board member involved must ask whether the person wishes to make a
complaint. When the party replies in the affirmative, this will be treated
as a complaint under this policy.
5. Complaints need not be in any particular form. When a complaint is made, the complainant will be advised of the procedure to be followed.
6. The Executive Director shall deal with all complaints promptly. Complaints against the Executive Director shall be dealt with by the Board of Directors. Such complaints shall be forwarded directly to the Chairperson of the Board of Directors or in his/her absence, to the Vice-Chairperson of the Board of Directors.
7. The Executive Director shall send written acknowledgment of all complaints, investigate them and make a decision. Every effort shall be made by the Executive Director to resolve complaints and advise the complainant of the disposition. The Executive Director shall provide periodic updates of complaints to the Board while reporting client satisfaction.
8. Where the complaint is about the conduct of a staff person, the Executive Director shall meet with the staff and complainant either separately or together to discuss the matter and advise the complainant and the staff person involved of the decision reached or action taken by the Executive Director.
9. If the complainant is not satisfied with the disposition by the Executive Director, he/she may request that the Executive Director immediately refer the matter to the Chairperson or in his/her absence, to the Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors for a decision by the Board. If the complaint relates to the conduct of staff, the Chairperson or Vice Chairperson shall bring the matter before the personnel committee of the Board for investigation and recommendation to the Board of Directors. The Board shall treat all information received with respect to the complaint as confidential.
10. The Board will write to the complainant advising him/her that the Board has been informed of the complaint and that the Board is taking steps to deal with the matter.
11. The Board of Directors may decide to meet with the complainant. If the complainant advises that he/she wishes to keep the complaint anonymous, the Board may elect to take no further action.
12. Whether a complaint is written or oral, the Board will give written reasons for its decision to the complainant, except if the complainant is anonymous.
13. Where a complaint is made to a Board member, the Board member will inform the Chairperson or in his/her absence the Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors and the matter will be referred to the Executive Director. Where the Board of Directors receives a complaint concerning the Executive Director, sections 7-13 apply with necessary modifications.
14. If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision of the Board of Directors, he/she may appeal the decision to Legal Aid Ontario.