1. Policy Statement
    1. Lambton County Developmental Services (LCDS) recognizes that a complaints/feedback process is an important part of providing quality supports that are responsive to people’s needs and that support continuous improvement in our service delivery.
    2. LCDS recognizes and respects the right of people; their families and/or their guardian to question or express dissatisfaction about the supports/services they receive and to appeal any decisions that are made with respect to the provision of that support.
    3. People receiving services, their family, and guardian, or advocates are encouraged to freely and openly discuss any complaints or feedback about the services being provided by LCDS. No person in service, family member and other interested parties should fear retribution towards themselves when following the complaint/feedback process.
    4. LCDS will take all complaints seriously and will review and investigate all matters and attempt to resolve all complaints unless through investigation they are deemed to be frivolous or vexatious.
  2. Scope
    1. This Statement of Policy and Procedure applies to all employees, volunteers or anyone acting on behalf of LCDS that hear a complaint.
  3. Definitions (if applicable)
    None
  4. Procedures
    1. When a person begins receiving services; they are provided a copy of this policy and given the name of the applicable employee and immediate supervisor’s contact information. This information is reviewed on an annual basis.
    2. People also are given the “It’s a Matter of Rights” booklet where their rights about the services they receive is clearly outlined. This handbook is updated and reviewed twice yearly with each person.
    3. Feedback will be solicited from the people that we support on an
      annual basis through the Life Planning process. Satisfaction surveys
      will also be used on an annual basis to request feedback about the
      supports and services provided to the individual.
    4. Feedback will be solicited from families through satisfaction surveys and also through the Life Planning process.
    5. Results from any surveys completed will be shared with the people we support, employees and families through email, newsletters and/or LCDS’s Outcomes Management Annual Report.
    6. The general public, families or the people that we support can provide feedback by phone, by mail, email or face to face at our business office (number and address is published). Also, our website has contact information so anyone can provide feedback about LCDS supports and services.
    7. All complaints about the provision of the support or services provided to the person should be discussed with the person’s primary care worker first. If the complaint or issue cannot be resolved within 24 hours of the complaint received by the primary care worker then the primary care worker will refer the complaint to their immediate supervisor. If the complaint is about the primary care worker then the person will be encouraged to go directly to the immediate supervisor for the program in order to prevent any conflict of interest.
    8. All complaints or feedback will be acknowledged within 24 hours of receiving by the designated employee or immediate supervisor. If the immediate supervisor is not able to resolve the complaint then the complaint will be referred to Director of Support Services.
    9. The Director of Support Services will have 24 hours to set up a meeting with the individual to discuss their complaint. If Director of Support Services is unable to resolve the complaint then the complaint will be referred to the Executive Director for resolution.
    10. The Executive Director will arrange within 48 hours a meeting with the individual to see if a resolution to their complaint can be found. If the Executive Director is unable to resolve the complaint the Executive Director will offer two possible options for the individual – the Board of Directors or the Rights Review Forum.
    11. If the complainant chooses the Board of Directors the individual will be advised of the time of the next Board of Directors meeting. (Board meetings are monthly except for December, July and August) If the complainant chooses to proceed to the Rights Review Forum then they will be advised of the time and date of the next meeting. (Rights Review Forum meets bi monthly except for July and August).
    12. If after meeting with either the Board of Directors or the Rights Review Forum the complainant is still unsatisfied with the proposed resolution they will be provided with contact information for Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS).
    13. If at any step it is determined that an extensive investigation is needed, the person making the complaint or providing the feedback will be informed that this is occurring and will be given a timeline for the investigation.
    14. At no point should any person investigate a complaint or feedback if they have a conflict of interest in the matter at hand. (i.e. – a person whom a complaint is made against will not be a part of the investigation or response.) In this case, a person’s immediate supervisor or designate will take the lead on the review, documentation, investigation, resolution and notification.
    15. To ensure that the review process is free of any coercion, intimidation or bias, the Executive Director or senior management designate will be informed of the status at each step of the process. If there is a conflict of interest for the senior member of management, the President of the Board of Directors will be kept informed of the status at each step of the process.
    16. Responses will be provided in the format that the complaint was received. (i.e. – if verbal – response will be verbal; if written, the response will be written etc.).
    17. If the complaint is not satisfied by the internal complaint process then the person and/or family and public will be encouraged to file a complaint to the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
    18. As part of LCDS quality assurance and improvement all complaints/feedback given will be gathered by the applicable senior director and documented for discussion at a Management meeting.
    19. Roles and Responsibilities:
      • Any person who receives a complaint/feedback has the responsibility to document the information, then either begin to
        investigate the complaint/feedback or relay the information to the appropriate person for investigation, resolution and
        response.
      • For the people who are supported by LCDS, they have a responsibility to bring forth any complaints/feedback about the supports and services to the agency with the expectation that they will be responded to as indicated in this policy.
      • The President of the Board of Directors will be requested to investigate, resolve and communicate to the person who lodged the complaint/feedback if that complaint is about the Executive Director or about a decision of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will be kept informed of all formal complaints about the supports and services Lambton County Developmental Services provides.
    20. Any complaint/feedback regarding alleged, suspected or witnessed abuse that may constitute a criminal offence will be reported to the police for their investigation. (Ontario Regulation 299/10 Quality Assurance Measures).
    21. MCSS Serious Occurrence reporting procedures will be followed if applicable (based on the nature of the complaint).
    22. Annually, LCDS will review and analyse all complaints/feedback given to evaluate the effectiveness of our policies and procedures and make revisions as necessary.
    23. Information about any complaints/feedback will be included as part of the MCSS Risk Assessment process.
    24. LCDS will provide a copy of our written policy and procedure to any person who requests it.
  5. References
    Abuse, Prevention and Reporting
    Rights/Due Process