Wood Street Centre - Complaint Process

In June 2017, an Ombudsman Representative noted several complaints had been received the previous month regarding the effectiveness of the complaint process at the Wood Street Centre (WSC). Many of these complaints involved allegations of missing complaint forms. In one case the complainant alleged that their complaint form had been “thrown in the garbage.” Upon noting this, a list was compiled of all complaints received by this Office regarding the internal complaint resolution process at WSC in the prior two fiscal years. A total of 53 complaints were received, with 29 coming from WSC – Secure Treatment and 24 from WSC – Residential. 

The following common themes were observed amongst the 53 complaints: 

  • Residents lack of belief in the internal complaint process. 
  • Alleged lack of response to complaint. 
  • Fear of possible reprisal. 
  • Unaware of internal complaint process policy until informed by Ombudsman staff. 

In August 2017, Ombudsman Representatives met with the Program Manager of WSC to discuss concerns regarding the WSC internal complaint process and the potential for developing a receipt-based complaint form. The Program Manager stated that the Department of Community Services agreed with this suggestion and would develop a new complaint form. 

An Ombudsman Representative engaged in conversations with the Coordinator of Residential Services between November 2017 and April 2019 in order to receive updates on the review and process. 

In April 2019, this Office was provided with a final draft of the two-part complaint form. Form A pertains to the resident’s complaint, while Form B outlines the response to the resident. The updated internal complaint resolution policy states that complaints are to be sent to the Chief Administrative Officer of the program and Coordinator of Residential Services. In addition, copies are also to be provided to the youth, recorded in their case file, and maintained at the program. 

Further discussion of the matter took place between this Office and the Residential Coordinator between April 2019 and Oct 2019, as difficulties were observed regarding uploading the forms to the government intranet and the accessibility to the digital form by non-government facilities. Forms were then provided to all Residential Child Caring Facilities, allowing for a standardized process.