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Patient Ombudsman Team

Patient Ombudsman’s Blog


May 30th, 2024

What is an ‘office of last resort’?

Every year, Patient Ombudsman receives more than 5,000 complaints from patients, long-term care residents and caregivers about their health care experiences. Our team of Early Resolution Specialists work with both the complainants and the health sector organizations to find fair resolution to these concerns. But sometimes, complaints are not quite ready for our involvement.  

Patient Ombudsman is an office of last resort. This means that if you want to make a complaint about a negative experience, you first need to try to address the issue directly with the health sector organization before Patient Ombudsman can review the complaint. If the organization is not able to address your complaint or you’re not satisfied with how it responded, then Patient Ombudsman can help.

Why is ‘last resort’ important?

We believe that resolutions are best achieved as close as possible to the point of care and that the best resolutions happen when patients, residents and caregivers deal directly with the organization they have a relationship with. Not only does this give the organization a fair chance to resolve the issue itself, but also helps maintain the relationship between you and your care provider or the health organization.

Who do I talk to?

If you have a concern about a health care experience, your first step is to contact the health care organization directly. But knowing where to take your complaint can be confusing. The person responsible for managing complaints may differ from organization to organization:

  • In a hospital, you would contact the patient relations or patient experience department. The contact information for these departments is usually available on the hospital’s website.

  • In a long-term care home, a staff person is designated to respond to concerns. This may be an administrator, a director of care, manager or ‘resident experience’ staff. Ask the home who you should speak to about your concerns.  

  • For home care services, you should contact your care coordinator. Home and Community Care Support Services organizations has patient relations information listed on their website as well.

  • For community surgical and diagnostic centres, a staff person is designated to respond to concerns. This may be an office manager or a quality advisor. If the centre does not have information about their complaint process clearly marked on their website or in the centre, ask who you should speak to about your concerns.

If you have tried to resolve your concern with the health organization and are not satisfied with its response, contact Patient Ombudsman. We’re here to help!


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