How do I make a complaint?
There are a number of ways to make a complaint to the Ombudsperson's office:
You can use our Online Complaint Form.
You can call us toll-free at 1-800-567-3247 from anywhere in BC, or 250-387-5855 if you are calling from the Capital Region. Our phone lines are answered between 8:30am and 4:30pm, Monday to Friday.
You can come in person to our Victoria office.
When should a complaint be brought to the Ombudsperson's office?
Whenever possible, you should first try to resolve your complaint directly with the public agency involved before coming to the Ombudsperson's office. Many public agencies have an internal process for handling complaints. Check to see if the agency you're dealing with is listed in the ‘Other Options’ section of this website. If you've tried resolving the problem and still feel that you've been treated unfairly, the Ombudsperson's office may be able to help.
What should I include in my complaint?
The information you should include with your complaint will vary, depending on your situation. In general, though, it's good to have the following:
- get the names of the people you are dealing with
- keep track of their responses, including any relevant dates
- keep copies of all relevant papers and letters
- ask how and why the decision was made
- find out if there is a review or appeal process, and pursue that process where possible (this office may be unable to investigate a complaint where a right of appeal exists)
When preparing to make a complaint, it may be useful to take a few moments to focus on and summarize the decision or action you want to complain about. Tell us what result or outcome you are seeking. Be as specific as you can about which public agencies are involved and the names and phone numbers of persons you have dealt with. Include any relevant case or file numbers. It is often helpful if you attach copies of relevant documents, including copies of letters you’ve sent and received from the public agency.
You will also find it helpful to read about the kinds of complaints the Ombudsperson's office can investigate. If we can't deal with your particular complaint, we'll do our best to refer you to someone who can.
- Have the information you will need available. Consider writing down your questions beforehand.
- Keep notes and save all your correspondence. Write down the names, position titles, and phone numbers of the people you are dealing with.
- Ask for a supervisor if you are not getting the information you need.
- If you are still dissatisfied, ask if there is an appeal or complaint resolution procedure available.
- Be persistent, but remain calm and polite.