Long-term care home complaint process
How to make a complaint about a long-term care home. The ministry will respond quickly to urgent complaints — in some cases, on the same day. For non-urgent complaints, contacting a home directly is often the best and fastest way to address a problem.
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Types of complaints
The way you make your complaint depends on the type of complaint. There are two types:
- urgent complaints –these include cases of harm, neglect or danger to residents
- non-urgent complaints – these include less serious complaints related to diet, activities or care
To report an urgent complaint
Call the Long-term Home Care ACTION Line: toll-free 1-866-434-0144
Hours of operation: 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m., 7 days a week
What information to include
Give as much as information as you can about your concern. This will make it easier for the home or Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to look into your complaint.
- name of the home
- address of the home (including town or city)
- a description of what happened (is the concern an ongoing problem?)
- for a specific event: when and where it happened (e.g., outside or inside the home)
- who was involved
- what you would like the home to do to resolve your complaint
The process for urgent complaints
After you submit a complaint:
- the ministry will take steps to make sure that the home is following Ontario’s laws for long-term care homes
- the home could be inspected, if there’s reason to believe it is breaking these rules
If you give us your name, address and telephone number
- a member of our team will follow up with you to review the complaint, usually within 2 business days
- together you will discuss the next best steps to take
- you will receive a report explaining how the matter was addressed
If you don’t give your name and contact information
The LTC ACTION Line staff will pass your complaint to a ministry inspector for follow-up. The inspector will not be able to contact you later to let you know what happened.
To make a non-urgent complaint
You can make a complaint that is not urgent:
1. Report your concern directly to the home
By law, all long-term care homes in Ontario must have written steps for people to make a complaint.
Homes must post these steps in a place where they are easy to find and easy to see. If you cannot find this information, contact the home’s office staff.
Staff must let you know that the home has received your complaint within 10 business days.
They must call or write to let you know:
- what they are doing to resolve your complaint now
- what they plan to do to resolve your complaint in the future
- when you can expect the complaint to be resolved
If the home believes there is no cause for complaint, they must explain why.
2. Call the ministry
Call the Long-Term Care Homes ACTION Line: toll-free 1-866-434-0144
Hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., 7 days a week
The person who answers your call will:
- take down your information
- ask you some questions
- give the information to an inspector for follow-up
If your complaint is not urgent, you will hear back within 2 business days.
3. Write to the ministry
Send a written letter, by mail, to:
Long-Term Care Inspections Branch
Long-Term Care Homes Division
Central Intake, Assessment and Triage Team (CIATT)
119 King St. W, 11th Floor
Hamilton ON L8P 4Y7
You will receive a reply to let you know that the ministry has received your complaint. The director will pass your complaint on to an inspector who will look into the matter.
4. Contact the Patient Ombudsman
If you have already contacted the home directly and the Long-Term Care ACTION Line (toll-free at 1-866-434-0144) and were not able to reach a satisfactory resolution, you can contact the Patient Ombudsman:
Patient Ombudsman is an office of last resort. We can look into your complaint after you have already tried to resolve your concerns with the long-term care home.
English and French service is available. We are also happy to arrange a language interpretation service if you speak another language.