Types of complaints

The way you make your complaint depends on the type of complaint. There are two types:

  1. urgent complaints – these include cases of harm, neglect or danger to residents
  2. non-urgent complaints – these include less serious complaints related to diet, activities or care

Report an urgent complaint

Call the Long-Term Care Family Support and Action Line: toll-free 1-866-434-0144

Hours of operation: 8:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m., 7 days a week

What information to include

Give as much information as you can about your concern. This will make it easier for the home or Ministry of Long-Term Care to look into your complaint.

Please include:

  • 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 (for example, 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 two business days
  • together you will discuss your concerns and determine if an inspection is required
  • if an inspection is completed the inspector will contact you about the report, explaining how the matter was addressed and how the report will be made publicly available

If you don’t give your name and contact information

The LTC Family Support and 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 inform you of what happened.

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 ten  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 Family Support and 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 two business days.

3. Write to the ministry

Send a written letter, by mail, to:

Long-Term Care Inspections Branch
Long-Term Care Operations Division
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 Family Support and Action Line (toll-free at 1-866-434-0144) and were not able to reach a satisfactory resolution, you can contact the Patient Ombudsman:

The Patient Ombudsman strives to achieve a level of fairness in the resolution process for everyone involved as they review complaints.

English and French service is available. We are also happy to arrange a language interpretation service if you speak another language.

Learn more about the Patient Ombudsman.