Complaints Policy


Every person who obtains YouthLink services has the right to express concerns about the services provided and is entitled to be informed of the process through which they can respectfully and confidentially express their concerns. YouthLink is committed to providing a high quality of customer service. YouthLink staff will ensure that information concerning client rights as well as client complaint procedure forms are given to each new registered client as part of the consent to receive services or intake process and that client complaint procedure and documentation forms are placed in locations easily visible and accessible to all clients.


YouthLink’s aim is to acknowledge the right of clients and stakeholders to complain and to resolve complaints as satisfactorily and speedily as possible and as close as possible to the staffing level at which the complaint occurred.

3.0 SCOPE:

A complaint is a statement, verbally or in writing, expressing dissatisfaction with an agency service, provision of service, staff conduct or any other aspect of the agency’s performance that appears to violate ethical, legal, professional conduct or human rights standards or contravenes any aspect of agency policy or procedures.

A complaint may be communicated to any staff or manager or any other person in authority at YouthLink. Directors, Managers and other designated staff are responsible for responding appropriately to complaints and managing the resolution process in keeping with the agency’s complaint handling principles, relevant policies and procedures. They are also responsible for ensuring that staff involved in the complaint resolution process understand their rights and responsibilities in relation to this policy.

All staff have a responsibility to contribute to the achievement of a productive, safe and equitable work environment. In particular, staff have a responsibility to participate in the complaint resolution process in good faith, cooperate fully in any investigation process and assist the agency in reaching a satisfactory resolution wherever possible. Staff must inform youth that if they feel their rights have been violated they can contact the Ontario Ombudsman’s Children and Youth Unit.


It is the responsibility of any staff or other representative of the agency to follow the guidelines and procedures if a complaint is brought to their attention.


When a complaint is received, whether it is made verbally or in writing, it must be forwarded, accompanied by a completed Client Complaint Investigation Form (CCIF), to the Program Manager and their Director. The Director is responsible for notifying the CEO about the complaint and its resolution.


Clients, parents or person representing the child who are receiving services at YouthLink have access to a complaint process if they have a concern about any aspect of agency services. Their complaint can be made verbally or in writing, preferably on an agency Client Complaint Form, and given to a staff or manager, emailed to or mailed to a YouthLink office.  Clients, parents or persons representing the child have the right at any time to direct their complaint to any management level of the agency or to external advocates. At any time in the process, clients and their parents have an opportunity to be heard and represented when decisions affecting their interests are made and to be heard when they have concerns about the services they are receiving.

When a youth is admitted to the Residence, staff must meet with the young person and review their rights and responsibilities as well as the internal complaints procedure.  The parent or guardian must be informed of the complaint procedure as soon as possible but at most within seven days of admission.

  1. Client complaint forms, which include details on how to complain and a full list of names and contact information for all agency managers, are to be posted in a visible and accessible location in all service units.
  2. All complaints, whether made verbally or in writing to a front-line staff, must be reported as soon as practical to their immediate supervisor. The supervisor must inform their Director, or designate, of all complaints within one business day of the receipt of the complaint.
  3. Verbal complaints which do not violate ethical, legal, professional conduct or human rights standards or contravene any aspect of agency policy or procedures and which have been resolved by the front-line staff to the satisfaction of the complainant, do not need to be documented on the Client Complaint Investigation Form (CCIF).
  4. All other complaints must be documented through the CCIF process. Verbal complaints which will be followed up through the CCIF process and which the client does not wish to document in writing, must be documented on the CCIF by the staff in receipt of the complaint, and checked with the client, if feasible, for accuracy.
  5. The Director or designate is responsible for deciding whether the complaint can be considered resolved or whether it must be documented and dealt with through the CCIF process. Generally speaking, complaints concerning issues that have actual or potential impact on the physical or mental health or well-being of past or present clients, staff or the community should be dealt with through the CCIF process.
  6. The Director, or designate, is also responsible for deciding who will be in charge of further investigation and resolution of the complaint, including completion of the CCIF.
  7. The Director, or designate, must also inform the CEO of complaints being dealt with through the CCIF process.
  8. The CCIF process requires that the manager with responsibility for resolving the complaint:
    • a) complete the CCIF document throughout the complaint investigation process, forwarding all updates to their Director;
    • b) keep their Director aware of the progress of the complaint investigation on no less than a weekly basis;
    • d) acknowledge the complaint by phone, email or letter, as appropriate, within 24 hours of the original receipt of the complaint;
    • e) within 24 hours of receiving a complaint, determine what, if any, immediate action can be taken to respond to the complaint and what, if any, supports the client or the person making the complaint may require in order to participate in the complaint review process;
    • f) until the results of a complaint review have been completed, provide an update to the complainant on the status of the review, if requested by the complainant, and ensure that they receive an update on the review no later than 30 days after the complaint is received and subsequently at intervals of no more than 30 days;
    • e) resolve the complaint as expeditiously as possible, preferably within 5 working days;
    • f) within one week of complaint resolution, forward the completed CCIF document to the Director and CEO.
    • g)If any service limitations have been imposed on persons visiting the young person in residential care, the manager must provide an update either verbally or in writing which includes the time frame and limitations that have been imposed.
    • h) if the above person wishes to appeal the decision, the person must follow the agency complaint procedure listed above.
  9. Any complaint that may put the agency at significant risk must be reported to the Board as soon as the risk is assessed and confirmed by the CEO.

As a matter of course, the person dealing with the complainant must attempt to engage them in a problem-solving process working towards a satisfactory resolution of the complaint. In cases where the complainant is not satisfied with the attempted resolution of their complaint, the CCIF must be completed and forwarded to the management level above and the CEO must be informed. Cases which cannot be resolved by the CEO should be discussed with the Board President. The complainant should be informed that they can contact the Board president or the Office of the Ombudsman if they are dissatisfied with the CEO’s response.

Clients of the Warden Youth Shelter and Transitional Housing Program can also contact the City of Toronto Shelter Support and Housing Administration department if they remain dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint.

Clients of the Treatment Residence can also contact the Area Manager of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services if they remain dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint.

7.0 No exceptions:  There are no exceptions to the policy without the approval of the CEO.