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The Québec Ombudsman's Info-nuggets

Two short articles a month are posted here on different aspects of the Québec Ombudsman, such as its role, how it can help you, recent interventions, the rights of citizens in their dealings with public services, and answers to your questions.


You’re entitled to clear information

Can the Québec Ombudsman help you if you want to complain about services in your municipality?


Maternity leave and unexpected debt!

The QPIP has overpaid you, you point out the mistake, and you’re told that you were entitled to that amount. Should you rest easy?


In which circumstances are snowmobilers covered by SAAQ?

You have a snowmobile and you have a question as the snow starts to fly—am I covered by SAAQ’s public plan?


Choosing a private seniors’ residence?

Here’s a 15-question checklist to help you find one.


The Québec Ombudsman instead of the court

The following story shows that sometimes the Québec Ombudsman can save you costly legal fees.


The odometer reading off by 55,000 km

Keep your eyes peeled when you read a service receipt from SAAQ.


No service at this number…

Has it ever happened that a government services agent has been somewhat short with you on the phone?


A complaint against a community organization?

3,500: the approximate number of community organizations regarding which the Québec Ombudsman may process complaints and reports.


Home support: for whom?

The Québec Ombudsman has to regularly explain to the people who come to it for assistance that certain services have limits, and rightly so.


IVAC’s website: in need of updating

The Québec Ombudsman reminded IVAC of its duty to provide citizens with complete, legible and regularly updated information.


Can the Québec Ombudsman handle medical complaints?

Your complaint concerns a hospital pharmacist, dentist or physician. Can the Québec Ombudsman help you?


Reimbursement of funeral expenses in the case of violent death: a saga

A woman died under violent circumstances. Her half-brother planned on being reimbursed for the funeral expenses under a government program. Simple? Not!!


Which severity rating from SAAQ?

By digging deeper—well beyond the basics for the complaint at hand—the Québec Ombudsman managed to get $30,000 in compensation for a road accident victim.


When a public agency relies on hearsay...

A man learned that the Régie du bâtiment had refused to renew his contractor’s licence based on something an unidentified someone had said…


Health fees in the private sector: no reimbursement from the public system without prior agreement

The public system does not reimburse users who turn to private health services unless a prior reimbursement agreement exists.


New parents, make life easier!

A Directeur de l’état civil form intended to make the lives of new parents easier had the opposite effect…


Wherever you are…

The Québec Ombudsman can receive complaints about Québec public services from persons living in Québec or anywhere else in the world...


Best wishes for a speedy retirement!

The Québec Ombudsman intervened further to a complaint by an independent financial security advisor against the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF). His problem—forms transmitted to the AMF that went missing and worrisome time...


Marathon for a parking sticker

Parking sticker application form sent to SAAQ. Two different types of handwriting, two colours of ink on the document. That's all it took to make things complicated...


Operation Rescue

After an accident that left a man seriously disabled, the Québec Ombudsman investigates off-road emergency intervention services.


Ambulance transportation: how much does it cost ?

Ambulance transportation is free, isn't it? No, but there are exceptions. Here is a short guide to the fees most people pay when it's time to settle the bill.


In Writing Please

Waiting for a CARRA, Revenu Québec, or CSST decision on money owed you? Make sure you get an answer in writing.


Earthworms: so much more than fish bait!

This is the story of a worm farmer who wants to be recognized as a farm producer.


Under the cloak...

Recently, a coat manufacturer was falsely found to have been associated with a tax fraud and received a proposed assessment of nearly $450,000 from Revenu Quebec, without being able to present its point of view. It turned to the...


Aftermath of the student strike

In 2012, the context of the student strikes greatly affected the operations of certain Québec CEGEPs and universities. A complaint to the Quebec Ombudsman illustrates one of the many puzzles.


Must the Québec Ombudsman announce its visits?

Are the institutions targeted for an investigation by the Québec Ombudsman warned in advance of visits by its representatives?


Parental insurance and the misadventures of a young father

The story begins with an application for paternity benefits. The catch is that the young father cannot provide one of the documents required...


Reimbursements cut by the CSST

The Québec Ombudsman has received several complaints from workers whose reimbursement claims have been unfairly reduced by the CSST.


Mistaken identity

The SAAQ informed a driver that her licence would be suspended. The decision was related to a traffic accident... in which she had never been involved!


Régie des rentes: how is the shared custody time calculated ?

Is a child's time in the custody of each parent calculated in nights, days or hours? Question asked to the Régie des rentes.


Telephone shambles

"Please choose from the following options." Sound familiar?


Double the omissions

Is your business entitled to cancellation of a penalty by the Registraire des entreprises?


Drug insurance: Do you know your obligations?

If you are eligible for a group drug insurance program, you must join it. It is mandatory. If you don't, you may find yourself in a difficult situation.


Asbestos in the walls?

People who have a dispute with a construction contractor can turn to the Régie du bâtiment for help. But there is little point unless the Régie acts on their request…


Deeply uneasy...

A simple matter of modesty…An elderly lady who was hospitalized objected to having a male orderly help her with her intimate daily care.


The watch is on for a gold watch

What’s the connection between the Québec Ombudsman and a gold watch that went missing at a hospital?


Dental surgery: The bill is cancelled…

Generally speaking, dental work is not covered by the public hospital insurance plan. But, as we know, there are often exceptions to the rule…


With or without gloves?

A worker applied to the CSST for an income replacement indemnity. Four months later…, nothing!


Excellent news for you!

Recently the Québec Ombudsman had the pleasure of telling a road accident victim that the SAAQ owed him more than $25,000.


A hot-button item: Corruption and public contracts

Recently, the Québec Ombudsman turned its attention to integrity in the awarding of public contracts.


Who’s at fault?

A public service makes a mistake that’s not your fault, that you couldn’t have suspected and... that you foot the bill for! What do you do?


A will? What for?

Is it legit to require a will when someone applies for last-resort financial assistance?


Illegal daycare operations: Is recess over?

One child care service has too many children, and another operates under the table. What next? The Québec Ombudsman investigates.


Thank you for following up…

The Québec Ombudsman conducts investigations. But what are its powers?


As far away as Nunavik…

Kuujjuarpik and Montréal are some 1,800 kilometres apart. A significant fact when you consider the report received by the Québec Ombudsman.


Is the SAAQ too strict?

Complaints received by the Québec Ombudsman made the SAAQ aware that sometimes its administrative requirements go too far.


Special Attention to Seniors

To unclog its emergency services, a hospital penalizes other and especially vulnerable users.


Fully confidential

The Québec Ombudsman is formally committed to ensuring that any complaint it receives is kept fully confidential. This sounds good, but what does it really mean?


The Age of Web Accessibility

In the age of web accessibility, the Québec Ombudsman’s website is now more user-friendly than ever for people with disabilities.


Resources for men in distress: how far have we come?

How far have we come with providing assistance for men who are going through crisis?


The Ping-pong Effect

When dealing with more than one public service at a time, you may find yourself directed to someone who then redirects you back to where you came from.


Family portrait: the Régie des rentes wants an accurate picture

A father learns that he must reimburse the Régie des rentes for overpayment of child assistance benefits. What happened?


A subsidy: Now you see it, now you don’t!

A man complained to the Québec on behalf of his elderly mother. He says that the CSSS didn’t keep its word.


Access: The operative word

The complaints that the Québec Ombudsman receives concerning access to home support services is clearly on the rise.


The Québec Ombudsman provides independent recourse. What does that mean ?

The Québec Ombudsman provides independent recourse. What does that mean? First of all, there’s the name of the organization: Protecteur du citoyen. In French, it literally means "citizens’ protector." Does this imply that it...


Anything to Declare?

If you are dealing with a Québec government ministry or agency, it may be helpful to start by reading its Declaration of Services to the Public.


The Québec Ombudsman in a Few Figures

Numbers may not tell the whole story, but they do provide a quick overview of the Québec Ombudsman’s activities.


Odd Indeed!

A few months ago, a building manager brought a strange situation at Régie de logement to the Québec Ombudsman’s attention.


A Cracking Good Read!

The Québec Ombudsman’s Annual Report has just been released. What’s in it for you?


Better Housing Conditions for Seniors

Better housing conditions for seniors: the Québec Ombudsman speaks out on the certification of seniors’ residences.


Tales of Dollars and Sense

People regularly recover large sums of money thanks to the Québec Ombudsman’s work with public institutions.


Warning: Allergen in Hiding…

The Québec Ombudsman pointed out to MAPAQ that it had failed in its duty to inform consumers.


Investigating Hospital Room Charges

Thousands of dollars in extra billings disputed.


Loto-Québec, Online Gambling, and the Québec Ombudsman

Online gambling is an insidious but very real threat to potential problem gamblers.


Does This Apply to You?

Revenu Québec can’t tax the same income twice. Tax authorities needed a reminder of this from the Québec Ombudsman.


Green File

An area protected for its natural riches remained open to oil and gas exploration. Was this normal?


Humanitarian Grounds

Poverty: Sometimes the Québec Ombudsman asks a ministry to make an exception for an extreme case.


International Adoption: Supporting Parents Better

International adoption applicants often feel like they are navigating a maze, with surprises at every turn. The Québec Ombudsman investigated.


More and More Clicks!

Public services are offering more and more electronic transaction options to users. But is there a downside?


Studying Abroad?

The Québec Ombudsman took action over the loans and scholarships of a Québec student studying at an American institution.


Health Insurance: Covered or Not

With new fees being charged to patients for previously covered services, it can be a challenge to know what’s what!


End-of-Life Palliative Care: Support and Sensitivity

End-of-life palliative care is a regular cause of complaints to the Québec Ombudsman


Complaints from citizens with disabilities

The majority of complaints received by the Québec Ombudsman from people with disabilities are related to health and social services. Most of the time, the complainants are dissatisfied with:

certain residential resources;the...


Your call is important!

Is it unreasonable to expect that the hold time for a phone call to a public service shouldn’t be longer than one minute?


What services should detainees with a mental health problem receive?

The Québec Ombudsman is also Québec’s correctional ombudsman


Heritage and renovation: What’s the logic behind the rules?

A person living in a historic district wanted to do some construction work. What an undertaking!


The Québec Ombudsman intervenes on the question of the gradual erosion of free healthcare services

"I am worried about the gradual erosion of the basket of publicly insured services," said the Ombudsperson at the public hearings on Bill 27.


The Québec Ombudsman can help companies as well

In the following examples, a company and a municipality contested decisions by Revenu Québec (recently renamed “Agence du revenu du Québec”).


The Québec Ombudsman handles complaints about the Agence du revenu du Québec

On April 1, 2011, Revenu Québec became the Agence du revenu du Québec.


The Québec Ombudsman investigates ambulance fees

The Québec Ombudsman investigates ambulance fees


Results of Québec Ombudsman investigations available online

Read about “real cases.” New accounts of complaints are posted on the website every Monday.


The Québec Ombudsman investigates wait times

One third of the complaints the Québec Ombudsman processes involving government departments and agencies have to do with wait times. Here are some examples.


Health and social services: You can file a complaint on behalf of someone else

Users themselves can file a complaint with the Québec Ombudsman about the health and social services they receive – or don’t receive – or, in certain cases, they can have someone else file the complaint on their behalf. That...


Raymonde Saint-Germain is the Ombudsperson

Raymonde Saint-Germain, a former career civil servant, has been the go-between for citizens and the government for the last five years.


Have you seen a disturbing situation? Report it.

You visit a person in a nursing home and it’s clear that she’s being neglected by the staff.


Have you had a bad experience with a health institution?

If your complaint concerns the health and social services network, the Québec Ombudsman will intervene as a second recourse. But what does that mean?


Make sure you’ve come to the right place

Do you want to file a complaint with the Québec Ombudsman? First make sure that you’re where you should be for your particular problem.


What if it were you?

There are various reasons why you might file a complaint with the Québec Ombudsman. Here are a few.


Can the Québec Ombudsman help you?

Having trouble dealing with a Québec government department or agency or a health and social services institution?