This policy is intended to ensure that complaints received from members of the public about the Canadian Mental Health Association Manitoba and Winnipeg’s (CMHA) services and programs are dealt with promptly, consistently and fairly in accordance with CMHA’s highest standards.
This policy applies to all complaints received from members of the public (including donors, prospective donors, community members, etc.) about CMHA’s operations, which includes the conduct and behaviour of all employees and volunteers.
CMHA will fully, fairly, and transparently deal with complaints received from members of the public regarding its staff, volunteers, or operations in a timely manner.
To launch a formal complaint, the Complainant must submit his/her concerns in writing (letter, fax or e-mail) and identify him or herself. CMHA will not respond to verbal or anonymous complaints. Once a formal complaint is registered, CMHA is committed to handling the complaint promptly, consistently and fairly. The Complainant will be treated with respect and be kept informed of status of the complaint, the steps being followed and expected timelines for resolution.
Upon completion of the investigation, the Complainant will be provided with clear reasons for the decisions relating to the complaint. If the Complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome, he or she may appeal the decision and have the matter escalated to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or the Board of Directors.
To ensure transparency in the way complaints are being handled, CMHA will ensure that this policy is available on our website.
Complaints are defined as an expression of dissatisfaction with regard to a service/program, an action or a decision taken by CMHA, or the way in which CMHA employees or volunteers carry out their duties. Complaints typically arise when a person believes:
- CMHA has failed to do something agreed upon or expected
- A CMHA policy or procedure has not been followed
- An error has been made
- CMHA employees or volunteers acted incorrectly.
A complaint is distinct from an inquiry, feedback, or a suggestion.
Anyone who has a concern is encouraged to talk with the employee at CMHA who is most connected with the situation to resolve it before it becomes a formal complaint. This informal process can be used to resolve many inquiries or matters of simple error that can be corrected to the satisfaction of the person with the concern. Staff should keep Supervisors appraised of complaints as they arise. If the matter is not resolved, the person may make a formal complaint to CMHA.
Step One – Initial Complaint & Investigation
A formal complaint is to be made in writing (by mail, fax or email) to the Senior Director of Operations and Programs providing details of the complaint and contact information of the Complainant. If the complaint concerns the CEO the complaint should be directed to the Chair of the Board.
Upon receiving the complaint, the Senior Director of Operations and Programs will log the complaint in a registry and identify an Investigating Individual to handle the complaint investigation, normally the corresponding service manager or director.
The Senior Director of Operations and Programs will respond to the Complainant within two (2) working days of receiving the complaint to confirm that the complaint has been received, and indicate expectations for how long the investigation will take if it can be reasonably assessed at that point. Once appointed, the Investigating Individual will communicate with the Complainant as necessary.
The Investigating Individual will be accountable to the Senior Director of Operations and Programs for the investigation and timely resolution of the complaint. The target timeframe for concluding a complaint investigation is twenty (20) business days from the receipt of the complaint. If this timeline cannot be met, the Complainant will be informed of the reasons and be given a revised timeframe.
The Investigating Individual will consult with employees to determine the facts. Throughout the process, confidentiality will be maintained as much as possible without impinging on the investigation.
The Investigating Individual should record the following:
- Name and position of the Investigating Individual
- Name and contact information of the Complainant
- Log the written complaint and the date it was received
- Details of the complaint, key steps in the investigation, investigation notes, and other key documents gathered during the investigation
- Other key personnel involved
- The findings, recommended resolution and rationale
The Investigating Individual will report the findings and recommendations to the Senior Director of Operations and Programs in writing. With the Senior Director of Operations and Programs’ consent the Investigating Individual will then communicate the findings and resolution to the Complainant.
Step Two – Appeal to the CEO of CMHA
If the Complainant is not satisfied with the findings or the corrective action, he/she may submit a written appeal to the CEO within ten (10) business days of the receipt of the communication. If the CEO was involved in the complaint or the investigation, the appeal should be made to the Chair of the Board of Directors.
Step Three – Appeal to the Board Chair of CMHA
If the issue cannot be resolved under Step Two, the Complainant may require that the issue be considered by the Board Chair who may:
- Deem the complaint to be frivolous or vexatious or otherwise without merit and inform the complainant that no further action will be taken;
- Elect to bring the matter before the Board with a recommended disposition
The CEO will report to the Board at least annually on the number and type of formal complaints received and the attendant resolution.