Q: What happens when I send in the complaint form?
Upon receipt of your Complaint Submission Form, which includes a Consent and Confidentiality Agreement, and supporting documents, ADR Chambers Ombuds Office will conduct an initial review to determine if your complaint falls within its mandate and whether a full investigation is warranted. If it is not within ADR Chambers Ombuds Office’s mandate to investigate, a full investigation will not be undertaken. If your file is assigned for investigation, you will be notified and subsequently contacted by the investigator.
Q: Is the Investigation private?
Yes, the investigation process is private and confidential, and the information you provide will not be disclosed publicly (subject to specific exceptions set out in the Consent and Confidentiality Agreement). Each complainant and the Region, City or Town concerned will have the opportunity to disclose information and documents to the investigator, which will be confidential as between all involved. Any information provided may be disclosed to the other party to the complaint, unless we are advised not to. However, if ADR Chambers Ombuds Office is advised that certain information may not be disclosed to the other party, that information cannot be considered by the investigator in reaching his/her recommendation.
Q: How is the Investigation handled?
- ADR Chambers Ombuds Office strives to ensure that all investigations are conducted in an objective, impartial, fair, and thorough manners, while respecting the rights and time constraints of the individuals involved.
- The investigator will be familiar with, and honour, privacy rules and legislation;
- The investigator will be guided by rules of procedural fairness;
- The investigator may look for opportunities to promote a mutually-agreeable resolution of the complaint;
- The investigator will identify the people to be interviewed, and determine what documentary information needs to be supplied to the investigator;
- The investigator will obtain the necessary consents to conduct the investigation;
- The investigator will review documents and contact the parties by phone (unless a better method is suggested) to get a preliminary understanding of the complaint;
- The investigator will organize documents and other evidence in a methodical manner;
- Interviews are conducted as soon as possible after it is determined that an investigation is necessary;
- Interviews may be conducted by phone, email or in person, as appropriate;
- People being interviewed will be provided with a description of the complaints process with sufficient detail to make the interview meaningful and its purposes clear;
- Confidentiality issues are discussed with interviewees to determine what information may or may not be disclosed to others;
- The investigator will attempt to gather information about the background leading to the complaint, the actions that occurred that led to the complaint, and any efforts to remedy the conduct complained of;
- The investigator will use a combination of questioning techniques to obtain information;
- The investigator will assess the credibility of the people being interviewed. Where there is contradictory evidence, this will be noted in the report and the investigator will fill in gaps to the extent possible;
- Where there is conflicting evidence, the investigator’s report will contain the investigator’s opinion of the facts, based on the evidence obtained and an assessment of the credibility of the interviewees;
- The investigator will solicit expert or technical advice, where appropriate;
- The investigation report will set out the allegations, the relevant evidence, and an analysis of the evidence;
- The investigator’s report will also contain conclusions, either rejecting the complaint on its merits or making specific recommendations;
- Before producing a final report, a draft report will be provided to both parties to allow them to identify any inaccuracies in the report and respond if they so choose;