Download the full Complaints Policy & Complaints Form

Definition: A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about the service, actions, or lack of action by CHHA-NL as an organization or a staff member or volunteer acting on behalf of CHHA-NL. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • perceived failure to do something agreed upon;
  • failure to observe policy or procedures;
  • error made by a staff member/volunteer; or
  • unfair or discourteous actions/statements by staff member/volunteer;


Anyone personally affected can complain and their complaint will be reviewed in accordance with these procedures:

1.         Complaint Receipt and Handling

A complaint may be received verbally (by phone or in person) or in writing (by mail, fax, email). An employee or volunteer who receives a complaint should first determine the proper person to handle it. This will generally be the person who has the primary relationship with the complainant or has the specific knowledge that is needed to resolve the problem. It is the responsibility of the person who receives the complaint to either resolve it or transfer it to another person who can resolve it. If the complaint is transferred, the recipient must acknowledge to the transferor that he/she has received it and will act on it.

The person who initially receives the complaint should acknowledge to the complainant that the complaint has been received and will be acted on either by him/herself or another employee. If a timeframe for action can be determined, that should be included in the acknowledgement. Basic contact information including name, phone number and email address should immediately be recorded on the Complaint Form.

2.         Resolving the Complaint

Every effort should be made to resolve complaints received in a timely fashion. When receiving a verbal complaint, staff should listen and seek to understand the complaint, and may attempt to resolve it immediately. Complaints received in writing should be acknowledged within two business days and every attempt should attempt to resolve the matter within 10 business days.

Where a complaint cannot be easily resolved, it should be transferred to the Director of the relevant department. If the Director cannot resolve the complaint, it will be translated to the Executive Director. If the complaint is about the Executive Director, it will be transferred to the President of the association. If the complaint is about the President, it will be handled by the CHHA-NL Board of Directors with the Vice-President serving as temporary Chair.  Complainants should be kept informed of the status of their complaint. Every attempt should be made to resolve transferred complaints within an additional 10 business days so that all complaints are resolved within a month of having been received.

3.         Complaint Resolution & Appeal

When a proposed resolution isn’t satisfactory to the complainant or cannot be executive for whatever reason, the complainant has the right to appeal. The appeal must be made to the President, or in the case of the President being the complainant, to the CHHA-NL Board of Directors via the Vice-President. The appeal must be  received in writing (regular or electronic format) within ten business days of the complainant having received the proposed solution. The appeal must explain why the proposed resolution is unsatisfactory to the complainant, as well as a full description of the resolution being sought.

The President or the Board of Directors via the Vice-President may conduct interviews with all parties involved in the dispute, collect any or all documents collected or deemed pertinent to the complaint, and consult with outside legal or other counsel that may be helpful to resolving the dispute. A formal (written) response will be made on the appeal within twenty business days of it being received, and it will be sent by registered mail to the complainant and the person or persons who are the subject of the complaint and appeal.

Where the proposed solution to the appeal is acceptable to the complainant, and all parties involved in the dispute (complainant, subject of complaint, person handling appeal), they will sign an agreement acknowledging same. This document will be retained by the association’s legal counsel and a copy kept on file at the association’s office. Where the proposed solution to the appeal is not acceptable to the complainant, or is acceptable to the complainant, but is not acceptable to the subject of the complaint, then the matter will be considered to have reached an impasse and cannot be resolved internally to the association. If this situation arises, the complainant, the subject of the complaint, or both, will be advised to seek relief through outside agencies or legal counsel or both, especially if the subject of the complaint is in relation to any provincial, or federal statues, or other regulations.

4.         Documenting the Complaint

It is necessary to keep a record of all complaints, especially those that cannot be resolved immediately or on the same day it is received. Information about such complaints must be recorded on the complaints tracking sheet. Information recorded on the worksheet will include: the subject of the complaint, a description of the complaint, who handled it, what was done to resolve the complaint, a description of the resolution, and whether the proposed resolution was accepted or not. In the event that the proposed resolution wasn’t accepted, then the complainant must be advised of the complaints process and provided with a complaints form. This must also be recorded and acknowledged with a signature by the complainant and the person handling the initial complaint.

A summary of the complaints received including number, type, the proposed resolution and outcomes for each complaint will be reported annually to the CHHA-NL Board of Directors annually.

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