Public Complaint Resolution Policy Form

Policy Manual

Policy No. 83-2020

For the Township of North Dundas

Effective Date: Approved by Council October 20, 2020, Resolution #11
Subject: Public Complaint Resolution Policy
Department: All Departments

Purpose:

This policy provides guidelines and standards for the efficient handling and resolution of complaints made by members of the public. This policy, in conjunction with Policy #61-2015 Accessible Formats and Communication Support, will assist the Township in providing excellent service to the public. This policy is based on suggestions from the
Ontario Ombudsman and the Municipality’s Integrity Commissioner with respect to content and process.


Scope:

It is important to note that for the purpose of this policy, a complaint is defined as:

An expression of dissatisfaction related to operations, a municipal service or program, facility, or staff member, where a citizen believes that the municipality has not provided a service experience to the customer’s satisfaction at the point of service delivery and a satisfactory response or resolution has not been achieved. The issue remains unresolved. 
Informal Complaints:

Informal complaints may be made in person, by phone, letter, email or fax. Informal complaints are logged into the Township’s electronic tracking system (Access E-11) for distribution to the appropriate Department Head for action and resolution. It is the responsibility of respective Department Head or their designate to communicate with the
complainant to attempt to resolve issues or concerns. Early and informal resolution of complaints is encouraged.

Formal Complaints:

If after communicating with the respective Department Head or their designate, the complainant feels that their concern has not been satisfactorily resolved, complainants may lodge a formal complaint with the Township by completing Schedule “A” of this policy. This form must be completed in full and submitted to the Clerk. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted.

This policy does NOT address:
  1. By-law concerns/complaints. These must be made directly to the Planning, Building and Enforcement Department on the appropriate form.
     
  2. Complaints and alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct or the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act by Council Members or Local Board Members. These complaints must be completed on the appropriate form, available on the Township’s website, and must be filed with the Clerk. The Clerk will forward the matter to the Integrity Commissioner who will assess the complaint in accordance with the Township’s current Integrity Commissioner Agreement.
     
  3. Complaints about closed meetings. These must be completed on the appropriate form available on the Township’s website and filed with the Clerk. The Clerk will forward the matter to the Municipal Investigator, who will assess the matter in accordance with the Township’s current Municipal Investigator Agreement.
     
  4. Complaints concerning contractors, or volunteers working on behalf of the Township. These must be addressed by the service provider.
     
  5. Matters that are handled by tribunals, courts of law, quasi-judicial boards, etc. or matters that are minor, frivolous or vexatious (as determined by the Clerk or designate), or that occurred more than two years ago.
For example, complaints regarding garbage pick-up, or the condition of a street surface, would only qualify as formal complaints if the matter cannot be resolved informally (i.e. contacting the municipal office with concerns and giving the appropriate department an opportunity to resolve the issue). By-law or parking infractions do not qualify as a complaint under this policy. 
In this Policy:
  • CAO means the Chief Administrative Officer of the Township of North Dundas.
  • Clerk means the Clerk or Designate of the Township of North Dundas.
  • Complainant means the individual filing the complaint with the Township.
  • Council means the Council of the Township of North Dundas.
  • Designate means a person who has received delegated authority.
  • Director means a Director/Department Head of the Township of North Dundas.
  • Employee means an employee of the Township of North Dundas.
  • Township means the Corporation of the Township of North Dundas.
  • Vexatious & Frivolous means it is pursued in a manner that is reasonably perceived to be malicious, intended to embarrass or harass the recipient, or intended to be a nuisance.
The Clerk will receive all formal complaints that have been submitted on the complaint form “Schedule A” and may delegate the authority to investigate a complaint to his/her or his designate. Any individual named in a complaint cannot investigate that complaint. 

Department Heads:
If a complaint is made against a Department Head or the Clerk, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) shall conduct the investigation and respond accordingly.

CAO:
If a complaint is made against the Chief Administrative Officer, the Mayor shall consult with Council and may designate a solicitor, or other qualified individual at arm’s length from the municipality, to investigate.
The Clerk shall acknowledge in writing that a formal complaint has been received within ten (10) business days of receipt of the complaint. The Clerk shall give each record a number and maintain a file of the complaint in compliance with the Township’s Records Retention Policy. If a municipal employee was the subject of the complaint, a copy of the complaint shall be retained in their personnel file. 
Within thirty (30) calendar days of date of the acknowledgement letter, the Clerk shall ensure a response in writing to the complainant following consultation with the appropriate Department Head.

The response shall include:
  • Whether the complaint was substantiated;
  • If the complaint is not substantiated, provide reason(s) for the decision;
  • Any actions the municipality has or will take as a result of the complaint; and
  • A request for feedback on the complaint process

If the Clerk or his/her designate is unable to provide a response within thirty (30) calendar days, they shall notify the complainant of the delay and provide an estimate of when a response will be provided.

Decisions made by the Clerk in consultation with the Department Head, to delay the response, may not be appealed to Municipal Council.
Once the municipality has communicated the decision to the complainant; there is no appeal process at the municipal level. Unresolved issues can be directed by way of a delegation to Council or addressed at the Provincial level through the Ontario Ombudsman.
Mailing address:
Please include relevant date(s), time(s), location, and background information, including municipal employees you have contacted regarding this matter. Additional information, such as relevant photographs, can be attached to this form. Please attach an additional sheet if required.
Maximum 3 files.
10 MB limit.
Allowed types: pdf, doc, docx.
Acknowledgement Letter:
Additional Correspondence:
All written responses must be filled with the Clerk to form an official complaint record with the Township.
Final Response Letter:
Thank you for taking the time to explain your concern. We will provide a response to your concern within thirty (30) business days of receiving your complaint. If you have any questions about the process, please contact the Clerk at 613-774-2105