Starting August 28, a new way for managing complaints in schools will be implemented across Quebec. This new process will be applied uniformly across Quebec and will replace the complaint examination procedures in place.
The National Student Ombudsman, a new independent organization outside the school network, will oversee implementing this new streamlined complaint procedure.
The National Student Ombudsman will conduct an impartial investigation, adhering to established protocols, to safeguard the rights of students and their parents.
The National Student Ombudsman’s mandate encompasses not only preschool, elementary, and secondary education both in the public and private sector, but also home schooling, vocational training, and adult education.
The revised national procedure will comprise a maximum of three steps and will adhere to the time limits specified in the National Student Ombudsman Act, thus improving its accessibility and simplicity.
First step: Establish communication with the individual directly implicated or their immediate superior.
Prior to filing a complaint, the student or parent will initiate contact with the individual in question or their immediate superior. It is recommended to maintain a written record of the complaint from the outset, even though it can be communicated verbally, to facilitate the estimation of the processing duration.
The processing of the complaint must be completed within a period of 10 business days.
Step 2: Speak with the Complaints Officer
If the student or parent is dissatisfied with the outcome of step 1 or if the complaint has not been processed within the time limit specified in the Act, they may contact the individual responsible for handling complaints designated by the school board, or by the private educational institution. This step can be performed verbally. It is recommended that you keep a written record of the actions taken.
The processing of the complaint must be completed within a maximum of 15 business days.
Step 3: involves reaching out to the Regional Student Ombudsman.
If the complaint remains unresolved or exceeds the time limit specified in the Act after Step 2, the Regional Student Ombudsman responsible for the student’s or parent’s region may be contacted. The Regional Student Ombudsman can aid in drafting a written complaint for the student or parent.
The Regional Student Ombudsman must conclude the complaint review and findings within 20 working days. The Regional Student Ombudsman will provide recommendations to the relevant educational institution. The institution will have 10 working days to respond in writing regarding how it will implement these recommendations.
Starting August 28, 2023, individuals will have the ability to report incidents of sexual violence against students enrolled in public or private educational institutions. Reports can be generated by various individuals such as teachers, school professionals, employees, educational institution administrators, students, and parents.
Individuals who have observed an incident of sexual violence and desire to file a complaint may directly approach the Regional Student Ombudsman. The Regional Student Ombudsman will promptly handle these reports. The Regional Student Ombudsman will take all necessary steps to ensure that the confidentiality of identifying information is maintained, except with the consent of the person making the report.