Participant Rights, Complaints / Grievances & Resolution Procedures

Participant Rights | Participant Allegations Against Staff | Participant Grievance or Complaints | Public Complaints

Services will be delivered in a manner which respects participant rights, and KCR employees are responsible to ensure the protection of those rights. Complaints, concerns, or grievances will be dealt with in an open, courteous, and efficient manner. The complaint process is an integral part of the overall quality assurance program. The complaint process must be accountable, handled with administrative fairness and due process and openness to review practices and decisions. Those with complaints should be assisted in the process of seeking redress. Staff, participants, and members of the public should be encouraged to seek resolution to their concerns through the following procedures.

 

Participant Rights

While participating in our services, you have the right to:

  • Choose to participate in our services and be given the opportunity to agree to or refuse any aspect of the services provided.
  • Be treated with dignity and respect, including freedom from any kind of abuse, exploitation, retaliation, humiliation or neglect.
  • Express opinions, values and beliefs and have them counted in anything that affects you.
  • Participate in and express your religion and spiritual beliefs.
  • Receive encouragement to maintain your cultural heritage.
  • Have all members of your family involved in the services you or receive, where possible.
  • Be involved in the selection of the person or persons who will provide service, where possible.
  • Reasonable privacy and to have personal belongings respected.
  • Have the personal information collected as part of the services we provide kept in a secure and confidential manner and not be shared without your consent unless we are legally required to do so.
  • Access information about the service we have provided in a timely manner in order to facilitate your decision making.
  • Assistance in accessing legal help, self-help and advocacy support services, should you require it.
  • Be told what the expectations are and what will happen if you are unable to meet these expectations.

Should you believe that any of the above rights has been violated or infringed while receiving services, we encourage you to make a formal complaint, utilizing the feedback form found here on this website.

All participants of KCR have the right to quality services that respect their dignity, personal integrity and individuality. Agency staff will be provided with an orientation to participant rights during their probationary employment period, and are responsible to be familiar with agency policies and procedures. Each staff member has the responsibility to ensure, through ethical and professional conduct, that participants’ rights are respected, and that the necessary steps are taken to protect the confidentiality of participants’ files and other participant specific information. Participants have the right, and will be encouraged, to participate in the assessment of their needs and all aspects of planning the services they are to receive/participate in. Participants will be informed as to the limits of the confidentiality of their personal information, and the procedures used in the agency for obtaining their consent for the release of their information. If circumstances arise which will mandate the release of their information without their consent, they will be informed as to the release of the information and why the information was released. Participants will also have informed consent, informed refusal and/or an expression of choice with regard to concurrent services, the composition of the service delivery team and their involvement in research projects. These limits and rights are governed by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, The Personal Information and Protection Act and the MCFD Charter of Privacy.

The services will be provided to participants in a manner that demonstrates respect for their rights, and are responsive to each person’s:

  • age and stage of development
  • gender and associated issues
  • socioeconomic status
  • cultural and ethnic orientation
  • psychological and personal characteristics
  • sexual orientation and associated issues
  • physical needs, limitations, disabilities, and situation
  • spiritual beliefs
  • language

If staff feel they or the program cannot be sensitive to these issues with a specific participant, they should immediately inform their supervisor. All participants have the right to be free from any and all forms of physical abuse (defined as including sexual abuse and all forms of physical punishment and/or assaultive behaviour on the part of staff and/or other participants). All participants also have the right to be free from any and all forms of psychological abuse (defined as including humiliation, retaliation, and exploitative actions on the part of staff and/or other participants). All participants have the right to be free of financial abuse or other exploitation, and should not be subject to association with a situation where a KCR employee enters into a conflict of interest (may be perceived as benefiting financially from a relationship established with a participant through employment with KCR). Staff will immediately inform their direct supervisor regarding any report or perception that a participant’s rights have been compromised (specific procedures and reporting protocols may apply, depending on the nature of the breach of rights).

These rights are also reflected in the Human Resources Policy Manual, regarding prohibited conduct by staff. Failure to respect these rights should be reported and addressed according to KCR’s complaints and grievances resolution procedures, as follows in this section of the manual. Participants will be informed about their rights, responsibilities while in the program, and relevant grievance procedures; by program staff at the time of orientation.

The rights of the persons served will be communicated in a way that is meaningful to the persons served. These rights will be shared with the persons served prior to the beginning of service delivery and/or at the initiation of service delivery. If the persons served are in a program for more than one year their rights will be shared annually.

These rights are available to the persons served at all times for review and clarification in the Participant Handbook.

Staff will ensure that the information provided regarding participant rights has been understood by the participant, and that they are supported in making decisions in respect to their rights. Children and youth will be afforded access to their guardians at any time, and other adults who may advocate for their rights and best interests. The participant has the right to access or referral to any appropriate legal entities for appropriate representation. They will also have access to any self-help or advocacy support services, including the Child and Youth Officer of BC.

 

Allegations Against Staff By Participant

Immediately inform the Executive Director of allegation. Record details of disclosure and related information. See staffing policy.

Allegation of sexual abuse against staff member by participant:

  • Definition of sexual abuse: any sexual touching, sexual intercourse, sexual exploitation of a child and may involve any sexual behaviour directed towards a child, whether there was consent or not.

Allegation of physical abuse against staff member by participant:

  • Definition of physical abuse: any form of assaultive behaviour including hitting, striking, kicking or any other physically invasive action. This would include any form of corporal punishment. This is not meant to include a physical restraint which is performed in accordance with the restraint policy unless during the restraint.

Allegation of unprofessional conduct against staff member by participant:

  • Definition of unprofessional conduct: this would include any immoral or professionally unethical behaviour demonstrated by a staff person in front of a participant. This would include, but is not limited to, verbal/emotional abuse, exploitation, retaliation, humiliation, neglect, substance use, breach of confidentiality, etc.

Procedures for all Allegations against Staff:

If a staff person receives an allegation by a participant against another staff member concerning one of the types of incidents described above, then the staff member should inform the participant that the allegation is being taken seriously. The staff person will attempt to encourage the participant to fully disclose the circumstances and extent of the incident. When possible, the staff person should record the participant’s disclosure in detail. If the participant objects to the staff person taking notes during the disclosure the staff person should comply with that request, but record the disclosure as soon as possible following the interview with the participant. The staff person should then inform the participant that the Executive Director will be notified immediately and a further investigation will follow. If the disclosure involves a criminal act, the participant should be informed that the R.C.M.P. will be notified.

If the accused staff member is on shift or expected on shift, the staff member receiving the disclosure will insure that the alleged victim is not alone with the alleged offender.

The Executive Director shall be informed immediately following the disclosure by the alleged victim. The Executive Director will address the allegation as per staffing policy.

 

Participant Grievance or Complaints

Participants will be informed in a manner that is understandable as they are oriented to the program that they have rights and responsibilities, while participating in the program, including the right to make a formal complaint, file a grievance, or appeal a decision made by the organization’s personnel or team members. The participant will be informed as to how they may make complaints and what procedures would be followed. Action taken by persons served will not result in retaliation or barriers to service and staff could be subject to disciplinary actions should they retaliate in any way against a participant which makes a complaint against them or another staff.

Participant concerns or complaints should be expressed through the following levels of review (unless the complaint is an allegation of abuse or prohibited conduct against a staff member;

  • talking directly to the person they are complaining about;
  • speaking to any staff person;
  • speaking to the senior staff or Program Manager, if applicable
  • requesting a meeting with the Executive Director.

Concerns or complaints may be expressed either verbally or in writing, and participants may appoint an advocate to assist them in expressing the concern.

Where the participant prefers not to put the complaint in writing, the staff should at least write down notes regarding the details of the complaint. The participant should be informed that they also have the right to request that any response to their complaint by staff or agency management be explained in writing. If the participant decides they wish to have the response to their complaint in writing they must notify the Program Manager or Executive Director.

Participants will be encouraged to progress through each step above, as needed to reach resolution to the issue or complaint. It is imperative that complaints be dealt with in a timely manner. A complaint expressed to a staff or senior worker will be dealt with within 24 hours. If the complaint process proceeds to review by the Program Manager or Executive Director, it will be responded to verbally or written if requested within 7 days.

Participants may also contact their Social Worker if they have one, to request their support in resolving the issue. If a child or youth, they will also be informed that they have recourse to contact the provincial Child and Youth Officer to file a complaint and seek the Officer’s support to resolve the issue.

Staff will immediately report any complaints by a participant to the Program Manager, who will report to the Executive Director, whether the concern is resolved or not.

If the complaint has been reported as being already resolved, the Program Manager and Executive Director will review the matter to discern if any further action is needed. Such action may include an interview with or an apology to the participant, an interview with any staff involved, a review of program policy or practices, a review with the agency management team, a review with the program team, etc.

If the complaint has not been resolved, the Program Manager and/or the Executive Director will intervene to seek resolution to the issue.

In seeking to resolve complaints or conflicts, Agency staff will attend to the intent or need of the participant which is at the root of the issue, while recognizing the feelings involved. Complaints will be dealt with to the extent possible within the parameters of program policies and procedures. Program policies relating to the issue will be thoroughly explained, including the intent of the policy or practices involved.

If a program policy or practice conflicts with resolution of the issue, the matter will be considered by the Executive Director and/or the management team. The Executive Director may make an exception to policy to accommodate a special need or circumstance of the participant. Where the policy is inconsistent with the program objectives or the Agency’s principles and philosophy of service delivery, or is deemed to be unfair, the management team will review and revise the policy or practice.

KCR will communicate any complaints made by our participants against our programs and/or staff to the funding body, as well as the outcome of the attempt at resolution of said complaints. The funding body shall also be informed of any failure to resolve complaints, to our participants’ satisfaction and within the Agency’s parameters, through our internal complaints resolution process.

 

Public Complaints

Members of the public and other community professionals will be encouraged to express concerns or complaints regarding program staff, services or participants in a constructive manner.

Agency staff will conduct themselves in a professional manner in responding to community concerns.

Staff receiving a complaint or concern from a member of the community will refer the person to the Program Manager, and/or the Executive Director, depending on who is available at that time, to respond to the concern. If neither is available, the staff person will take the complaint by writing down the particulars and informing the person that the matter will be referred to a management person immediately.

In responding to the complaint, the Program Manager or Executive Director will seek to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the complainant, whenever possible.