Complaints

 

In addition to its general oversight role, DIOC administers a public complaints process through its Complaints Committee.

The Committee reviews complaints regarding death investigations and, if required, provides recommendations to either the Chief Coroner or Chief Forensic Pathologist (or both) with a goal of improving Ontario’s death investigation system.

General Questions Regarding Complaint Files

Q: Who can file a complaint?

A: Any person may make a complaint to the complaints committee about a coroner, a pathologist or a person, other than a coroner or pathologist, with powers or duties under the Coroners Act

Q: What types of complaints does the Complaints Committee have the authority to review?

A: The Complaints Committee is responsible for reviewing complaints regarding a coroner, pathologist or certain other persons referred to under the Coroners Act who have powers or duties for post-mortem examinations. In addition, the Committee reviews complaints directly about the Chief Coroner or Chief Forensic Pathologist.

Q: What types of complaints are out of scope and are not reviewed by the Complaints Committee?

A: Please note that DIOC's Complaints Committee has no authority to review the following types of complaints:

Complaints about a coroner’s decision regarding:

  • whether to hold an inquest,
  • the scheduling of an inquest,
  • the conduct of an inquest, or
  • any decisions made during an inquest.

These matters are under the legislative authority of a coroner under the Coroners Act and the Chief Coroner has the sole authority under the legislation to make a final determination on such matters.

  • Complaints that do not relate to a power or duty of a coroner or pathologist.
  • Complaints that are trivial, vexatious or not made in good faith.

Q: How can I file a complaint?

A: Complaints can be filed in writing (by emailing dioc@ontario.ca) or by telephone (by calling 416-212-8443 or our toll free number 1-855-240-3414). Arrangements to submit your supporting documentation should be made directly with the DIOC Secretariat, but usually involve submission by mail or email. 

Addresses to forward necessary documentation to:

Email: dioc@ontario.ca

Address:
                     25 Grosvenor St.
                     15th Floor
                     Toronto, Ontario
                     M7A1Y6

Q: What documents are typically included in a complaint file?

A: DIOC will accept all documents that a complainant submits for review, but most often the complaint file includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Autopsy reports
  • Correspondence with OCC and OFPS personnel and other relevant correspondence
  • Police reports
  • Coroner’s investigation narratives
  • Death certificates
  • Hospital records/medical records

If you need help obtaining these documents, please contact the Office of the Chief Coroner. If you have any questions about the documents you are submitting, please contact the DIOC Secretariat.

Address:
                     25 Morton Shulman Avenue, 2nd Floor
                     Toronto, ON
                     M3M 0B1

Phone: 416-314-4000 / Toll-free 1-877-991- 9959

Email: occo.inquiries@ontario.ca

Q: When I have compiled all of the necessary supporting documents, what is the next step?

A: Once your complaint package is ready, please send it to the Death Investigation Oversight Council at the following address:

                     25 Grosvenor St.
                     15th Floor
                     Toronto, Ontario
                     M7A1Y6

Your complaint package and supporting materials can also be emailed to dioc@ontario.ca.

Q: Does filing a complaint with the DIOC Complaints Committee interfere with complaints I have filed with other agencies?

A: No, there is no impact on the Complaint Committee’s review of your file. However, as per the Complaints Committee process, if either the Chief Coroner or Chief Forensic Pathologist have not had an opportunity to respond to your complaint, the matter may be referred to them prior to being reviewed by DIOC. 

Q: On average, how long does the review of a complaint file take?

A: The amount of time required to review a complaint varies from case to case. It is based on the receipt of the required information for the complaint alongside various other factors. During the review process the DIOC Secretariat will answer any questions you have about the status of your complaint.

Q: How do I receive updates on the status of my complaint?

A: The DIOC Secretariat will contact you periodically with updates on the status of your complaint. You are also welcome to email the Secretariat at dioc@ontario.ca, or call the Secretariat at 416-212-8443 or our toll free number 1-855-240-3414 if you have any questions or concerns about your file.

General Questions Regarding the Complaints Committee

Q: When was the Death Investigation Oversight Council (DIOC) Complaints Committee established?

A: DIOC was formed in December 2010, and the Complaints Committee began reviewing complaints in July 2011.

Q: What is the role of the DIOC Complaints Committee?

A: The purpose of the Complaints Committee is to consider complaints with a goal of helping improve Ontario’s death investigation system. In reviewing a complaint, the Committee considers the policies followed and the procedures undertaken during the course of a death investigation and, if necessary, makes recommendations to improve the death investigation system.

Q: Who are the members of the DIOC Complaints Committee?

A: The Committee is made up of seven members of DIOC and is supported by the DIOC Secretariat. 

Q: What types of complaints does the Complaints Committee review?

A: The Complaints Committee is responsible for reviewing complaints regarding a coroner, pathologist or certain other persons referred to under the Coroners Act who have powers or duties for post-mortem examinations. In addition, the Committee reviews complaints directly about the Chief Coroner or Chief Forensic Pathologist.

Q: What will happen to my complaint once it is received?

A: If your complaint specifically concerns the Chief Coroner or Chief Forensic Pathologist, DIOC's Complaints Committee will consider it directly.

The Committee must first refer complaints about a coroner to the Chief Coroner or a pathologist to the Chief Forensic Pathologist for an initial review, and they are required to share the results of that initial review with you. If you are unsatisfied with the results of that review, you should notify DIOC's Complaints Committee in writing, and the Committee will consider your complaint at that time.

In addition to reviewing your complaint, the Complaints Committee may decide to refer it to another appropriate body (such as the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario), depending on the nature of the complaint. If that is the case, you will be notified.

Q: How does the Committee review a complaint file?

A: In reviewing a complaint, the Committee considers the written complaint and all relevant documentation and submissions. The Committee does not conduct hearings, but may contact you to request further information or documents that may be relevant to the review.

At any point in the review process, the Committee will accept additional documents, information or submissions, which will be added to the complaint file.

Q: What happens after a complaint file is reviewed?

A: Once the Committee finishes its review, a reporting letter will be sent to you outlining the results of the review and any recommendations made to the Chief Coroner or Chief Forensic Pathologist.

A copy of that letter will also be sent to the Chief Coroner or Chief Forensic Pathologist and any other interested party as set out in the Coroners Act, such as the person who is the subject of the complaint, all members of DIOC and/or the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Other Questions

Q: Can I meet with the Complaints Committee in person?

A: Unfortunately, the Complaints Committee does not meet with complainants in person. They receive complaint files in full and review the information that is submitted in its entirety. If the Committee has a question concerning the information presented, they will ask for clarification through the DIOC Secretariat. 

At times, complainants may request to meet with the DIOC Secretariat to take them through the information they are submitting to the Complaints Committee. These requests are dealt with on a case by case basis, but depending on the complexity of a complaint and the information being submitted, the Secretariat may arrange to discuss the matter in person or via telephone.

Q: What if I am not satisfied with the result of a complaint file review?

A: If you are dissatisfied with the result of your complaint review, you are welcome to contact the DIOC Secretariat if you have any new information to bring forth to the Complaints Committee. The Committee will then assess the new information brought forward, and decide whether or not the Complaint File is to remain closed.

Q: What can I expect to get from the Complaints Committee upon submission of my complaint?

A: You can expect to receive a response letter back from the Complaints Committee upon submitting your complaint. This letter will outline the nature of your complaint and in order to confirm the accuracy of the complaint before it is submitted to the complaint reviewers.

Q: Before I submit a complaint is there anyone that I can talk to at DIOC about my concerns?

A: Prior to submitting complaint, you are welcome to contact the DIOC Secretariat if you have any questions or concerns. Please click the “Contact Us” tab for more information.