The Death Investigation Oversight Council (DIOC) administers a public complaints process through its Complaints Committee, which reviews complaints regarding death investigations, specifically, complaints against a coroner or a forensic pathologist working in the Province of Ontario. Families may use the DIOC complaint form to submit their complaint to the DIOC Secretariat.
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Death Investigation Oversight Council Complaint Form
Complaint Form - Instructions
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
Who can file a complaint?
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.
What types of complaints does the Complaints Committee have the authority to review?
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. However, pursuant to the Coroners Act, if either the Chief Coroner or Chief Forensic Pathologist have not had an opportunity to respond to your complaint, the matter will be referred to them prior to being reviewed by DIOC.
In addition, if the complaint is about the Chief Coroner or Chief Forensic Pathologist, the Committee will directly review these types of complaints.
What types of complaints are out of scope and are not reviewed by the Complaints Committee?
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.
How can I file a complaint?
Complaints must be filed in writing. Arrangements to submit your supporting documentation should be made directly with the DIOC Secretariat, but usually involve submission by mail or email. DIOC encourages families to use the DIOC Complaint Form, which is located at the top of this page.
Information can be sent to the following addresses:
Address: 25 Grosvenor St, 15th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M7A1Y6
What documents are typically included in a complaint file?
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 narrative
- 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
When I have compiled all of the necessary supporting documents, what is the next step?
Once your complaint package is ready, please send it to the Death Investigation Oversight Council at the following address:
25 Grosvenor St.
Your complaint package and supporting materials can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need accommodation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) please call the number above or email DIOC. The Secretariat will be happy to work with you to submit a complaint to the Complaints Committee.
Before I submit a complaint is there anyone that I can talk to at DIOC about my concerns?
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.
Does filing a complaint with the DIOC Complaints Committee interfere with complaints I have filed with other agencies?
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.
On average, how long does the review of a complaint file take?
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.
How do I receive updates on the status of my complaint?
The DIOC Secretariat will contact you periodically with updates on the status of your complaint. You are also welcome to email the Secretariat at email@example.com, or call the Secretariat at 416-212-8443 or 1-855-240-3414 if you have any questions or concerns about your file.
Will you share my complaint information with the Office of the Chief Coroner or Ontario Forensic Pathology Service?
Yes, if you decide to file a complaint with the Complaints Committee, and if the Chief has yet to have a chance to respond, we will forward your complaint to the corresponding Chief. The Complaints Committee also shares the final result of a complaint review with the OCC or OFPS.
GENERAL QUESTIONS REGARDING THE COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE
What can I expect to get from the Complaints Committee upon submission of my complaint?
You can expect to receive an acknowledgement letter back from the Complaints Committee upon submitting your complaint. This letter will outline the next steps in the complaints process. The Secretariat may call or write to you to further clarify your complaint, if required.
What will happen to my complaint once it is received?
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.
What if my complaint about a Coroner or Forensic Pathologist also includes other professionals or services?
The Secretariat may direct you to other organizations to submit your complaints about other professionals. The Complaints Committee only has the authority to review complaints regarding a Coroner or Forensic Pathologist.
How does the Committee review a complaint file?
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.
In order to conduct a wholesome complaint review, the Complaints Committee will need all of your submissions prior to commencing their review.
What happens after a complaint file is reviewed?
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.
What if I am not satisfied with the result of a complaint file review?
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.
Can I meet with the Complaints Committee in person?
Unfortunately, the Complaints Committee does not conduct hearings. 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.
POTENTIAL REFERRAL ORGANIZATIONS / AGENCIES
At times, families may have questions that cannot be answered through the Death Investigation Oversight Council’s complaint process, or they have concerns that do not fall within DIOC’s jurisdiction. In those instances, the DIOC Secretariat and/or the Complaints Committee may direct those matters to other organizations or agencies.
Below is a list of other organizations or agencies that families have been referred to at times.
Bereavement Authority of Ontario
100 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 505
Toronto, ON M2N 6N5
Toll Free: 1-844-493-6356
Centre of Forensic Sciences
25 Morton Shulman Avenue
Toronto, ON, M3M 0B1
College of Nurses of Ontario
Executive Director & CEO
c/o Professional Conduct Department
College of Nurses of Ontario
101 Davenport Road
Toronto, ON, M5R 3P1
Tel: 416-928-0900 or 1-800-387-5526
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
c/o Investigations and Resolutions Department
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
80 College Street
Toronto, ON, M5G 2E2
Tel: 416-967-2603 or 1-800-268-7096 ext. 603
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Director, Performance Improvement and Compliance Branch
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 11th Floor
1075 Bay St
Other Contact Information:
Telephone for Long-Term Care ACTION Line:
Expanded Line: 1-866-876-7658 or 416-326-6777 (outside of Ontario)
TTY: 1-800-387-5559 or 416-327-4282 (outside of Ontario)
Office of the Independent Police Review Director
655 Bay Street, 10th Floor
Office hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm
Toll-free phone: 1-877-411-4773
Local phone: 416-246-7071
Toll-free fax: 1-877-415-4773
Local Fax: 416-327-8332