Complaints & Whistleblower Policy

Complaints Policy

The Rehabilitation Society of Southwestern Alberta (Ability Resource Centre and JobLinks Employment Centre) recognizes there may be concerns that arise regarding our programs and services. We are committed to supporting our customers, clients, employees and community to receive the best possible service that we can deliver. We welcome feedback, concerns and complaints, in order to use these as opportunities to improve our supports and services.

If you have a concern as a client of Ability Resource Centre or JobLinks, please refer to the program handbook you received at intake for the grievance process to use. If you have lost this handbook please call us and ask for the program that served you, they will be happy to provide a new handbook to you and to assist you with your grievance.

If you have a concern as an employee of the Ability Resource Centre or JobLinks, you can use the grievance process outlined in the Personnel Section of the Policy & Procedure Manual.

For all customers, general public, and other stakeholders you may bring your concerns or complaints to our attention through the following methods:

Call us at (403) 329-3911 (Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm)
Email us at staff@rehab.ab.ca
Write us at: 1610 29 Street North, Lethbridge, Alberta T1H 5L3
Fax us at: (403) 329-3581

Concerns regarding particular programs should be sent as follows:
Operations Director for Bottle Depots or Woodworking
Program Director for Employment Support Services
Program Director for Community Access Services

General complaints may be addressed to the Executive Director.

When we receive a complaint you can expect...

The complaint or concern will be taken seriously. We will listen to you; treat you respectfully and with courtesy. You will be informed within 15 business days (following receipt of the complaint) of the progress of the response to the complaint. Please note that if the complaint is asking for personal information on a client, we will ensure confidentiality for the client served at all times.

Complaints we cannot respond to...

There are times when complaints are received that may not be directly related to our operations. As we have limited resources as a charity, we may not be in a position to investigate or create any changes in these instances.

Further, we will not respond to complaints when:

  • the complaint has no direct connection to the Rehabilitation Society of Southwestern Alberta
  • a person or group of people unreasonably targets an issue that has already been responded to
  • the complaint is abusive, prejudiced or offensive
  • the complaint is harassing an employee, volunteer, Board Director or client
  • the complaint is illegible or incoherent
  • the complaint is part of a mass mailing or email to several organizations

The Rehabilitation Society cannot respond to complaints made anonymously. The complaint will be investigated and if we find that improvements are required in our practice, the information garnered from the investigation will be used.

Whistleblowing

Unlike a grievance process that acknowledges an infringement of someone’s rights through policy of the organization, “whistleblowers” are people who act in good faith to report serious offences such as criminal offence, a breach of legal obligation, a miscarriage of justice, a danger to the health and safety of an individual or the deliberate covering up of information pertaining to any of the aforementioned actions.

The whistleblower policy is intended to encourage and enable directors, volunteers, the public and employees to raise concerns within the agency for investigation and appropriate action. With this goal in mind, no director, volunteer or employee, who in good faith reports a concern shall be subjected to retaliation or, in the case of an employee, adverse employment circumstances. Moreover, an employee, member of the public, Board Member or volunteer who retaliates against someone who has reported a claim in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination from the volunteer, employment, Board of Directors position and possible criminal charges or legal action.

Concerns regarding management or supervisory staff are to be addressed directly to the Executive Director. Concerns regarding the Executive Director are to be directed to the President of the Board of Directors. Concerns with the Board of Directors are to be taken to the Executive Director.

The authority in receipt of the complaint will notify the sender and acknowledge receipt of the claim within 5 business days (if possible). Please note, it will not be possible to acknowledge anonymously submitted claims. All reports will be promptly investigated by the person with whom the claim has been lodged. In addition, action taken must include a conclusion and/or follow up with the complainant for complete closure of the concern. The Executive Director and Board have the authority to retain legal counsel, accountants or any other resource necessary to conduct a full investigation of the allegations.

Anyone reporting a concern must act in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates inappropriate accounting or auditing practice or a violation of the Code of Ethics or Code of Conduct for the Rehabilitation Society. The act of making allegations that prove to be unsubstantiated and that prove to be malicious, reckless, or with the foreknowledge that the allegations are false, will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense and will result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from any employment or volunteer position. Please note that such actions may give rise to further proceedings including civil law suits. Reports of concerns and investigations pertaining thereto shall be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.

Developed: July 2015