Complain about services of a children's aid society
If you have sought or received services from a children's aid society and have concerns about these services, you may have a right to complain to the CFSRB for one of these reasons:
- The children's aid society did not give you a chance to be heard when you raised your concerns
- The children's aid society did not give you a chance to be heard when decisions that affected your interests were made
- The children's aid society did not give you reasons for its decisions that affect your interests
- The children's aid society refused to proceed with your complaint
- The children's aid society did not follow its complaint review process or timelines
The internal complaints process of the children's aid society
Children's aid societies have their own internal process for handling complaints called Internal Complaints Review Panel (ICRP). Contact the children's aid society you are involved with to find out more.
You do not need to have been through the children's aid society's complaint process before complaining to the CFSRB. You can complain to the CFSRB directly.
If you have complained to the children's aid society, you can complain to the CFSRB, even if the children's aid society process is still underway.
If you complained to the children's aid society and the review process is complete, you can ask the CFRSB to review the decision made by the ICRP.
However, if you want to complain about inaccuracies in the children's aid society's file or record you must complete the ICRP process before bringing an application to the CFSRB about those inaccuracies. If you don't agree with the ICRP decision, you can apply to the CFSRB.
Filing an application with the CFSRB
To apply, download Form 2: Application about Complaints Against a Children's Aid Society or call us and we will email or mail you a copy.
In your application, explain your problem clearly and include all of the important incidents, dates and details so that those reading your complaint will understand your concerns.
For information about how to send your application, visit Forms & Filing.
You can be represented by a lawyer or paralegal or you can represent yourself. For more information, see the SJTO Practice Direction on Representation.
After you file an application with the CFSRB
Once you have filed your application, the CFSRB will send a copy of your application to the children's aid society. Within 7 days, the CFSRB will decide whether your application is eligible for review and send you a letter with that decision.
If your application is eligible, the CFSRB will ask the children's aid society you are complaining about to respond to your application. The children's aid society will send its response to you and the CFSRB within 10 days.
After reviewing your application and the response from the children's aid society, the CFSRB will either make a decision based on the written material or schedule a hearing.
If the CFSRB decides to hold a hearing, it will schedule a pre-hearing with you and the children's aid society within 40 days of the eligibility decision.
At the pre-hearing, the CFSRB will offer the parties an opportunity to participate in mediation. Mediation is an opportunity for the parties to try to resolve the issues with the support of a neutral facilitator.
Mediation is voluntary. The goal of mediation is to help the two sides reach an agreement that resolves the issues in the application. Both sides will have an opportunity to tell the member what happened and what they would like to see done about it.
The pre-hearing and mediation takes place in private.
If the parties do not agree to participate in mediation or if mediation takes place but no agreement is reached, a member may do the following to help the parties prepare for the hearing:
- define the issues
- identify the witnesses who will appear at the hearing
- review the documents and other potential evidence the parties will need to share with each other and the CFSRB
- set dates for the hearing
After the pre-hearing, the CFSRB will mail two documents to everyone involved.
- A summary of what was discussed at the pre-hearing.
- A notice of hearing, which gives the time and format of your hearing.
The CFSRB member who facilitated the mediation will not participate in the hearing.
Starting July 1st, 2022, the majority of pre-hearings/mediations will be scheduled by videoconference with some being held by teleconference.
If you did not participate in mediation or if your application did not settle, a hearing will be scheduled. The hearing could be held in writing, or by phone or video conference. It will be held no more than 60 days after the CFSRB decided your application was eligible.
A panel of 1-3 adjudicators will hear the application. All participants will have an opportunity to present oral and written evidence, ask witnesses questions, and make submissions. Board members may also have questions for the witnesses.
You will present your evidence first and the children's aid society will present its evidence after.
Hearings usually last one day. All hearings take place in private. The CFSRB will try to schedule hearings in a format that is convenient for everyone.
The CFSRB will issue a written decision no more than 30 days after your hearing. The written decision will include a summary of the facts and reasons for the decision. Some possible decisions include:
- Granting your application (you are the successful party)
- Dismissing your application (the children's aid society is the successful party)
- Ordering the children's aid society to respond to your complaint
- Ordering the children's aid society to provide detailed written reasons for a decision they made
- Ordering the children's aid society to consider your complaint through its internal complaints process.
Rules of Procedure
The sections of the Rules of Procedure that apply to an application about complaints against a children's aid society are Part I and Part II.
Service excellence is a priority for the Child and Family Services Review Board. Our service standards keep us focused on providing our clients with fair, effective, and timely dispute resolution. These are the service standards for complaints against a children's aid society. We aim to meet these standards 80% of the time:
- Pre-hearings will be scheduled within 40 days after the application is deemed eligible
- Hearings will be scheduled within 60 days after the application is deemed eligible
- Decisions or orders will be issued within 30 days of the completion of the hearing