Complaints Policy

HIPPY Oakville views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the
future, as well as a chance to put things right for the person who has made the
complaint.

Our policy is:
• To provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for
anyone wishing to make a complaint
• To publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that people
know how to contact us to make a complaint
• To make sure everyone at HIPPY Oakville knows what to do if a complaint
is received
• To make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way
• To make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that
relationships are repaired
• To gather information which helps us to improve what we do

Definition of a Complaint
A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about
any aspect HIPPY Oakville.

Origin of Complaints
Complaints may come from donors, families, staff, volunteers or directors of
HIPPY Oakville. A complaint can be received verbally, by phone, by email or in
writing.

Confidentiality
All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need
to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.

Reporting
All complaints shall be reported to the Board.

Responsibility
Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with the Board of
Directors of HIPPY Oakville.
Complaints Policy

Complaints Procedure of HIPPY Oakville

Publicized Contact Details for Complaints:
Written complaints may be sent to HIPPY Oakville at
194 Front Street, Oakville, ON L6J 1A2 or
by e-mail at coordinator@hippyoakville.org
Verbal complaints may be made by phone to 905.582.7860 or in person to any of
HIPPY Oakville staff volunteers or Directors at:
194 Front Street, Oakville, ON L6J 1A2
OR
2200 Sawgrass Dr, Oakville, ON L6H 6M8

Receiving Complaints
Complaints may arrive through channels publicised for that purpose or through
any other contact details or opportunities the complainant may have.
Complaints received by telephone or in person need to be recorded.
The person who receives a phone or in person complaint should:
• Write down the facts of the complaint
• Take the complainant's name, address and telephone number
• Note down the relationship of the complainant to HIPPY Oakville; family,
donor, staff, volunteer
• Tell the complainant that we have a complaints procedure
• Tell the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take
• Where appropriate, ask the complainant to send a written account by mail
or by email so that the complaint is recorded in the complainant’s own
words.
• For further guidelines about handling verbal complaints, see Appendix 1

Resolving Complaints

Stage One
In many cases, a complaint is best resolved by the person responsible for the
issue of the complaint with the knowledge of the Coordinator. If the complaint
has been received by person concerned, they may be able to resolve it swiftly
and should do so if possible and appropriate.
Whether or not the complaint has been resolved, the complaint information
should be passed to Coordinator or Administrator as soon as possible and not
later than two business days.

On receiving the complaint, the Coordinator or Administrator records it in the
complaints log. If it has not already been resolved, they delegate an appropriate
person to investigate it and to take appropriate action.

If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a
fair opportunity to respond.

Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within
a week. The acknowledgement should say who is dealing with the complaint and
when the person complaining can expect a reply. A copy of this complaints
procedure should be attached.
Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within three weeks. If this
is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully
completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full
reply will be given.

Whether the complaint is justified or not, the reply to the complainant should
describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the
investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.
Depending on the nature of the complaint, it may be appropriate that legal advice
be obtained and ins such case, the coordinator/Administrator shall follow the
advice of Counsel with respect to the complaint process and resolution.

Stage Two
If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved at
Stage One, they can request that the complaint is reviewed at Board level. At
this stage, the complaint will be passed to the Chair of the Board

The request for Board level review should be acknowledged within a week of
receiving it. The acknowledgement should say who will deal with the case and
when the complainant can expect a reply.
The Chair of the Board may investigate the facts of the case themselves or
delegate a suitably senior person to do so. This may involve reviewing the
paperwork of the case and speaking with the person who dealt with the complaint
at Stage One.

If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a
further opportunity to respond.
The person who dealt with the original complaint at Stage One should be kept
informed of what is happening.
Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within three weeks If this is
not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed,
a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be
given.

Whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reply to the complainant should
describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the
investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.
The decision taken at this stage is final, unless the Board decides it is
appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution from HIPPY Canada.

Variation of the Complaints Procedure
The Board may vary the procedure for good reason. For example, this may be
necessary to avoid a conflict of interest, for example, a complaint about the Chair
should not also have the Chair as the person leading a Stage Two review. The
procedure may also be varied on the advice of legal counsel.

Monitoring and Learning from Complaints
All complaints will be recorded and tracked to enable HIPPY Oakville to identify a
recurring or a common complaint

Complaints are reported to the Board and reviewed annually to identify any
trends that may indicate a need to take further action.

Should legal advice be necessary, the Board shall be advised immediately.
A report shall be made at the next Board meeting on any complaints received
since the last meeting and actions taken.

Appendix 1 - Practical Guidance for Handling Verbal Complaints
• Remain calm and respectful throughout the conversation
• Listen - allow the person to talk about the complaint in their own words.
Sometimes a person just wants to "let off steam"
• Don't debate the facts in the first instance, especially if the person is angry
• Show an interest in what is being said
• Obtain details about the complaint before any personal details
• Ask for clarification wherever necessary
• Show that you have understood the complaint by reflecting back what you
have noted down
• Acknowledge the person's feelings (even if you feel that they are being
unreasonable) - you can do this without making a comment on the
complaint itself or making any admission of fault on behalf of the
organisation
e.g "I understand that this situation is frustrating for you"
• If you feel that an apology is deserved for something that was the
responsibility of your organisation, then apologise
• Ask the person what they would like done to resolve the issue
• Be clear about what you can do, how long it will take and what it will
involved.
• Don’t promise things you can’t deliver
• Give clear and valid reasons why requests cannot be met
• Make sure that the person understands what they have been told
• Wherever appropriate, inform the person about the available avenues of
review or appeal
• If the complaint involves a serious allegation, do not do more than receive
the relevant information and indicate that someone will get back to them.
Obtain legal advice immediately.

Date of Review: 2017