protecteur national de l’élève
As of August 28, 2023, the complaint handling procedures in effect in school service centers and school boards will be replaced by a new three-step national complaints handling procedure.
Student and Parent Rights
The National Student Ombudsman is responsible for applying the complaint and report processing procedure in Québec’s education system.
As part of this province-wide and standardized procedure, the National Student Ombudsman is assisted by Regional Student Ombudsmen throughout Québec. Together, they ensure that student and parent rights are upheld. As a result, they contribute to the continuous improvement of education system services.
Filing a Complaint
Should a parent or student be dissatisfied with the services they have received, are receiving, should have received or need, they may file a complaint using the process below.
Examples of the type of issues that could lead to a complaint include:
- Inappropriate behaviour by a teacher, school principal or any member of the staff;
- Services that should be provided for supporting student success but that are not;
- Unsafe school equipment or premises;
- Situations of bullying or violence. Any complaint concerning acts of sexual violence will be prioritized for rapid treatment.
Step 1 : contact the person directly concerned or their immediate superior
- The student or the parent who wishes to file a complaint will first contact the person directly concerned or their immediate superior.
- The complaint may be verbal, but it is better if it is made in writing. This creates a paper trail and makes it easier to determine how long processing will take.
- The person who receives the complaint has 10 working days to reply.
Step 2 : Contact the Complaints Officer
If the student or their parent is still dissatisfied with how the complaint is being handled, or if the 10-day deadline has expired, they may then contact the person responsible for processing complaints at West Island College.
The complaint may be verbal, but it is better if it is made in writing.
The person responsible for processing complaints has 15 working days to respond.
The person responsible for processing complaints at WIC:
Mr. Eric Jabal, Head of School
West Island College
851 Tecumseh Street, Dollard-des-Ormeaux (QC) H9B 2L2
The complaint management committee at WIC:
Mr. Eric Jabal, Head of School
Mrs. Lise Lafontaine, Chief Operating Officer
Mrs. Heidi Sleno, School Nurse
Step 3 : contact the regional student ombudsman
If you are still dissatisfied with how the complaint is being handled, or if the 15-day deadline has expired, you must contact the regional student ombudsman in your region. The ombudsman will help you draft your written complaint.
The student or their parent may choose the form of communication that best suits them among the following:
Regional student ombudsmen have 20 working days to examine the complaint. If they determine that the complaint has merit, they will make recommendations to West Island College.
The National Student Ombudsman has 5 working days to inform the regional student ombudsman of whether he or she intends to examine the complaint. If so, the National Student Ombudsman has 10 working days to complete the examination and to substitute his or her conclusions or recommendations for those of the regional student ombudsman.
The regional student ombudsman informs the complainant and the school about the conclusions and recommendations.
West Island College has 10 working days to inform the complainant and the regional student ombudsman of whether it intends to follow up on the conclusions and recommendations made to it, or of its reasons if it has decided not to act on them.
* Note that in the case of sexual violence, the student or one of their parents may, if they wish to do so, approach the Regional Student Ombudsman directly.
Making a Report
A report, which anyone can make, is possible only if it concerns sexual violence against a student who attends an educational institution.
Such a report is made directly to the Regional Student Ombudsman, omitting the first two steps, by:
- a teacher
- a non-teaching professional who works within the school system
- an employee or a member of an educational institution’s managerial staff
- another student or a parent of the student
The person who makes the report may choose the form of communication that best suits them among the following:
These reports are fast-tracked. Any information that might identify the person is kept confidential, unless the person consents to its disclosure. If a regional student ombudsman considers it necessary, he or she can disclose the person’s identity to the Director of Youth Protection or to the police force concerned.
Regional student protectors may process a case of sexual violence on their own initiative.
Protection Against Reprisal
The Act respecting the National Student Ombudsman protects against reprisal people who, in good faith, make a report or file a complaint, cooperate in the processing of a report or complaint or accompany a person who makes a report or files a complaint.
It is also prohibited to threaten to retaliate against a person to dissuade him or her from filing a complaint or making a report.
The following are presumed to be reprisal measures against students or their parents:
- Depriving them of rights
- Treating them differently
- Suspending or expelling the student
For the staff members of an educational institution who make a report or cooperate in the examination of a complaint or report, the following are presumed to be reprisal measures:
- Their demotion
- Their suspension
- Termination of their employment
- Their transfer
- Disciplinary sanctions or other measures that adversely affect their employment or working conditions
Reprisal complaints are processed by the National Student Ombudsman. Fines for a natural person who retaliates or threatens to retaliate range from $2,000 to $20,000. Fines can vary from $10,000 to $250,000 for legal persons.
“The concept of sexual violence refers to any form of violence committed through sexual practices or by targeting sexuality, including sexual assault. It also refers to any other misconduct, including that relating to sexual and gender diversity, in such forms as unwanted direct or indirect gestures, comments, behaviours or attitudes with sexual connotations, including by a technological means.” For further information about acts of sexual violence, see the Government of Québec page on the forms of violence.