Imagine Canada is committed to the integrity of the Standards Program. It has, therefore, established a process to manage complaints from stakeholders about any organization that has received accreditation under the Standards Program. An Exemptions, Interpretations & Complaints subcommittee of the Standards Council is mandated by Imagine Canada to adjudicate complaints related to the Standards as laid out in the Imagine Canada Standards Program Handbook.
Scope of Complaints Process
Imagine Canada, through the Exemptions, Interpretations & Complaints subcommittee, may respond to an allegation of non-compliance with the Standards that comes to its attention from any source. Under the Standards, Accredited Organizations are required to respond promptly to complaints by external stakeholders. Complainants are asked to exhaust this internal complaints process before asking Imagine Canada to deal with the matter. In exceptional circumstances, Imagine Canada may deal with complaints before an internal process is completed, however, this will only be done where the complaint is very serious and a quick response is crucial.
Imagine Canada may decline to consider a complaint if the matter is before the courts, or may suspend its consideration of a complaint if litigation is commenced after the complaint is initiated.
Complaints can only be lodged against current Accredited Organizations. Imagine Canada will only review complaints about matters that took place after the Accredited Organization joined the Standards Program and complaints must be filed within one-year of the alleged misconduct.
How to Lodge a Complaint
In order to lodge a complaint, complainants are asked to complete and submit the Standards Program Complaints Form.
When a complaint is received, Imagine Canada will review the complaint to determine if there is a valid complaint under the Standards. If the complaint is found to be valid, the Accredited Organization will be notified about the complaint and given the opportunity to make a full response. Other individuals or organizations concerned with the complaint may also be given the opportunity to submit information if necessary. Information from all parties will be sought in writing so that a comprehensive documentary record is created. Imagine Canada will endeavor to deal with complaints within three months of the date they are received, however, depending on the nature of the complaint, the process may take longer.
The Exemptions, Interpretations & Complaints subcommittee may respond to complaints in the following ways:
- dismissing the complaint;
- prescribing education and a timetable to achieve compliance;
- issuing a warning and timetable to achieve compliance;
- removing Imagine Canada’s recognition of the organization as an Accredited Organization; and/or
- releasing the Accredited Organization’s name publicly.
Should the Accredited Organization not be satisfied with the decision of the Exemptions, Interpretations and Complaints subcommittee, an appeal may be submitted. The Appeals process, including grounds for requesting an appeal, is outlined in the Appeals Policy.
The Exemptions, Interpretations and Complaints subcommittee may reconsider a complaint, or a response made to a complaint, if it becomes aware of a material omission or misrepresentation of relevant facts as submitted to it.
Conflict of Interest
Where a subcommittee member is in a conflict of interest because of his or her past, present or contemplated future dealings with any party to the complaint, he or she shall withdraw himself or herself from consideration of the matter. Where parties to a complaint know of such dealings, they should bring them to the attention of staff in their written submissions to ensure that the subcommittee is made aware of them.