Complaint Policy

Organization Policy Manual

Policy #: ORG-2014-001
Policy Title: Public Complaint Policy
Applies to: All members of the public
Date approved: February 4, 2014
Date to be reviewed: 2017

Policy Purpose:

The YWCA Edmonton is committed to providing our clients, participants, donors, and corporate and community partners with a high level of service.  The agency wants to ensure that concerns raised by any of our stakeholders are responded to promptly, transparently and fairly in accordance with YWCA Edmonton’s values.  

Policy Statements:

  • It is in the interest of all parties that complaints are dealt with promptly and resolved as quickly as possible.
  • Complainants are advised of their options to escalate their complaint to a more senior staff person if they are dissatisfied with treatment or outcome by the parties directly involved.
  • Complainants are provided clear and understandable reasons for decisions relating to complaints.
  • Complaints are used to assist in improving services, policies and procedures.

Policy Definitions:

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about the service, actions, or lack of action by the YWCA Edmonton as an organization or a staff member or volunteer acting on behalf of YWCA Edmonton.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • perceived failure to do something agreed upon;
  • failure to observe policy or procedures;
  • error made by a staff member or volunteer; or
  • unfair or discourteous actions or statements by staff member or volunteer;

Complaints may come from the general public, clients, donors, participants and corporate or community partners.


Complaint Receipt and Handling

A complaint may be received verbally (by phone or in person) or in writing (by mail, fax, email). An employee or volunteer who receives a complaint should first determine the proper person to handle it. This will generally be the person who has the primary relationship with the complainant or has the specific knowledge that is needed to resolve the problem. It is the responsibility of the person who receives the complaint to either resolve it or transfer it to another person who can resolve it. If the complaint is transferred, the recipient must acknowledge to the transferor that he/she has received it and will act on it.

The person who initially receives the complaint should acknowledge to the complainant that the complaint has been received and will be acted on either by him/herself or another employee. If a timeframe for action can be determined, that should be included in the acknowledgement. Basic contact information including name, phone number and email address should immediately be recorded.

Complaints regarding YWCA Edmonton’s policies and procedures or failure to observe polices and procedures should be documented by the staff receiving the complaint and forwarded to the Director, or if appropriate, to the Chief Executive Officer.

Resolving the Complaint

Every effort should be made to resolve complaints received in a timely fashion. When receiving a verbal complaint, staff should listen and seek to understand the complaint, and may attempt to resolve it immediately. Complaints received in writing should be acknowledged within 2 business days and staff should attempt to resolve the matter within 10 business days.

Where a complaint cannot be easily resolved, it should be escalated to the relevant Director.  If that employee cannot resolve the complaint, it should be escalated to the Chief Executive Officer.  The Chief Executive Officer is the final authority regarding complaints about the operations and policies of the YWCA Edmonton.

Complaints regarding the Chief Executive Officer are sent to the President of the YWCA Edmonton Board of Directors. 

Complainants should be kept informed of the status of their complaint. Every attempt should be made to resolve escalated complaints within an additional 10 business days so that all complaints are resolved within a month of having been received.

Documenting the Complaint

It is necessary to keep a record of any complaint that involves a dispute over money or policies and procedures, as well as any complaint that cannot be resolved immediately (on the same day it is received).

Subsequent Actions

Results of complaints regarding YWCA Edmonton’s policies and procedures or failure to observe policies and procedures will be kept on file until that policy or procedure is reviewed and changes made if appropriate.