How we help
Who we are and how we help
Who we are
- We deal with issues related to the DND and the CAF.
- We are an independent office that does not report to the military chain of command or civilian management.
- We are an impartial third party who helps to ensure the fair treatment of our constituents.
- We educate and inform constituents, conduct individual and systemic investigations, and make recommendations to the DND/CAF leadership to bring about improvements to the Defence community.
- We are available at any point to discuss your situation.
- We will keep your information confidential. If we must contact someone about your complaint, we will ask you to sign a consent form to allow us to discuss your issue with other relevant parties. You decide if you want to proceed with your complaint.
- You can come to us without fear of reprisal. If we find there is evidence of reprisal, we will address it immediately.
For more information, refer to our mandate.
How we can help
As a member of the Defence community, you have several possible complaint mechanisms and avenues of recourse if you experience an issue.
Be aware that some complaint mechanisms, court applications, and judicial reviews have strict time limits. Contacting our office does not put these deadlines on hold.
Contact us if you feel you have been treated unfairly, if you are looking for information, or if you are uncertain about how to deal with an issue. We can help in several ways. For example:
- We can provide information to help you figure out your options so you can make informed choices about issues related to the DND/CAF.
- We share educational information to help you stay informed about questions and issues.
- We can ensure you report your complaint or concern through the most appropriate complaint mechanisms.
- We can get a process back on track if you experience delays or issues you cannot resolve on your own.
- We can review a process to determine if you have received fair treatment.
- We can report an issue and make recommendations to the appropriate authorities if we find you have been treated unfairly.
You can learn more by reading sample cases that describe examples of how we interact with the DND/CAF to address complaints.
We deal with matters relating to your health, career, compensation, benefits, and welfare. You can come to us without fear of reprisal. If we find evidence of reprisal, we will address it immediately.
If compelling circumstances are causing you undue hardship, we can intervene even if you have not exhausted the available complaint mechanisms.
Want to know more? Here’s what happens when you contact our office.
Who we help
We can help if you belong to one of the following groups and you have a concern that is directly related to the Department of National Defence (DND) or the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF):
- Current and former members of the:
- CAF (Regular Force, Primary Reserve, Canadian Rangers, Cadet Organization Administration and Training Service, and Supplementary Reserve) or the;
- Cadets and Junior Canadian Rangers;
- Current and former employees of the DND and the Staff of the Non-Public Funds;
- A person applying to become a CAF member;
- A member of the immediate family of any of the above-mentioned; and
- Individuals on exchange or secondment with the Canadian Armed Forces.
For more information, refer to our mandate.
What happens when you contact us
You can contact our office by using one of six different ways:
- secure on-line form,
- live chat,
- regular mail, or
- scheduled appointment.
How you choose to contact us is up to you.
Be aware that timelines may vary according to the nature and complexity of your situation. It is essential you keep this in mind because some complaint mechanisms, court applications, and judicial reviews have strict time limits. Contacting our office does not put these deadlines on hold.
Everything you share with us is confidential. If we must contact someone about your complaint, we will ask you to sign a consent form to allow us to discuss your issue with other relevant parties. You decide if you want to proceed with your complaint.
When we receive your complaint, we review it to determine if you have been treated fairly or unfairly.
We evaluate fair treatment based on activities such as:
- gathering information about your concerns and the steps taken to date in response;
- obtaining your consent if necessary and contacting the DND/CAF to confirm they have all of the relevant information needed to address your concerns;
- determining if the actions or decisions taken in response to your concerns respect relevant policies and regulations; and
- making recommendations to the most appropriate authority to seek resolution if we determine you were treated unfairly.
Step 1—Initial contact
Two business days
Depending on how you contact us, you’ll either speak to or chat on-line with someone immediately, at your scheduled time, or within two business days of your initial contact.
The next step in contacting our office is intake.
During this step an intake officer will collect your basic information such as your name, contact information, and your question or concern. Then the intake officer will discuss your situation with you in order to determine whether your issue falls within our mandate. At this point, the intake officer will review all steps taken and may ask you for additional information. In compelling circumstances, we may intervene immediately. In many cases, the intake officer can provide information and resources that you can use to address your concern.
We are able to resolve most issues at this stage within 15 business days.
Step 3—Complaint analysis or investigation
During this step some issues will go to complaint analysis. Other issues will go directly to investigation or from complaint analysis to investigation. It all depends on the complexity of the issue you raise.
If your file reaches complaint analysis or investigation, we will need your signed consent to contact other relevant parties to ensure we have all the facts. If you choose not to provide consent, we will respect your wishes and close the file. We will not conduct an investigation without your consent.
If we cannot quickly provide the information or resources you need or if intervention is required, we may refer your issue for further analysis. One of our complaint analysts will contact you within five business days to discuss your issue in detail. Resolving a file at this level generally takes 30 business days.
More complex issues or concerns need intervention at a different level. One of our investigators will contact you within five business days to discuss your issue in detail. We usually complete such an investigation within 60 business days.
Sample cases and videos
Sample cases help explain what happens when you contact our office for assistance.
Who Are We?
What is an Ombudsman and what do we do?
What Happens When You Contact the Ombudsman's Office?
A short video about the role of our intake officers.
What Are Compelling Circumstances?
What is an issue that involves compelling circumstances?
We are ready to help.
- Call us toll-free at 1-888-828-3626
- Submit a question or complaint through our secure online form
- Live chat with an agent 8 am to 5 pm ET Monday to Friday
- Book a phone call with an agent
- Email an agent for information or assistance
- Email for general office inquiries
- Email media relations
Office of the Ombudsman
100 Metcalfe Street 12th Floor
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