Under the Alberta Health Act and the Mental Health Act, the Office of the Alberta Health Advocates has the authority to investigate complaints.
The Health Advocate has authority, under the Alberta Health Act, to review situations where someone is believed to have acted in a manner that is inconsistent with the principles set out in the Alberta Health Charter.
The Mental Health Patient Advocate has authority, under the Mental Health Act, to investigate complaints about a patient who is or has been under one or two admission certificates or renewal certificates, or subject to a community treatment order.
If a complaint does not fall under our jurisdiction, a referral may be made to another body to assist.
We recommend people make an effort to deal with a concern at the time it arises. It is helpful to first approach those directly involved to seek resolution. Many concerns arise out of miscommunications between patients, families and the providers involved.
For the most part, concerns can often be resolved if the issue is raised directly with the people involved in a respectful manner and with an open mind to finding a resolution. However, we understand that there are times when it is necessary to reach out for assistance from third parties, such as the Advocates.
We will look for ways of assisting you to become empowered to handle your concerns on your own. However, where our jurisdiction allows, we will take your complaint and assist you as best we can.
Learn about your rights: one-admission certificate, formal patient or a community treatment order.
Health system complaints
The Health Advocate assists people to find their way to the appropriate place to address their concerns about their experience in Alberta’s heath care system.
When you contact our office, an Advocate representative will work with you to determine the best way to resolve your concern. The representative may refer you to another agency, program or service, provide you with information, or determine if your concern may be reviewed by the Health Advocate.
In some cases, the Health Advocate may conduct a review, with or without a complaint, into situations where it is believed that someone has failed to act in a manner consistent with the Health Charter.
Mental health complaints
Under the Mental Health Act, patients, or those acting on their behalf, who are or have been under one or two admission certificates or renewal certificates, or subject to a community treatment order, may contact the Mental Health Patient Advocate if they have a complaint. If the complaint does not fall under our jurisdiction or falls under the jurisdiction of another committee, body or person, a referral may be made to that committee, body or person to assist.
The Advocate may further investigate a complaint. Most complaints brought to our attention can be resolved through informal investigation or with the consent of the complainant resolved without conducting an investigation.
Formal investigations are ones that cannot be easily resolved. Only the Mental Health Patient Advocate may authorize a formal investigation.
All information about an investigation is documented and remains confidential as required by law.