Information on Consumer and Individual Protections

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) supports Aboriginal people (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and Northerners in their efforts to:

  • improve social well-being and economic prosperity;
  • develop healthier, more sustainable communities; and
  • participate more fully in Canada's political, social and economic development — to the benefit of all Canadians.

AANDC is one of 34 federal government departments responsible for meeting the Government of Canada's obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and for fulfilling the federal government's constitutional responsibilities in the North.  AANDC's responsibilities are largely determined by numerous statutes, negotiated agreements and relevant legal decisions. Most of AANDC's programs, representing a majority of its spending - are delivered through partnerships with Aboriginal communities and federal-provincial or federal-territorial agreements. AANDC also works with urban Aboriginal people, Métis and Non-Status Indians (many of whom live in rural areas).

AANDC's mandate, responsibilities and key priorities are shaped by centuries of history, and unique demographic and geographic challenges.

Phone (toll-free): 1-800-567-9604
TTY (toll-free): 1-866-553-0554
Fax: 1-866-817-3977
Email: InfoPubs@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca
http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

BBB has helped people make smarter decisions and is evolving to meet fast changing marketplace needs.

  • BBB sets standards for ethical business behavior and monitors compliance. Almost 400,000 Accredited Businesses meet and commit to high standards.
  • BBB helps consumers identify trustworthy businesses, and those that aren’t, through more than 4 million BBB Business Reviews.
  • BBB sets standards for and evaluates thousands of advertisements each year to ensure that people can trust what advertisers say.
  • BBB sets standards for and evaluates the practices of thousands of charities so that donors know where their money is going.
  • BBB coaches businesses on ethical behavior and how to build stronger, more trusting relationships with their customers.

BBB offers its national and local consumer services online and in person.  BBB representatives are available Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Suite 404, 788 Beatty Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6B 2M1
Phone: 604-682-2711
Toll Free: 1-888-803-1222
Email: contactus@mbc.bbb.org
http://www.bbb.org/mbc/

BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA)

The BC Civil Liberties Association was established in 1962 and is the oldest and most active civil liberties group in Canada. They are funded by the Law Foundation of B.C. and by citizens.

Their mandate is to preserve, defend, maintain and extend civil liberties and human rights in Canada. They achieve their mandate through their Advocacy in Action, Public Policy, Community Education, and Justice programs.

The BCCLA is an autonomous, non-partisan charitable society. Though they strive to work cooperatively with other groups on common causes, they are unaffiliated with any other organization or political group.

900 Helmcken Street, 2nd floor
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada V6Z 1B3
Phone: 604-687-2919
Toll Free: 1-866-731-7507
Fax: 604-687-3045
https://bccla.org/

Canadian Children’s Rights Council

The Canadian Children’s Rights Council is a non-profit, non-governmental, educational and advocacy organization dedicated to supporting the rights and responsibilities of Canadian children and providing critical analysis of governments' policies at all levels of government in Canada.

They research and present issues and solutions regarding violations of Canadian children's rights to every level of government in Canada, as well as, non-government institutions and organizations.

Their role is also to provide information, education and critical analysis of Canadian laws and the implementation of child rights across Canada as expressed in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Phone (Toronto): 647-933-2122
Phone (Ottawa): 613-800-6474
http://www.canadiancrc.com/default.aspx

Canadian Judicial Council

Any member of the public can make a complaint to the Council provided the complaint is about judicial conduct, is made in writing, and is about a specific federally appointed judge, the Council will review the matter.

Although the Minister of Justice or a provincial Attorney General can initiate a formal inquiry about a federally appointed judge, most complaints come from the general public.

If a provincial Attorney General or the Minister of Justice of Canada submits a complaint, the Council must appoint an Inquiry Committee to consider whether a recommendation should be made to the Minister of Justice to remove the judge from office. The Inquiry Committee must hold a hearing, normally in public. The Council then considers the report of the Inquiry Committee and makes a recommendation to the Minister of Justice.

In accordance with the complaints process, the Canadian Judicial Council can also initiate an inquiry into a judge’s conduct. 

The Canadian Judicial Council has the authority to investigate complaints only about federally appointed judges in Canada. These are judges from federal courts and higher levels of courts in each province.

The Council cannot investigate general complaints about the justice system, the courts, or the judiciary as a whole. It cannot change judicial decisions in court cases, compensate individuals, grant appeals, or address demands for a new trial.

The Canadian Judicial Council does not have jurisdiction over the lower levels of provincial courts, such as those that hear small claims disputes, and some family and criminal matters. If you want to make a complaint about a judge in one of those courts, you must direct your complaint to the judicial council in your province or territory.

The Canadian Judicial Council does not have the authority to investigate complaints against court staff or lawyers. Complaints about court staff should be made to the court administration office of the courthouse in question. Complaints about lawyers should be made to the Law Society in your province or territory.

The Canadian Judicial Council seeks to ensure a fair process when a complaint is made against a judge. Every complaint is considered seriously and conscientiously.

You do not have to be represented by a lawyer if you want to make a complaint about a judge. You do not need to use a special form to make a complaint to the Council. There is no fee charged and no deadline for making a complaint.

The Council requires only that a complaint be:

  • in writing;
  • about a named, federally appointed judge; and
  • about the conduct of a judge and not their decision.

You can write a letter to the Canadian Judicial Council, and send it by regular mail (Canadian Judicial Council, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0W8) or by email. Your letter should include:

  • your name and address;
  • the name of the judge you are making a complaint against; and
  • a description of the judge’s conduct that you believe was inappropriate.

Canadian Judicial Council
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0W8
Phone: 613-288-1566
Fax: 613-288-1575
Email: info@cjc-ccm.gc.ca

Chief Judge – Provincial Court of British Columbia – Complaints

The authority of the Chief Judge regarding complaints is supervisory and disciplinary in nature. It does not include the power to interfere in individual cases, to inquire into individual decisions of judicial officers (except where misconduct may occur during the proceedings), or to review legal errors or erroneous decisions (except where they may amount to incompetence affecting capacity to perform judicial duties).

Many of the letters received by the Chief Judge raise matters that fall outside of the Chief Judge's mandate. These are normally answered by a letter from the Legal Officer to the complainant, and may suggest appropriate avenues of inquiry.

If a matter appears to raise a conduct issue about a Provincial Court judicial officer or other appropriate issue for examination by the Chief Judge, a file is opened and a response to the allegation is requested from the judicial officer. The complainant is advised that the matter will be considered.

After examination, the Chief Judge (or an Associate Chief Judge acting as Chief Judge for these purposes) decides upon the appropriate course of action. If the judicial officer's behaviour was deemed appropriate, an explanation will be given. If conduct was determined to be inappropriate, an acknowledgement of the complaint with an expression of apology will be extended to the complainant. A large majority of matters conclude at this stage.

However, if the misconduct gives rise to issues considered by the Chief Judge to warrant further action, the Provincial Court Act requires the Chief Judge to conduct an investigation with respect to the fitness of the judicial officer to perform his or her duties. The Attorney General may also direct the Chief Judge to conduct an investigation.

On completing the investigation, a written report is submitted to the Attorney General setting out the nature of the investigation, the relevant facts, the findings, and any corrective action taken or recommended. The Chief Judge may take any corrective action considered necessary using the powers given under the Provincial Court Act, including holding an inquiry before the Judicial Council. A copy of the investigation report also goes to the judicial officer under investigation, who may elect to have the inquiry heard either by the Judicial Council or by a Supreme Court judge.

In the history of the Court, very few investigations have reached the inquiry stage.
More information on the complaints process may be found in the annual reports of the Provincial Court of B.C.

Complaints must be submitted in writing by mail, addressed to:

The Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia
337 - 800 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2C5

or by fax, to:

The Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia
Fax: (604) 660-1108

Your correspondence must include:

  • your name and mailing address
  • the name of the judicial officer complained of, the court location, the court file number (if known), and the date of the incident
  • a description of the alleged misconduct in as much detail as possible.

Anonymous complaints, or complaints without a return address, will not be accepted.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia regulates the practice of medicine under the authority of provincial law. All physicians who practise medicine in the province must be registrants of the College.

The College’s overriding interest is the protection and safety of patients. The role of the College is to ensure physicians meet expected standards of practice and conduct.

Regulation of the medical profession is based on the foundation that the College must act first and foremost in the interest of the public. The primary function of the College is to ensure that physicians are qualified, competent and fit to practise medicine. The College administers processes for responding to complaints from patients and for taking action if a physician is practising in a manner that is incompetent, unethical or illegal. The College also administers a number of quality assurance activities to ensure physicians remain competent throughout their professional lives.  The College is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

300 - 669 Howe Street
Vancouver BC V6C 0B4
Phone: 604-733-7758
Toll Free: 1-800-461-3008
Fax: 604-733-3503
https://www.cpsbc.ca/

Condo Home Owner’s Association (CHOA)

CHOA is a non-profit association that promotes the understanding of strata property living and the interests of strata property owners by providing advisory services, education, advocacy, publications and resources and support for its members. They actively assist members, and the strata industry, to ensure strata living is a positive experience.

CHOA membership includes strata corporations, individual owners, businesses that serve the strata industry, strata related associations and governmental agencies from all across British Columbia.

With offices located in New Westminster (Lower Mainland), Victoria (Vancouver Island) and Kelowna (B.C. Interior & North) they are able to assist all types of strata corporations in all areas of B.C.

New Westminster Office
200-65 Richmond Street,
New Westminster, BC V3L 5P5
Phone: 604-584-2462
Fax: 604-515-9643

Kelowna Office
26-1873 Spall Road,
Kelowna, BC V1Y 4R2
Phone: 250-868-1195

Vancouver Island Office
222 - 1175 Cook Street,
Victoria, BC V8V 4A1
Phone: 250-381-9088
Fax: 250-381-9088

Toll Free: 1-877-353-2462
Email: info@choa.bc.ca
http://www.choa.bc.ca/

Consumer Protection BC

Consumer Protection BC promotes a fair marketplace for BC consumers and businesses.  Consumer Protection BC was established in 2004 as a not-for-profit corporation to strengthen consumer protection in BC.  They operate using a cost recovery model and are the only organization of its kind in Canada.

Consumer Protection BC's mandate is to:

  • Deliver consumer protection services throughout British Columbia;
  • Promote fairness and understanding in the marketplace; and
  • Enforce consumer protection laws in BC.

They protect consumers and encourage fair business practices by:

  • Responding to inquiries and complaints from BC consumers and businesses;
  • Educating consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities;
  • Licensing specific industries;
  • Inspecting these licensed industries to ensure they are complying with BC's consumer protection laws;
  • Investigating alleged violations of consumer protection laws and following up with progressive enforcement action;
  • Providing film content information so the public can make informed viewing choices for themselves and their families; and
  • Recommending enhancements to BC's consumer protection laws to the provincial government.

Consumer Protection BC is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Inquiry Centre:
307-3450 Uptown Blvd.,
Victoria BC V8Z 0B9
Toll Free: 1-888-564-9963
Fax: 250-920-7181
Email: info@consumerprotectionbc.ca

Licensing Team:
307 - 3450 Uptown Blvd.,
Victoria BC V8Z 0B9
Toll Free: 1-888-777-4393
Fax: 250-920-7181
Email: info@consumerprotectionbc.ca

Classification Team:
200 - 4946 Canada Way,
Burnaby, BC V5G 4H7
Toll Free: 1-888-564-9963
Fax: 604-320-1655
Email: classification@consumerprotectionbc.ca

General Mailing Address:
PO Box 9244,
Victoria, BC V8W 9J2
http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/

Legal Services Society (Legal Aid)

The Legal Services Society (LSS) is a non-profit organization created by the LSS Act in 1979 to provide legal information, advice, and representation services to people with low incomes. LSS' priority is to serve the interests of people with low incomes. But many of their services are available to all British Columbians.

LSS has helped British Columbians with:

  • serious family problems,
  • child protection matters,
  • immigration issues, and
  • criminal law issues.

They do this by providing a range of services that help people resolve their legal problems. They determine the services they offer as part of their obligations under the LSS Act. Their services are offered at legal aid locations throughout the province.

400 - 510 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 3A8
Phone: 604-408-2172
Toll Free: 1-866-577-2525
http://www.lss.bc.ca/

Ombudsperson

The Office of the Ombudsperson can help determine whether provincial public authorities have acted fairly and reasonably – and whether their actions and decisions were consistent with relevant legislation, policies and procedures. As an independent statutory office of the provincial legislature, their services are provided free of charge.

What they do:

  • Respond to inquiries from the public.
  • Provide information, advice and assistance on issues of administrative fairness.
  • Generally oversee the administrative actions of public agencies to enhance transparency and accountability.
  • Conduct thorough, impartial and independent investigations of complaints.
  • Look for fair resolutions and make recommendations to improve administrative practices.
  • Consult with, provide reasons, and make recommendations to authorities to improve administrative practices.
  • Provide reports to the Legislative Assembly and the people of British Columbia about administrative fairness issues and how they can be remedied.

When conducting thorough and impartial investigations, they:

  • Identify issues of administrative unfairness.
  • Identify causes of recurring unfairness and how it can be avoided in the future.
  • Attempt to resolve complaints through consultation.
  • Employ an approach that identifies and addresses the underlying causes of complaints.
  • Make recommendations and issue reports that are based on sound analysis of the facts, are consistent with their statutory mandate and apply the principles of natural justice and administrative fairness.

The Ombudsperson’s office is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

947 Fort Street, 2nd floor,
Victoria, B.C., Canada V8V 3K3
Phone: 250-387-5855
Toll Free: 1-800-567-3247
https://www.bcombudsperson.ca/

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner

Established in 1993, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner provides independent oversight and enforcement of B.C.'s access and privacy laws, including:

  • The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act ("FIPPA"), which applies to over 2,900 "public bodies" including ministries, local governments, schools, crown corporations, hospitals, municipal police forces, and more;
  • The Personal Information Protection Act ("PIPA"), which applies to over 380,000 private sector "organizations" including businesses, charities, associations, trade unions and trusts.

The Commissioner has the power to:

  • Investigate, mediate and resolve appeals concerning access to information disputes

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

947 Fort Street, 4th Floor
Victoria BC V8V 3K3
Phone: 250-387-5629
Email: info@oipc.bc.ca
https://www.oipc.bc.ca/

Callers outside Victoria can contact the office toll-free by calling Enquiry BC requesting a transfer to 250-387-5629.

Enquiry BC:
Vancouver: 604-660-2421
Elsewhere in BC: 1-800-663-7867

Media inquiries:
250-217-5535