Individuals receiving service at Family Service Toronto (FST) have both rights and responsibilities. Clients and participants will be educated about their rights and responsibilities in a variety of ways (e.g., posters in service locations, in written form, by staff through the intake and assessment process).

Scope

This policy applies to staff of FST who serve clients with the exception of the Seniors Program that will have a separate client rights statement particular to the requirements of their setting (e.g., in the case of the Seniors Program, the wording of the statement is dictated by legislation).

Limitations

Clients have the right to ask for a change of worker, however, the request will only be granted when it is reasonable and an alternative exists. Requests that are discriminatory in nature will not be granted. (See policy on Discriminatory Requests for Service.)

Procedures

  1. Staff will explain to clients their rights and responsibilities as a regular part of the intake and assessment process and will answer questions posed by clients.
  2. Program Managers will ensure the client rights and responsibilities statement (below) is available in written form to clients in the major languages served by the program.
  3. Staff will ensure they are familiar with FST’s privacy policies and procedures so that they can answer client’s questions and assist clients in exercising their rights in regards to their record.
  4. Staff will ensure that each client signs a form to acknowledge they have received and understand the information provided. If a client is unable to read the information provided due to literacy, vision, language or other issues, staff will ensure that they have verbally reviewed the information and will document this and the client’s acknowledgement in the client record.
  5. In situations where service is provided by web based technologies, this information will be sent to the client in advance of the first session and staff will review it prior to the start of the first session and document this in the client record.

Client Rights and Responsibilities

Welcome to Family Service Toronto (FST) where we provide high-quality service in an encouraging and supportive environment. Our staff will work with you to explore and understand the issues of concern to you and develop solutions. We consider you to be the expert in your own life experience. Together, you and your FST staff person will develop a plan to guide your work and an estimate of how much time it will take to accomplish your goals.

Service may be provided to you by a staff person employed by FST, a student or a volunteer who is supervised by an FST staff person. Office hours vary by location.

Your Rights and Responsibilities

You have rights. When you receive services from FST we will:

  • give you high-quality service
  • serve you without discrimination
  • treat you fairly, honestly and respectfully
  • listen to you
  • give you information and support to help you make decisions
  • keep your information private and confidential, except in specific circumstances as described in FST’s Privacy Statement
  • apply program rules and expectations consistently
  • provide service in offices that are safe, clean and accessible
  • discuss the progress of your service with you
  • respond to concerns or complaints you make

This is what we ask from you:

  • Treat the staff and others at FST with courtesy and respect, including maintaining the privacy of other clients
  • Actively participate in all aspects of your service
  • Inform staff of any need that requires our awareness or accommodation when providing service
  • Let FST know 24 hours before if you can’t keep an appointment.
  • Pay the agreed upon fee for programs that charge for service

You should know that FST does not tolerate discriminatory, threatening, harassing, or aggressive behaviors or actions. If these occur, they may be grounds for FST to terminate our relationship with you.

How to Provide Compliments or Make a Complaint

If you would like to provide us with a compliment or want to make a complaint about your service, please speak with the staff person you are working. If this is uncomfortable for you, you can speak to the staff person’s supervisor. Please call our Service Access Unit at 416-595-9618 to be directed to the supervisor.

Privacy Statement

You have the right to know how Family Service Toronto (FST) may share and use the information you give us and how you can have access to it. This Privacy Statement outlines FST’s privacy policy.

FST collects, uses and shares the personal information you give us in order to:

  • Provide quality programs and services
  • Contact clients to evaluate FST’s service
  • Conduct research
  • Contact individuals about our fundraising and membership activities
  • Recognize donor contributions
  • Report to funders and others, as required
  • Review client records to ensure high quality of service and documentation
  • Share personal information with your consent (for example, making a referral for service) or as required by law or contract

Client Privacy

The personal information you give us is kept private and secure in electronic client files and in paper records. We have security, passwords and policies in place to make sure your information stays private.

We record information you provide including:

  • How to contact you (for example, your name, address, phone number)
  • A description of who you are (for example, your age, income, languages you speak)
  • Information about the issues you are facing
  • Notes on our contacts with you

Anything you discuss with FST staff, students, or volunteers is kept private and confidential within FST. The person you are working with may talk to their service team, supervisor, director or others within FST to help ensure the highest quality service.

There are times when FST is required or permitted by law to release information about you without your consent. We release information if:

  • We believe someone is in danger of immediate harm, and information we have might prevent it
  • A child under the age of 16 is at risk of or has been abused or neglected
  • We have been subpoenaed by a court of law
  • We have to obey a summons, warrant or similar order and
  • Permitted or required by law

You have rights regarding your confidential record. You can:

  • See your record
  • Ask for a copy of your record
  • Ask us to help you understand what is written in your record
  • Ask us to make corrections to inaccurate or incomplete information
  • Refuse to give FST consent to share or use your information
  • Change your mind if you have already given us permission to use or share your information

If you want to discuss or see your record, talk to an FST staff person, supervisor, or FST’s Privacy Officer.

How To Reach Us to Ask Questions or Make a Complaint About Our Privacy Policies

If you have questions or concerns or want more information about how your personal information has been collected or used, or if you want to make a complaint, you can contact FST’s Privacy Officer at 416 595 9230 ext. 316 or by email at privacyofficer@familyservicetoronto.org. You can also make a complaint to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario by calling 416 326 3333 or visit their website at www.ipc.on.ca

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