Rationale and Relationship to Mission, Principles and Values
The MS Society of Canada adheres to the highest standards of
quality, transparency and accountability. We are committed to
providing our stakeholders – such as donors, clients, event
participants, and the general public - with a high level of
service in the act of carrying out our mission. We value and
welcome comments, suggestions and complaints from those persons
with respect to their interactions with our organization. Such
feedback contributes to the ongoing improvement of our services
Moreover, as a learning organization, we actively solicit
feedback on our programs and services through program evaluation,
and we use the constructive feedback received to enhance our
A concern - or complaint - is an expression of dissatisfaction
about the service, actions, or lack of action by the Society as
an organization, or by a staff or volunteer acting on behalf of
the Society. Complaints may come from anyone who interacts with
the MS Society of Canada, be it the general public, donors, event
participants, clients or else.
This policy provides an avenue for external individuals to
communicate with the MS Society in the event that they wish to
register a concern or complaint. This policy is intended to
ensure that issues raised by any of our stakeholders are heard,
recorded and resolved in a professional manner.
This policy applies to staff and volunteers at all levels and
locations of the MS Society including the national office, all
divisions, and all chapters and units.
The policy was approved by the board of directors of the MS
Society of Canada on December 13, 2014
- It is in the interest of all parties that concerns are
dealt with promptly and resolved as quickly as possible.
- Review of concerns is fair, impartial and respectful to
- Complainants are advised of their options to escalate
their concern to a more senior staff person if they are
dissatisfied with treatment or outcome.
- Complainants are provided clear and understandable
reasons for decisions relating to complaints.
- Updates are provided to complainants during review
- Complaints are used to assist in improving services,
policies and procedures.
- All complaint information will be handled sensitively,
telling only those who need to know and following any
relevant data protection requirements.
- The existence this policy will be publicized so that
people know how to contact the MS Society to raise a concern.
Registering a Concern
The MS Society has a two-step process to raise concerns:
Sharing a concern
Many concerns can be resolved easily and quickly, often at
the time they arise, by speaking with a contact at the MS
Society. Call our toll free number 1-800-268-7582 and you will
be connected with staff in your local division office. You can
also contact the Office of Stakeholder Relations and Donor
Service by email at
include but are not limited to:
- Failure to do something agreed upon
- Errors made by a staff /volunteer
- Unfair or discourteous actions or statements by staff
- Service not delivered properly, on time, in my preferred
- Educational programs cancelled, not done well, or poorly
- Requests for tax receipts
- Request to tailor the frequency of communications
received per year to the wishes of the individual
- Request for removal of from mailing lists and/or
discontinuing any form of communication
Escalating a concern
If a concern is not satisfactorily resolved, or if a
member of the public wishes to make a formal complaint, they
may do so in writing to the Chief Marketing and Development
Officer, by email at
or by mail to:
Privileged & Strictly ConfidentialEscalated concerns may include but are not limited
The MS Society of Canada
Office of Stakeholder Relations and Donor Service
Attention: Chief Marketing and Development Officer
250 Dundas Street West, Suite 500
Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2Z5
The written complaint should include:
- Repeated requests for tax receipts
- Repeated requests for removal of from mailing lists
and/or discontinuing any form of communication
- Repeated errors made by a staff /volunteer
- Repeated unfair or discourteous actions/statements by
- the exact dissatisfaction or problem;
- phone number and other contact details of the complainant
(email, mail) (however if there are protection concerns these
details may not need to be provided);
- date of the alleged incident; and
- details of the issue or problem.
Handling of escalated concerns
After being received by email or mail, written concerns
will be recorded in a log by the Office of Stakeholder
Relations and Donor Service and will be directed to 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 concern, as
delegated by the Chief Marketing and Development Officer, to
either resolve it or transfer it to another person who can
Responding to an escalated concern
The Office of Stakeholder Relations and Donor Service
shall acknowledge the receipt of the escalated concern within 3
business days of receipt that the complaint has been received
and will identify the staff person who will be responding. The
person designated to respond to the concern will respond to
within 10 business days of the original receipt of the
complaint. If a timeframe for action can be determined, the
acknowledgement shall say so. In the event that the process
takes longer, the complainant will be notified. If for any
reason the timeline may differ the complainant will be
Resolving an escalated concern
In the spirit of continuous improvement, the Society will
work diligently to fix problems, correct mistakes and address
concerns. We will always treat complainants with courtesy and
respect, listen to what they have to say, keep them informed
about our progress, and finally provide them with a response.
Every effort should be made to resolve concerns received in a
timely fashion. Where a complaint cannot be easily resolved, it
should be escalated to the next line of supervision. Once a
matter is considered resolved, or has been deemed to be
non-resolvable, in the opinion of the Society, the complainant
shall be informed accordingly. The complainant shall receive a
written response that describes the action taken to investigate
the concern, the conclusions from the investigation, and any
action taken as a result of the complaint.
Exemptions to the Policy
There may be rare occasions when the MS Society may not
respond to a concern. These include:
- When a complaint is about something that the MS Society
has no direct connection to something that we are responsible
- When someone unreasonably pursues a complaint that we
have already responded to. They will be given escalation
points, but we may choose not to reply again and we will
always inform them of our decision to do this.
- When a complainant is being obviously abusive, prejudiced
or offensive in their manner.
- When a complainant is harassing a staff member.
- When a complaint is illegible.
- When a complaint has clearly been sent to us and numerous
other organizations as part of a bulk mailing or email.
- The MS Society will not respond to complaints made
anonymously. However, we will investigate the concern and use
the information to improve in any way that we can.
Under no circumstances shall any member of the MS Society
discriminate or retaliate against any persons filing a concern
under the provisions of this policy.
On an annual basis the Chief Marketing and Development
Officer must submit a Complaints Report to the board of
directors of the MS Society of Canada. The report shall include
at a minimum, the number of complaints in the reporting period,
the type and nature of the complaints received, and status of
The MS Society Chief Marketing and Development Officer is the
Executive Champion for the Resolving Stakeholder Concerns policy.
Monitoring and Compliance
The Executive Champion is responsible for:
- Leading the monitoring of the application of and compliance
with this policy direction in conjunction with other members of
the executive team.
- Reviewing concerns annually to identify any trends which may
indicate a need to take further action.
The Executive Champion will:
- Work with appropriate staff to ensure compliance.
- Provide regular reports (at least annually) to the board of
directors regarding the number, types and nature of the concerns
received and their resolution.
- Advise the Executive Team of all unresolved or significant
issues and complaints.
Related Policies, Legislation
Other MS Society policies that complement and support this policy
The policy is to be reviewed at a minimum every five (5) years
following its approval on December 13, 2014.
Executive Team - The most senior level of staff leadership within
the MS Society comprised of the president and chief executive
officer; division presidents; chief financial officer and
vice-president, human resources; chief development officer; and
national vice-presidents of research, client services and
government relations. One person may hold more than one position.
The president & chief executive officer may alter the
composition of the Executive Team as required from time-totime.
Concern – A concern - or complaint - is an expression of
dissatisfaction about the service, actions, or lack of action by
the Society as an organization, or by a staff or volunteer acting
on behalf of the Society.
Complainant – Any person submitting a written concern to the MS
Society of Canada (general public, donors, participants,
patients, researchers, and/or volunteers.)
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
Approved: December 13, 2014
Approved by: Board of Directors of the MS Society of Canada
Applies to: All volunteers and staff at all levels