Complaint Review Process

The Ombudsperson looks into complaints regarding the application of CBC Journalistic standards and practices. This covers content on radio, television, websites and other digital platforms. There is a limit of one year from the date of the original publication to file a complaint.

  1. Send your complaints or comments to the Office of the Ombudsperson by email or regular mail as follows:
    P.O. Box 500, Station A
    Toronto, ON, Canada M5W 1E6
    Please provide your name, mailing address and telephone number in case we need to get in touch with you.

  1. The Ombudsperson will not handle anonymous complaints, or complaints containing insults, offensive remarks, profanities or gratuitously aggressive language.
  2. The Ombudsperson reserves the right not to handle complaints that are identical to one already received, or that are part of a series of complaints orchestrated by an individual, organization or interest group. In such cases, the Ombudsperson may decide to handle only the initial complaint. However, all complaints received will be counted for statistical purposes.
  3. If your complaint has legal ramifications the Ombudsperson will seek written clarification of your intentions. At this stage, you will be asked to choose between legal action or recourse to the Ombudsperson. The Ombudsperson determines whether to decline to initiate the review process.
  4. The Ombudsperson reads your complaint or comment and determines whether it warrants a response from CBC management. (All complaints are shared with CBC management.)
  5. If your complaint warrants a response from CBC management, the Ombudsperson forwards it to the appropriate news manager or program executive, who is responsible for handling the initial response to your complaint, in consultation with the journalist or programmer.
  6. News and Current Affairs programmers have 20 business days to respond to your complaint. The Ombudsperson may also intervene when the programmers faiI to respond to a complaint within a reasonable time.
  7. If you are not satisfied with management’s response you have three months to ask the Ombudsperson to review your case.
  8. Further to the request for review, the Ombudsperson informs the program heads and/or journalist(s) in question. The Ombudsperson asks to meet or speak with news management and staff to gather facts and understand the journalistic approach. The Ombudsperson may cite the comments of CBC employees, unless it is agreed that discussions are of a confidential nature.
  9. The Ombudsperson examines the merits of the case. S/he may conduct an in-depth investigation, contact sources, and consult experts or any other person who may help him/her issue on opinion on whether the complaint is justified.
  10. The Ombudsperson ascertains whether the disputed journalistic content or conduct adheres to CBC’s journalistic policy entitled Journalistic Standards and Practices.
  11. The Ombudsperson issues an opinion as to whether the complaint is justified. The Ombudsperson may also make recommendations. S/he has the power to recommend only. S/he has no decision-making authority over programming, personnel management, or editorial choices.
  12. The Ombudsperson sends the results of his/her review to you. S/he also forwards a copy to the relevant journalists and managers, who are responsible for following up, if required.
  13. The review is released publicly on the Ombudsperson’s website and may include, in whole or in part, your original complaint, CBC’s initial response and your reply.
  14. Please be aware that complainants will generally be identified when reviews of their complaints are posted to the Ombudsperson's website, unless they can provide me with a valid reason why they should not be identified.