Complaint Review Process

The CBC Ombudsman handles complaints about journalistic content or conduct appearing on one of CBC’s three platforms (TV, radio or CBC.ca).

  1. Send your complaints or comments to the Office of the Ombudsman by email or regular mail as follows:
    ombudsman@cbc.ca
    Ombudsman
    CBC
    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 Ombudsman will not handle anonymous complaints, or complaints containing insults, offensive remarks, profanities or gratuitously aggressive language.
  2. The Ombudsman 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 Ombudsman 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 Ombudsman will seek written clarification of your intentions. At this stage, you will be asked to choose between legal action or recourse to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman determines whether to decline to initiate the review process.
  4. The Ombudsman 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 Ombudsman 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 Ombudsman 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 Ombudsman to review your case.
  8. Further to the request for review, the Ombudsman informs the program heads and/or journalist(s) in question. The Ombudsman asks to meet or speak with news management and staff to gather facts and understand the journalistic approach. The Ombudsman may cite the comments of CBC employees, unless it is agreed that discussions are of a confidential nature.
  9. The Ombudsman 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 Ombudsman ascertains whether the disputed journalistic content or conduct adheres to CBC’s journalistic policy entitled Journalistic Standards and Practices.
  11. The Ombudsman issues an opinion as to whether the complaint is justified. The Ombudsman 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 Ombudsman 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 Ombudsman’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 Ombudsman's website, unless they can provide me with a valid reason why they should not be identified.