Assisting with a Medical Transfer

7 October 2022

A family living in one of the City's Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) buildings contacted our office. They told us that their son has a disability that limits his mobility, and that to get into their apartment, he had to climb a large staircase that was difficult for him to navigate. The family had requested a medical transfer to accommodate their son, but their request had been denied and they were hoping we could help.
After speaking with the family, we learned that they had not yet complained to TCHC about their transfer being denied. Instead, they brought their complaint directly to us. Since Ombudsman Toronto is an office of last resort, members of the public have to complain to the City through its complaints process before we can help. However, in matters of urgent health and safety concerns, we will often make an exception.
Given the family's circumstances, we moved ahead with the complaint and found that the process through which the family was denied the medical transfer was unfair. The family had clearly stated that their son could not climb the stairs to get in their apartment and provided a medical letter to support their claim, but their transfer was still denied. We spoke with TCHC, who agreed to reassess the family's request.
Why this Matters: The City organizations we oversee have the responsibility — and must have the opportunity — to address complaints from the people they serve. That’s why our office cannot handle complaints unless they have first gone through the City's regular complaints process. But sometimes members of the public contact us before they have tried to resolve a problem directly with the City. When this happens and the complaint is regarding an urgent health and safety matter, we will do what we can to help resolve the complaint as quickly as possible.