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Infection Control Complaints

In January 2018, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care released the Infection Prevention and Control Complaint Protocol. Under this protocol, health units are mandated to follow-up on all complaints related to infection prevention and control (IPAC) to assess the risk of transmission of infectious diseases, and to determine the appropriate public health response.

If you think you have been exposed to an infectious disease while receiving dental/health care or personal services in the community, you can make a complaint to public health. When the health unit investigates a complaint and believes there is a risk an infectious disease was spread, it is called an infection prevention and control lapse (IPAC lapse).

Infectious diseases live in blood and body fluids such as saliva, mucous, semen, and vaginal fluid. You could be at risk of getting an infectious disease if you have been exposed to blood and body fluids through contact with:

  • Contaminated unwashed hands
  • Eyes, nose, mouth of infected people
  • Non-intact skin such as open wounds or burns of infected people
  • Contaminated equipment or dirty items such as nail-clippers, needles or other sharps, and medical examination tools

If you think you have been put at risk for getting an infectious disease you should make a complaint to public health. 

If you think you have been put at risk for getting an infectious disease, you can make a complaint with the Health Unit by completing and submitting the Infection Control Complaint Form or by calling the Health Unit at 1-800-660-5853 and ask to speak to the “Duty Desk”. Your personal information will be kept confidential.

*Complaints or referrals about health hazards in the environment or restaurant premises follow a different process. For more information about this, please visit the Home Health and Safety, or INSIGHT Inspection Reports sections of our website, email us, or call the Heath Unit at 1-800-660-5853 and ask to speak with the “Duty Desk”.

The Health Unit must follow-up on infection prevention and control (IPAC) complaints within 24 hours of receiving them. Health Unit staff may contact you to gather more information about your complaint.

As part of the follow-up, Health Unit staff will:

  • Interview staff at the site
  • Observe infection prevention and control practices such as how equipment, tools, and the environment are cleaned and disinfected
  • Review policies, procedures, records and logs
  • Check to see how sharps are handled and stored
  • Provide education and ensure changes are made if needed

If you would like the Health Unit to contact you with the results of your complaint, please provide your contact information on the Infection Control Complaint Form.

If Health Unit staff believes there is a risk that an infectious disease could be spread, it is considered an infection prevention and control lapse (IPAC lapse). Infection Prevention and Control lapse reports will be posted on the Health Unit website within 2 weeks of the follow-up.

An Infection Prevention and Control lapse occurs when best practices are not followed and as a result, there is risk that an infectious disease is spread to clients or patients.

Some examples of best practices are proper cleaning and/or disinfecting of the setting where care or service was provided, and cleaning and sterilization of reusable equipment.

Best practices for infection prevention and control are set by:

  • Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PIDAC)
  • Public Health Ontario (PHO)
  • Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC)

If the Health Unit finds that an Infection Prevention and Control lapse has occurred, the setting where care or service was provided may need to stop certain practices until changes are made to meet current best practice. The Health Unit also has the authority to close down the service site until the issues are resolved. The Health Unit will re-inspect the site to ensure best practices are being followed before certain practices are allowed to resume.

The Health Unit will work with the setting to notify people who may have been exposed to infectious diseases, and facilitate access to testing and counselling.

The Health Unit is required to inform the public of all Infection Prevention and Control lapses. Reports are posted on the Health Unit’s website within two weeks of the inspection and remain posted on our website for two years.

Public Health Inspectors routinely inspect the following places to ensure they are following proper infection prevention and control practices regardless if there are complaints:

  • Personal services (body piercing, tattooing, manicure, pedicure) settings including special events such as trade shows, conventions, fairs, and exhibitions where personal services are provided
  • Licensed child care settings as defined in the Child Care and Early Years Act

Reports for routine inspections can be found on the INSIGHT Inspection Reports section of our website.

If an infection control complaint is filed, Health Unit staff will also inspect settings that are not routinely inspected such as:

  • Places where regulated health professionals (RHP) work such as doctor or dentist offices, walk-in clinics, and medi-spas. Regulated health professionals include doctors, dentists, nurses, chiropractors, etc.
  • Unlicensed child care settings
  • Community centres
  • Recreational facilities including sports clubs
  • Schools
  • Temporary dwellings set up for temporary or seasonal workers

Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Lapse Reports

The Health Unit is required to inform the public of all Infection Prevention and Control lapses. Reports are posted on this website within two weeks of the inspection and remain posted on our website for two years. These reports do not guarantee that sites listed and not listed are free of infection prevention and control lapses. These reports are based on observations made by the Health Unit at the time of follow-up.

Only reports for sites located in Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark counties are posted on this website.

The following Infection Prevention and Control Lapse Reports are available:

Infection Prevention and Control Resources for Professionals

Information and resources for professionals can be found in the Infection Control in Practice section found under For Professionals.

Infection Prevention and Control Resources for Personal Service Settings

Information and resources for personal service settings can be found on Beauty and Body Art section of our website.

References

Information on this page was compiled using the Ontario Public Health Standards: Protocols and Guidelines from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care