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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 can be found 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:

  • Non-intact skin, such as open wounds or burns, of people who are infected
  • Eyes, nose, mouth of people who are infected
  • Contaminated surfaces, equipment, or 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 Facility Complaint Form by calling the Health Unit at 1-800-660-5853 and ask for extension 2222. 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 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 may:

  • 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 Facility 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).

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, if needed. The Health Unit may re-inspect the site to ensure best practices are being followed before certain practices are allowed to resume.

For some Infection Prevention and Control lapses, the Health Unit will notify people who may have been exposed to infectious diseases with information and recommendations.

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 and remain posted for two years.

The Health Unit is required to 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, the Health Unit 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 and remain posted 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.

Health Units are required to provide the following preamble on the webpage on which reports are posted:

“This website contains reports on premises where an infection prevention and control lapse was identified through the assessment of a complaint or referral, or through communicable disease surveillance. It does not include reports of premises which were investigated following a complaint or referral where no infection prevention and control lapse was ultimately identified.

These reports are not exhaustive, and do not guarantee that those premises listed and not listed are free of infection prevention and control lapses. Identification of lapses is based on assessment and investigation of premises at a point-in-time, and these assessments and investigations are triggered when potential infection prevention and control lapses are brought to the attention of the local medical officer of health. Reports are posted on the website of the board of health in which the premises are located. Reports are posted on a premises-by-premises basis, i.e., will correspond with one site only. Should you wish to view a full investigation report for any posted lapse, please contact the Health Unit.”

Current Reported IPAC Lapses

Almonte Nails: Initial IPAC Lapse Disclosure Report – October 4, 2023

Family Nails: Initial IPAC Lapse Disclosure Report – October 4, 2023

1000 Nails: Final IPAC Lapse Disclosure Report – September 22, 2023

Piercings by Melissa:   Initial IPAC Lapse Disclosure Report – July 20 2023

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