On this page you will find the following policies:
Service user policy
Donor policy & privacy principles
External complaint policy
Community Feedback policy
Our commitment to protecting the privacy of those who use our service(s)
We are committed to providing you the best possible service at all times. Calls, Chats and Texts to DC services and partnerships may be monitored for training and quality assurance purposes.
We take your privacy and security very seriously. Security controls are in place to ensure the protection of your information. We will not share or disclose your personally identifiable information; however, we do reserve the right to disclose any personal information to the authorities as required or permitted by law, as well as to authorize the engagement of law enforcement or medical services to initiate emergency services or a safety check when necessary.
In addition, we collect and store information, including non-identifying demographic content of interactions, which we use to create aggregate statistical information and for the purpose of quality assurance, as well as research aimed at contributing to the advancement of crisis intervention services. Data will be collected, stored and used only for the purpose of facilitating better help to clients, ensuring quality assurance and for clearly defined research objectives that we determine could contribute to the development of leading practices in distress and crisis response.
Our commitment to protecting the privacy of our Donors
Distress Centres is committed to protecting the privacy of its donors, service users, volunteers and other individuals from whom we collect personal information. This policy applies to Distress Centres and to any person providing services on our behalf. A copy of this policy is provided to any person upon request.
Personal information means information about an identifiable individual. This includes an individual’s name, home address and phone number, age, sex, marital or family status, an identifying number, financial information, educational history, etc.
Distress Centres embraces the principles of the Canadian Standards Association Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information to ensure that all personal information is properly collected, used only for the purposes for which it is collected, and is disposed of in a safe and timely manner when no longer required.
Our Privacy Principles
Our mandate is to maintain and enhance long-term relationships with our donors, service users and other stakeholders. We also recognize that information is precious, and our donors, service users and other stakeholders trust us to treat that information appropriately; we are committed to protecting the confidentiality of this data. The following principles reflect our pledge to safeguard personal information:
1. We are accountable for your personal information. We are responsible for all personal information in our possession. All employees, agents and authorized service providers of Distress Centres are required to protect the confidentiality of your personal information. We take every precaution to ensure its confidentiality. The data you provide to us is only for Distress Centres purposes, as outlined in section 2.
We keep your personal information and the transactions you have with us in strict confidence.
We never disclose your personal information to a third party unless we have your consent or it is a life-threatening situation.
2. We collect, use and disclose personal information only for certain purposes that we identify to you. We collect, use or disclose information only for use by Distress Centres to:
o Administer your donation and contact you about renewal
o Respond to your information requests
o Know who our donors are
o Periodically, as we are able, send you literature on Distress Centres or invite you to recognition events and information sessions
o Thank you and, with your consent, recognize your gift
o Obtain emergency services in the case of a life-threatening situation
o Support and supervise our volunteer responders
We obtain personal information about you lawfully and fairly.
Personal information collected will be limited to that required for the purposes identified by us.
Distress Centres holds various special events to build public awareness and raise additional funds. Some of these events require the gathering of personal information, and we will inform you of the purpose for which the information is being requested. We use this information only for purposes related to this event.
3. We will obtain your consent. We collect, use or disclose your personal information with your permission. Your permission may be expressed orally, in writing or may be implied, and you may give it to us orally, electronically or in writing.
You may withdraw your permission to collect, use and disclose your personal information at any time, subject to legal and contractual restrictions and reasonable notice.
4. We keep your personal information accurate and up-to-date. We maintain appropriate procedures to ensure that personal information in our possession is accurate and up-to-date. You are entitled to seek a correction of your personal information if you believe that the information in our possession is not correct.
If you believe any of the information we have collected about you is incorrect or incomplete, you have the right to ask us to change it or delete it.
If your personal information is inaccurate or incomplete, we will make the necessary changes.
5. We do not sell your personal information. We do not sell your personal information.
6. We will limit how long we keep information. We will keep your personal information only as long as it is necessary to satisfy the purposes for which it was obtained, or as required by law.
When we destroy personal information, we will use safeguards to prevent unauthorized parties from gaining access to that information during the process.
7. We safeguard your personal information. Distress Centres will protect your personal information by safeguards that are appropriate to the sensitivity of that information. Access to your personal information is restricted to Distress Centres employees, volunteer supporters and authorized service providers who need it to do their jobs.
We maintain appropriate technical and organizational safeguards to protect your personal information against loss, theft, unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification.
We have developed security procedures to safeguard and protect personal information against loss, theft, unauthorized disclosure, copying, and unauthorized use or modification. We will maintain appropriate safeguards and security procedures that reflect the types of documents, including electronic or paper records, organizational measures, including security clearances and limiting access on a "need-to-know" basis, and technological measures, such as the use of passwords and encryption.
We collect only the domain name (e.g., Sympatico, Hotmail, etc.) and not the email address of visitors to our website. Donors on the site are linked to an industry-standard secure payment service for credit card transactions. Our site uses “cookies” — small files containing information that track a visit to a website. These temporary files follow the flow through the site in order to improve service to visitors and cannot be used to obtain any personally identifiable details.
Your browser can be set to notify you before receipt of a cookie, so that you can decide whether or not to accept it (you can also set your browser to turn off cookies, but if you do so, some areas of our site may not function properly).
8. We will be open about our privacy practices. Distress Centres will make readily available to you specific information about our policies and practices relating to the management of personal information.
9. We allow you to access your personal information. You may ask whether we hold any personal information about you, ensure that it is accurate, and see that information, as provided by law. You also have the right to know:
o How we collected your personal information
o How we are using it
10. You may register a complaint. You may register a privacy-related complaint by contacting Distress Centres. We will explain our procedure and inform you about other complaint procedures available. We will investigate all complaints. If an objection is justified, we will take all appropriate steps to repair the situation, including changing our policies and practices if necessary. Personal information relating to volunteers, job applicants and employees is subject to similar protocols.
Distress Centres External Complaint Policy
This Policy is intended to address complaints (“Complaints”) received from persons who are not affiliated with Distress Centres (that is, a person who is not a Volunteer, Staff, Management and/or a Director). The necessary procedures for addressing Complaints will be determined, documented and reviewed at appropriate intervals by Staff and the Executive Director.
Distress Centres values feedback, and will receive and address Complaints in a fair and professional manner.
Upon receipt, Complaints will be referred either to an appropriate Staff member or to the Executive Director.
The Staff member or the Executive Director will respond to the Complaint by:
logging the Complaint and the steps taken in response to it, in a record kept for the purpose;
conducting a reasonable investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Complaint;
taking appropriate action to remedy the situation described in the Complaint;
taking appropriate action to prevent recurrence of a similar situation; and
if the person making the Complaint provided contact information, contacting that person to advise them that steps were taken to address the Complaint, and (if appropriate in the circumstances) to inform them of the nature of the steps taken.
Complaints should be logged, investigated, acted upon, and responded to (if applicable) within 7 days of receipt. In very unusual circumstances which require more time to investigate and act upon, the complaint should be logged and investigation started within 7 days of receipt and a response given (if applicable), giving an approximate time frame to investigate and act upon the complaint.
If the Complaint is addressed by a Staff member, and if either the person making the Complaint or the person who is the subject of the Complaint expresses dissatisfaction with the steps taken by the Staff member, the matter shall be referred to the Executive Director.
The Executive Director may choose to consult one or more members of the Community Engagement Committee at any stage of addressing a Complaint.
The Executive Director shall review the record of all Complaints received on a regular basis, and take appropriate action to deal with patterns or trends which may emerge upon review.
Information facilitating the making of a Complaint, and an outline of the Complaints process,shall be made freely available to any person who may wish to make a Complaint (including, but not limited to, being posted on the Distress Centres website).
Caller & Community Feedback Procedures
Distress Centres is a committed to listening to our community. If you would like to make a comment or leave feedback, you can contact us in one of three ways:
1. You can mail your comments to:
Box 243, Adelaide P.O.
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2J4
Please note it can take up to four weeks to receive a mailed, written, return response.
2. You can call and leave a message on our feedback line at 416-486-3180. If requested, you should receive a response within one week
If you would like to hear back from one of our Distress Centres staff members regarding your comment, please be sure to include your contact information.
3. You can email your comments by filing out the form below: