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What sort of complaints are investigated?

Through the Act and the Council's Mandate and Roles Document, the Council has authority to investigate complaints about accredited organizations, safety codes officers, permit issuers, and master electricians.

What sort of complaints are not investigated?

The Council does not have a mandate to investigate complaints about tradespersons, contractual or fee disputes between property owners and contractors, development permits issued under the Municipal Government Act, or other issues that fall outside the scope of the Safety Codes Act.

Any complaint investigation that is currently pending litigation, in litigation, or the subject of an appeal to the Safety Codes Council may be placed on hold until a decision is reached in either process.

Not all disputes are best settled through the investigation process. Complaints dealing with imminent danger should be taken to the authority having jurisdiction, usually your municipality. If you are unsure where to direct your complaint, please contact us at 780.413.0099.

What happens after I submit the complaint form and supporting documents?

After the Council receives all relevant documentation, the information is reviewed by the complaint investigator and the investigator will ask any follow up questions he or she may have. The investigator will request a written statement and schedule an interview.

I discovered an unsafe situation, what do I do?

In situations requiring immediate attention the Council complaint process may not be the best avenue for the concern. In most cases the authority having jurisdiction is a municipality. If you are not sure who to direct your complaint to, please contact us at 780.413.0099 to be directed to appropriate resources.

What does the Council do with the information collected from the investigation?

The recording and analyzing of the types of complaints and the outcomes may be reviewed by the Council to provide information for improvements on efficiency and service delivery. All information collected is in compliance with FOIP. The Council may share information collected through the complaint process with Alberta Municipal Affairs.

Is the complaint confidential?

The Council cannot guarantee that the information you provide, or information that is obtained through other parties during the course of the investigation, will remain confidential. Respondents to the complaint are provided with information obtained during the investigation.

What happens after an investigation is complete?

The Council will communicate the outcome of the complaint through a written decision. The actions taken will be tailored to each case and take into account any statutory requirements.

What’s the difference between filing an appeal and filing a complaint?

The Safety Codes Council complaint procedure applies to the conduct, performance, or competency of an organization or individual having authority, powers, or duties under the Safety Codes Act.
In contrast, the appeal process applies to orders, refusals, suspensions and cancellations.
For example, if you feel an SCO overlooked something or acted unprofessionally during an inspection, you may wish to file a complaint. If you were refused a permit and wish to take up this issue, you would appeal the refusal.   

I’m unhappy with the quality of work done by a contractor or tradesperson. Can I file a complaint with the Safety Codes Council?

 No, our complaints investigations deal only with people or organizations that have authority, powers, or duties under the Safety Codes Act and its regulations. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • Safety codes officers (SCOs)
  • Master electricians
  • Permit issuers
  • Accredited municipalities
  • Accredited corporations
  • Accredited agencies
  • Accredited Regional Services Commissions

A contractor or tradesperson did poor quality work, and the inspecting SCO didn’t tell me. 
Do I have grounds for a complaint?

No. When an SCO performs an inspection, his or her job is to determine whether the work being inspected meets the intent of the applicable code. The codes are there to provide an acceptable level of safety, not quality. The safety codes officer is not responsible for quality control of construction or installation outside of the safety codes aspects defined in the applicable codes.

The SCO who inspected my property didn’t inspect some part of it, such as the roof 
or sprinkler system.

 Safety codes officers are not on site the entire time construction is being undertaken. While they do inspect, they may not inspect every aspect every time. Some specific installations such as sprinkler systems are also the responsibility of professionals such as engineers and qualified or certified installers. While the safety codes officer may not have looked at such an installation on site, the documented review of the other professionals is obtained. The Quality Management Plan of the organization that employs the safety codes officer outlines the types of things that must be inspected along with the inspection frequency.

I disagree with a fee charged to me by an accredited organization. Can this be resolved by 
filing a complaint?

 No, the Council has no jurisdiction or influence over contracts, fees, or fee disputes. In addition, the Council does not award monetary damages or compel payment of monies at the end of an investigation.

What sets the standards for inspections and permits?

 The standards are set by the Safety Codes Council. The Council has adopted a model Quality Management Plan (QMP) which every accredited organization must meet or exceed. The QMP states the requirements surrounding permits, plans reviews, site inspections, and inspection requirements. Requirements vary according to type of organization (municipality or corporation) and which discipline the work in question falls under.