What is an Ombudsman?

An Ombudsman is a neutral, independent resource who provides informal, confidential assistance to help with the resolution of concerns and complaints. The Ombudsman helps facilitate a resolution through discussing the issue and facilitating possible solutions. Where possible the Ombudsman will suggest and refer unresolved complaints and problems to alternative methods of dispute resolution.

Who should contact the Ombudsman?

Any franchisee or franchisor operating in Canada can contact the Ombudsman if they wish to discuss an issue or concern regarding a franchise relationship with a neutral, objective person. Often the first conversation is used to identify the root of the problem and discuss options. If the Ombudsman is not the appropriate venue for handling a particular issue, a referral will be offered.

What are the costs?

There is no charge for the use of this service. The Ombudsman service is funded by sponsorship donations made by the franchise community and supported by the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA). If you would like to learn more about sponsoring the CFA Ombudsman Program, please contact Lou Gervasi, Senior Manager, Development & Member Relationships at or 416-695-2896 ext. 243.

What can I expect if I contact the Ombudsman?

  • Privacy
  • Timely response
  • Information
  • Discussion of alternatives
  • Diplomacy
  • Respect and sensitivity

What can't the Ombudsman do?

  • Take sides
  • Breach confidentiality
  • Conduct formal or in-depth processes
  • Make management decisions
  • Provide legal advice
  • Advocate for anyone in a dispute

Is my identity truly confidential?

Absolutely. All conversations are private and confidential. The Ombudsman adheres to the Ombudsman Association’s Code of Ethics (see below). It emphasizes the importance of maintaining all conversations in confidence. As you would expect, the only exception is in limited circumstances (i.e. where there is a threat of serious harm).

Ombudsman’s Code of Ethics:
The Senior CFA Ombudsman is a certified Ombudsman through the International Ombudsman Association and all Ombudsman are recognized members. The program adheres to the Association’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

The Ombudsman, as a designated neutral third party, has the responsibility of maintaining strict confidentiality concerning matters that are brought to his / her attention unless given permission otherwise. The only exceptions, at the sole discretion of the Ombudsman, are where there appears to be threat of serious harm. The Ombudsman must take all reasonable steps to protect any records and files pertaining to confidential discussions from inspection by all other persons. The Ombudsman should not testify in any formal judicial or administrative hearing about concerns brought to his / her attention.

When making recommendations, the Ombudsman has the responsibility to suggest actions or policies that will be equitable to all parties.

How do I contact the Ombudsman?

Toll-Free: 1-866-443-8255
Toronto area: 416-928-1697
This is a secure line with confidential voice mail which can only be accessed by the Ombudsman.


Mail your letters to:
CFA Ombudsman
5863 Leslie St., Suite 505
Toronto, ON M2H 1J8
Please note that this address is for mailing purposes only.