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Client Rights and Responsibilities


Independent Counselling Enterprises believes clients have the following rights:

  1. The right to independence.
  2. The right to be listened to and to self-advocate, or if unable, to have someone advocate on their behalf.The right to be informed about the service provider (agency's policies and procedures that govern service delivery) and the services being provided there by enabling the client to make informed choices to accept or to refuse services
  3. The right to service provision according to the clients needs’ and established personal plans not restricted by gender, age, race, creed, religion, sexual orientation or colour.
  4. The right to quality service and support characterized by respect and dignity for the client, recognition of the client’s privacy needs, courtesy, competency, punctuality, flexibility, confidentiality and freedom from mental, physical and financial abuse by the service provider.
  5. The right to be fully included in the planning, revision or review of their personal plan.
  6. The right to be informed of the appeal process and to appeal decisions made by Independent Counselling Enterprises regarding service delivery without fear of reprisal or discrimination.
  7. The right to be informed of any Policy changes affecting service provision.

Independent Counselling Enterprises believes clients have the following responsibilities:

  1. The responsibility to actively participate in decisions and to make a commitment to follow through in all aspects of service delivery.
  2. The responsibility to keep agreements made with Independent Counselling Enterprises and its employees.
  3. The responsibility to treat Independent Counselling Enterprises employees with respect.
  4. The responsibility to express concerns and problem-solve with the employee and to report unresolved issues to the employee’s supervisor.
  5. The responsibility to ensure financial arrangements for service delivery are met within the specified time lines.
  6. The responsibility to promote a safe working environment for both the employees and other clients.
  7. The responsibility to pay all costs in their living environment including repairs.

Client Confidentiality

Independent Counselling Enterprises places a high priority on the right to confidentiality as it pertains to service provision. Service is provided in accordance with the Health Information Act (HIA), the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP), and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

All confidential information is collected, used, disclosed, and disposed of as per information and site security policies
  1. Any information pertaining to Independent Counselling Enterprises’ clients or their families will be held in strict confidence. No information will be released without written consent from the client and/or guardian and the funding source as appropriate.
  2. Independent Counselling Enterprises employees must sign a Standards of Confidentiality when hired. Violating this Standard is grounds for discipline up to and including dismissal for cause. (Copy of the Standards of Confidentiality follows). All policies regarding confidentiality are reviewed during Pre Employment Training with new employees. Additionally, confidentiality policies are reviewed in the company newsletter.
  3. Information Technology Security:
    • All computers are protected by a server access password and a 10-minute screensaver password.
    • Confidential client information will not be stored on personal electronic equipment. To protect client rights’ no photographs or video clips are permitted to be taken on any employee’s cell phone or any other personal electronic equipment.
    • Email can only be accessed by the intended recipient, through password protection.
    • Confidential information is only saved to the office servers. Confidential information is not saved on individual hard drives. Servers are protected with passwords and firewalls, as per current available technology.
    • Servers have restricted access.
  4. Telephone and Fax Security:
    • Confidential information faxed to the agency is received in a secure location. Access is limited to approved personnel.
    • Confidential information is not left on voice-mail intended for clients or employees.
    • Access to voice-mail within I.C.E. offices is password protected and accessible only to appropriate personnel.
    • If faxes are sent to employees at home, the sender will verify that the recipient is physically there to receive the fax.
    • Faxes are all sent with a cover sheet that contains no confidential information.
  5. Office Security:
    • Field employees are classified as visitors for safety and security purposes.
    • An I.C.E. employee in all offices greets visitors
    • An I.C.E. employee accompanies all visitors in an office area at all times.
    • Offices are secured after hours by monitored alarm systems.
    • All client and employee files are stored in filing cabinets, locked when not in use.
  6. Transportation:
    • Home Care employees never have access to a complete client file and so would never transport it. These employees may carry confidential information including a client care plan. This is given only for new clients or when significant changes to the client’s care plan have occurred. Only the required information is given: for example if the worker is familiar with the client’s address, the address will not be given.
    • Community Rehabilitation Support Staff Residential and Non-Residential may carry client files or other confidential information to and from medical or health appointments. This documentation must be signed in and out using the site logbook.
    • Support employees may be issued a computer-generated schedule if they have several clients in a day. This schedule is generated to only include the client’s first name and last initial or house name. No other identifying information appears on this schedule.
    • Support employees may also carry their own documentation of visits if they work with clients that are not at I.C.E operated sites (i.e. contact notes, activity sheets, client verification forms, time sheets, critical and general incident forms). Support employees are to keep this documentation as anonymous as possible by only including the client’s first name and last initial. No other identifying information is to be included on any of these forms.
    • All client information is kept in the trunk of the vehicle, or otherwise hidden from view, when being transported. Client confidential information will not be left in an unattended vehicle.
    • All employees carry with them only the information required to perform safe, effective and quality service. Documents not required in a given day are stored in the office, or at an I.C.E. operated site, or a secure area of the support employee’s home if they do not work at an I.C.E. operated site. Access is restricted to the I.C.E. employee. When the support employee is off duty, all documents are stored in this secure area of their home.
  7. In the Client’s Home:
    • All non-residential clients will have a care plan in their home, if the client and/or guardian have agreed. This care plan contains only the name of the client and the description of support service as approved by CH Home Care. It is kept in a closed folder and placed in an area of the client’s choosing, usually on top of the fridge. I.C.E. leaves no other information in the home, other than names and telephone numbers of contacts for service.
  8. Disposal of Confidential Information:
    • Support employees with information that is no longer needed are to return this information to the office to be recorded and stored or disposed of, as appropriate.
    • All confidential information that is no longer needed within the offices is shredded at the office by a shredding machine, or by an on-site shredding service.
    • All confidential information that is to be stored is kept within locked filing cabinets within the office, or at a secure storage facility with 24 hour monitoring.

Informed Consent

  1. Clients and/or their guardians have an absolute right to informed consent.
  2. Informed consent is a free choice to participate in or to avail themselves of services offered by Independent Counselling Enterprises. In order to make this choice, clients and/or guardians must be informed of the full implications of the service including benefits, risks, costs and other pertinent information.
  3. Clients and/or guardians are required to sign a consent form prior to commencement of services acknowledging their consent for services. The signed consent form will be retained on the client’s file. Clients and/or guardians must also sign a partial delegation of medical consent form and consent to administer medications that are also kept on the client’s file. Both documents are to be renewed annually.
  4. Home care clients have already provided written consent to Alberta Health Services – Capital Heath and no further written consent is required by Independent Counselling Enterprises.
  5. Clients and/or guardians can withdraw consent at any time. This decision must always be respected by Independent Counselling Enterprises employees. Should consent be withdrawn, employees are to notify their supervisor immediately and document the details of the situation in a contact note.
  6. I.C.E. may request participation in recording or video-taping clients to further promote services, or for training purposes and will do so under the following conditions: the client has full knowledge of the purpose and written consent is provided from the client/legal guardian.
  7. I.C.E. promotes its programs through participation in media publication events (I.C.E. Brochures, Career Fairs etc.) through the use of photographs, videotapes, audio taped interviews, or creative work and may request involvement from agency clients. I.C.E. will ensure that the client/legal guardian is aware of the purpose and provides written consent.
  8. All media inquiries and promotional activities pertaining to clients will be directed to the President.
  9. I.C.E. clients may be asked to participate in research activities for educational purposes. In doing so the following conditions must be met: participation is completely voluntary, continuation of services is not contingent on the client’s participation, informed written consent must be given by the client/legal guardian which specifies: the nature/purpose of the research; a description of possible risks, and a guarantee of confidentiality. Generally it is I.C.E. Policy to not participate in research activities.

Client Advocacy

  1. Independent Counselling Enterprises employees are expected to always act in their clients’ best interests. In some circumstances, this responsibility may involve advocacy for clients who are unable to act on their own behalf or supporting clients to advocate for themselves by modeling or teaching advocacy skills.
  2. Advocacy includes but is not limited to: ensuring the client has appropriate support within or outside the agency, assisting the client in understanding the services they are eligible for/have access to (i.e. educational/employment opportunities, Treaty benefits, PDD, CFS, Child and Youth Advocate’s Office, legal services etc.), to ensure their rights are maintained, and to ensure basic needs are met.
  3. Examples of clients who might need advocates include children or dependent adults whose guardians are not acting in their best interests, independent adults who are intellectually or emotionally impaired or who are under the influence of mood-altering medication. If there is any question about the status of an Independent Counselling Enterprises client, employees are to seek assistance from their supervisor.
  4. Clients who are physically, emotionally, financially or sexually injured or abused are in need of outside assistance. Employees will immediately notify supervisors of any of these situations and will document details of the circumstances.
  5. In their advocacy role, the employee should approach the following people in the order given:
    • Immediate Independent Counselling Enterprises Supervisor;
    • Primary caregiver;
    • Funding Source Representative
    Other people may be drawn into discussions, depending on the specific circumstances.
  6. Employees, as part of their advocacy role, may be subsequently involved in pressing charges against a responsible party, reporting details of incidences to investigating authorities or testifying in legal proceedings.

Client Appeal Process

Ice Clients have the right to appeal any decision made by Independent Counselling Enterprises that relates to the services they receive (see Policy 2.1.6 Termination of Services to Clients). Any client appeal filed will not result in agency/staff retaliation or barriers to service. I.C.E. will ensure the client is supported and provided with information and assistance, and has access to external sources (i.e. Children’s Advocate) throughout the appeals process. The process for appealing decisions should take no longer than 72 hours from initial discussion through to written resolution, including:

Step 1: Client and/or guardian initiates a verbal discussion with the employee responsible for client care. The employee listens carefully to the problem and makes all reasonable efforts to resolve the issue. The details of the discussion and any subsequent action are documented in a contact note and the supervisor is verbally informed of the incident. If the employee is unable to resolve the problem, proceed to step 2.

Step 2: Client and/or guardian initiates verbal discussion with the employee’s supervisor. The supervisor listens carefully to the problem and makes all reasonable efforts to resolve the issue. The details of the discussion and any subsequent action are documented in a contact note and the supervisor’s manager is verbally informed of the incident. If the supervisor is unable to resolve the problem, proceed to step 3.

Step 3: The appropriate Manager/Regional Manager reviews the documentation, which is a summary of the circumstances, the steps taken to date, and the desired outcome. The Manager will investigate the circumstances of the complaint, meet with the client and/or guardian and make a decision about the appropriate course of action. If the Client is not satisfied, proceed to Step 4. Note the Manager is to document all contact and ensure this is placed in the client file immediately.

Step 4: The Manager provides the written documentation to the Chief Operating Officer/Alberta Manager of Operations. The Chief Operating Officer/Alberta Manager of Operations will investigate the circumstances of the complaint, meet with the client and/or guardian and make a decision about the appropriate course of action. If the Client is not satisfied, proceed to Step 5. Note the Chief Operating Officer/Alberta Manager of Operations is to document all contact and ensure this is placed in the client file immediately.

Step 5: The Chief Operating Officer provides the written documentation to the President The President will investigate the circumstances of the complaint, if necessary meet with the client and/or guardian and make a decision about the appropriate course of action. The President’s decision is final. Where necessary the President will provide written documentation to the client/guardian clearly stating his decision. The President will also ensure proper documentation has been placed in the client’s file no later than 24 hours after his decision has been made.

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