Sarah Cowboy named Commissioner of Complaints and Quality of Services

October 11, 2017
Sarah Cowboy

The Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay has a new Commissioner of Complaints and Quality of Services. Sarah Cowboy was Assistant Commissioner since August 2016. She started work in her new position as Commissioner on October 2, 2017. Sarah Cowboy is a nurse from Waskaganish with 22 years’ experience in several communities, and she is also a former Local Director who understands how services are organized and delivered at the community level.

The Commissioner is an Ombudsperson who receives complaints and other feedback from people who use the services offered by the Cree Health Board. She investigates situations, analyzes the causes and makes recommendations to fix systemic problems. Unlike other employees who report ultimately to the Executive Director, the Commissioner reports directly to the Board of Directors. This way she can be an independent advocate for patients and the community. She sits on the Vigilance Committee of the Board, where members discuss how to address systemic problems reflected in formal complaints filings, in order to make the services better for all clients. She also sits on a regional table with the Complaints Commissioners of other establishments in Quebec. 

As Assistant Commissioner, Sarah worked with interim Commissioner Louise Valiquette, a lawyer and labour relations specialist. Mme Valiquette served as interim Commissioner for several years and helped coach Sarah Cowboy in her new role. 

Having a Cree person in the position of Commissioner is important because she can speak to clients in their language and understand their reality. She advocates for the rights of all users, especially the most vulnerable. Another aspect of her role is to raise awareness of the Users’ Rights and the complaints process, which she does through community tours and media interviews. The Cree Health Board encourages people to use this formal channel to voice complaints. This is the best means to ensure that the underlying issues are fixed, so that all may benefit.  

Any CBHSSJB client wishing to discuss a situation or file a complaint can reach Sarah at this toll free number: 1-866-923-2624 (leave your name and a call back number on voicemail). 

More information about the Complaints process can be found here: