Reports on two Ombudsman investigations in final stages
Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé confirmed today that he expects to release reports on two of his office’s in-depth systemic investigations in June and July, once required processes are complete.
(TORONTO – May 19, 2016) - Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé confirmed today that he expects to release reports on two of his office’s in-depth systemic investigations in June and July, once required processes are complete.
The first involves an investigation into how the province directs police training in de-escalating conflict situations, originally launched in the wake of the police shooting death of Sammy Yatim in the summer of 2013. A draft of the Ombudsman’s findings and recommendations in that case was provided today to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services for a response, as required under the Ombudsman Act.
The second investigation involves the provision of services for adults with developmental disabilities who are in crisis, an issue that has drawn more than 1,400 complaints to the Ombudsman over three years. A draft of Mr. Dubé’s findings and recommendations in this case will be delivered to the Ministry of Community and Social Services on Tuesday, May 24.
In both cases, changes to government policies and programs during the course of the investigations required Ombudsman investigators to review and assess their impact on the issues at hand. The Ombudsman’s findings were updated to reflect these and other developments.
For example, along with reviews of police training, tools and tactics in Ontario and other jurisdictions, the de-escalation investigation incorporates past and recent recommendations from inquests and similar inquiries into police responses involving people with mental illness or other challenges. The Ombudsman’s report, targeted for release by the end of June, will also reflect pending policy and training changes.
In the developmental services case, Ombudsman staff have resolved scores of urgent individual cases since the systemic probe was launched in November 2012, while reviewing numerous significant changes in government policy, funding and services in this area. The Ombudsman expects to release his report on this matter by the end of July.
Release dates for both reports will be set once the responses from the respective ministries have been received. Mr. Dubé will not comment on the investigations or reports prior to their release.
The Ombudsman’s investigation and reporting process
Most complaints to the Ombudsman are resolved individually without need for a formal investigation. When a formal investigation is launched, the process is as follows:
Notice: If the Ombudsman determines that an investigation is warranted, based on public complaints or on his own motion in light of a matter of public interest, his Office must issue a notice of investigation to the relevant Ministry or government/broader public sector organization.
Investigation: Ombudsman staff gather relevant evidence, including interviewing witnesses (by phone, Skype or in person) and reviewing documents as warranted. The Ombudsman Act requires that Ombudsman investigations be conducted in private.
Findings and response:Based on the evidence, the Ombudsman makes findings and recommendations. The Ombudsman Act requires that these be shared confidentially with the organization under investigation, to give it the opportunity to respond. The response is taken into consideration in any final report by the Ombudsman.
Tabling and public report:The final production process for an Ombudsman report normally includes editing, translation, printing and preparation for web posting. If the report involves a provincial government organization, it must be tabled with the Legislative Assembly, after which it is immediately made public.