The Office of the Ombudsman was established by the Ontario legislature in 1975.
Arthur Maloney was sworn in as the province’s first Ombudsman on October 30 of that year, after the Ombudsman Act was passed on May 22 and given royal assent on July 3. For more information, read the 1975 version of the This link opens in a new tabOmbudsman Act (accessible PDF).
Attempts to introduce such legislation began as early as 1962. In 1965, Vernon Singer, MPP for Downsview, introduced a private member’s bill calling for the appointment of a “Parliamentary Commissioner” to investigate administrative decisions and acts of officials of the provincial government and its agencies. Mr. Singer continued to introduce this bill for the next 10 consecutive sessions of the Legislature. In 1971, the Ontario government under Premier William Davis first promised in its Speech from the Throne to introduce legislation to create an Ombudsman. It repeated and fulfilled this promise in 1975.
Ontario was the seventh province to establish a parliamentary ombudsman, after Alberta and New Brunswick (1967), Quebec (1968), Manitoba and Nova Scotia (1970) and Saskatchewan (1972). Today, all Canadian provinces and territories, except Prince Edward Island and Nunavut, have ombudsmen. All provincial ombudsmen oversee provincial government services and parts of the broader public sector.
The title “Ombudsman” is a Swedish term dating back more than 200 years that means “citizen’s representative” and is considered to be gender-neutral. Ontario’s ombudsmen to date are: