How We Work

About the Ombudsman, the Office and its history

  1. We assess all complaints and refer them to relevant mechanisms for quick resolution wherever possible.
  2. If existing mechanisms are unsuccessful, we may contact the organization in question for more information.
  3. We will attempt to resolve the issue, but If an investigation is necessary, the organization will receive written notice and will be required to provide relevant information and documents. Read more about our investigation and reporting process.
  4. If the Ombudsman makes recommendations, the organization under investigation is given a chance to respond before any report is made public.
  5. The Ombudsman follows up on all recommendations to ensure they are implemented and have the desired effect.
  1. First, The complaint is received by the early resolutions team.
  2. Second, the complaint is assessed to see if it falls within the Ombudsman's mandate and the person filling the complaint has used legislative avenues of filing a complaint. If the person has not, they must refer to appropriate complaint resources. If they have, they process will move forward to step three.
  3. In the third step, the resolution is attempted. If the complaint/issue is resolved, then there is no further action necessary. If it is not resolved, there are two different types of methods that are applied: Investigation, or a SORT Investigation (more complex, high-profile, systemic issues).
  4. Once either of the investigation processes begin, there is a notice given to the governmental organization that oversees under which category the complaint falls.
  5. From this last step, there is either a formal investigation, or a full field investigation.
  6. In the last step, the Ombudsman and their team gather the findings from the investigation and deliver a report and/or recommendations (where warranted).

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. Occasionally, if the response indicates the issue has been satisfactorily resolved, the Ombudsman may elect not to publish a separate report, but include the case in his Annual Report.