Nearly 7,500 inquiries and complaints were responded to
and 1,900 early resolutions or investigations were completed last year
by B.C.’s Ombudsperson Office and from June 2 to 6, the public will
be able to make a complaint in person with Ombudsperson staff as an
‘Ombudsperson Office for the Day’ is set up in Port Hardy, Port
McNeill, Campbell River, Powell River and Courtenay Comox.

“We serve the entire province, if people have not been successful in
resolving their problems with the public agency and still feel they
have not been treated fairly and reasonably, they can come to us”,
says Ombudsperson Kim Carter. “While the majority of complaints are
by telephone, mail or online, some people are more comfortable meeting
face-to-face and I feel it’s important that this opportunity is
available to people throughout the province.”

B.C.’s Ombudsperson Office can investigate complaints about all
provincial ministries and boards, Crown corporations, colleges and
universities, schools and boards of education, health authorities,
local governments and self-governing professions.

Appointments need to be booked ahead of time by calling 1-800-567 3247. While Ombudsperson staff meet with individuals, the Ombudsperson will speak privately to public agencies under her jurisdiction and with community groups.

The role of the Ombudsperson is to uphold the democratic principles of
openness, transparency and accountability, to ensure that every person
in B.C. is treated fairly in the provision of public services, and to
promote and foster fairness in public administration.

The Ombudsperson does this by receiving and investigating individual complaints andconducting systemic investigations to consider issues from a broad perspective.

Individual complaints resolved were varied last year.

The Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation; the Ministry of
Children and Family Development; the Ministry of Justice; WorkSafeBC
and ICBC were the five most significant provincial public authorities
dealt with during the year.

Examples included:
• Senior gets dental coverage after all from Pension Corporation
• Family facing eviction doesn’t lose home following speedy action

• Student continues with education after StudentAid BC reconsiders its appeal decision

A number of complaints also resulted in improvements to program
delivery including:
• Ministry of Education refunds fee to 1,302 non practicing teachers
following complaint to office
• Vital Statistics Agency makes information more thorough and
accessible for people

Recent systemic investigations include Time Matters which resulted in
$350,000 in lost benefits paid to persons affected by government
delays. Most recently, Striking a Balance made 25 recommendations of
which 24 were accepted, aimed at improving gaps in how an
environmental protection program was operating. The Office is
currently investigating the regulations of private career training
institutions.

Ombudsperson Office for the Day will be in: Port Hardy on June 2, Port
McNeill on June 3, Campbell River on June 4, Powell River on June 5
and Courtenay Comox on June 6.