Burnaby residents are being asked to step forward if they feel they’ve been treated unfairly by the provincial government, local government, or another B.C. public body.
The Office of the B.C. Ombudsperson is currently scheduling in-person, confidential and free appointments with mobile complaints staff in Burnaby on Jan. 28.
“Meeting with us face to face is a great way for you to raise your concerns about the fairness of government services you have received,” said Ombudsperson Jay Chalke in a statement, adding that his office received 8,400 complaints and enquiries last year, a 10-year high. “Sending our mobile team out into communities regularly is an important part of making sure we are hearing concerns first-hand that can lead to us resolving these issues.”
The Office of the Ombudsperson is an independent office of the B.C. legislature that receives complaints and enquiries about the practices and services of public agencies within its jurisdiction, which includes provincial government ministries, local governments, health authorities and hospitals, schools and universities, as well as a number of additional government organizations such as ICBC, BC Hydro and the Workers Compensation Board.
The Ombudsperson’s role is to determine whether public agencies are acting fairly and reasonably and whether their actions and decisions are consistent with legislation, policies and procedures. Last year, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, ICBC, Vancouver Coastal Health, and the City of Vancouver were among the top 20 public bodies by complaint volume. Complaints about municipal governments across the province have increased by 70 per cent in the last three years.
“You may feel like a decision impacting you has not been explained, or you have been denied a benefit you think you deserve, or it could be you can’t access the services you need in a timely way, or you feel the rules in your situation are not being followed properly – these are all things we may be able to look into,” Chalke said.
To book an appointment, call 1-800-567-3247. For more information visit www.bcombudsperson.ca