As B.C.’s independent voice for fairness, the Office of the Ombudsperson has been making sure provincial and local governments treat people fairly for 40 years. Here are four facts about one of B.C.’s officers of the Legislature.
The Office of the Ombudsperson is independent from the government.
As it is often said in their line of work: "An Ombudsperson is neither an advocate for the complainant nor an apologist for the public body.” They’re impartial and independent and work to improve fairness in the delivery of government services.
The Office of the Ombudsperson receives over 8,000 inquiries each year.
The majority of British Columbians who contact the Office of the Ombudsperson are helped on the spot, such as with a bit of guidance or referral information, or have their complaint resolved within a short time period. Other complaints result in an investigation to determine if the actions of a public authority were fair and reasonable. If they find that the government treated a member of the public unfairly, they look for outcomes that can help that person. They also look for how that one case can be applied in the future. So one case may help many!
The Office of the Ombudsperson regularly goes on the road.
The Office of the Ombudsperson does outreach into communities across B.C., rural and urban. This is an important part of their work. Not everyone has the same access to information – some may not have access to the Internet or to a telephone. There are others whose concerns are best heard in-person. To best meet the needs of all British Columbians, Ombudsperson staff regularly go on the road. Their next event will be in the Greater Vancouver area the week of January 28th, giving residents an opportunity to discuss their complaints about B.C. provincial and local government organizations. No lines or waiting. Call 1-800-567-FAIR (3247) to book a free and confidential appointment.
The Office of the Ombudsperson has jurisdiction over virtually every provincial and local public authority in B.C.
As the B.C. Ombudsperson, Jay Chalke, likes to say, they’re the public’s “one-stop-shop for any fairness concerns.” The public can complain to us about most provincial or local public organization. In addition to provincial government ministries, the Ombudsperson can investigate complaints about crown corporations such as BC Hydro and ICBC, public schools, municipalities, universities, self-governing professions or the health system.
For more information about B.C.’s Office of the Ombudsperson and ways to file a complaint, visit www.bcombudsperson.ca.