Ombudsperson to field complaints

North Island residents will have a chance to directly air complaints into B.C.’s public agencies June 2-3.

North Island residents will have a chance to directly air complaints into B.C.’s public agencies when the provincial Ombudsperson’s office pays a rare visit to the region June 2-3.

“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”, Ombudsperson Kim Carter said. “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.”

An ‘Ombudsperson Office for the Day’ will be set up in Port Hardy Monday, June 2, and in Port McNeill Tuesday, June 3. While her staff meet with local residents wishing to file a complaint, Carter will meet with civic leaders and agencies under her jurisdiction.

The tour also includes stops in Power River, Courtenay/Comox and Campbell River.

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.

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 and conducting systemic investigations to consider issues from a broad perspective.

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. Individual complaints resolved were varied, but 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.