DISCUSSIONS: 6 – (May 5) Does the OMBUDSMAN have any real value to provincial govt?

 The provincial OMBUDSMAN is supposed to oversee government to publicly reveal any incidents of maladministration. Believing that the office helps improve or correct bad government is too great of a leap.

We aren’t hearing anything from current Ontario ombudsman Paul Dubé. Does this mean we are being governed well at this time?

 

Ontario OMBUDSMAN: Paul Dubé

Role

The office’s jurisdiction includes more than 500 provincial government ministries, agencies, corporations, tribunals, boards and commissions. In addition to the oversight of governmental bodies the office is also responsible for the intake of public complaints which indicate the possibility of maladministration within the government of Ontario and in the appropriate cases conducts an investigation. The office is generally an office of last resort and cannot legally conduct investigations into the lives of private citizens or the private sector.

The office’s official director holds the title of “ombudsman” and is appointed to a five-year renewable term by a provincially legislated all-party committee. The ombudsman may launch investigations of his or her own accord or motion.

All Canadian provinces with the exception of Prince Edward Island have a provincial ombudsman (known as Protecteur/protectrice du citoyen in Quebec and Citizens’ Representative in Newfoundland and Labrador).

Ombudsman Act

The powers and authority secured by the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman are set out in the Ombudsman Act. Powers include permission to enter any government premises to gather evidence without a legal warrant and the power to acquire evidence from witnesses. Witnesses include individuals, government officials and employees. If the ombudsman decides a witness is “un-cooperative” they can face criminal charges. To date, no charges have been laid since the Act was introduced.

The ombudsman may report his or her findings from their investigations publicly if it is found that a “decision, recommendation, act or omission” made by a government body under the office’s jurisdiction was contrary to law.

Do you feel the provincial government is working properly or is simply a well-oiled machine squeaking a bit prior to another election?

 

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