Friday, January 2, 2015

Ontario's Ombudsman

Who is actual aware of the role of Ontario’s Ombudsman?  To learn more about what our Ombudsman does, please visit

Greg Levine, a lawyer in London and Southampton recently wrote: 

"It is critical in ombudsmanship never to lose sight of individuals and their concerns.  The "little injustices" are in fact very significant and their resolution speaks to our collective humanity.  Ombudsmen should be at the forefront of such resolutions."

On December 10, 2014 the Ontario Ombudsman’s (Andre Marin) mandate was expanded to allow his office "to investigate complaints about municipalities, universities and school boards for the first time".  While the provisions of this new legislation have not yet been proclaimed in force, it is still very unclear as to exactly what type of school board complaints our Ontario’s Ombudsman will be in a position to investigate. 

The Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act was passed on December 10, 2014.  I have been advised that “the government has yet to set a date for when the Ombudsman’s new jurisdiction will take effect.

I will be keeping a close eye on the Ombudsman’s website for further information.  
Ontario is the last province in Canada to expand the mandate of our Ombudsman to be able to investigate the MUSH (Municipalities, Universities, School Boards, Hospitals) sector.  In fact, the push for this has been taking place since 1975, when the first  Ombudsman for Ontario was appointed.  Hence the term “the push for MUSH”.

It is my hope that families in Ontario will be able to lodge a complaint with our Ombudsman as a result of unresolved student safety issues, which include bullying and cyberbullying.  We will, however, still be in a position to use local complaint mechanisms before contacting the Ombudsman’s office.  

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