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Provincial & Territorial Ombudsman Offices in Canada

Provincial & Territorial Ombudsman Offices in Canada

  • Book Info
    Provincial & Territorial Ombudsman Offices in Canada
    Book Description:

    In this collection, contributors describe and assess the performance of the ten ombudsman offices in light of their multiple and evolving functions.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8590-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xvi)
    Donald C. Rowat

    Over forty-five years ago I proposed that Canada adopt the Swedish–Finnish office of parliamentary Ombudsman. And it was only six years later, in 1967, that New Brunswick and Alberta became the first Canadian provinces to do so. Indeed, those provinces were leaders in the worldwide adoption of this addition to the institutions of democracy. It seemed as though, as soon as the other provinces and the federal government created similar offices, Canada would be a world leader in ombudsmanship. By 1979 all of Canada’s provinces had created the office except Prince Edward Island (whose population is too small to...

  5. Preface
    (pp. xvii-2)
  6. 1 Ombudsman Research Project: The Provincial and Territorial OmbudsOffices in Canada
    (pp. 3-26)

    The year 2007 represented the fortieth anniversary of the Ombudsman’s arrival in Canada, and 2009 is the 200th anniversary of its advent in Sweden. Though the Ombudsman received much attention when it was first introduced to Canada during the late 1960s and continuously into the 1970s, it has since received limited attention in public administration journals and textbooks. This, even though the Ombudsman has managed in its own quiet, functional way to emerge as a cornerstone of the modern administrative state in Canada, in the form of the parliamentary Ombudsman for the entire public service and in a number of...

  7. 2 Alberta’s Ombudsman: Following Responsibility in an Era of Outsourcing
    (pp. 27-52)

    In 1967, Alberta became the first jurisdiction in North America and the tenth in the world to create an OmbudsOffice.¹ As part of the early wave of ‘Ombudsmania,’ Alberta Ombudsmen² have received visitors from all over the world who are interested in learning about or developing mechanisms for addressing maladministration. In 1976, Alberta hosted the first International Ombudsman Conference at Government House in Edmonton. Shortly afterwards the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) was established at the University of Alberta. Over the years the IOI has grown to include many newly emerging democracies (some of which have sent personnel to serve internships...

  8. 3 Fairness Inc.: Administrative Justice in B.C. – The Ombudsman Office at Thirty
    (pp. 53-79)

    The British Columbia Legislative Assembly in 1977 passed its Ombudsman Act, creating Canada’s ninth provincial Office of Ombudsman. In doing so, B.C. was well aware that the notion of an independent officer ‘to investigate complaints from individuals who feel aggrieved by the administrative process of government’ was both long-standing and worldwide.¹ Even though B.C. had a long and unique political history,² it shared the Westminster model of parliamentary government in common with the other provinces – a model that had proven to work well with the Ombudsman institution.

    B.C. was a relative latecomer to the Ombudsman scene in Canada. Even...

  9. 4 Manitoba Ombudsman: Protecting Citizens through Fairness, Equity, and Accountability?
    (pp. 80-101)

    The doyen of Canada’s Ombudsman literature, Donald Rowat, wrote not long ago of the federal government’s ‘golden opportunity to reduce the democratic deficit’ by instituting democratic reforms through the mechanism of a federal Ombudsman’s Office.¹ His argument for such reform was based in part on ‘the fact that the provinces have been operating successful ombudsman plans for many years.’² In that context, the Manitoba Ombudsman’s Office is, and long has been, one of those successful plans.

    The Manitoba office was established in 1970, making it the fourth provincial Ombudsman in Canada after Alberta, New Brunswick, and Quebec. It attempts to...

  10. 5 Institutionalization of the Office of Ombudsman in New Brunswick
    (pp. 102-125)

    New Brunswick was the second province in Canada, after Alberta, to establish an Ombudsman by statute.¹ Both provinces opened OmbudsOffices in the fall of 1967.² The New Brunswick office, however, got off to a stuttering start: each of its first three Ombudmen had to leave office early for health reasons. Nevertheless, under the leadership of later office holders, the New Brunswick Ombudsman has become firmly embedded as a handler of complaints in the province. How this happened is a lesson in how OmbudsOffices are capable of adjusting to various political situations. Joseph E. Bérubé and Ellen King, the fourth and...

  11. 6 Expedition Sailors: The Ombudsman in Newfoundland and Labrador
    (pp. 126-158)

    This chapter aims to provide a qualitative study of the Ombudsman institution in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador (hereafter ‘Newfoundland’). Using details of the province’s past experience with the Ombudsman project, and the insights of practitioners, we will attempt to determine the overall quality of the institution as it has evolved since its introduction in 1975. It is important to note at this juncture that there have been two separate incarnations of the Ombudsman in the Newfoundland – something that distinguishes it from other Canadian offices. The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner (the ‘Commissioner’) existed between 1975 and 1990;...

  12. 7 Nova Scotia’s Ombudsman: Conciliator, Consultant, and Cooperator
    (pp. 159-185)

    The Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman has received approximately 2,000 calls per year for the past decade. It has not experienced a significant decline in public contacts as some OmbudsOffices in Canada have. Nova Scotia’s data can be interpreted in a positive light as an indication of the office’s visibility and accessibility. However, statistical reports of incoming calls are an insufficient measure of the Ombudsman’s impact overall. This is especially true in Nova Scotia, where the office’s role is multifaceted. Ombudsman staff do important work when responding to individuals’ complaints and resolving disputes, but the office makes its most...

  13. 8 Ontario Ombudsman: A Game of Trust
    (pp. 186-210)

    As a general rule, the work of an Ombudsman occurs completely behind closed doors in order to guarantee the anonymity and privacy of those involved with respect to an impugned decision. But on the odd occasion, a particular case is thrust into the public spotlight, as happened with the Ontario Ombudsman’s March 2007 special report on the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.¹ Some details of this case had first come to light on 25 October 2006, when the public’s attention was riveted on CBC television’sthe fifth estatereport of how an elderly man (Bob Edmonds) had been deprived of...

  14. 9 Quebec Ombudsman’s Evolution: Assessment of Reactive and Proactive Roles in the Context of Administrative Reforms
    (pp. 211-240)

    The concept of Ombudsman has gained solid credibility as a complaint-handling mechanism that helps members of the public protect their rights before a powerful and complex administrative state. Beyond this principal mandate, several Ombudsmen have broadened their role by taking on related educational and monitoring tasks. Attention in the literature has focused mainly on complaint-handling processes, with less attention accorded to other matters such as the organization’s own administrative processes, its monitoring of legislation, and its being an agent of change via its systemic investigations.

    At one time, scholars of the Ombudsman institution mainly embraced a prescriptive orientation, focusing on...

  15. 10 Saskatchewan’s Ombudsman Office: Reflections on Organizational Mandate and Capacity at the Turn of the Millennium
    (pp. 241-271)

    In Saskatchewan, the Ombudsman is one of six independent officers of the Legislative Assembly. The other five are the Chief Electoral Officer, the Children’s Advocate Officer, the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, the Information and Privacy Commissioner, and the Provincial Auditor. For more than three decades Saskatchewan’s Ombudsman has performed a key role in safeguarding principles that are considered fundamental to democratic governance, including fairness, equity, responsiveness, responsibility, and accountability in relation to the policies and management practices of the agencies and agents of the provincial government. Its performance of that role has silenced initial questions regarding the need for such...

  16. 11 Yukon’s Ombudsman: An Evolutionary Step Forward
    (pp. 272-291)

    This chapter will provide the reader with an understanding of the political context in which the Yukon legislature established the Office of Ombudsman and in which the Ombudsman now operates. In keeping with this, an analysis of the office and its contribution to good government in Yukon will be provided. The reader will also be offered some thoughts on how the office can become even more important to Yukon’s institutional ‘arsenal’ of checks and balances.

    Appreciating the historical, political, and institutional evolution of Yukon is essential to understanding the Yukon Ombudsman (YO). As Steve Smyth has noted, ‘Yukon Territory was...

  17. 12 Recapturing the Spirit, Enhancing the Project: The Ombudsman Plan in Twenty-First-Century Canada
    (pp. 292-307)

    Concerned as it is with rectifying administrative wrongs and with promoting administrative justice, the Ombudsman plan carries profound potential for genuine public service in its manifold complexity. As the chapters in this book attest, the parliamentary Ombudsman plan has had varied histories, successes, and failures since its introduction to Canada in the late 1960s. It has survived and may yet thrive such that it is widely understood, broadly utilized, and appreciated by those who encounter it.

    This closing chapter assesses and explores the potential of the Ombudsman plan by appraising the contemporary role of the parliamentary Ombudsman, the administrative justice...

  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 308-308)