The Office of the B.C. Ombudsperson wants to hear from Northwesterners unfairly treated by the provincial government, local government, or other B.C. public bodies. In a press release today the office announced it is currently scheduling confidential and free in-person appointments in Smithers Oct. 1, Hazelton Oct. 2, Terrace and Kitimat Oct. 3. and Prince Rupert Oct. 4 and 5.
“It’s very important for us to connect with people face to face when we can and to make sure we have a chance to hear from people from across the province,” said B.C. Ombudsperson Jay Chalke. “This is not only a chance for people to have their individual complaints heard, but also a chance for us to understand broader issues that are important to communities in B.C.,” Chalke said.
The Office of the Ombudsperson is an independent office of the B.C. legislature that receives complaints and enquiries about the practices and services of public agencies within its jurisdiction, which covers over 1,000 public bodies including provincial government ministries, local governments, health authorities and hospitals, schools and universities, as well as a number of additional government bodies such as ICBC, BC Hydro and the Workers’ Compensation Board. The Ombudsperson’s role is to determine whether public agencies are acting fairly and reasonably and whether their actions and decisions are consistent with legislation, policies and procedures.
Last year the office received 8,400 enquiries and complaints, a 10-year high.
“We want to make sure that people know we are here to listen and to thoroughly investigate complaints if they fall within our legislated mandate,” said Chalke. “From newcomers to B.C., to youth and seniors, to members of Indigenous communities, we are here to help make sure individual complaints of unfairness are heard and where possible resolved,” Chalke said adding common resolutions include reimbursements of funds previously denied, changes to policies to make them more fair, and clearer explanations of how and why specific decisions were made.
To book an in-person appointment with the Office of the Ombudsperson’s mobile complaint clinic call 1.800.567.3247