On Thursday, September 15th, Ontario’s Ombudsman, Mr. Paul Dubé, welcomed the OLIP interns to his Bay street office. Mr. Dubé, Ontario’s “Watchdog” so to speak, took the time to explain his role and that of his Office in improving governance and promoting fairness in Ontario. The Ombudsman’s Office pursues these goals through the four pillars of “Independence,” “Confidentiality,” “Impartiality,” and a “Credible Investigation Process.”
We were surprised to learn that the Ombudsman’s Office handles more than 20,000 complaints from Ontarians each year and responds to them in an independent, effective, and unconstrained manner. The Ombudsman, acting under the Ombudsman Act, investigates and resolves individual and systemic problems within provincial government bodies and, more recently, within municipalities, school boards, and universities. Mr. Dubé emphasized the collaborative way in which his Office assists these different public bodies to ensure that government services are provided to Ontarians in the fairest way possible. Additionally, he explained how his Office’s work represents an effective addition to the that of elected representatives and the court system.
We also had the pleasure of meeting Deputy Ombudsman, Barbara Finlay, as well as a former OLIP intern who now works for the Ombudsman’s Office. The Office employs individuals from diverse backgrounds in a variety of roles, including articling students, counsel, investigators, communication officers, and early resolution officers. Perhaps an intern from our group will one day work alongside the Ombudsman as well!
Fun fact: “Ombudsman” is a Swedish term dating back over 200 years meaning “citizen’s representative.”
Thank you for an informative and enjoyable visit, Mr. Dubé and staff!