Publications & Resources

Office of the Ombudsman Annual Report 2014/15


Posted: September 1, 2015

Summary of the Ombudsmans 2014/15 report on LAO

The Ombudsmans Office was established in 1975 to help Ontarians resolve problems with provincial government services and administration. LAO receives inquiries from the ombudsmans early resolution officers on behalf of members of the public. Many of the inquiries received by the Ombudsmans Office are questions that can be answered by the front line staff and do not require any assistance from LAO. The operations section of the office, which consists of early resolution officers and investigators, focuses on resolving individual cases. Cases that cannot be informally resolved are referred for formal investigation, while others are brought to the attention of the senior government officials and successfully addressed.

Details

The percentage of inquiries regarding LAO that were made to the Ombudsmans Office in 2014/15 remains consistent. For the past ten years, LAO has accounted for between 0.83-1.28 per cent of the ombudsmans total inquiries received each year. This is admirable especially considering that public complaints to the Ombudsmans Office have increased 86 per cent since 2009/10.

For the 2014/15 fiscal year, LAO ranked ninth in number of cases received by the Ombudsmans Office. However, this accounted for only 1.11 per cent of all cases received within their authority. Appendix 1 provides a breakdown of all organizations in the Top 15 provincial government organizations and programs complained about to that office. Appendix 2 provides a breakdown of LAOs ranking with the Ombudsmans Office over the past ten years.

The chart below compares the numbers recorded by the Ombudsmans Office as compared to the number of contacts recorded by LAO. We find it encouraging that many of the inquiries can be resolved by the Ombudsmans Office using their knowledge about LAO. This year, we were contacted regarding 70 matters but the annual report showed a total of 157 inquiries received regarding LAO.

Number of inquiries about LAO received by the Ombudsman and number of inquiries referred to LAO

Year Number of Inquiries to LAO from Ombudsman Number of inquiries about LAO received by Ombudsman
2005/06 33 159
2006/07 24 154
2007/08 47 141
2008/09 45 112
2009/10 53 122
2010/11 74 125
2011/12 75 159
2012/13 107 201
2013/14 66 150
2014/15 70 157

Of the 70 inquiries forwarded by the Ombudsmans Office in 2014/15, there were no instances where the matters were escalated past the preliminary inquiry stage. Five inquiries were determined to be substantiated.

  • On four occasions, the clients had not received responses from various provincial office departments. In all cases, a written response and apology was provided to each complainant.
  • One client was incorrectly advised to submit a reconsideration for a non-resident refusal. Non-resident refusals are not subject to the appeal process.
  • The subject of the inquiries received breaks down as follows:
    The subject of the inquiries received breaks down as follows: policy 7%, DO/CSC 33%, appeals 24% and departments 36%.
  • Although efficiency is a priority, the duration between receipt and resolution is frequently beyond our control as the ombudsmans representative must also communicate with the initiator of the inquiry. However, the Complaints Department was able to resolve 63 per cent of the 70 ombudsman inquiries received within 30 days.

About the Ombudsmans Office

  • Due to a change in provincial legislation, the Ombudsmans Office will begin taking complaints about school boards on September 1, 2015, and municipalities and universities on January 1, 2016.
  • Mr. Marin completed his second five-year term as provincial ombudsman in May 2015. His contract has been extended until September 2015.
  • The Ombudsmans Office continues to be maintaining its public visibility with the use of a webpage, news articles, television and radio news items, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a mobile application.

Conclusion

We will continue to enhance our relationship with the Ombudsmans Office and use the subjects of inquiries to identify possible gaps in our policies and procedures.

Appendix 1

Top 15 provincial government organizations and programs complained about in 2014/15 (courtesy of 2014/15 Ombudsman Annual Report)

Number of cases 2014/15 Percentage of all cases within authority Number of cases 2013/14
Hydro One 3,49924.82%6,961
Family Responsibility Office1,1678.28%1,157
Ontario Disability Support Program6844.85%621
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board4813.41%552
Private Career Colleges Branch2741.94%15
Driver Licensing Medical Review Section2431.72%141
Driver Licensing2001.42%244
Developmental Services Program1601.14%501
Legal Aid Ontario1571.11%150
Ontario Student Assistance Program1561.11%134
Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee1421.01%180
Community Care Access Centres1280.91%122
ServiceOntario1280.91%124
Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology1100.78%100
Ontario Provincial Police1010.72%111

Appendix 2

Historical breakdown of LAO's ranking with the Ombudsman's Office

Year Ranking
2014/159th out of the top 15
2013/148th out of the top 15
2012/138th out of the top 15
2011/126th out of the top 15
2010/116th out of the top 15
2009/1015th out of the top 20
2008/09Not in top 20
2007/0819th out of the top 20
2006/0720th out of the top 20
2005/06Not in top 20