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A busy year for Ontario’s Ombudsman

By Randy Thoms Oct 6, 2023 | 2:03 AM

Paul Dube, Ontario's Ombudsman. File photo

Ontario’s Ombudsman was called upon several times in northwestern Ontario over the last twelve months.

Over 330 complaints from northwestern Ontario were made to the agency with oversight of various governments and related agencies and programs.

Seventy-four complaints were directed at area municipalities, though only one led to a full investigation.

That was against the township of Emo, which led to two recommendations.

The city of Thunder Bay had a region-high 17 complaints followed by Ignace with 11 and Kenora with 8.

The Ombudsman fielded 17 complaints about area school boards.

Provincewide, the Ombudsman handled 24,551 cases, 610 fewer cases than the previous year.

The most common concern was around correctional facilities.

Many complaints, often from inmates, were about access to general medical care and specific cultural resources, lockdowns, segregation and the use of force by correctional officers.

The area of municipalities was the Ombudsman’s second-largest category of cases.

Staff handled thousands of files about everything from housing to by-law enforcement.

The Ombudson’s Office notes that 54 per cent of all cases were resolved within two weeks, and 44 per cent within one week.