B.C. Ombudsperson to speak about income assistance issues

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Victoria – B.C.’s Office of the Ombudsperson will be speaking to residents of Surrey and White Rock interested in income assistance issues. Hosted by Sources BC, Ombudsperson Jay Chalke’s Fairness in Income Assistance presentation is open to the public Wednesday Feb. 3, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the South Surrey Recreation and Arts Centre.

“The Office of the Ombudsperson exists to help ensure everyone receives fair treatment from local and provincial government bodies,” says Chalke. “When someone has a complaint about B.C.’s income assistance program and social safety net, we’re here to help.”

Chalke will provide an overview of his office’s work including independent investigations into income assistance and other provincial programs such as the Medical Service Plan, BC Housing and the BC Bus Pass Program.

Ombudsperson investigations are largely prompted by individual complaints yet the results can help many people, Chalke says. The Office of the Ombudsperson can impartially investigate complaints from anyone impacted by unfair actions of ministries, health authorities, local governments – and hundreds of other provincial public authorities.

“Everybody has the right to submit a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsperson confidentially and free of charge,” says Chalke. “You may reach us by phone, mail, web, or visit in person at one of our mobile intake clinics.” 

Residents who wish to make a complaint in Surrey or White Rock may attend one of two mobile complaint clinics. Ombudsperson staff will be in Surrey on Feb. 2 and White Rock on Feb. 3. Appointments are not limited to income assistance recipients and may be made by calling the Office of the Ombudsperson toll-free at 1-800-567-3247. 

Since 1979, the Office of the Ombudsperson has had a statutory mandate from the provincial legislature to uphold fair and reasonable conduct by provincial public authorities. In addition to investigating individual complaints, the Ombudsperson also publishes systemic investigations and recommendations for changes that address administrative unfairness and improve public administration in B.C.

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Media Contact: Brad Densmore, Outreach Information and Education Officer | 250 356 7740
Media Advisory and biography enclosed

Date Monday, January 25, 2016