July 10, 2017

Newsletter – Summer Update

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In this issue: 

 

Student Snapshot: Our University Co-op Team

The Office of the Ombudsperson is a long-time participant in the UVic co-op program. Co-op students serve as paid employees for four-month work terms done prior to graduation.

Along with a fresh outlook, students provide valuable skills. They have contributed to reports, conducted research, helped complainants understand their options, and most recently, contributed to communications projects including this newsletter and our upcoming Annual Report.

Our most-recent co-up alumni include Marie (left), who completed her Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience from Dalhousie. She is now pursuing her law degree at the University of Victoria and will be studying abroad in the fall at the University of Sydney, Australia.

Jessica (right) received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Victoria and is now in her second year of law at UVic. This was Jessica’s second co-op term, after the Ministry of Finance – Risk Management branch where she worked in summer 2016.

Olivia (centre) will graduate with her Bachelors of Commerce this fall after completing her final academic semester this summer. This was Olivia’s third co-op term. Previously, she was on an academic exchange in Singapore. Olivia was our office’s first communications co-op student.  

Many thanks to the University of Victoria for their role in coordinating the co-operative education program.

 

Report  Recommendations: Fully Accepted

The Ombudsperson was asked by the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services to investigate issues arising from the 2012 Ministry of Health employee termination matter.

The Ombudsperson’s investigation began in September 2015. Almost 4.7 million records were obtained, and 130 witnesses provided evidence under oath during 540 hours of interviews. 

Misfire: The 2012 Ministry of Health Employment Terminations and Related Matters was released April 6, 2017 with 41 recommendations to government seeking to address individual harms and broader systemic issues.

On April 7, 2017 the Ombudsperson received government’s response to the recommendations made in Misfire confirming the government’s acceptance of all the recommendations.

In addition, a former Supreme Court of Canada judge, the Honourable Thomas Cromwell, has been engaged by government to administer a reparation process, including individuals receiving ex gratia payments as recommended in the Ombudsperson’s report.

Ombudsperson monitoring of recommendations accepted by public authorities is regularly done following the issuance of a public or special report. The Ombudsperson will monitor this referral report in a similar manner.


Spreading Fairness

The Ombudsperson's Service Plan states "2017/2018 is focused on increasing our impact..." One way to increase impact is to leverage our knowledge and investigative data.

To those nearby. . . 

The Ombudsperson presented to a packed room of school board officials at the 2017 B.C. School Trustee's Association Annual General Meeting in April. Ombudsperson Jay Chalke discussed our office's role and complaint handling procedures. School-related topics ranged from ensuring fairness in residency requirements, to public consultation on issues like school closure, to issues of student suspensions.

. . .and from far away 

Occasionally, we receive requests from foreign officials wishing to learn about our role as B.C.'s Independent Voice for Fairness. In March, a social worker delegation from the Singaporean Ministry of Health and Agency of Integrated Care visited to share and learn.  Highlighting our complaint investigations and systemic reports on home and community care and on adult guardianship, our investigators filled our guests in about our independent fact-finding role.

To inquire about an engagement opportunity please contact us.