Victoria – With the proclamation of Fairness Week in the province, the Ombudsperson, BC’s “Independent Voice for Fairness” is reminding the public of their right to fair treatment from public sector organizations.
“All of us interface with public services every day, whether it’s at school, at home, at work or in the community,” said Ombudsperson Jay Chalke. “The impact that provincial and local governments, as well as other public organizations have on our daily lives is significant and it’s important that these services are delivered fairly,” said Chalke adding his office receives between 7,000 and 8,000 complaints from the public each year about the hundreds of public sector organizations the Ombudsperson oversees.
“We want to make sure people understand that they have rights when receiving public services,” said Chalke. “Everyone is entitled to fair and reasonable treatment by government.”
The Ombudsperson underscores that people also have the right to complain to his office if they can’t resolve a dispute directly with an organization. The Ombudsperson has oversight over a broad spectrum of public sector bodies in the province including provincial government ministries, local governments, health authorities, schools and universities, Crown corporations such as ICBC, BC Hydro and agencies and boards such as the Workers’ Compensation Board. The office conducts free, impartial and confidential individual investigations, issues systemic reports on a range of issues and offers education and consultation services to public sector organizations looking to strengthen fairness in public service delivery.
“Our message continues to be, if something doesn’t seem right, speak up and contact those responsible directly, and if the issue can’t be resolved, come to us,” said Chalke. “One voice can make a difference not just for an individual but for many who might be impacted in the same way.”
To learn more about how to resolve complaints with public sector organizations and to meet with the Ombudsperson directly, the public is invited to an Open House this Friday, October 11th from 11 am until 2 pm at 947 Fort Street, Victoria.