November 07, 2017

Upholding Administrative Fairness in B.C.: Annual Report 2016-2017

B.C.’s Ombudsperson Jay Chalke released his 2016-2017 Annual Report November 7, 2017. The Report details a year’s work upholding administrative fairness across B.C.’s more than 2,800 provincial and local public authorities.

“We helped thousands of people across B.C. last year in many ways, from providing referral information and proposing early resolutions to conducting independent investigations into the fairness of provincial authorities and ministries as well as local government bodies,” said Chalke.

The Report provides an overview of the 7,997 inquiries and complaints received by the Office of the Ombudperson between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017.  The Report also includes 51 case summaries representing a cross section of 2,212 early resolutions and investigations completed during the 2016-2017 reporting period. Of this number, three are in-depth summaries describing investigations into:

  • segregation in youth custody,
  • ICBC’s rules regarding permitted names on driver’s licences, and
  • procurement practices in a municipal capital project.

In addition to addressing the concerns of individual British Columbians, the Ombudsperson also investigates issues from a broad systemic perspective. Along with updates on the implementation of recommendations made in prior special reports, the Report outlines the June 2016 special report, Under Inspection: The Hiatus In B.C. Correctional Centre Inspections. That report detailed an 11-year gap in the program of prison inspections in the province.

The Report also introduces a new service area, preventative ombudship. In this three-year pilot project, the Office of the Ombudsperson will work with public authorities to share its expertise on fairness, transparency and governance to help organizations avoid problems from arising in the first place.

“Thank you to all who contacted us with an inquiry or a complaint, or attended one of our mobile ‘Ombusperson Office for the Day’ clinics throughout B.C.,” said Chalke. “By bringing us your concerns, you help current and future users of government services obtain fair and reasonable treatment.”