Ombudsman Ontario

Ombudsman Ontario

March 24, 2014 15:43 ET

Ontario Ombudsman Welcomes Tabling of Accountability Bill

Marin hopeful "serious concerns" about MUSH sector oversight will be addressed during legislative process

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 24, 2014) - Ontario Ombudsman André Marin today welcomed the provincial government's official tabling of the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014. The bill, announced earlier this month, proposes several measures aimed at more open government, including extending the Ombudsman's mandate into the "MUSH sector" - municipalities, universities, school boards and hospitals, as well as long-term care homes, children's aid societies and police - for the first time.

If passed, the bill and accompanying amendments to the Ombudsman Act would give the Ombudsman authority to investigate public complaints about municipalities, universities and school boards. It will also create a new Patient Ombudsman for complaints about hospitals and long-term care homes, and gives the existing Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth the power to investigate children's aid societies.

"This bill marks important progress in finally opening MUSH sector organizations to independent scrutiny," said Mr. Marin, whose office oversees more than 500 provincial government ministries, agencies, boards, corporations, tribunals and commissions. "These organizations affect millions of Ontarians and account for billions of tax dollars; it's only right that citizens have recourse to their Ombudsman for complaints about them, just as they do for any other provincial government organization."

However, he noted that the bill is a work in progress. "While I welcome the bill and appreciate being consulted on parts of it before it was announced, I continue to have some serious concerns about some of its shortcomings. In deference to the parliamentary process, I will address those concerns at the appropriate time, before the appropriate legislative committee," he said.

View the full text of the bill here.

View the government's press release here.

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