More than 500 complaints received about administrative tribunals: ombudsman

Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé reported a “historic” surge in complaints over the past year, including hundreds of complaints about delays and decisions across the province’s 37 administrative tribunals.

More than 500 complaints received about administrative tribunals: ombudsman
Paul Dubé says 2018-2019 was one of the busiest years in his office’s 44-year history in terms of complaints handled.

Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé reported a “historic” surge in complaints over the past year, including hundreds of complaints about delays and decisions across the province’s 37 administrative tribunals.

 

The ombudsman’s office received a total of 27,419 complaints in 2018-2019, representing a 30-per-cent increase from the previous fiscal. The office also had its mandate expanded for the second time in four years.

 

“In many ways, this past year has been a defining one for the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario,” wrote Dubé in his fourth annual report as ombudsman. “Without question, fiscal 2018-2019 was one of the busiest years in this office’s 44-year history in terms of complaints handled — 27,419, representing an increase of almost 30 per cent over the previous year. It was also historic in terms of our mandate, which was expanded by government for the second time in four years.”

 

In the report, Dubé noted that 45 per cent of complaints were closed within one week, while 61 per cent were closed within two weeks. The top category of complaints continued to be “law and order,” particularly issues related to correctional facilities, with 5,711 complaints, up 14 per cent from last year. Meanwhile, complaints about municipalities — which were added to the ombudsman’s jurisdiction in 2015-2016, along with school boards and universities — increased by 20 per cent, to 3,002.

 

The ombudsman also received 549 complaints about 24 different administrative tribunals in 2018-2019 — most of which related to the Landlord and Tenant Board, with 207 complaints, and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, with 95. Three-quarters of these complaints related to tribunals that are now part of Tribunals Ontario, a new cluster of 19 tribunals headed by one executive chairperson, established in January.

 

The most common complaints across these tribunals relate to their decisions and long delays, and ombudsman staff have met with Tribunals Ontario’s chairperson to share information about complaint trends and concerns about extensive delays and backlogs.

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