How We Work

Ombudsman Toronto's work takes many shapes and forms. We listen to and analyze all complaints to determine whether and how we can help. If we are unable to handle the complaint because it is outside our jurisdiction or it is premature because efforts have not been made to resolve the issue at the City, we refer the complainant to the appropriate person or organization.
We work as informally, practically and quickly as possible to understand and resolve problems. We consider the issues, gather information, mediate and search for resolutions. We call this work conducting an Enquiry. An Enquiry may take anywhere from a couple of days to several months to complete, depending on its complexity.
Besides conducting Enquiries into issues raised by complaints, Ombudsman Toronto also conducts Enquiries into issues of concern to it, without a complaint. These are called "Own Motion Enquiries". Some Enquiries conclude with a publicly released Enquiry Report. 
When an Enquiry reveals that it is necessary and appropriate, we launch a formal Investigation.

Ombudsman Toronto does not look for or find fault, and has no power to order anyone to do anything (except co-operate with our Enquiries and Investigations). Our influence comes from making necessary, reasonable and practical recommendations of ways to improve City services. Most Investigations conclude with a publicly released Investigation Report.

Although not directly part of our investigative work, Ombudsman Toronto also offers consultation to all City divisions, agencies, corporations and adjudicative bodies within our jurisdiction to help improve services. This is known as "proactive ombudsmanship". We offer outreach sessions to help the public learn about our work.