Banned Indefinitely: Safety or Punishment?

9 March 2010

Office of the Ombudsman Releases Latest Investigative Findings

Toronto Ombudsman, Fiona Crean, has issued the results of an investigation into Parks, Forestry and Recreation’s (PFR) banning of an individual from all PFR community parks and recreation facilities.

The report – the third of three investigations that Crean said she would complete this spring - seeks to ensure that fair and well understood procedures are followed by staff in reaching decisions to ban someone from access to, or use of, public space managed by PFR.

In summary, the Ombudsman found that PFR staff acted unreasonably in banning a member of the public indefinitely from all of their facilities, noting that city staff had neither kept appropriate documentation nor given the complainant an opportunity to respond to their allegations. Furthermore, city staff appeared to impose an indefinite ban, after an initial year-long ban had already been imposed and served.

Crean noted that Brenda Patterson, General Manager of PRF was very responsive to the report, and had already moved on implementing the recommendations.

“This is what we expect to be able to accomplish through careful investigations,” Crean said. “A clear understanding of the issues, identifying a problem that may affect many, and providing reasonable recommendations that the public service can implement.”