The City of Toronto's Ombudsman today released the reports of three Enquiries into complaints about City services.
Ombudsman Susan Opler says these three Enquiries looked into different aspects of City operations: parking ticket disputes, noise complaints and notifications of zoning variance requests. “While they were about different issues,” says Opler, “the complaints all had one thing in common. City staff gave people inaccurate or confusing information, or no information at all.”
The City's Ombudsman says she has found poor communication to be a re-occurring problem in her first year on the job. “When it happens, staff not only make the original problem worse; they also increase people's level of frustration.”
The three Enquiry Reports released today are about complaints from:
- an out-of-province motorist who was told he couldn’t fight a parking ticket in court;
- a resident whose noise complaint got lost; and
- a homeowner who was not notified when his neighbour applied for a zoning variance.
An Enquiry by Ombudsman Toronto is an informal, flexible method of looking into a complaint or concern. Sometimes, when the Enquiry results in recommendations for improving City services, Ombudsman Toronto publishes an Enquiry Report.
“Conducting Enquiries is a big part of what we do,” says Opler. ”Enquiry Reports allow us to be nimble, effective, transparent and accountable, without the need to always conduct a formal Investigation or issue an Investigation Report. Our Enquiries can make big and small changes to City systems that have a real and lasting impact for people who access City services.”
Enquiry Reports are routinely released on Ombudsman Toronto’s website. They are tabled at City Council when the Enquiry is of general public interest or if a Councillor requests it. Reports of Ombudsman Toronto's more formal, complex and systemic Investigations continue to be tabled at City Council as a matter of course.
The three reports: Enquiry into the City’s Process for Out-Of-Province Licence Plate Owners to Challenge Parking Tickets, Enquiry into a Noise Complaint to MLS and Enquiry into a Complaint about Committee of Adjustment Notice Procedures. Copies of the reports and an office backgrounder are also available on request.
For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:
Ombudsman Toronto listens to and investigates people’s complaints and concerns about City administration and the fairness of City services. We are a free and impartial office that operates independently from the City, holding it accountable to the people it serves.