A Departure Message from Ombudsman Susan Opler

16 July 2021



It's July of 2021 and my last day as Toronto's Ombudsman is just a week away.
 
Toronto is an amazing City. It has been my home my whole life and I love it dearly. As I know so many of you do, too. It's been an honour to lead the team that stands up for fairness across City services and to hold the City administration accountable.
 
During my five years as Ombudsman, my office has handled almost 10,000 public complaints and concerns.
 
Because of Ombudsman Toronto, the coordination, communication and quality of services for people experiencing homelessness in our City are much better than they were. And the TTC is now implementing a system-wide anti-racism strategy, as well as a broad culture change in its enforcement operations.
 
We've also resolved countless individual problems, impacting people in Toronto in deeply personal and immediate ways. In one case, we helped a vulnerable senior recover over $450,000 from the City, representing the surplus after the City sold his house in a tax sale.
 
I'm extremely proud of all our work, and of the positive impact it's had on the lives of real people in this City. But the truth is, my team and I could not have done it without you—the many, many people who contacted my office with complaints and concerns.
 
So as I wrap up my time as Toronto’s Ombudsman and start my next chapter, I want to leave you with this message: Always remember that you have power and that this is your city. Every single person in Toronto deserves fair, respectful service and you should speak up if you don’t get it.
 
While finishing up in this role is bittersweet for me, I am excited to pass the baton to my successor, my friend and colleague Kwame Addo. The people of Toronto will be in very good hands.
 
It has been the highlight and privilege of my career to serve as your Ombudsman. Thank you.