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2016 Toronto Ombudsman Awards

Staff at the City of Toronto will be honoured tomorrow for their exceptional work in proactively resolving complaints about city services.

Ombudsman Susan Opler will present the 2016 Ombudsman Public Service Awards to Natalie Brown, Ted Van Vliet and a unit of the City’s Employment and Social Services Division.

The Ombudsman Awards are given annually to public servants who make outstanding efforts to respond to residents’ complaints made to the Ombudsman. They are also awarded to staff who improve systems, resulting in better service and governance.

“This year’s winners have shown an outstanding commitment to removing barriers to good service to the public,” says Susan Opler, who began work as the City’s new Ombudsman this month. “Being able to able to meet these people is a great introduction for me to the Toronto Public Service.”

Opler says the three award winners were persistent and resourceful in problem solving and finding solutions. 

  • Natalie Brown, a planner at Toronto Community Housing Corporation, worked tirelessly to implement the 30 recommendations coming from Housing at Risk, the Ombudsman’s investigation into the evictions of seniors at TCHC.
  • Ted Van Vliet showed leadership during an Ombudsman investigation into sign variances, saying his unit was open to suggestions and acknowledging that rules might need adjustment.
  • The Appeal Review Unit at the Employment and Social Services Division cut the decision time for appeals so that more than 40% are now delivered within one day.

The jury for the 2016 Ombudsman Public Service Awards was made up of Sabina Ali, Chair of the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee; Rahul Bhardwaj, President & CEO of the Institute of Corporate Directors; Angela Coke, Deputy Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services; Sheldon Levy, Deputy Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development; and Dr. Catherine Zahn, President & CEO of CAMH.

The awards will be handed out at 9:30am on September the 29th, at the Members Lounge at Toronto City Hall.