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Celebrating 15 Years of Fairness, Looking Forward

Toronto’s Ombudsman says 2024 marks 15 years of success for his office in solving problems with City services for the people of Toronto.

“I had the honour of being one of Ombudsman Toronto’s first employees when it opened its doors in 2009,” says Ombudsman Kwame Addo. “I have seen firsthand the positive impact our investigations into the City’s policies and programs have had on the lives of people in Toronto.”

In his annual report released today, Addo notes that to date, the office has handled more than 31,000 individual complaints from members of the public, including:  

  • Recovering $462,000 for an elderly resident after the City sold his home for tax arrears but refused to give him any of the money.
  • Ensuring the City addressed a woman’s flooding concerns after 17 sewer backups caused significant damage to her home.
  • Preventing the unfair eviction of a father and his family from their apartment in Toronto social housing.

“These aren’t just numbers or case files,” says Addo, “They are the stories of real people, many of whom I’ve had the chance to meet. They are also important reminders of why the public needs to have someone in their corner standing up for fairness within local government.”

In addition to handling individual complaints, Ombudsman Toronto has conducted more than 45 broad systemic investigations and made more than 550 formal recommendations to the City, resulting in lasting improvements to City systems and services. These include:

  • Improving how TTC oversees its fare inspectors, conducts their training, and investigates public allegations of misconduct.
  • Correcting information the City was giving to residents about the rules to follow during the COVID lockdown.
  • Ensuring the City prioritizes the safety and well-being of the public when it responds to major emergencies.
  • Making it easier for people leaving abusive relationships to secure new housing through the City’s rent-geared-to-income program.

The impact of Ombudsman Toronto has also been felt inside City Hall; City staff say Ombudsman Toronto has improved how they do their jobs. “Over time, staff welcomed our work, realizing it is not to be feared, but is a tool for improving the City’s service to the public,” says Addo. “We are now a part of the City’s DNA.”

Ombudsman Toronto’s legacy of accountability continues today. Just last year, the office:

  • Helped more than 3,500 individual people, preventing, among other things, the imminent eviction of a father and his family from their social housing unit.
  • Improved Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s handling of human rights complaints from its tenants.
  • Persuaded the City to change its response to encampments and its treatment of the people living in them.
  • Began its first investigation under its new oversight of the Toronto police.
  • Created a new housing unit to ensure the City’s housing policies and programs are fair.

Addo says Toronto needs the work of Ombudsman Toronto now more than ever. “Life in Toronto is becoming increasingly complex, as are the complaints that come to our office and the issues we investigate. This anniversary presents us with an opportunity to shine a light on real and persistent concerns that continue to be felt by the public today.”

Addo points to the housing crisis as one of the most pressing issues facing the City right now, and the source of one third of the complaints to his office in 2023. He acknowledges that solving it will require the collaboration of all levels of government. “Nonetheless,” says Addo, “The City has a responsibility and has promised to work towards ensuring that every Torontonian has somewhere safe, secure, and affordable to call home, as is their right. Through our new housing unit established last year, we will hold the City accountable to this promise.” 

Ombudsman Toronto’s 2023 Annual Report and an Ombudsman Toronto backgrounder are available at

For more information, contact:

Alex Kruger
Ombudsman Toronto
Tel. 416-338-3023
Cell. 647-472-0873

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.