Complaints to Toronto Ombudsman Up in 2017
City of Toronto Ombudsman Susan Opler says that in 2017, her office handled nearly 1,650 complaints about City services, up 7% from the year before.
Susan Opler released Ombudsman Toronto’s 2017 Annual Report today. She says poor communication continues to be a factor in many complaints her office receives.
“Day in and day out, we see City staff displaying wisdom, integrity and compassion as they do their jobs. These qualities are essential for people who serve the public”, Opler says. “Too often though, we hear of situations where staff do not have the training – or do not take the time – to consider the needs and circumstances of people they are serving. That is also essential to good public service”.
Ombudsman Toronto published nine reports in 2017, making 65 recommendations that improved fairness in how the City of Toronto serves people.
Three Investigations completed this year covered park permits, oversight of the TTC’s Transit Enforcement Unit and how the City handles complaints about development charges.
Ombudsman Toronto also conducted 521 Enquiries in 2017, 17% more than in 2016. An Enquiry is a more informal and flexible tool that produces faster results than a full-scale Investigation.
As the result of Ombudsman Toronto Enquiries:
- A vulnerable senior recovered $462,000 in surplus funds from a tax sale of his home after the City refused to pay it to him.
- The City improved how it handles noise complaints.
- A terminally-ill tenant at TCHC was saved from eviction.
- A property owner avoided a bill of just over $800 after Urban Forestry removed a dead branch from one of her trees without giving her a reasonable opportunity to address it.
“The job of my office” says Opler, “is to ensure the City of Toronto treats members of the public fairly. At its core, it comes down to how people treat people.” Ombudsman Toronto’s 2017 Annual Report and an Ombudsman Toronto backgrounder are available on request.
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Access and Education Assistant
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.