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Ombudsman Highlights Accomplishments and Challenges Toronto

The City of Toronto Ombudsman Fiona Crean said her office has accomplished a great deal in its first five years, advancing fairness at City Hall and changing attitudes throughout the City’s administration.

The Ombudsman today released “Advocating for Fairness,” her 2014 Annual Report, which highlighted the improvements made to city services since her office opened in 2009.

“We have reported publicly on 33 investigations,” says Crean, “and City Council has agreed to implement every one of the over 310 recommendations we have made.” The Ombudsman cited some of the more significant investigations:

  • A Duty To Care resulted in a city-wide policy framework for dealing with residents of diminished capacity
  • Unrule(y) Behaviour found that senior management at Toronto Community Housing ignored their own human resource policies.
  • Wheel-Trans Is Watching discovered that riders were being filmed without their consent for reassessment of their eligibility.
  • Potholes, Floods and Broken Branches found that the City’s insurer was routinely denying residents’s claims without review.

“I am proud of the impact we have had on the attitudes of city staff,” says Crean. “A review sponsored by the International Ombudsman Institute found senior administrators support my office, and acknowledge it has improved public administration by advancing equity and fairness and promoting a people-centred approach.”

Despite these accomplishments, Crean says serious challenges lie ahead. “Residents face delays in getting help, because my office’s budget has not kept pace with the 129% increase in complaints. Council is not living up to the commitment of fairness and independent oversight that was promised in the City of Toronto Act.”

The Ombudsman also announced that she has told Council she will leave when her current appointment ends in November. “The debate on my reappointment next week promises to be divisive, and I feel this will hurt the office, and its efforts to ensure fairness for the City’s residents.”