Two B.C. ministries generated most complaints last year, ombudsperson’s report says

Two B.C. ministries generated most complaints last year, ombudsperson's report says
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B.C. Ombudsperson Jay Chalke.

In an annual report, the British Columbia ombudsperson says two government ministries generated more work for his office than any other.

Jay Chalke’s report says his office received more than 1,200 complaints and inquiries about the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

“It would be my hope, given the acute situations many of these complainants are in, that we would see their needs being taken care of fairly and reasonably. Unfortunately, when we look
at our work over the past year, and frankly over the four decades we’ve been in existence, we continue to see too many occasions in which that simply isn’t the case,” chalke said in a statement.

According to Chalke, intervention from his office remedied unfair treatment of vulnerable people, where benefits or services were denied.

“Investigative work by the Ombudsperson also resulted in the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction redefining its definition of ‘parent’ to include grandparents caring for their grandchildren without a court order, a change that will impact many grandparents providing care for their grandchildren in the province,” a release from the office said.

The office has oversight over more than 1,000 public sector organizations in B.C., and received 7,097 complaints and inquiries for the 2018 – 2019 year.

“While all of the complaints we investigate are very different, what they highlight is the importance for the public of questioning decisions they feel are unfair,” Chalke said. “And that’s why we’re here, whether it’s ICBC, BC Hydro, a provincial ministry, a local government or a health authority, we can look into complaints from most public sector organizations. We’re here to listen to everybody and where people have been treated unfairly by government, to point the way so that public bodies can make things right.”

Read the full report below:

With files from The Canadian Press


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