Mobile complaint team coming to B.C.’s northwest

Ombudsperson’s office wants to hear from wronged residents

Kitimat residents with gripes about poor government service will finally have someone who they can complain to, in person.

Provincial Office of the Ombudsperson spokesperson Sara Darling said the office will be visiting Kitimat on October 3 to hear from residents who feel they have been unfairly treated by the provincial government, local government, or other B.C. public bodies.

There’s a catch though – if there aren’t enough appointments made the mobile complaints clinic won’t come to Kitimat.

“We ask that people call our office to make an appointment. We don’t typically publish the location of the mobile clinic as we like to make sure we do an initial intake to make sure our office is able to help,” said Darling.

The Office of the Ombudsperson is an independent office of the B.C. legislature that receives complaints and enquiries about the practices and services of public agencies within its jurisdiction.

Its jurisdiction covers over 1,000 public bodies including provincial government ministries, local governments, health authorities and hospitals, schools and universities, as well as a number of additional government bodies such as ICBC, BC Hydro and the Workers’ Compensation Board.

The Ombudsperson’s role is to determine whether public agencies are acting fairly and reasonably and whether their actions and decisions are consistent with legislation, policies and procedures.

B.C. Ombudsperson Jay Chalke said his office received 8,400 enquiries and complaints last year, a 10-year high.

“We want to make sure that people know we are here to listen and to thoroughly investigate complaints if they fall within our legislated mandate,” said Chalke.

He said common resolutions include reimbursements of funds previously denied, changes to policies to make them fairer and clearer explanations of how and why specific decisions were made.

“This is not only a chance for people to have their individual complaints heard, but also a chance for us to understand broader issues that are important to communities in B.C.,” added Chalke.

To book an in-person appointment with the Office of the Ombudsperson’s mobile complaint clinic call 1-800-567-3247.

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