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Government watchdog holding in-person complaint sessions in Lower Mainland

Ombudsperson staff will be at Maple Ridge, Mission, Richmond, and Coquitlam
BC Ombudsperson Jay Chalke said staff members will be setting up in-person meetings to accept complaints in Maple Ridge, Mission, Coquitlam, and Richmond from Jan. 22 to 24. (Office of the Ombudsperson/Special to The News)

Anyone who’s been wronged by a hospital, school, local government agency, or other public sector organization will have their chance to speak up next week thanks to a Lower Mainland complaint tour by a provincial watchdog agency.

Staff from the office of the BC Ombudsperson will be coming to Richmond, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, and Mission to accept in-person complaints from the public.

The government watchdog group is tasked with investigating complaints from individuals about government programs and services.

The passing of the Public Interest Disclosure Act in 2019 also allows Ombudsperson to investigate claims of wrongdoing from both current and former provincial government employees.

READ ALSO: Union files labour complaint against BC Ferries over extra benefits

However, Ombudsperson warned that they are not capable of investigating every type of organization.

Ombudsperson DOES investigate:

• Crown corporations (ICBC, BC Hydro, BC Housing, etc.)

• Hospitals and health authorities (Fraser Health, Provincial Health Services, etc.)

• Local governments (City of Maple Ridge, City of Pitt Meadows, etc.)

• Professional organizations (Law Society of BC, College of Physicians and Surgeons, etc.)

• Provincial government ministries (Revenue Services, Ministry of Health, Child and Family Services, etc.)

• Public schools and universities (School District 42, etc.)

Ombudsperson DOESN’T investigate:

• Banks and credit unions

• Civil disputes

• Doctors and health professionals

• Employment

• Federal government agencies

• Freedom of information and privacy

• Insurance

• Lawyers

• Police

READ ALSO: Maple Ridge won’t appeal city’s loss in human rights complaint

Lower Mainland residents will have the chance to submit their complaints in person from Jan. 22 to 24, with staff from the office of the BC Ombudsperson on site to listen and advise on any complaints under their jurisdiction.

According to the watchdog’s 2022-23 annual report, the group received more than 7,000 complaints from April 2022 to March 2023, with the highest number of complaints being about ICBC.

Ombudsperson emphasized that their services are completely free and confidential, and that complaints can also be submitted on the phone or online.

To book an in-person appointment with Ombudsperson during their Lower Mainland tour, call 1-800-567-3247.

Brandon Tucker

About the Author: Brandon Tucker

I have been a journalist since 2013, with much of my career spent covering sports and entertainment stories in Alberta.
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