Widower complains about wife’s healthcare

Approaching sensitive complaints with empathy is more likely to help those in need. This is what happened when a mourning husband turned to the Ombudsman’s office to seek justice following the loss of his spouse. Mr. Bastien* complained to the Ombudsman’s office following a chain of events involving ambulance services, medical treatment, and the recent…

Notification only goes so far

When a municipality dismisses a resident’s complaint about a councillor, it can expect the resident will express a legitimate interest in understanding the reasons. Maria Levine1 is a resident of a midsized town in rural Alberta. Ms. Levine wrote to the Ombudsman because she believed the town’s process for investigating her complaint about the professional…

Special Ballots in the Special Areas Create Confusion

When new legislation rolls out for the first time, it can sometimes cause confusion and highlight administrative problems. That is exactly what happened when the Referendum Act was applied during the last municipal election in October 2021. Ruth Miller[1] is a resident of the Special Areas. The Special Areas is a unique form of local…

Fairness guidelines instill confidence in fellow investigator

Alberta Ombudsman’s Administrative Fairness Guidelines (guidelines) will assist everyone in their quest to achieve fairness in the course of performing their everyday duties. As such, a recent inquiry from Mr. Corso*, an investigator with a Government of Alberta department, on how to apply them was most welcome. The guidelines describe the standard all administrators are…

It begins with effective listening

When decisions are made affecting Albertans, they expect to understand why the decisions were made and where to go to have their specific concerns addressed if they disagree. Jeff Brown* reported he and his wife experienced unprofessionalism by a health practitioner that ultimately led to a refusal of medical treatment. When he complained to the…

An explanation goes a long way

When there is a delay in government services, the responsible organization should keep clients informed and updated, especially when there is a significant impact on that individual. A court ordered that the pension belonging to Ms. Singh’s* ex-husband be divided, entitling Ms. Singh to a portion of the pension benefits. However, seven months later, the…

The story behind the name

Repeated attempts by an Albertan to have MyHealthRecords register a change in identity failed until the Ombudsman leant a hand. William Taylor*, contacted our office frustrated after several failed attempts to have their MyHealthRecords account updated to show their recently changed first name. William explained that despite updating the name on their Health ID card,…

Access to information makes appeal processes fair

When an Albertan appeals a decision, information on what will or will not be accepted as evidence to support their arguments should be clear and accessible. The Appeals Commission (the Commission) for Alberta Workers’ Compensation issues final decisions on matters adjudicated by the Workers’ Compensation Board. Mr. Watson (not his real name) represented himself in…

Timely intervention accelerates resolution for property owner

Sometimes the Ombudsman’s involvement is short, yet has a big impact on an individual. On a Wednesday in 2021, a rental property owner contacted our office with a complaint about Court Services, a branch within the Justice and Solicitor General Ministry. The caller had a disorderly tenant, and the courts had ruled the renter could…

Rapid response gets inhaler to woman in need

Vulnerable Albertans have a legitimate expectation that those in authority will provide correct information about the benefits to which they are entitled, especially during a time of need. When this expectation is not met, it’s not fair and dilutes our faith in those placed in a position of trust.  In this case, three administrative errors…