Investigation leads to overpayment forgiveness

A client of the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program complained about an AISH Appeal Panel decision he believed created an apprehension of bias. This bias was found in the panel’s written decision. The most significant example of bias was a sentence claiming the client displayed “considerable hostility” toward the panel. In response…

A call of last resort…with results

Tania Baldwin is no quitter, but she was almost out of options. As a last resort, she picked up the phone and called the Alberta Ombudsman. She’s glad she did. In 2008, her daughter Emma, suffering from progressive hearing loss, had been turned down for a second cochlear implant by the former Calgary Health Region.…

Measuring the duty of fairness

An Albertan complained the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program unfairly denied her funds to pay a portion of her telephone bill after she was victimized by an alleged telephone fraud.  Certain personal benefit decisions can be appealed to the Citizens’ Appeal Panel, but there are certain personal benefit decisions where the minister has decision-making…

Finding a middle way

A patient wanted to lodge a complaint against a health professional. There was just one problem: the patient could not remember the person’s full name. While he could recall the professional’s first name, position and employer, that was not enough for the college to agree to hear the patient’s complaint of unprofessional conduct. When investigating…

Managing legitimate expectations

Until 2003, the Farm Implement Act protected farmers who consigned equipment for sale. Changes to the Act removed the protection, but that was not understood by a Farm Implement Inspector who worked for the Farmers’ Advocate Office.  Based on his previous experience and his understanding of the changes to the legislation, the inspector assumed consigned equipment was still…

Ensuring clarity and transparency

An individual complained about the administration of the substantial equivalency process while seeking registration with a professional college. She also complained the college charged $1,000 in fees to review the registration process. The complainant told the Ombudsman she contacted the college to determine the correct type of courses to take. After she began her formal…

The little things matter, too

When the Ombudsman investigates a case, we are thorough in our process. When we find a detail or a seemingly small piece of evidence that shows administrative fairness may be questionable or lacking, we’ll do our best to work with a college to ensure the issue is recognized and addressed. In this case, a professional…

Following the letter of the law

A complainant reported he had a sizable overpayment of compensation benefits levied against him by the Workers’ Compensation Board. An Ombudsman investigation found the WCB policy governing the forgiveness of overpayments unfairly restricted the discretion allowed for in the Workers’ Compensation Act. The policy stated the WCB could only forgive overpayments under $100, while the Act…

“Must” or “May”?

“Must” or “may”? Is a professional college required to forward an application for review to a college’s complaint review committee? This was an issue that emerged during an investigation of a complaint about a health professions college. An individual complained to the Ombudsman that his concerns about a health professional were dismissed, and a request…

Telling the whole story

One regulatory college dismissed the complaints of a parent who claimed a professional had made errors in a report he feared would affect his child’s future. The college’s original dismissal letter did not advise the parent of his right to request a review of the decision to dismiss the complaint. Later, the college did send…