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…

Making a difference takes only a moment

When a citizen failed to get answers, the Ombudsman intervened to break the spin cycle. Mr. Hernandez (not his real name) contacted the Ombudsman’s intake line to complain that a councillor, the mayor, and the staff of a municipality were not returning his phone calls or emails about a tax issue.  Mr. Hernandez expected a…

Overlooked in isolation

Communication breakdown leaves inmate without rights. An inmate at a provincial correctional centre called our office stating he was being held in a COVID-19 isolation unit nearly two weeks after he was cleared to be moved out of isolation.  The isolation units in this centre require 24-hour lock-up, leaving inmates with limited time out of…

Fair service is service that delivers

Providing fair and equitable service that is responsive to an individual’s needs is an important part of administrative fairness. In early March 2021, Ms. Smith* called the Ombudsman’s intake line to complain that Alberta Works had held back her monthly cheque for the third time in recent months.  She believed the problem was that the…