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 was terminated from her job, and complained to the Ombudsman about the fairness of an investigation and discipline decision through the college’s appeal tribunal.

Our investigation showed the college’s investigation and disciplinary action taken by the tribunal was fair – with one exception.

After reviewing the transcript of the tribunal, the Ombudsman determined substantial procedural matters were considered by the appeal tribunal, though these were not reflected in the written decision.

We recommended the college amend its decision to reflect the fact the tribunal did consider some procedural questions that arose during the hearing.

How is this fair for Albertans?

Procedural matters are not merely housekeeping or administrative items when a complaints review committee meets. In fact, a complainant may claim a member of the review committee is biased or in a conflict of interest. The review committee will then have to deal with those concerns.

Cases like this are an opportunity to resolve minor issues before they become major issues. Demonstrating to the public that a college has heard procedural concerns – and has addressed them – is in everyone’s interest: the public, members of a professional college, and the college itself.