Before Filing a Complaint

The Alberta Ombudsman objectively investigates complaints to determine whether a public agency in question has acted fairly and reasonably, and whether their actions and decisions were consistent with relevant legislation, policies and procedures. Impartial and independent from government, the Ombudsman is open, approachable and responsive to the questions and concerns of all Albertans.

What We Do

  • We do determine administrative fairness.
  • We do conduct thorough, impartial and independent investigations of complaints
  • We do look for fair resolutions and make recommendations to improve practices of public agencies.
  • We may launch investigations stemming from the Ombudsman’s own initiative or from a referral by a committee of the Legislative Assembly or a Minister of the Crown.
  • We make recommendations to resolve issues of unfairness and improve administrative processes.

What We Don’t Do

  • We do not act as an advocate for complainants or represent government departments or professional organizations.
  • We do not investigate complaints until all rights of review or appeal have been exhausted, or until the time limits to exercise those rights of review or appeal have expired.  If rights of review or appeal or other remedies were available to you, but you did not exercise them, the Ombudsman may decide to refuse to investigate your complaint.  If you are unsure what reviews or appeals may be available to you, contact the departmentprofessional organization or an Ombudsman intake officer.
  • We do not investigate complaints involving federal governments, police, universities, schools, companies or individuals.
  • We do not investigate complaints about decisions of the courts or issues that are or may be before the courts.
  • We do not investigate complaints about MLAs and individual elected officials, including government Ministers.

The Ombudsman can investigate any administrative decision, recommendation, act or omission of:

  • Alberta provincial government departments, agencies, boards, and commissions
  • Alberta municipalities
  • Patient Concerns Resolution Process of Alberta Health Services
  • Self-regulated health professions, proclaimed under the Health Professions Act such as Alberta College of Optometrists
  • Other designated professional authorities such as accounting, forestry, veterinarian and agrologist professions

The Ombudsman cannot investigate:

  • Decisions made by Federal governments
  • Members of the Legislative Assembly
  • Federal or municipal police forces
  • Decisions made by universities or schools
  • Decisions made by the courts
  • Private businesses or private matters

However, we will likely be able to direct you to the proper office to make your complaint.

Is your complaint ready for us?

Before the Ombudsman can review your complaint, you should make all efforts to resolve it directly with the department or professional organization you are complaining about. Complete the designated review or appeal process, or if there is no process, take your complaint directly to a supervisor within the department or professional organization where the decision was made. If you still feel you were treated unfairly after taking these steps, please contact the Alberta Ombudsman’s office.

Please note: If there are rights of review or appeal or other remedies available to you, and you do not exercise them, the Ombudsman may refuse to investigate your complaint.

Take the following steps to try to resolve your complaint:

  • Ask if you can speak with a supervisor or manager about your issue.
  • Ask if there is a review or appeal available.
  • Write down the names of the people you speak with, when you spoke with them and what they said.
  • Treat people respectfully and courteously, and listen carefully to them.
  • Ask questions if you do not understand what is being said.
  • When complaining in writing, clearly explain the issue. Keep a copy of your correspondence and other documentation.