The Alberta Ombudsman has been providing oversight of the provincial government since our office opened in 1967. Its purpose – to protect the rights of all Albertans to be treated fairly in the provision of public service. Our collaborative relationship with provincial agencies, boards, commissions and departments has resulted in positive change within the Alberta government and the ministries with which we work. We offer guidance to early resolution of complaints and in the case of a full investigation, we share findings and recommendations aimed at both short- and long-term solutions. Changes to our jurisdiction over the years has widened our scope and offered more Albertans the benefit of an independent, impartial third party in addressing administrative fairness complaints. In the full application of the oversight role, the Ombudsman brings the values of fairness, natural justice, empathy, integrity and accountability.

For more information about the principles the Ombudsman uses in determining administrative fairness, visit our Administrative Fairness Guidelines page.

Some of the provincial agencies in our jurisdiction include:

  • Justice and Solicitor General (includes Correctional Services and the Maintenance Enforcement Program)
  • Community and Social Services (includes AISH, Alberta Works and various appeal panels)
  • Workers’ Compensation Board
  • Children’s Services

If you are an Alberta government decision-maker looking for resources to better apply standards of administrative fairness within your department, you may find our Fundamentals of a Complaints Mechanism and our Internal Complaint Mechanism Checklist to be of use. For information regarding case summaries, findings and recommendations, our Annual Reports can be found here.

Related Case Studies

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…

Complex issue requires compassionate solution

Responding to a vulnerable individual—an inmate with a history of mental health challenges—required particular sensitivity. The inmate complained that correctional officers used mind control techniques to alter his memory and negatively influence the outcome of his trial. As a first step, Ombudsman staff advised the inmate to elevate his concerns to the centre director. Several…

Ombudsman investigation sparks province wide policy change

First featured in the Ombudsman’s 2019-20 annual report, this case describes a good outcome when a government department committed to consistent assessment of childcare rates for foster parents taking in children with special needs. It also serves as a good example of how the Ombudsman can help bring about large-scale reform.   A foster mother…

Painful payment recall sparks policy change

Alberta Maintenance Enforcement (MEP) has agreed with the Ombudsman that creditors should not suffer financially in the event MEP makes an administrative error. A bank imposed daily interest and penalty fees on a mother after she paid off debts using a $50,000 payment from MEP. At the time, MEP believed it had collected long standing…

Persistence pays off for a public guardian complainant

Focus on the people who lodged a complaint, rather than the substance of the complaint resulted in a biased and unfair outcome, the Ombudsman found after looking at an investigation by the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee ( the public guardian). The public guardian protects the interests of vulnerable Albertans by providing services,…