Ombudsperson visits city

B.C.’s ombudsperson’s office is coming to Vernon.

If you feel you have been unfairly treated by a provincial or local government agency, March 23 is your chance to complain about that in person to someone who will listen.

“We’re here to serve the entire province, and I want people to know they can come to us if they believe a public agency has not dealt with them fairly,” said Kim Carter, ombudsperson.

The ombudsperson’s office can investigate complaints about all provincial ministries and Crown corporations, colleges and universities, schools and boards of education, health authorities, local governments and self-governing professions.

The office’s mandate is to ensure that provincial and local public agencies are being fair to the people they serve.

Staff investigate complaints impartially and confidentially with the goal of finding resolutions that are fair to all involved.

While the office can’t force an agency to follow its suggestions, it is often able to resolve complaints because the proposed solutions are based on thorough and impartial investigation and consultation.

Services are provided free of charge. Due to demand, appointments to make a complaint while the office is in Vernon need to be booked ahead of time by calling 1-800-567-3247.

While her staff is taking complaints from the public, Carter will meet with community groups and some of the public agencies that fall under her jurisdiction.

Her office responded to approximately 8,344 complaints and enquiries in 2009/10.