Alberta ombudsman and public interest commissioner Marianne Ryan. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Alberta ombudsman prepares for a complaint-filled new year

Economic problems driving complaints

Alberta ombudsman Marianne Ryan expects complaints will pour into her office next year as the economic downturn continues and frustration builds.

“We’ve been around for 52 years, and last year was our busiest year. I suspect this year is going to be more busy, or equally busy,” said Ryan, who has been ombudsman for more than two years.

The Alberta ombudsman investigates complaints about the administrative process at provincial government departments, agencies, boards, commissions and municipalities.

The office also oversees the patient concerns resolution process of Alberta Health Services, and professional organizations.

In the 2018-19 year, the ombudsman received 5,000 complaints and 1,500 were within the office’s scope of jurisdiction.

Ryan said while there’s a focus on job creation in the oil and gas sector, employment challenges are anticipated in the public sector, with possible consequences for Alberta families.

“Those oil and gas workers could be married to nurses, teachers, so they could be impacted. They need health services. Their kids go to school.”

More complaints from AISH recipients are also anticipated, she said.

Related:

Red Deer mother at wits end in battle for respite care

Veterans’ access to benefits a persistent problem, ombudsman says

On Tuesday, Ryan visited the Red Deer Remand Centre as part of regular meetings with corrections staff.

Ryan said last year, 84 per cent of complaints were resolved in three months, and 14 per cent were resolved in under a year.

“The two per cent that took longer than a year is something of a more serious nature. We were asking for legislation to be changed, significant policy to be changed.”

In 2018, the Alberta ombudsman started investigating complaints against municipalities.

“I think the 460 (municipal complaints) that we got last year was the tip of the iceberg. I think as more people find out about us, we expect that number to go up.”

She could not recall a case involving the City of Red Deer or Red Deer County.

“That says Red Deer has a good complaint process in place. As many of the major cities do, they have a good mechanism to deal with the complaints.”

Ryan is also the public interest commissioner, who investigates wrongdoing in the public service reported by whistle blowers.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

red deer city

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Isaias downgraded from tropical storm as it blows through Quebec

MONTREAL — Environment Canada says Isaias has been downgraded from a tropical… Continue reading

EMS dispatch is being consolidated

Alberta Health Services says EMS 911 dispatch will be consolidated across the… Continue reading

Driver ticketed after insecure load of lumber hits B.C. cyclist on Sea-to-Sky

SQUAMISH, B.C. — A Vancouver man is nursing serious injuries while RCMP… Continue reading

Saskatchewan plans for ‘normal’ return to school, masks not mandatory

REGINA — Saskatchewan plans to bring students back to classrooms under conditions… Continue reading

Two die in Tulameen, B.C., after collapsing in outdoor shower fuelled by propane

THE CANADIAN PRESS PRINCETON, B.C. — RCMP and British Columbia’s coroner are… Continue reading

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors gathered along 56 St Wetaskiwin, Alta. August 4, 2020 for Indigenous Lives Matter.

Lebanese confront devastation after massive Beirut explosion

BEIRUT — Residents of Beirut confronted a scene of utter devastation Wednesday,… Continue reading

David Marsden: Back-to-school plan makes sense

Albertans are wise to propose ways to improve students’ return to classrooms… Continue reading

Michael Dawe: 1971’s destructive hailstorm shattered a great summer

Alberta has been experiencing some interesting summer weather this year. Generally, there… Continue reading

Pete Hamill, legendary New York columnist, has died

NEW YORK — Pete Hamill, the self-taught, street-wise newspaper columnist whose love… Continue reading

Disney to release ‘Mulan’ on streaming service, for a price

“Mulan” is no longer headed for a major theatrical release. The Walt… Continue reading

Wall Street opens higher, following gains in overseas stocks

NEW YORK — Stocks are opening solidly higher on Wall Street, following… Continue reading

The Latest: Norway offers $2.74 and medical aid to Lebanon

BEIRUT — The Latest on the explosion in Beirut (all times local):… Continue reading

Piscotty hits A’s 2nd walkoff slam this year, beats Rangers

Piscotty hits A’s 2nd walkoff slam this year, beats Rangers

Most Read