WHAT IS BILL 8?
This legislation makes historic changes to the Ombudsman’s mandate, allowing our Office to help many more Ontarians.
It expands the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction to municipalities, universities and school boards.
Frequently Asked Questions about municipalities, universities, and school boards
Brochures - Municipalities, Universities and School Boards
Complaints about Universities (PDF | accessible PDF)
Complaints about School boards (PDF | accessible PDF)
Bill 8 is the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014. It was introduced in the Ontario Legislature in July 2014 and passed in December 2014, with staggered implementation dates. Originally introduced as Bill 179 on March 6th, 2014, it died on the order paper when an election was called for June.
Schedule 9 of the bill amends the Ombudsman Act to allow the Ombudsman to take complaints about municipalities, universities and school boards. Read the bill.
January 1, 2016: Press release: Ombudsman begins taking complaints about Ontario municipalities and universities on New Year’s Day
August 31, 2015: Press release: Ombudsman begins taking complaints about school boards September 1
May 21, 2015: Press release: Ombudsman oversight coming soon to municipalities, universities and school boards
December 9, 2014: Press release: Ontario Ombudsman welcomes historic expansion of mandate
December 1, 2014: Several amendments were made to the bill during clause-by-clause revision by the Standing Committee on General Government. Most notably, decisions by the City of Toronto Ombudsman will not be subject to the Ontario Ombudsman’s oversight, nor will the decisions of closed-meeting investigators appointed by municipalities. More information will be posted as it becomes available. All of the committee submissions can be found here.
November 26, 2014 - Ombudsman André Marin made a submission about Bill 8 to the Standing Committee on General Government at the end of two days of hearings. Read his remarks (accessible PDF).
HOW DOES THIS LEGISLATION AFFECT THE PUBLIC?
“Bill 8” allows the public to complain about organizations in the MUSH sector – municipalities, universities, school boards, hospitals and long-term care, as well as children’s aid societies.
The Ombudsman CANNOT investigate hospitals and long-term care homes; as of July 1, 2016, those are overseen by the Patient Ombudsman, along with Community Care Access Centres. (The Ontario Ombudsman oversees the Patient Ombudsman, who is employed by Health Quality Ontario.) Bill 8 also gives the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, who is an Office of the Legislature like the Ombudsman, the power to investigate children’s aid societies.
WHY IS BILL 8 HISTORIC?
Ontario is the last province to open the MUSH sector to Ombudsman scrutiny, although calls for change date back to 1975, when the first Ontario Ombudsman was appointed. Public petitions and private member’s bills calling for expansion of the Ombudsman’s mandate have intensified in recent years, earning the nickname “the Push for MUSH.” Read more about the “Push for MUSH” here and see how Ontario compares to other jurisdictions here.
Bill 8 In the News
Ontario Liberals bring back accountability law (Ottawa Citizen)
Patients need a ‘Cadillac’ ombudsman, but get a ‘Chevette’: Marin (QP Briefing)
Ombudsman applauds more transparency (The Londoner)
Ontario Ombudsman has new powers over schools and cities (London Free Press)
Ontario Ombudsman ready to probe MUSH sector (Barrie Advance)
Are Ontario’s scandal-plagued cities due for greater oversight? (The Toronto Star)