2007 Ombudsman in the News

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Crime victims who have the tenacity to work their way through the bureaucratic maze of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board will not find a pot of gold at the end of their demeaning journey.
The new report on the Ontario lottery scandal from Ontario provincial ombudsman Andre Marin is not just a jolt to the moral and statistical conscience: It is also a sobering education in the way a public agency conducts itself when it is given a legal monopoly over a particular service. Marin's investigation of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has yielded tales of awful customer service, dodgy record-keeping, laughable investigative procedures and above all a near-total disregard on the part of OLG for the essential condition of its business model -- the customer's expectation that a winning ticket will be properly honoured.
MURRAY CAMPBELL What did we do before Andre Marin came along? For nearly two years now, the Ontario Ombudsman has peppered the government with hard-hitting reports filled with fiery rhetoric that leaves cabinet ministers squirming in their seats.
Ontario Chief Justice Roy McMurtry will recommend ways to revamp the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, in the wake of the ombudsman's scathing probe into the agency that is supposed to help victims.
Ontario's Criminal Injuries Compensation Board will receive $20 million - a doubling of its budget - to clear a backlog of cases and provide new services to victims, the province announced Friday on the heels of a blistering report from the ombudsman.
To use the vernacular, Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin ripped the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board a new one this week. But Marin didn't just come down on the CICB like a biblical prophet. Almost in passing, he dispenses with it as "unreasonable, oppressive, unjust ... wrong", all failings it is his job to report under the Ombudsman Act.
To those of us who have been involved in acting for victims, the findings of Ontario's ombudsman, Andre Marin, comes as no surprise. He describes the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board as a "rule-obsessed, paper-shuffling" vindictive bureaucracy. The mistreatment of applicants is not limited only to this board.
As usual, Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin has used colourful language to humiliate a government institution and its political overseers. And as usual, he's right.
If you're caught speeding or not wearing your seatbelt, you pay a victims' surcharge, but it appears victims of crime in this province are having a difficult time accessing funds from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
Members of the provincial bureaucracy can't be too happy with Andre Marin these days. But as our ombudsman, his job is to shine a light on the dark recesses within our institutions, not to become "Mr. Popular."