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Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin believes it's a matter of when, not if, the Province of Ontario gives his office the authority to oversee institutions in the so-called MUSH sectors. They include municipalities, universities, school boards, hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, police services and children's aid societies.
Ontario's Ombudsman is launching an investigation into services for adults with autism and other developmental disabilities after several desperate families complained that their loved ones risked being sent to homeless shelters or jail due to lack of care.
The Ombudsman of Ontario is first and foremost an Officer of the Provincial Legislature. The Ombudsman is independent of both government and political parties, and is responsible for ensuring that the administration of provincial government services has proper oversight.
You could see this one coming from a mile away. That is, a feeling among some city councillors that Ombudsman Andre Marin should be dumped as the watchdog of closed meetings.
Live Chat: Should Ontario's ombudsman have oversight of hospitals? A discussion with André Marin and health professionals
Every year, the office of Ontario’s Ombudsman receives hundreds of complaints from people who claim they’ve been wronged by hospitals.
Ontario Ombudsman André Marin’s bid for jurisdiction to investigate complaints about patients’ experiences at the province’s hospitals and long-term care facilities has support from a wide range of patient advocacy groups.
He promised “doozies” and to name names. He delivered both, a double-barreled shot of accountability across the bow of big-city and small-town Ontario politicians who think they can meet in secret whenever they like, no matter what citizens or the law say.
This should be a no-brainer — municipal councils are required by law to work in an open and above-board way. But too many remain out of touch, still conducting the people’s business behind closed doors, where the people can’t see.
It’s unbelievable, in 21st century Canada, that an ombudsman feels the need to say that transparency “should not depend on the whims of local government.” Yet André Marin did say that, an a damning report on Ontario’s so-called Sunshine Law, which established a public complaints system to reinforce the requirement that municipal meetings be open except in certain narrowly defined situations.