Acting Ombudsman of Ontario named

Acting Ombudsman of Ontario named

September 16, 2015

16 September, 2015

(TORONTO, September 16, 2015) – Barbara Finlay has been named acting Ombudsman of Ontario, pending the Legislative Assembly’s selection process to fill the position permanently. Ms. Finlay has served with the Ontario Ombudsman’s office since 2005 as Deputy Ombudsman and Director of Operations. She has previously worked as Director General of Operations for the National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman, and as an Assistant Crown Attorney and part-time law professor.

Barbara Finlay takes over from André Marin pending selection process

(TORONTO, September 16, 2015) – Barbara Finlay has been named acting Ombudsman of Ontario, pending the Legislative Assembly’s selection process to fill the position permanently.

Ms. Finlay has served with the Ontario Ombudsman’s office since 2005 as Deputy Ombudsman and Director of Operations. She has previously worked as Director General of Operations for the National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman, and as an Assistant Crown Attorney and part-time law professor.

Under the Ombudsman Act, the temporary Ombudsman can be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council for six months, and “shall, while in office, have the powers and duties and functions of the Ombudsman.” Ms. Finlay’s appointment is effective September 15, 2015.

“Until a permanent Ombudsman is named, I will ensure to the best of my ability that this office continues to serve the public as it always has,” Ms. Finlay said.

The office also extended thanks to André Marin for his outstanding service and achievements in more than 10 years as Ombudsman. As Ontario’s longest-serving Ombudsman, Mr. Marin pioneered the use of large-scale systemic investigations, using techniques now emulated by watchdogs around the world. Most of his recommendations stemming from some 35 such investigations and reports were accepted, prompting government reforms affecting millions of people. These included improvements to newborn screening, lottery security, property tax assessments, crime victim compensation, support for police with operational stress injuries, access to drug funding, investigations of abuse in jails, and monitoring of unlicensed daycares.

Mr. Marin also called for greater scrutiny of the broader public sector throughout his tenure, culminating in legislation expanding the Ombudsman’s mandate for the first time in 40 years – to municipalities, universities and school boards. The new jurisdiction over school boards took effect September 1; municipalities and universities will follow on January 1, 2016.

Pending the selection of a permanent Ombudsman, Ms. Finlay stressed that the work of the office continues on all fronts, including resolving and investigating individual and systemic cases relating to provincial government bodies, school boards and closed municipal meetings, and preparing for the new mandate over municipalities and universities.

The Ombudsman’s Office celebrates its 40th anniversary this fall. More detail about the office’s work can be found in the 2014-2015 Annual Report Ombudsman’s Message, “10 years of Progress”.


For more information:

Linda Williamson
Director of Communications
416-586-3426
lwilliamson@ombudsman.on.ca