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Manitoba Ombudsman releases 2004 Annual Report under The Ombudsman Act

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Jul 4, 2005

Manitoba Ombudsman Irene Hamilton has reported on the activities of the Ombudsman Office during the calendar year 2004. This was the last full year of the office's operation under the leadership of former Ombudsman Barry Tuckett.

In releasing the report Hamilton commented that the format and style have begun to change and that the 2005 report will see further changes with the hope that the document will be used as an educational tool for Manitobans. To encourage that, there will be wide distribution of upcoming reports to groups and organizations that do not normally receive communication from her office.

Highlighted in the 2004 report are certain problems that have been unresolved for several years. “I will be addressing my concerns about the length of time that it has taken to resolve these issues with the departments responsible. The public is entitled to know what progress can be expected from the public body on these longstanding issues,” said the Ombudsman.

In 2004, the Manitoba Ombudsman received more than 3700 telephone inquiries, drop-ins, and formal complaints from members of the public.

More than 800 complaints were made in 2004 regarding the administrative actions, omissions or decisions of boards, corporations, departments and agencies of provincial and municipal governments, including the City of Winnipeg.

Created in 1970, the Office of the Manitoba Ombudsman exists to promote fairness, equity and administrative accountability through independent impartial, non-partisan, and thorough investigation of complaints and legislative compliance reviews.

Under The Ombudsman Act, the Ombudsman investigates complaints concerning any act, decision, recommendation or omission related to a matter of administration by any department or agency of the provincial government or a municipal government. The Ombudsman Act was expanded on January 1, 1997, to include more than 200 municipalities. Since January 1, 2003, the Manitoba Ombudsman has had jurisdiction under The Ombudsman Act to receive and investigate complaints against the City of Winnipeg, which constitutes more than half the population of the province.

The Ombudsman also has responsibilities under The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and The Personal Health Information Act . An Access and Privacy Division, created in 1998, investigates complaints and reviews compliance under these Acts. The Personal Health Information Act came into effect on December 11, 1997. The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act became law on May 4, 1998, encompassed the City of Winnipeg on August 31, 1998, and was proclaimed on April 3, 2000, for more than 390 local government, educational and health care bodies. The Manitoba Ombudsman issues a separate annual report involving access and privacy matters.

For more information, contact: Irene Hamilton, Manitoba Ombudsman at (204) 982-9130 or 1-800-665-0531 (in Manitoba).