Ombudsman: South Dundas third highest in complaints in SDG

MORRISBURG – South Dundas is third-highest out of the seven municipalities in complaints to the provincial ombudsman. This is according to provincial ombudsman Paul Dubé, who tabled his report to the Speaker of the Ontario legislature in June.

The Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario investigates public complaints about provincial government organizations, municipalities, universities, and school boards. It is an independent office of the Ontario legislature. Complaints filed with the ombudsman are investigated and when required, the office will recommend solutions to individual and/or systemic administration problems within the body the complaint is against.

The City of Cornwall led all municipalities across SDG with seven complaints filed against it in the reporting period. South Glengarry was second with six complains filed; South Dundas third with three; North Stormont, South Stormont and North Glengarry were tied with two complaints each, while North Dundas and the United Counties had one complaint filed each.

The complaints against South Dundas increased from two in 2016-17 to three during the 2017-18 reporting year for the report.

Details of complaints are not in the report. The complaints against South Dundas did not involve closed municipal meetings. A separate list of those complaints were in the report. Only Cornwall appeared on that list from this region.

The Ombudsman’s office also deals with complaints against school boards. In the region, the Upper Canada District School Board led with 12 complaints filed against it while the Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (French-Public) had nine complaints. The Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien (French-Catholic) had four complaints filed, the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, had only one filed.

Dubé acknowledged that complaints against school boards increased in this reporting due to the number of pupil accommodation review proceedings.

“School closings and consolidations continued to be a common complaint trend in several areas of the province,” Dubé said in the report.

The Ombudsman’s Office received 21,154 complaints in the 2017-18 year, with 13,676 cases within the offices authority closed. A total of 6,490 cases were closed because they were outside of the office’s authority. More than half of those were against private individuals or companies.

The office files its annual report every June.