- The Ombudsman reports to the Council of the Township of Uxbridge and investigates in an independent manner any decision or recommendation made or act done or omitted in the course of the administration of the. Township, and affecting any person or body of persons in his, her or its personal capacity.
- The Ombudsman provides an independent, impartial and confidential office through which members of the public may pursue just, fair and equitable resolution of concerns within the mandate of the Ombudsman.
- The Ombudsman receives Complaints, assesses them in order to determine if they are within its mandate and investigates Complaints within its mandate.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate any Township decision, recommendation, act or omission, in respect of which there is, under any Act, a right of appeal or objection, or a right to apply for a hearing or review, on the merits of the case to any court, or to any tribunal constituted by or under any Act, until that right of appeal or objection or application has been exercised in the particular case, or until after any time for the exercise of that right has expired.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate a Complaint if the Complainant has not exhausted all internal complaint procedures of the Township, as applicable.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate any decision, recommendation, act or omission of any person acting as a legal adviser to the Township or acting as counsel to them in relation to any proceedings.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate complaints regarding policing, the conduct of Uxbridge’s members of Council and closed meetings of Uxbridge’s Committees or Council.
- The Ombudsman may refuse to investigate a Complaint or to continue an investigation of a Complaint when the Ombudsman believes on reasonable grounds that:
a) the Complainant has not availed himself or herself of other adequate remedies under the law or existing administrative practices;
b) the subject matter of the Complaint is trivial;
c) the Complaint is frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith;
d) the Complainant cannot demonstrate sufficient personal interest in the subject matter of the Complaint;
e) having regard to all of the circumstances of the case, no further investigation is necessary; or
f) at the time the Complaint is received, more than one year has elapsed since the Complainant learned of the facts on which the Complaint is based, unless the Complainant establishes exceptional circumstances that justify the delay to the satisfaction of the Ombudsman.
- The Ombudsman may consider representations from the parties in determining if a Complaint falls within his or her mandate.
- If the Ombudsman determines not to investigate, or to discontinue an investigation, the Ombudsman will inform the Complainant in writing of the decision and the reasons for the decision.
- The Ombudsman will not consider a complaint until it has received a completed and signed Complaint Submission Form and a signed Consent and Confidentiality Agreement.
- Upon receipt of a Complaint, the Ombudsman will inform the Township through the Township Clerk and conduct an initial review to determine if the Complaint is within the mandate of the Ombudsman to investigate.
- If a Complaint is not within the Ombudsman’s mandate to investigate, an Initial View Letter will be sent to the Complainant advising him or her of the reason why the Ombudsman is unable to investigate the matter.
- The Ombudsman will inform the Township through the Township Clerk if the Ombudsman is unable to investigate the matter or if an investigation will be undertaken by the Ombudsman.
- The Ombudsman may act as a liaison between members of the public and the Township, serving as a communicator or informal conciliator if appropriate.
- Before undertaking an investigation, the Ombudsman will attempt to mediate or otherwise facilitate the early resolution of a Complaint, if appropriate.
- Every investigation will be conducted in private.
- The Ombudsman will determine the procedures for assessing and investigating Complaints, including again attempting early resolution through mediation. The Ombudsman is not bound by the rules of evidence that would apply in a court of law. The Ombudsman will use his or her judgment to evaluate the quality of the evidence, the relevance and weight applicable, and its effect on the final outcome of the investigation.
- The Ombudsman may hear or obtain information from such persons as he or she thinks fit and it is not necessary for the Ombudsman to hold any hearing and no person is entitled as of right to be heard by the Ombudsman. However, if at any time during the investigation it appears to the Ombudsman that there may be sufficient grounds for him or her to make any report or recommendation that may adversely affect the Township or any other person, the Ombudsman will give him, her or it an opportunity to make representations respecting the adverse report or recommendation, either personally or by counsel.
- The Township will cooperate with and assist the Ombudsman in the investigation by providing all non-privileged information in its possession/control as soon as is reasonably practical, unless it is demonstrated to the Ombudsman that disclosing this would likely place the Township in breach of the law or its duty of confidentiality.
- ln undertaking an investigation, the Ombudsman will have regard to whether the decision, recommendation, act or omission in question may have been:
a) contrary to law;
b) unreasonable, unjust, oppressive or improperly discriminatory;
c) based wholly or partly on a mistake of law or fact;
d) based on the improper exercise of a discretionary power; or
- Where the Ombudsman undertakes an investigation, he or she will issue a written report with his or her findings, either rejecting the Complaint or making recommendations to the Township through the Township Clerk, and containing reasons for its decision.
- The Ombudsman may disclose in any report made by him or her, matters as in the Ombudsman’s opinion ought to be disclosed in order to establish grounds for his or her conclusion and recommendations.
- The Ombudsman will make a recommendation or reject a Complaint based on what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. In determining this, the Ombudsman will take into account the law, any regulatory policies and any relevant code of practice or guidance applicable to the subject matter of the Complaint. Decisions must also be in accordance with accepted standards of fairness, independence, and competence, and tenets of procedural fairness will be followed.
- Recommendations by the Ombudsman are not binding on the Township or the Complainant.
- Recommendations by the Ombudsman may include recommendations, where appropriate, for changes to the Township’s policies and Notwithstanding the rejection of a Complaint, the Ombudsman may bring to the attention of the Township any policies, rules or procedures that may appear unclear, inequitable or unfair that have been the subject of a Complaint investigation. The Ombudsman may suggest changes to existing policies, rules or procedures, or offer advice on the development of new policies, rules or procedures.