City of Burlington


Matters that ARE within our Mandate to investigate are:

  • Decisions made by the City that are not within their legal power to make
  • Where the City has not followed the appropriate procedures in reaching a decision
  • Where the City has acted in a way that is contrary to the City’s Rules, Procedures, or By-Laws
  • Where the City has failed to take a certain action that it is required to take under its Rules, Procedures or By-Laws
  • Any decision or recommendation made, or act done or omitted, in the course of the administration of the City, provided that it does not fall under the list of matters that are not within our mandate to investigate (see below)

Matters that are NOT within our Mandate to investigate are:

  • Any City decision, recommendation, act or omission, in respect of which there is a right of appeal or objection to any court or tribunal, until that right of appeal or objection has been exercised, or the time for exercise of that right has expired.
  • Cases where the complainant has not taken their complaint to the City first.
  • Decisions, recommendations, acts or omissions of a legal advisor or counsel to the City.
  • Complaints regarding policing, the conduct of Councillors, and closed meetings of Council.
  • Complaints where the subject matter is deemed to be trivial, frivolous vexatious or not made in good faith.
  • Cases where more than one year has elapsed since the complainant learned the facts on which the complaint is based, unless special circumstances exist.


  • Complainants submit a completed and signed Complaint Submission Form within one year since learning the facts on which the complaint is based
  • An initial review is conducted in order to determine whether a file may be investigated. During this process the following questions are considered:
    • Did the complainant already go through the City’s internal complaint process? If not, complainant is referred to the City.
    • Is the complaint within the Ombudsman’s mandate?
  • Complainants are advised of the outcome of the initial review.
  • An initial review may result in the complainant and City being advised that the file will be investigated. It may also result in an Initial View Letter advising the complainant that the file is being closed because the complaint is not within the Ombudsman’s mandate (such letters will refer complainants to the appropriate body to make their complaint, where possible).
  • For complaints that are assigned for investigation, the investigator will review all the documentation that was provided. If the investigator believes that the matter may be resolved, it may seek to facilitate a resolution between the parties. If a resolution is not possible, the investigator will continue investigating the complaint and may contact the complainant and the City to schedule interviews and seek further information regarding the complaint.
  • Upon completion of the investigation, a report will be drafted and will be provided to the parties.
  • The report will contain the investigator’s findings, either rejecting the complaint or making recommendation to the City, and will provide reasons for the decision.


City of Burlington Complaint Submission Form