The Ombudsperson calls on public services to honour their commitments | Protecteur du Citoyen
November 29, 2018

The Ombudsperson calls on public services to honour their commitments

Québec City, November 29, 2018 – Today, Ombudsperson Marie Rinfret tabled her 2017-2018 Annual Report in the National Assembly. In it, she weighs in on public services in Québec.

"Despite their efforts, government departments and agencies, correctional facilities and health and social services network institutions are hard-pressed to meet their commitments," Ms. Rinfret said. 

The Ombudsperson gave several examples of the failure of public services to make good on their commitments: 

  • Lengthy wait times, lack of information, high staff turnover and loss of documents were such that the Ministère de la Sécurité publique did not completely meet its commitment to promptly compensate the victims of the 2017 floods.
  • In the case of tax credit for childcare expense audits, Revenu Québec sometimes ran counter to its Charter of Taxpayers’ and Mandataries’ rights by not justifying its assessments. This meant that taxpayers were unable to defend themselves adequately.
  • Because of prison overcrowding, correctional facilities did not manage to provide detainees with humane and safe living conditions.
  • The number of people who received long-term home support services was lower than the target announced in the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux’s 2015-2020 strategic plan. Even though numbers are rising, they remain insufficient given how many people need these services.
  • In a context of staff shortages, CHSLDs introduced practices contrary to those that must shape care and service provision in such environments.

Because the Québec Ombudsman intervened, problems of complainants’ and of many other people in similar situations were solved. 

Public integrity investigations

Between May 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018, the Québec Ombudsman received 136 disclosures of wrongdoing. As at March 31, 2018, 101 files were closed, 12 investigations were underway, and 23 files were being audited or analyzed for admissibility. "Given the number of disclosures we have received, we can already see the merits of such independent and impartial recourse," the Ombudsperson said.

2017-2018 in numbers

  • 21,950 requests processed;
  • Calls picked up in under 20 seconds in 90.1% of cases; 
  • More than 98% of our recommendations accepted;
  • All relevant bills and draft regulations examined (34 bills and 148 draft regulations)

The Québec Ombudsman’s mandates

  1. Handling complaints concerning the services of departments and of most agencies of the Québec government;
  2. Handling complaints and reports concerning the services of the health and social services network (second-level redress for complaints, after the service quality and complaints commissioner of the institution concerned; first level in the case of reports); 
  3. Handling complaints from detainees in provincial correctional facilities;
  4. Handling public integrity disclosures and reprisal complaints in the context of disclosures.

The Public Protector Act was passed on November 14, 1968. For 50 years, the Québec Ombudsman has provided impartial and independent recourse that contributes to preventing litigation involving the government and citizens. Its services are free and there is no complicated red tape. 

See the highlights at rapportannuel.protecteurducitoyen.qc.ca.

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Press relations: 
Tania-Kim Milot 
Phone: (418) 646-7143 / Cell: (418) 925-7994
Email : tania-kim.milot@protecteurducitoyen.qc.ca