Québec City, December 1, 2022 — Today, Québec Ombudsman Marc-André Dowd tabled his 2021-2022 Annual Report in the National Assembly. Emphasizing the ever-present impact of COVID-19 in Québec, he insisted on the pandemic-related challenges to public services since March 2020: distance communication, technological innovation, staff shortages, and greater needs by a population grappling with the virus.
As the Québec Ombudsman sees it, the huge task of adapting to the fallout from COVID-19 must be an opportunity for public services to be creative and refocus on the needs of people, notably the most vulnerable ones.
"We’ve seen it happen—when everyone’s safety is threatened by an unforeseen virus and action must be immediate, the required energy and resources are mobilized," said Mr. Dowd. "I’m calling on this agility to recast and permanently enrich the slate of services."
A worrisome past year
In addition to addressing a context severely affected by COVID-19, the Québec Ombudsman’s 2021-2022 Annual Report also zeroes in on major shortcomings within some public services. Here are but a few examples of numerous worrisome cases:
Technology and communication: don’t leave anyone behind
Since March 2020, digital technology has enabled public services, which integrated protective measures against COVID-19, to interact virtually with their client populations. However, the Québec Ombudsman has a word of warning—for many people, using the Web is practically impossible given their age, health, or socioeconomic condition. For these people, the digital revolution may increase the ever-widening gap between their needs and the services to which they have access.
"Above and beyond technical changes, government must put people at the heart of its actions and decisions," said Marc-André Dowd in closing.
2021-2022 in a few figures
The Québec Ombudsman acts impartially and independently in ensuring that the rights of people are upheld in their dealings with public services. Its services are free and user-friendly.
See the Highlights of the Québec Ombudsman’s 2021-2022 Annual Report in the Annual Reports section of our website.
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