Results from an individual case can benefit thousands of others in similar circumstances, according to B.C.’s ombudsperson.
Kim Carter spoke to about 40 people last Friday at the Mission Seniors Activity Centre, explaining the role of the ombudsperson and when that office would get involved.
“Our goal is to ensure openness, transparency and accountability,” Carter said, who was invited to address the Mission crowd as part of Seniors’ Week activities.
The B.C. ombudsperson is an officer of the provincial legislature, independent of government, and is responsible for making sure administrative practices and services of public agencies are fair, reasonable and equitable.
Carter said she would get involved for a number of reasons, including delays of service, poor or no reasons for decisions, if people felt they were treated unfairly, and if the rules weren’t followed.
And a successful resolution can include a new hearing or reassessment, access to previously denied benefits, an apology, or reimbursement of expenses, she explained.
Carter used a number of anecdotes to demonstrate the results of the office’s work, including one man who felt he was overcharged by a utility company. He couldn’t get an explanation from the company, and once the ombudsperson inquired, the case was re-examined and the company was found to have made a error.
The man’s bill was reduced, and more importantly, she said, a number of other bills were re-analyzed, and several other customers were reimbursed.