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Monday, July 28, 2014
Saskatchewan Justice

The Ombudsman Act, 2012 gives the Ombudsman responsibility to impartially investigate complaints from individuals who believe they have been treated unfairly by the provincial government and publicly-funded health entities (pfhe).  The Ombudsman may require that complaints be in writing where the circumstances warrant it.

"pfhe", or publicly-funded health entities, include regional health authorities, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, healthcare organizations and affiliates as defined in The Regional Health Services Act.

As an appointed Officer of the Legislative Assembly, the Ombudsman is independent of government and has broad powers to investigate administrative actions and decisions of government ministries, boards, agencies, commissions, crown corporations and pfhe’s upon receipt of a complaint from a member of the public or a request from the Legislative Assembly.  The Ombudsman may also conduct an investigation on his or her own initiative.

Before the Office of the Ombudsman conducts an investigation, individuals may be encouraged to try to resolve their complaints on their own through regular, available channels such as negotiation or mediation.  Ministries, provincial government agencies and pfhe’s may voluntarily provide information to the Ombudsman without a formal investigation being commenced in an effort to assist the parties to resolve the issue informally.  The Office also helps individuals find the agency responsible for helping with their problem when the complaint is outside the Ombudsman's jurisdiction to investigate.

The Ombudsman cannot investigate the following matters:

  • any decision or act of the Legislative Assembly, Lieutenant Governor in Council, or Cabinet;
  • any decision or order of the court;
  • any decision by government where there is a right of appeal or review, unless the Ombudsman is satisfied that in the particular case it would have been unreasonable to expect the person to resort to the court or tribunal; and
  • any decision or act of a Crown lawyer in relation to legal proceedings.

The investigation is free of charge.

The Ombudsman does not take sides when investigating complaints.  The Ombudsman acts impartially and makes recommendations based on the results of his or her investigation.

When there is a finding of unfairness, the Ombudsman will try to resolve the issue informally with the complainant and the government agency or pfhe.  When this is unsuccessful, the Office makes recommendations on the complainant's behalf to the appropriate Minister or government agency or pfhe to remedy the situation.  If the complaint is not resolved, the Ombudsman may present a report on the matter to the Lieutenant Governor in Council and may mention the matter in his or her annual report to the Legislative Assembly.  Changes to policies or procedures may also be recommended to make them fair.  However, the Office cannot compel government to take certain actions.

The Advocate for Children and Youth Act

(* This Act is under the mandate of the Ministry of Social Services)

The Advocate for Children and Youth (the Advocate) is an appointed Officer of the Legislative Assembly under The Advocate for Children and Youth Act.

The Advocate may investigate any matter relating to a child or children who receive services from any ministry or agency of government or pfhe.  Any person, including a child, may request an investigation.

"Child" means a person under 18 years of age and includes a person 18 years of age or more who is receiving services pursuant to the Youth Criminal Justice Act (Canada), The Young Offenders' Services Act or section 56 of The Child and Family Services Act.

"Youth" means a person at least 12 years of age but under 18 years of age who is receiving services pursuant to the Youth Criminal Justice Act (Canada), The Young Offenders' Services Act or section 56 of The Child and Family Services Act.

The Advocate shall review and investigate any matter that comes to his or her attention through any source, and shall become involved in public education respecting the interests and well-being of children.  The Advocate may make recommendations with respect to his or her investigation.

The Advocate cannot investigate the following matters:

  • any decision or act of the Legislative Assembly, Lieutenant Governor in Council, or Cabinet;
  • any decision or order of the court;
  • any decision by government where there is a right of appeal or review, unless the Advocate is satisfied that in the particular case it would have been unreasonable to expect the person to resort to the court or tribunal; and
  • any decision or act of a Crown lawyer in relation to legal proceedings.

The investigation is free of charge.

The Advocate does not take sides when investigating complaints. The Advocate acts impartially and makes recommendations based on the results of his or her investigation.

When there is a finding of unfairness, the Advocate will try to resolve the issue informally with the complainant and the government agency or pfhe.  When this is unsuccessful, the Office makes recommendations on the complainant's behalf to the appropriate Minister or government agency or pfhe to remedy the situation.  If the complaint is not resolved, the Advocate may present a report on the matter to the Lieutenant Governor in Council and may mention the matter in his or her annual report to the Legislative Assembly.  Changes to policies or procedures may also be recommended to make them fair.  However, the Office cannot compel government to take certain actions.

Where appropriate, the Advocate may attempt to resolve matters through negotiation, conciliation, mediation, or other non-adversarial approaches. Ministries, government agencies and pfhe’s may voluntarily provide information to the Advocate to assist in resolving issues informally.  The Advocate may advise Ministers and heads of pfhe’s on services and their impact on children, including identifying problems in services and areas for improvement.  The Advocate may also conduct or contract for research to improve the rights, interests and well-being of children and youth.



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