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Monday, July 23, 2012

Waiting For Ombudsman

The Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario. Meet The Public Watchdog With Bite 
When or will the Ontario Ombudsman have oversight of Education? My present leaning may show here.
I follow the @Ont_Ombudsman on Twitter with interest and enjoy his #AskUROmbuds conversation. Here are some tweets of interest :

"When we make a recommendation, we usually require a periodic update by gov't on implementation"
" We have jurisdiction over Ont gov't line ministries, agencies, boards, commissions and Crown corporations." 
 "The whole MUSH sector is off limits. At least for now. See pages 13 et al. here "
"We oversee over 500 Ont gov't ABCs. Agencies, Boards, Commissions and Ministries."
"S. 17(2) of our Act allows 4 trivial matters, vexatious, frivolous or bad faith complaints to b rejected"
"Ombuds Act allows me to review laws. We did that in the  investig. Lead the gov't to agree to repeal PWPA"
"The vast majority of the 18,000+ cases we process every year is dealt w/in a low-key, cooperative way thanks to "
"Even if we don't have jurisdiction over MUSH, we may still b able to help. Don't hesitate to ring us."
"The Ombuds must respect the legislative branch of gov't which is democratically elected and directly accountable to citizens."
"Last but not least, as my recommendations are not binding, gov't can, at all times, reject them."
"Courts can exercise judicial review to ensure that the Ombuds does not exceed his jurisdiction or fail to exercise it."
"If our decisions were binding, we'd b more like a court & treated much differently in law."
"Ombud's findings around the world are not binding. It's the nature of the beast. We rely on moral suasion."
" I've always said oversight of some/all MUSH is inevitable. Hopefully sooner than late"

For your reading the 2011/2012 Annual Report of the Ombudsman.
I wonder what the Ombudsman's oversight of Education would look like? Would it create a roadblock/impediment of decisions and implementation?  Could things come to a crawl or halt within a school or Board waiting for the Ombudsman's Report? Could there be hesitation to make decisions and changes? Would its mandate include everything from a parent not liking a child's teacher or classroom placement to Accommodation Reviews and School Closures?
How would Rulings be implemented? Where would the ruling's jurisdiction lie: the School, the Board or the Province?
Is it time to start serious discussion? Time to Give Ombudsman Authority for Schools Overdue 
Until we know what it would look like how can we say yes or no to oversight?

PS: I know some of my followers will jump on this post.

1 comment:

  1. Robert:
    Ombudsman oversight of school boards is essential. Boards have silently switched their allegiance from representing the community to becoming policy enforcer for the current government and ministry of education. This is intolerable.

    It is unacceptable that while board members elected by members of the community, they state through their bureaucracy that they have no responsibility for any adverse effects their decision may have on that same community.

    The bureaucracy says "We can no longer afford to provide your community with a school." A true board of "trustees" would ask themselves the question "Can this community afford to be without a school?"

    Ombudsman oversight for bot schools and municipalities cannot come soon enough.