MONTREAL, May 28, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Under the theme Our Rigor, Your Trust, the 2013 Annual Report from the Ombudsman de Montréal has just been submitted to City Council. It outlines the many steps taken by the Ombudsman and her team to help citizens who believe that they were adversely affected by a decision or an omission of the City or one of its related entities.
The Ombudsman de Montréal's office handled 1,348 files in 2013, including 1,285 new requests. The team led by Me Johanne Savard carried out 216 in- depth investigations: 153 that stemmed from the new requests received in 2013 and 63 relating to previous complaints.
« Over the years, rigor, respect, tenacity and common sense have become our trademark and our measure of success. We always seek just and equitable solutions, for both citizens and the City », explains Me Savard.
The average processing time (all files included), in 2013, was 5.13 working days whereas in-depth investigations lasted, in average, 33.86 working days. We must, however, point out that 45 investigations which began in 2013 were still in progress as at December 31. In all, 84 of the 216 in-depth investigations that were carried out were related to the Montreal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities.
Main topics of complaint
The most frequent topics of complaint involve the functioning of the Municipal Court (137 complaints/23 inquiries), permits (60 complaints/8 inquiries), the conduct of a municipal employee (59 complaints/1 inquiry), the application of municipal By-laws (54 complaints/10 inquiries) and the sanitation and maintenance of dwelling units (50 complaints/8 inquiries).
Despite receiving a high number of complaints concerning the sanitation of certain dwelling units, the Ombudsman notes that this type of complaint is on the decrease. This encouraging result tends to confirm that the efforts deployed by the Ombudsman's team, over the last few years, to improve the handling of complaints related to the insalubrious dwellings, have paid off.
The Central Departments most often targeted by a complaint are the Municipal Court (165), Police Operations (57) and the Parking enforcement officers (37). Among paramunicipal agencies, l'Office municipal d'habitation de Montréal (OMHM) remains the one most often concerned: it was the object of 58 complaints/9 inquiries in 2013.
As for the most often involved Boroughs, they are essentially the same ones, from year to year: Ville-Marie (76 complaints), Le Plateau Mont-Royal (71 complaints), Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (66 complaints) and Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie (65 complaints).
« However, a high number of complaints does not necessarily show that this Borough or Department has management issues. Because of their particular clientele and their inherent characteristics, some entities are naturally more likely to be the object of a complaint », pointed out Me Savard.
In 2013, slightly more men than women called upon the Ombudsman de Montréal to intervene (the ratio was 54.08% versus 45.68%) while French largely dominated with respect to the language of correspondence (84.36 %).
2013 in short
The dynamic nature of the Ombudsman's Office shows itself in many forms. Various tools were developed to better inform the public, including blog spots and frequent interaction on social media. In 2013, the Ombudsman de Montréal also took the initiative to share with Permanent Municipal Commissions the experience acquired through its interventions with respect to the sanitation of dwelling units and universal accessibility.
Universal accessibility (physical access and access to information) remains a major concern for the Ombudsman de Montréal who leads by example: in 2013, the office improved its own adapted information tools on Ville de Montreal Accès Simple website (Ombudsman section). Over the coming months, the Ombudsman will pay particularly attention to the decisions that will be made by the various Boroughs for the purpose of making outdoor terraces universally accessible.
About the Ombudsman de Montréal
Created in 2003, the Ombudsman de Montréal' office is an eight-person team. It intervenes, as a last resort recourse, to ensure that the municipal rights of citizens are respected and that their files are treated with respect, justice and equity by all municipal entities. This service, which is completely free of charge and easily accessible, brings positive results to participatory democracy, ethics, justice and due process within the City of Montreal.
The Ombudsman also offers the only available recourse to ensure that the Montreal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities is complied with, by municipal managers and employees as well as by elected officials.
A complaint form, along with the 2013 Annual Report and several complementary tables are available on the Ombudsman de Montréal website: http://ombudsmandemontreal.com.
SOURCE: OMBUDSMAN DE MONTREAL
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