What does the Ombudsman do?
The office of the ombudsman can intervene or investigate of its own initiative or at the request of a citizen or group of citizens:
- Every time there are reasonable motives to believe a citizen or a group of citizens was aggrieved or could reasonably have been aggrieved by the act or omission of the City or of a para-municipal entity, or of their officials or employees;
- At the request of the executive-committee or the Council.
The Ombudsman can also intervene or investigate any matter relating to an act or omission on the part of a person completing tasks on behalf of the City.
«I thank you again, as I always thought that the city does not really listen to its citizens when these issues occur, but you have proven that the Ombudsman does listen and will intervene when possible or refer us to the proper channel.»
The office of the Ombudsman cannot intervene regarding an act or omission:
- Related to the Council, executive-committee, or any committee or commission of the City;
- Related to any person in the context of working relationships with the citizen or the group of citizens whose interests would be targeted by the intervention or investigation;
- Related to an elected municipal official or any individual that is a member of the cabinet of elected municipal officials;
- Related to a police officer belonging to the City’s Police Department;
- Related to the City’s General Auditor;
- Related to the Société de transport de Laval or one of its employees;
- Related to the municipal services of a different city.
The Ombudsman also cannot investigate or intervene regarding a private dispute between citizens or a decision ruled by a court, an agency, or a person exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions.
«I was fortunate enough to have the assistance of Me Nadine Mailloux. I cannot thank her enough for her work on this matter. Mme Mailloux’s work ethic, professionalism and integrity are incredible.»
Before filing a complaint
The requests submitted to the Ombudsman are systematically processed. The Ombudsman should, however, be considered a last resort service. We therefore request for the citizen to have used up all other remedies made available by the municipal administration before contacting us.
The Ombudsman and his or her executive assistant also make sure to adequately direct citizens toward the appropriate resource or to intervene directly so that the citizen receives a follow-up.
The greatest care is taken to listen to and respect the requests submitted to the Ombudsman. The citizen can count on an approach based on mediation and conciliation.
Citizens can easily request the intervention of the Ombudsman: the procedures are simple, and the treatment time of cases is much shorter than that of judicial remedies.
Treatment of a case
Examination of steps with the citizen
When a citizen contacts the Ombudsman’s office, he or she first meets with Ms. Teresa Ciciotti, Administrative Coordinator. She is the one who:
-identifies the nature of the request;
-reviews the steps taken up to that point;
-if needed, refers the citizen to the service or individual implicated in the request.
Intervention request form to fill out
If all of these steps have already been completed, Ms. Ciciotti will ask the citizen to fill out an intervention request form in order to properly identify the elements of the case and the citizen’s expectations.
When an intervention request is filed:
-the service targeted by the complaint is contacted;
-a copy of the file is requested to obtain preliminary information;
-an attempt to resolve the issue is undertaken and, often, the treatment of the request ends at this step.
Analysis of the case by the Ombudsman
When a complementary intervention is required, the Ombudsman:
-identifies the issue;
-determines whether the citizen has been aggrieved by a decision or omission on the part of Ville de Laval;
-provides possible solutions to the citizen and the service concerned.
Investigation led by the Ombudsman
In some cases:
-the Ombudsman leads an in-depth investigation and can exercise his or her power of recommendation with Ville de Laval;
-the result of the investigation is communicated in writing to city management and the citizen;
-the City Manager informs the Ombudsman of the decision made on the recommendation if necessary.
If the Ombudsman deems it necessary, he or she can use a special report to present the City Council with a recommendation that the City refuses to apply.
The Council must then make a decision on the position chosen by the City.