Rotary Club of Richmond Sunset

Kim Carter - Ombudsperson, BC

 
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Alexis gave a brief introduction of Kim, the Ombudsperson of British Columbia, who has been appointed in 2006 and re-appointed for another 6-year term in May 2012.  
Kim had been in the Canadian Forces for over 30 years and was the chief military judge when she left in 2006.  She has spoken to different Rotary Clubs about the Ombudsperson office but
her first experience with Rotary was 40 year ago in Ontario where she grew up and got sponsored by Rotary for a 1-year adventure to travel aboard.
The Ombudsperson office, located in Victoria, has a similar focus with Rotary – service. They focus on real people with real problems with 8,000 enquires/complaints every year and 2,000 go
into investigations.

The Ombudsperson is one of the statutory officers of the BC legislature among the Auditor General, Chief Electoral Officer, Freedom of Information and Privacy Commissioner.  They are
independent of the government and accountable only to the legislature.  All other provinces have their own Ombudsperson except Prince Edward Island.  The position is elected by a special
committee formed in the legislature with 5 members – 3 from the government and 2 from the opposition and the decision has to be unanimous.

The goal of the Ombudsperson office is to ensure government is accountable and transparent. They have authority over ministries, crown operations, local government, schools, health
authorities, and other professional societies such as the College of Physicians & Surgeons, Association of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists.  Police Complaints Commissioner takes
care of police-related complaints.

There are three investigation teams and one systemic investigation team which looks at the underlying problems of the individual cases they receive and issue public reports.  They have
looked into drinking water problems, safety and senior’s care problems.  They issued the largest report so far on senior’s care issues with 441 pages in February 2012 and on the same day the
government announced an action plan.  The cost is $1.20 on each British Columbians to keep the Ombudsperson office running.

Kim encourages members to visit their website and learn more about the office
http://www.ombudsman.bc.ca/ and to refer people who may benefit from her office’s help.