What We Do
The Saskatchewan Ombudsman has two roles: Ombudsman and Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner
Ombudsman Saskatchewan is the Office of the provincial Ombudsman. We receive complaints from people who think they have been treated unfairly by a provincial or municipal service. These include ministries, agencies, boards, authorities, Crown corporations, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, most other publicly-funded health entities, cities, towns, villages, resort villages, rural municipalities, northern municipalities, committees created by municipal councils, corporations controlled by municipalities, and municipal council members. The Ombudsman’s role is defined in The Ombudsman Act, 2012. For more details about the kinds of complaints we can take, see Before Making a Complaint.
The Ombudsman is also the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner. In this capacity, we receive disclosures of wrongdoing from public servants, as defined in The Public Interest Disclosure Act and Regulations. The Act enables public servants to report suspected workplace wrongdoings to either the Commissioner or a senior staff member appointed as a designated officer. Public sector employees who think measures have been taken against them because they have made a disclosure (or taken other actions, as defined in the Act), can contact us (and only us) with a complaint of reprisal. For more details see: For Public Sector Employees.
As an Officer of the Legislative Assembly, the Ombudsman is independent and impartial. We do our work confidentially and there is no fee for people to make complaints to our Office.
Vision, Mission, Values and Goals
Our mission, vision, values and goals are:
Our vision is that government is always accountable, acts with integrity, and treats people fairly.
Our mission is to promote and protect fairness and integrity in the design and delivery of government services.
We will demonstrate in our work and workplace:
- Fairness, integrity and accountability
- Independence and impartiality
- Competence and consistency
Our goals are to:
- Provide effective, timely and appropriate service.
- Assess and respond to issues from a system-wide perspective.
- Undertake work that is important to the people of Saskatchewan.
- Demonstrate value to the people of Saskatchewan by making recommendations that are evidence-based, relevant and achievable.
- Be experts on fairness and integrity.
- Educate the public and public servants about fairness and integrity.
- Have a safe, healthy, respectful and supportive work environment.
We have seen a lot of change since our Office first opened its doors in Regina in 1973, and in Saskatoon in 1975. Here is an overview of a few of the legislative milestones we have passed and the Ombudsman who have led the Office.
1992 – The Ombudsman Act, 1973 was amended to include the administrative decisions of ministers and deputy ministers in our jurisdiction.
1994 – The Act was amended to become The Ombudsman and Children’s Advocate Act, which created a separate Children’s Advocate Office.
2004 – The Ombudsman and Children’s Advocate Act was amended to enable the Ombudsman to use non-adversarial methods like negotiation, conciliation and mediation to resolve complaints. Another amendment enabled the Ombudsman to educate the public about his or her powers and duties.
2011 – The Public Interest Disclosure Act came into force, enabling government employees to come forward if they think a wrongdoing has occurred or is being planned in their workplace.
2012 – The Ombudsman was named the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner.
2012 – The Ombudsman’s jurisdiction in health was expanded to include a broader range of health entities. The Ombudsman Act, 2012 became a separate document from The Children’s Advocate Act.
2015 – Saskatchewan’s municipal sector was added to the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction. This included 780 municipalities and about 3,700 council members.
Since 1973, the following people have been appointed Ombudsman:
- Ernest C. Boychuk Q.C. (1973 – 1976)
- David A. Tickell (1977 – 1987)
- Gerald P. McLellan Q.C. (1987 – 1993)
- Barbara J. Tomkins Q.C. (1994 – 2004)
- Kevin Fenwick Q.C. (2004 – 2013)
- Mary McFadyen Q.C. (2014 – )