What makes the Ombudsman unique to other TSSA functions?
The TSSA Ombudsman role is that of an independent, neutral, informal and confidential resource and serves as a supplement to TSSA’s formal channels in which to raise and discuss concerns, suggestions or issues.
Is the Ombudsman a part of the TSSA management structure?
The Ombudsman function is independent of existing TSSA processes and structures, including its management. The Ombudsman reports to the Vice President and General Counsel, and while independent, it does have the support of and access to all levels of the organization.
Whose side is the Ombudsman on?
The Ombudsman does not advocate for anyone. The Ombudsman’s interest is in ensuring a process characterized by fairness and transparency, and advocates only for those interests.
Is contacting the TSSA Ombudsman the same as giving TSSA notice of issues?
No. Contacting the Ombudsman is not the same as reporting an issue to the organization, and does not give TSSA formal notice of issues or claims. Informality is a key element of the Ombudsman function. The Ombudsman can and will refer those wishing to place TSSA on notice to the appropriate parties, including the Statutory Directors among others.
Who will be privy to my inquiry, etc.?
No one. Those who contact the Ombudsman do so with the assurance of strict confidentiality. The Ombudsman Office will not keep permanent records of specific, confidential communication.
Do I have to identify myself?
No. Those who contact the Ombudsman may do so anonymously, however, doing so may present certain limitations on the Ombudsman’s ability to be of assistance.
Are there guidelines that the Ombudsman must follow?
What sort of things does an Ombudsman do?
The TSSA Ombudsman is able to:
- consider and address matters that come to his/her attention without a specific complaint
- make recommendations to manage problems or improve procedures or policies
- discontinue providing service from any situation, at any time, at his/her sole discretion, if it becomes apparent that the stakeholder is not acting in good faith, or not abiding by the tenets of the Ombudsman Office
- take action without stakeholder or respondent consent if the situation is determined to present an imminent risk of serious harm to people or property
What is an Ombudsman NOT allowed to do?
The TSSA Ombudsman is not permitted to:
- ask a department, employee or individual to breach stakeholder or respondent confidentiality
- accept notice against TSSA or its personnel
- participate in or conduct formal investigation
- make or set aside TSSA policy
- overrule a statutory director
- overrule inspection orders
- provide legal advice
- advocate or adjudicate for any employee, stakeholder or TSSA
- disclose confidential communications without permission or appear in any formal proceeding inside or outside TSSA
When is the best time to contact the Ombudsman?
Engaging the Ombudsman early in the life cycle of a situation or concern will usually allow for a greater range of options. The Ombudsman is available to meet with stakeholders in person or over the phone (at a mutually acceptable time, during or after hours), or via email
What can I expect after I’ve initiated contact with the Ombudsman?
The process is informal and strictly confidential. The Ombudsman will listen, and if the stakeholder wishes to continue, a discussion driven by the Ombudsman’s questions will follow.
The Ombudsman will typically present broadly based options for consideration, however, the decision to proceed and with what option(s) remains with the stakeholder.
Much of what the Ombudsman does is to help stakeholders to help themselves. Stakeholders initiate and choose the mode of communication with the Ombudsman, and determine when they wish to take no further action.