President’s Message

Message from the FCO President

May 2019

Dear Members and Friends:

At the Annual General Meeting on April 15, 2019, I had the great honour to be re-elected as president of the FCO. I will be supported by a new Board which includes former and new Directors. Meet your new Board of Directors.

Our association is rapidly evolving as increasingly citizens’ expectations are high. The Ombudsman’s role is more relevant than ever: it ensures the fair and caring treatment of citizens’ files and provides them with an opportunity to settle their differences with the help of a competent, non-judicial resource that is easily accessible, very efficient and free of charge.

Ombuds of all stripes share common values and traits. In order for them to understand fully their importance and scope, the FCO has, for some years, offered its members specialized and impactful training, in both English and French, on the attributes and challenges inherent in an ombudsman’s role. This remains our primary mission.

Our conferences also allow us to improve our skills and to take advantage of our colleagues’ experience. I would like to take this opportunity to underline the effort by the organizing committee of the 2019 conference:

  • Nadine Mailloux, Ombudsman, City of Laval
  • Lori Ciani, Ombudsman, Complaints & Accessibility Officer, American Express | Amex Bank of Canada
  • Martine Conway, Ombudsman, University of Ottawa
  • Ashley Bursey, Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario
  • Jaime Reynolds, Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman
  • Marlene Chumack, Scotiabank Staff Ombuds Office
  • Amy Fish, Ombudsman, Concordia University

Over the last two years, with a significant contribution from the Ontario Ombudsman’s office, the FCO has increased its profile on social media – particularly on  Twitter and LinkedIn. We have created Social Media and adopted a strategy that will ensure greater visibility for the FCO. We encourage members to contribute to the Quarterly Newsletter with news items and job opportunities.

Since 2017, we have been faced with situations where political decisions were liable to infringe the independence of the FCO member offices, notably: the Gatineau Ombudsman office, the Ontario Ombudsman office (Bill 57) and the numerous University and College Ombuds of Ontario (Bill amending the Education Act). After careful consideration, the Board of Directors deemed it appropriate to respectfully convey its concerns to the relevant decision-makers, reminding them of the importance of maintaining and protecting the independence and autonomy of their Ombuds.

The term of office for the 2017-2019 Board of Directors was a very busy one – and we anticipate 2019-2021 to be just as busy.

In order for the FCO to remain dynamic and serve its members well, your contribution is necessary. So I urge you to get involved; send your suggestions and ideas to our Secretariat:

Johanne Savard

FCO President

Forum of Canadian Ombudsman