Program 2019


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2019 Program

Two and Half Days of Keynote and Plenery presentations, Networking Lunches, and:

  • Over 20 Concurrent Learning Sessions
  • Welcome Reception on Monday
  • NEW!  Networking Session on Tuesday afternoon at 15:10
  • FCO and ACCUO Annual General Meetings
  • Post-Conference Blanket Exercise Workshop on Wednesday ($) – space still available.  If you wish to add it to your registration, contact the FCO Secrtariat.


Keynote / Plenary Speakers

Rob Behrens
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, U.K.

Monday | April 15

The Ombuds, Crisis and Public Trust”

Susan E. Opler
City of Toronto Ombudsman

Monday | April 15

The Ombudsman Toronto Enquiry: A New Tool Offering Flexibility and Fairness”

Dr. Katy Kamkar
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Wednesday | April 17

Mental Health in the Workplace & Building Resiliency”

Preliminary Program

Subject to change. Please check back regularly.  Last update:  April 8, 2019.

Note: Delegates will receive a final printed program in Toronto.

FCO-ACCUO 2019 – Attendance Details EN


Monday | April 15

08:00 08:45 Registration and Continental Breakfast
Note new start time!  
08:45 09:15



Welcome and Opening Address


Elder Clayton Shirt

Clayton Shirt is a Father, Husband and Knowledge Keeper. He is from the Wolf Clan of Saddle Lake Alberta, Treaty 6. Since 2017 Clayton is supporting spiritual, emotional, personal and knowledge journeys of students and health researchers at the Waakebiness-Bryce, Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Clay also offers traditional knowledge available to Indigenous community members. He had been working as a Knowledge Keeper for more than 15+ years in the Native and multi-cultural community in Canada. He was taught in the old way, working for many years with the guidance of a number of First Nation Elders in Canada and the USA, and was taught to do traditional ceremonies, teachings, circles, one to one work and to help all people to “walk in a good way” though life.

Conference co-chairs:
Lori Ciani, Ombudsman, Complaints & Accessibility Officer, American Express | Amex Bank of Canada
Martine Conway, Ombudsman, University of Ottawa
Nadine Mailloux, Ombudsman, City of Laval

09:15 – 10:00  Opening Keynote:  The Ombuds, Crisis and Public Trust


Rob Behrens, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, U.K.

At a time of crisis and diminishing public trust in national and public institutions, Ombuds have the challenging task of holding public bodies to account with independence, impartiality and transparency. As national Ombuds in the UK since 2017, Rob Behrens reflects on the professional and inter-personal skills required of Ombuds in the face of the defensiveness of national institutions, rising complainant assertiveness, and the centrality of transparency in de-mystifying what Ombuds do.

10:00 – 10:50 Concurrent Learning Sessions
  Size Matters: Dealing with student issues jointly as a one-person-office and on a national basis


Josef Leidenfrost, Office of the Austrian Student Ombudsman, European Network for Ombudsmen in Higher Education (ENOHE)
Wolfram Aigner, Ombudsman, Johannes Kepler Universität Linz
Panel Chair: Nora Farrell, Ryerson University Ombudsman

Higher education institutions in Austria and their students are  either catered for by local ombudspersons or by the Austrian Student Ombudsman at the Higher Education Ministry. The Austrian academic conflict management system applies the so-called “Innsbruck Descriptors” in handling the incoming issues. Main concerns for both are jurisdictional challenges within the handling of individual cases as they come up and are presented to both institutions. Interpretations of the law might differ (widely) “in the provinces” and “in the capital” The two speakers from a medium-sized full faculty university and the national student ombudsman will present cases in common, supposedly subjected to the same law and they will report on how they dealt with them and how and why they suggested which changes in national legislation. The audience is invited to share their experiences in similar situations as they might arise within the Canadian (and other) higher education systems.

  How to Deliver Bad News: Managing Complainant Expectations


Amy Fish, Ombudsperson at Concordia University

Clients often have high expectations when it comes to the investigation and resolution of their complaint. Ombudspersons are often forced with the unenviable job of keeping things realistic. In this session, we will review techniques for managing expectations, which often includes delivering unwanted or unexpected news. All participants will walk away with six new tools for how to deliver bad news in the most compassionate way possible while remaining independent and fair.

  Building Trust Through Clear Communications – reflections on OBSI’s recent plain language initiatives


Sarah Bradley, Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments

Two years ago, OBSI embarked on a comprehensive initiative to review and revise all of our public-facing documents, including our Terms of Reference, consent letter, correspondence templates, and decision documents. The initiative has been successful in ways we had hoped and also in some ways we had not anticipated. Some aspects of the initiative were surprisingly easy to implement, and there were also areas of unexpected difficulty.

Overall, we have experienced gains in complainant satisfaction and acceptance, as well as improvements in our investigative team communications and case timeliness efficiencies. Join us to hear more about our experiences and our key lessons learned.

10:50 – 11:10 Networking Break
 11:10 – 12:00 Concurrent Learning Sessions
  Confidentiality of Ombuds Files / Limits and Ways to Protect it (French presentation)


Joelle Thibault, Hydro Québec

Ombudspersons have access to various methods to protect the confidentiality of their files, and FCO members have made a commitment to safeguard this confidentiality by taking “all reasonable steps” (FCO Statement of Ethical Principles). This workshop will identify current practices, the limits of confidentiality safeguards and the means available for ombuds offices to protect confidentiality.

  Ombudsing in Higher Education: Perspectives on Provincial and National Schemes


Rob Behrens, Conference Keynote and former Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education for England and Wales
Barbara Finlay, Deputy Ombudsman for Ontario
Bradley Moss, Assistant Citizens’ Representative for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador
Dave Murray, Director, Intake, Planning, Policy and Research, Office of the Ombudsman for British Columbia
Panel Chair: Carolyn Brendon, University Ombuds, McMaster University

In many ways, the academic sector is different from governmental agencies that Legislative Ombuds offices oversee because of Universities’ institutional autonomy, bicameral governance, and multi-faceted legal relationships with their primary clients – students.

Drawing on their experiences in academic oversight roles, the panelistswill reflect on the challenges and opportunities for those tasked with ensuring good governance in this complex and critical sector.

  Building Trust and Promoting Fair Resolution: Tools in the Ombudsman’s Tool-belt


Britt Parsons,  Ombudsman, ADR Chambers-Banking Ombuds Office (ADRBO)

Do complainants suggest that you “work for the other side?” Do you struggle to help parties move away from an unreasonable position? Do you wish you had better skills to help resolve complaints informally?

In this interactive and applied workshop, discover new ways to: a) effectively get at the interest behind the parties’ position, and b) frame issues so that the parties are separated from the problem, and they can focus on the future. This session will include best practices from both municipal and banking ombudsman services to generate discussion. Participants will be provided with handouts on the skills discussed.

12:00 – 13:00 Networking Lunch
13:00 – 13:45 Plenary


The Ombudsman Toronto Enquiry: A New Tool Offering Flexibility and Fairness

Susan Opler, City of Toronto Ombudsman

Two years ago, Ombudsman Toronto added the OT Enquiry to its case management approach. Its introduction has resulted in many benefits and some challenges.The presentation will tell the story of the OT Enquiry, drawing on specific examples to share the office’s experience with this new way of classifying, conducting and reporting on Ombudsman case work.

14:00 – 14:50 Concurrent Learning Sessions
  How to know everything: Operational Knowledge Management for Ombuds


Dave Murray, Directeur de l’accueil,  la politique, la planification et  la recherche du Bureau de l’ombudsperson de la Colombie-Britannique

The staff of ombuds organizations with broad jurisdiction are faced with the monumental challenge of knowing the full spectrum of government services and programs, the legislation and policies that govern them, the applicable complaint and appeal processes, key points of contact, and ongoing systemic concerns – all of which are subject to change. Investigators sometimes find themselves investing significant time researching programs or obtaining policies that may have been obtained previously by another investigator. This duplication of effort can reduce efficiency and effectiveness and undermine credibility and constructive relationships. Case management systems are essential tools for ombuds or any complaint-driven system, but are not generally designed around the retrieval of research, data or policies, so other systems and approaches are required to organize and maintain operational knowledge.  Since 2011 the BC Ombudsperson has been exploring modern and innovative approaches to managing our operational knowledge. From developing an office wiki database to building a knowledge management strategy as a cornerstone of our strategic plan, we will share our challenges, approaches, successes and lessons learned over the past 8 years and invite other organizations to contribute to a discussion around sectoral best practice.

  Leveraging Cultural Fluency for Impact


Nouman Ashraf, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Modern organizations often struggle with how to effectively engage with increasingly diverse needs of their stakeholders. Part of this challenge emanates from the reality that while diversity exists by default, inclusion as a culture requires mindfulness about organizational norms, behaviours and routines. Leading inclusively requires working along three dimensions: personal, interpersonal and organizational.    This highly interactive session will enable discussion through cases studies that introduce tools that can enable cultural fluency within the ombudsman role.

  “Go Big” or “Stay in Your Lane”?   The issue of scope


Charles Murray, Ombud New Brunswick
Paul Dubé, Ontario Ombudsman

A perpetual debate in our work: do I limit my scope here to the specific case, or do I address the underlying causes?  If we limit ourselves, are we treating symptoms and ignoring the disease?  If we go wide, do we lose objectivity and deform the case to fit it into a larger narrative?  How do resource limits, client expectations, and the social justice zeitgeist impact on these decisions?  How do we balance our private role as investigators with our public role in the bully pulpit to advance the values of fairness?

14:50 – 15:10 Networking Break
15:10 – 16:10 Plenary


Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging – RBC’s Journey

Natasha Kassim, Royal Bank of Canada
Introduction: Joanne Ardouin

In today’s highly competitive world where disruption is becoming the norm, the most successful organizations are ones that are open to new ideas and new people.RBC has long believed in the power of diversity and inclusion as an engine for innovation and economic prosperity.  Its vision is “to be among the most inclusive and successful companies, putting diversity into action to help employees, clients and communities thrive.”Diversity and inclusion is now imbedded in RBC’s culture and integrated into their talent, client and community practices.  Its journey continues to evolve beyond to one of belonging where everyone is valued for their uniqueness, empowered to grow and respected for being their authentic selves.Learn more about RBC’s diversity, inclusion and belonging journey and the strategies it implemented to overcome challenges and achieve meaningful outcomes.

16:30 – 18:00 FCO – Annual General Meeting and Election of Officers


For Members Only

18:00 – 20:00 Welcome Reception

Tuesday | April 16

08:00 – 08:30 Continental Breakfast
08:30 – 09:45 Plenary


The Rule of Law and Judicial Review

John Craig, Partner, FASKEN

A deep dive into the role of courts in judicial review and how the role of the Ombudsman plays a crucial role in supporting the rule of law.

10:00 – 10:50 Concurrent Learning Sessions
  Online Dispute Resolution and Ombudsman Work


Ian Darling, CAT Chair
Herb Waye, Ombudsman ICANN

This session will explore online processes and how online dispute resolution (ODR) can influence Ombudsman practice. It will draw on the experiences of the Ombudsman for ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), and the Condominium Authority Tribunal – Canada’s first fully online tribunal. The session will focus on ethical challenges of online processes; finding the limits of online processes, and how to add a human element to the conflict. It will provide practical tips and gaze into a crystal ball to consider implications of technology and artificial intelligence on the future practice of Ombudsman work.

  The Role of the Canadian Higher Education Ombuds in the Wake of a Societal Call-to-Action against Campus Sexual Violence


Carolyn Brendon, McMaster University
Natalie Sharpe, Director, Office of the Student Ombuds, University of Alberta

Recent reports of sexual violence accusations on university campuses along with social movements such as the “#metoo” movement have focused attention on sexual violence on Canadian university campuses. Observers have accused universities, with their hierarchical and male-dominated structures, of allowing a rape culture to flourish unchallenged. We will look at these traditional attitudes and practices on campuses as well as the recent legislative and institutional efforts aimed at preventing and addressing sexual violence. We will also examine the impact of these various efforts, including the concerns raised by both complainants and respondents about inadequate or inept administrative responses to sexual violence accusations, and consider what improvements should be made. Finally, we will consider the sometimes seemingly conflicting roles that ombuds play in relation to this issue: concerning themselves both with ensuring effective policies to protect vulnerable members of the community while at the same time insisting that those accused of stigmatising and potentially career-ending actions receive a fair process. We will ask how ombuds can best position themselves to assist in the positive transformation of our campuses in way that achieves the right balance of rights and responsibilities in relation to the critical issue of eradicating sexual violence.

  Segregation in Youth Custody: Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia (Panel)


Sarah Malan, Office of the Ombudsperson of BC
Marie Langton, Office of the Manitoba Ombudsman
Kamini Bernard, Office of the Alberta Ombudsman

A comparative analysis into the use of segregation and separate confinement in youth justice facilities in Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. The panel will describe the work of three provincial ombuds offices into the use of segregation and separate confinement in the youth justice context and discuss the fairness issues identified through this work.


10:50 – 11:10 Networking Break
11:10 – 12:00 Concurrent Learning Sessions
  How Do You Measure Success? Ensuring the institution is seen as value added


Craig Dalton, Ombudsman, Office of the Veterans Ombudsman
Charles Cue, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Veterans Ombudsman

Determining the impact an Ombudsman has on the environment it is responsible for is a challenging exercise.  Under reporting the impact may leave a perception that the Office is not relevant. Over emphasizing the impact may negatively affect the credibility of the Office when challenged by those that are involved.  Not reporting at all may lead to questions on the need for the Office. This presentation discusses the dynamics of measuring impact and communicating those outcomes.  It will cover the types of data that can be used to support claims, as well as how to discern impact from activities that cannot be precisely measured.   The need to be intentional and strategic about data management to support this analysis is a major consideration.  Finally, how to communicate the Office’s success using various means (ie. Reports, Report Cards, Blogs, infographics, etc) will be discussed.  The presentation will use examples from the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman to illustrate the points with real life situations and to generate discussion with the audience.

  Using the Concept of Intersectionality to Achieve Equitable Fairness


Carter MacDonald, Ombudsman, Camosun College
Natalie Sharpe, Director, Office of the Student Ombuds, University of Alberta
Remonia Stoddart-Morrison, Interim Undergraduate Ombudsperson, University of Alberta

In order to understand and empower our clients, ombudspersons must acknowledge their lived experiences of marginalization and oppression. If we frame their issues from a dominant, mainstream privilege, we may unconsciously mislabel or ignore their marginalization. The concept of intersectionality, coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw and rooted in Black Feminist Thought, explores the dynamics between co-existing identities and connected systems of oppression. It helps to broaden our scope, and provide an alternative prism to understand the importance of equitable fairness. Rather than checklists of separate identities, these factors are intertwined and complex, with historical narratives that cannot be ignored. This perspective aids us in understanding how overlapping, socially-constructed identities such as sex, gender, race, class, ethnicity, disability, etc. can differentially impact a client’s lived experience. By incorporating a wide range of lived experiences, we honour the full human complexity. Intersectionality is structural, political, and contextual. It may change over time, and in different cultural settings. It recognizes that our lives are not similarly situated, and that oppression and marginalization can occur in multiple forms. We will start with an educational tool, called the Power Flower, to explore privilege and marginalization, followed by a hypothetical ombuds case to reflect on this exercise. 

  Jurisdiction: Passive and Aggressive Push-Back in Nova Scotia


Ron Crocker, NS Office of the Ombudsman

Mandate and jurisdiction are the twin pillars of Ombudsman service. Of the two, mandates are usually clearly stated, and tend to be attacked obliquely rather than directly. Jurisdiction is another matter. In most legislation, there are ambiguities that invite interpretation and disagreement. Perhaps more threatening than those is a perceived disposition by some agencies to push back against routine Ombudsman inquiries. At play in Nova Scotia has been a gamut of responses ranging from run-arounds to legalistic sabre rattling. Below the radar, there may be simmering impatience with oversight generally.  There have been three significant challenges to the Ombudsman’s writ and prerogatives which we will describe and discuss. In one case (2016-17), an RCMP Production Order demanded that the Ombudsman turn over an investigative file. The Ombudsman’s refusal to comply wound up in court. Another case, in 2013-14, arose after a farmer challenged the decision of a Department of Agriculture inspector. The Department asserted inadequate Ombudsman jurisdiction and initially refused to co-operate with the investigation. That case too made it to the court-house steps. A current case, the subject of a Court of Appeal Application yet to be heard, involves the Department of Health and Wellness and a refusal to provide unredacted records for an adult protection investigation by the Ombudsman.

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 13:50 Concurrent Learning Sessions
  Workshop on the challenges of safe spaces on our campuses on freedom of expression-Case studies on interventions by ombudspersons (Bilingual presentation)


Julie Boncompain, Associate Ombudsman, Concordia University

This workshop is an opportunity for ombudspersons in the higher education sector to discuss ways to respond to the increased presence of safe spaces on campus and the challenge they may pose to freedom of expression.

The facilitator will offer a brief presentation of the issue, but the time will mainly be spent examining case studies in small groups followed by sharing in plenary to identify possible interventions for an ombudsperson at a university or college. The discussion will help participants better understand the issues and the ombudsperson’s role in investigating complaints in this area, as well as identify the difficulties that their intervention may cause.

  The New Financial Consumer Protection Framework: How it impacts banks’ complaint handling


Kevin Thomas, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (“FCAC”) will provide information on the new federal financial consumer protection legislation and its impact on ombudsman services. We will also provide a brief update on FCAC’s review of banks’ complaints handling processes and the effectiveness of the external complaints bodies.

  Ombuds & Violence Risk: What every Ombuds should know about violence risk identification, assessment and management


Richard Hart, ProActive ReSolutions

Querulousness. Chronic incivility. Over-the-top verbal aggression and hostility. Persecutorial and conspiratorial thinking. Ombuds are frequently on the frontlines of unusual and sometimes extreme behaviour, whether directed at themselves or others. Yet our personal dispositions and our professional values such as inclusiveness and collaboration can incline us to de-prioritize, normalize, minimize or simply ignore warning signs of interpersonal violence, and thereby inadvertently increase the risk of harm to themselves or others. This session will outline essential information that every Ombuds should have about the nature and dynamics of interpersonal violence, who commits violence, warning signs of violence, and how organizations can engage internal and external resources to reliably assess and manage violence risk in specific cases. Among other things we will look at empirically validated processes, tools and resources that are available to organizations in the assessment and management of violence. After this session, Ombuds should be better equipped to make defensible and consistent decisions about when and how to prioritize physical safety of individuals in the conduct of case files without compromising their role or integrity. 

14:00 – 14:50 Concurrent Learning Sessions
  Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman- Outreach Initiatives


Kenzie Kozera, Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman

One of the most important aspects of Ombudsman service is that of outreach initiatives. The public needs to be informed who the Ombudsman is, what the Office of the Ombudsman does, and how they can be contacted. The Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman has a keen focus on providing information and education to the province’s population.     Three populations that receive increased focus are seniors, youth in care, and inmates within the correctional system. Members of these populations are more likely to experience social vulnerability. Our office hopes to provide a voice to members of these demographics, who are often unheard within society.   By conducting site visits to Long-term Care Facilities, Correctional Facilities, and Residential Child Care Facilities, our representatives provide information on the services and mandate of the NS Office of the Ombudsman. Often, by meeting face-to-face, our employees are able to build rapport with individuals, therefore allowing them to feel comfortable expressing a concern or complaint. There was a total of 129 outreach initiatives conducted by the NS Office of the Ombudsman during 2017-18. A strong emphasis on the importance of outreach initiatives will continue within our office, as we to strive to further inform Nova Scotians and in turn, continue to ensure proper governance.

  Seven Challenges to Ombuds Independence


Rob Behrens, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, U.K.

Drawing on experience and examples of being an Ombuds in legal services, higher education, government departments, and the National Health Service, Rob Behrens outlines seven key challenges to the non-negotiable principle of Ombuds independence. These challenges include (1) The method and terms of appointment; (2) Reporting and governance arrangements; (3) The mandate of the Ombuds and limitations on remit; (4) Available financial and human resources; (5) Complainant power; (6) The obduracy of bodies in jurisdiction; and (7) Leadership issues and the problem of Ombuds cultural acquiescence. Having set out the challenges, Rob provides ideas on overcoming them without impairing the organisational diversity and differences which constitutes the strength of Ombuds development in the 21st century.

  Advancing fairness through proactive engagement and knowledge transfer: Highlights from the B.C. Ombudsperson Prevention Initiatives Pilot Program (2017-2020)


Rachel Warren, Office of the Ombudsperson of BC
Rebecca Graham, Office of the Ombudsperson of BC

How can the Ombudsperson help to ensure fairness is built into public programs and services from the start? By collaborating with public bodies on program development and policy design, and proactively sharing our knowledge of the principles of administrative fairness and complaint handling. The British Columbia Office of the Ombudsperson is piloting an innovative program to proactively engage with public bodies to support fair decision making and service delivery in B.C.’s public service. The newly-formed Prevention Initiatives Team offers in-person and online fairness training programs, best practice guides and consultation with public bodies on their programs and policies. This presentation will highlight the key initiatives, challenges and outcomes we have experienced from working outside of our investigative mandate to offer more proactive approaches to supporting good public administration. From project initiation to execution, we will discuss how the team has worked to build relationships with stakeholders through strategic outreach and educational engagement.  Many B.C. public bodies now view our office as a potential resource for assistance with program development. Unique challenges have emerged with this shift in approach and resultant organizational change. We will share early program evaluation results, which indicate a strong interest and demand for ongoing preventative ombudship.

14:50 – 15:10 Networking Break
15:10 – 16:00 Organized Networking Session (NEW!)


Want to find out how other Ombuds manage unreasonable complainant behaviour?  Have you identified some best practices that have worked in your office that you can share with colleagues from across the country and internationally?

Join us in this highly interactive Networking Session to meet, exchange information and discuss topics of interest to every Ombudsperson from all sectors and disciplines.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Managing Expectations – the Ombuds RoleManaging
  • Unreasonable Complainant Behaviour
  • Dealing with Transition/Organizational Change
  • Investigations/Complaint Review Challenges
  • Best Practices, Databases and Other Digital Tools
  • Outreach to Vulnerable or Under-Served Communities, and
  • Compassion Fatigue and Resiliency.

Select your discussion topic when you pick up your badge.

16:30 – 18:00 ACCUO – Annual General Meeting and Election of Officers


For Members Only


Wednesday | April 17

08:00 – 08:30 Continental Breakfast
08:30 – 10:00 Keynote Presentation


Mental Health in the Workplace & Building Resiliency

Dr. Katy Kamkar, Ph.D., C. Psych., Clinical Psychologist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Defining Mental Health; discussing factors leading to Stress in the Workplace and related Impact; overview of Mental Health Disabilities and stigma related to mental illness; discussing barriers to care and ways of providing help; prevention and strategies around Compassion Fatigue; Warning signs of Stress and Depression; and building Resiliency.

10:00 – 10:10 Networking Break
11:10 – 11:10 Plenary


There are no sacred cows or Ombuds

Howard Sapers, recent Independent Advisor on Corrections Reform to the Ontario provincial government, and former Correctional Investigator of Canada

Nora Farrell, Ryerson University Ombudsperson

Howard and Nora will discuss how changing attitudes of stakeholders, politicians and administrators can have a profound impact on how the roles of Ombuds in both the public and private sectors, and other independent Officers of the Legislature, are perceived and funded.

11:10 – 12:00 Concurrent Learning Sessions
  Recommendations accepted, but what about their implementation? (French presentation)


Claude Dussault, Ombudsman Québec

After a brief introduction on the PC and the model used to make recommendations (SMART), data on acceptance rates and time to implement recommendations, according to the various sectors (public administration, health and social services, etc.) will be presented for the 2013-17 period. In conclusion, we will discuss the main findings emerging from the analysis.

  Institutional Betrayal and the Role of Ombuds


Shirley Nakata, University of British Columbia
Richard Hart, ProActive ReSolutions

Ombuds are uniquely positioned to speak to the range of different harms that can arise when concerns or allegations of wrongful conduct are made within an organizational context or system. Institutional Betrayal Theory focuses on the additional trauma outcomes that can flow when organizations fail to take meaningful steps in preventing misconduct or in responding to complaints. Specifically, this presentation will look at the definition and development of Institutional Betrayal Theory; the research supporting the existence, pervasiveness and impact of Institutional Betrayal; and the range of scenarios that can give rise to Institutional Betrayal.  We will explore how Ombuds in their role as advocates for fairness can reduce the risk of Institutional Betrayal and even foster the attribute of Institutional Courage. By the conclusion of this presentation, Ombuds will be equipped to use the language, research and theory of Institutional Betrayal to support their work in advancing fairness in the environments in which they operate.

  Getting It Write: How to write compelling, persuasive reports and recommendations


Laura Pettigrew, Office of the Ontario Ombudsman

This session will review best practices for writing strong, engaging reports. It will include general tips on writing clearly and persuasively, as well as highlight common writing pitfalls and explain how to avoid them.

12:00 Conference Wrap-up


FCO and ACCUO presidents



KAIROS Blanket Exercise™

Pre-registration required – $55 + tax

The KAIROS Blanket Exercise™ program is a unique, participatory history lesson – developed in collaboration with Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers and educators – that fosters truth, understanding, respect and reconciliation among Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.

During the KBE, participants walk on blankets representing the land and into the role of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples by reading scrolls and carrying cards which ultimately determine their outcome as they literally ‘walk’ through situations that include pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance. Participants are guided through the experience by trained facilitators (who read the script and assume the roles of European explorers and settlers) and Indigenous Elders or knowledge keepers. The Exercise concludes with a debriefing, conducted as a `talking circle’, during which participants discuss the learning experience, process their feelings, ask questions, share insights and deepen their understanding. 

Please note, participants will be asked to remove their shoes during the Exercise.

Forum of Canadian Ombudsman