Ontario ombudsman highlights lack of oversight of public health units

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Ontario’s ombudsman says public health units lack independent oversight and the government should address the gap as soon as possible.

Paul Dubé released his annual report today, outlining trends and investigations his office handled  between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

Dubé says the pandemic made public services more challenging to access and oversight bodies helped his office resolve many of those issues.

The ombudsman says his office received 87 complaints about public health units on a range of issues including COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, amenity closures and vaccinations.

But Dubé says those agencies have no independent oversight, either from his office or the patient ombudsman, and those complaints could not be directed anywhere.

He also highlighted lack of progress on implementing legislation that would give the ombudsman jurisdiction over all police oversight bodies.