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In 1972, the Saskatchewan Government passed legislation to establish a provincial Ombudsman – an independent officer of the Legislature with broad powers to investigate complaints about the administrative actions of government.
The first Ombudsman was Ernest C. Boychuk and he opened the office on May 3, 1973. Over 300 complaints came in within the first eight months.
During the first two decades of its existence, the work of the office became known, and the number of complaints rose to 1,878. Now, the office receives about 2,500 “in-jurisdiction” complaints each year.
The legislation has also developed over the years. For example, in 1992, Deputy Ministers – who were previously not subject to the Act – were brought within the office’s jurisdiction. Additional amendments include a 1994 change to establish a Children’s Advocate, and a 2000 change to enable public education about the powers and duties of the Ombudsman.
Over the years, Ombudsman Saskatchewan explored non-adversarial ways to resolve complaints. In 1998, the office introduced Alternative Case Resolution, a means of resolving some complaints through “alternative” measures such as negotiation and mediation. Today, these options are fully integrated and are part of the standard range of services.
As the office continues to evolve, we continue to promote fairness in various ways. We hold the government accountable for the fairness of its administrative actions, and we educate the public and public servants about fairness and our office’s role in maintaining it.
Our thanks to each one who has served as Saskatchewan’s Ombudsman and contributed to the development of the office: