Toronto

Toronto ombudsman looks to cut red tape

The ombudsman for the City of Toronto is looking to cut through red tape at city hall, which she says is preventing residents from getting "fair and equitable" treatment.

'Confusing and cumbersome' rules at city hall targeted by special investigation

Fiona Crean has recently looked into situations including the eviction of seniors by the Toronto Community Housing Corp., and the use of surveillance cameras on TTC Wheel-Trans vehicles. (City of Toronto)

The ombudsman for the City of Toronto is looking to cut through red tape at city hall, which she says is preventing residents from getting "fair and equitable" treatment.

Fiona Crean on Thursday revealed a special investigation into "confusing and cumbersome" rules within the municipal government, which she says have played a role in many of the investigations undertaken by her office. 

The ombudsman looks into citizen's complaints about city government. It's up to city council whether her recommendations are followed. 

Crean has recently looked into situations including the eviction of seniors by the Toronto Community Housing Corp., and the use of surveillance cameras on TTC Wheel-Trans vehicles.

“I think it’s time to bring red tape out of the shadows at the City of Toronto, and tackle it head on," Crean said in a statement. 

She is calling on Toronto residents and businesses to share their experiences of getting caught up in red tape such as: 

  • Needless duplication or overly complex procedures.
  • Rules and procedures that provide no benefit to the public.
  • Procedures that are difficult to navigate.

Residents who have had problems with red tape can go to www.ombudstoronto.ca. All responses will be kept confidential, said Crean. 

Speaking to reporters, she cited the procedural hurdles faced by residents of the city's public housing, or of anyone looking to open a new business — which involves repeat visits, in person, to a single downtown office. One of those visits involves a criminal background check. 

"Why is it relevant or necessary in some instances to have a criminal background check at all?" she asked. 

"This is more than annoying, this is more than frustrating. Red tape can be a significant barrier to the fair and equitable treatment citizens deserve."

Crean had earlier put down speculation that her investigation would involve scandal-plagued Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. She said that the allegations surrounding Ford are not within her mandate to investigate, and instead go to the city's integrity commissioner. 

With files from CBC's Steven D'Souza

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