August 10, 2010

FCO Directors Explain Benefit of Ombuds Programs

Ian Darling, President of the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman, and Suzanne Belson, Chair of the FCO Education and Training Committee, have coauthored an article for a recent edition of the Canadian HR Reporter. The article, "Ombuds a Valuable Alternative for Dispute Resolution," gives an overview of the profession and points out the benefits of an Ombuds office.

Darling and Belson write:
In comparison with rights-based processes such as formal grievances and lawsuits, an ombuds office is nonadversarial, quick and inexpensive. There is no cost to complainants and the annual budget of a small office can be less than the cost of defending a single court case. [¶] An ombuds office also creates goodwill and sends the message an organization has a commitment to “doing the right thing.” It promotes fairness, informal resolution of disputes and increases an organization’s capacity to set complaints to rest without the cost and acrimony that often accompany formal processes.
In addition to their work with FCO, Darling and Belson work in Ombuds offices. Darling is the New Home Buyer Ombudsman at Tarion Warranty in Toronto. Belson is a senior investigator at the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces Ombudsman. (Canadian HR Reporter via FCO.)

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