CANADA | Ombudsman Paul Dubé to receive Ontario Bar Association award for excellence in public sector law

Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé has been named this year’s winner of the Ontario Bar Association’s Tom Marshall Award of Excellence for Public Sector Lawyers, honouring his contributions to public sector law in Ontario.

The award, given by the Ontario Bar Association’s Public Sector Lawyers Section, recognizes Mr. Dubé will be presented at a virtual ceremony at a later date.

"Paul Dubé's work is well known and admired throughout the international ombudsman community," said Peter Tyndall, president of the International Ombudsman Institute and Ombudsman of Ireland. “His commitment to public service values is exemplary and his contribution to improving public services in Ontario is entirely worthy of this recognition."

"Paul is also a highly valued contributor and a leading figure in the global ombudsman community and his support for colleagues and training programs is particularly noteworthy."

From his early career work with the Legal Aid Criminal Law Office in Ottawa, to his contributions as federal Taxpayers’ Ombudsman and now Ontario’s Ombudsman, Mr. Dubé has gained a reputation as an advocate for fairness, noted Deputy Ombudsman Barbara Finlay. "A constant throughout Mr. Dubé’s career has been his commitment to service to the public and to promote social justice."

As Ombudsman of Ontario, his recommendations have spurred sweeping systemic change, affecting millions of people:

  • His recommendations for training police to handle conflict situations, particularly involving persons in crisis, improved how police services in Ontario respond to serious incidents.
  • His investigation revealing appalling issues with how vulnerable Ontario inmates placed in solitary confinement are monitored resulted in vast improvements to the tracking of such placements.
  • His investigation into services for adults with developmental disabilities led to reforms for greater supports, services, and more rigorous monitoring.

As well, in investigating and encouraging best practices related to municipal open meetings, Mr. Dubé has increased transparency in municipal government. And his emphasis on proactively working with stakeholders and public sector agencies has helped improve service to the public across the provincial government and broader public sector.

Appointed Ontario’s Ombudsman in April 2016, Mr. Dubé managed the two largest mandate expansions in the Office’s history, which effectively doubled the number of agencies within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction. In addition to provincial government organizations, the Ombudsman now oversees municipalities, universities, school boards, services for children and youth in care, and French language services. He was recently appointed to a second five-year term, which began April 1, 2021.

From 2008 to 2014, he was Canada’s first federal Taxpayers’ Ombudsman, tasked with upholding the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. His work established that office as a credible mechanism for promoting fairness in the Canada Revenue Agency’s treatment of, and service to, taxpayers.

An active promoter of the ombudsman role, Mr. Dubé served two terms as a member of the Board of Directors of the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman and is the current President of the North American chapter of the International Ombudsman Institute.

The Tom Marshall Award, was established to recognize, honour, and celebrate the outstanding achievement of lawyers practising in the province of Ontario in the public interest. It is named for Thomas C. Marshall, Q.C., who served as counsel for more than three decades with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General and is recognized for his work in precedent-setting cases in the Supreme Court of Canada.


Source: Office of the Ontario Ombudsman, Canada

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