British Columbia Ombudsperson Kim Carter made a stop at the BCIT Burnaby campus on her recent tour of the province.
One reason for Carter’s visit to various parts of the province was to make the office’s services better known to British Columbians.
“A lot of people don’t know we exist,” Carter told The Link in an interview. “They don’t realize that if they have gone through everything, they think, ‘Well, that’s the end, the institution says there is nothing we can do,’ they can come to our office.”
An Ombudsperson office is an independent agency that ensures that people of the province get fair treatment from government organizations. The British Columbian office was set up in 1979, and is part of 9 provincial offices across Canada.
According to the province’s Ombudsperson office, the purpose of the October tour was to give British Columbians a chance to voice the concerns they may have with various government agencies in person.
Carter met with BCIT executives in order to meet those in charge of the institution, as well as student government executives.
Carter said such visits help her become more familiar with the resources available to BCIT students, in case one of them comes to the Ombudsperson office with an issue related to their time at BCIT.
According to Carter, the BC Ombudsperson office has dealt with a number of educational issues in the past. Concerns range from issues with admission and academic award procedures, to course contents, to problems with awards and collection of student loans.
However, Carter pointed out that it is important for post-secondary students to think of the Ombudsperson office and their potential to help outside of the institution.
“Anything from drivers’ licenses to BC housing issues, through to student loans, and local government,” Carter said. “They can think of us, and we can play a role in making sure that they, and other people of British Columbia, are treated fairly.”
Carter said that the best way to get a hold of the BC Ombudsperson office is over the phone, toll-free at 1-800-567-3247. Students can also contact the office online at their website, www.bcombudsperson.ca.