Firm Guest Blogger: Ombudsmen

As our guest this month we have not a firm but the Ombudsmen from the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan.

Also, we are inviting our guests to join us a week earlier than usual this month because the Canadian Council of Parliamentary Ombudsman chose this week to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the modern parliamentary ombudsman — the first one was established in Sweden in 1809 — and to raise awareness of the important work that ombudsmen do today.

Speaking of “ombudsmen,” I should record here that the plural of “ombudsman” is a somewhat vexed matter. Some use “ombudsman” as both plural and singular (see, e.g. “Canadian Council of Parliamentary Ombudsman”; some, like Ontario, use “ombudsmen”; and in French the plural is “ombudsmans.” The Swedish plural is “ombudsmän”.

Canada first started establishing ombudsman offices in the 1970s. Today, every province has one except PEI; and Yukon territory has one as well, although Quebec’s is called the “Protecteur du citoyen” (citizen’s protector) and Newfoundland and Labrador’s is called “Citizen’s Representative” — both faithful translations of the Swedish word “ombudsman.”

The coming week is being called “Good Governance Week” or “Fairness Week” in the various provinces, and they’re marking the occasion with events such as speeches, open houses, new publications, and public engagement such as participating in Slaw.

As always, you’ll know a post is from our guest because of a banner like the one below, which will appear at the top of the post and which will identify and be linked to the website of the ombudsman writing.



  1. BC has introduced legislation to change to “ombudsperson“. Better than “ombud”, I suppose. I certainly prefer the Swedish plural umlaut to “ombudspersons”.

    While we’re at it, we’re also changing from testator/testatrix to “will-maker“. Hideous.

  2. You can’t have an “Ombudsperson” — “person” is clearly sexist — it has to be an “Ombudsperoffspring”. (In fond memory of Al Abel and “alderperoffspring”.)

  3. I have settled on “Ombudsbeing” and will commend this to my MLA.