Ombuds Services

Region of Waterloo Municipal Ombudsman

As of June 1, 2022, the Region of Waterloo uses the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario to provide Municipal Ombudsman services and Closed Meeting Investigator Services. The Municipal Ombudsman is an impartial investigator who makes recommendations to improve public services. The Municipal Ombudsman operates at arm’s length from the Region and Council, but will provide an annual report of its activities as well as special reports resulting from specific investigations.

The Municipal Ombudsman will hear unresolved complaints from members of the public when all other processes have been exhausted. You may be able to resolve your complaint directly with the Region of Waterloo. We can direct you to the appropriate department and help you to follow our internal procedure.

Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario
The Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario was established in 1975, under the Ombudsman Act. The Ombudsman is an impartial officer of the Ontario Legislature, independent of the government and all political parties, who is appointed by an all-party committee of the Legislative Assembly every five years. The Act designates the Ombudsman as the default investigator for municipalities.
When should I use the Municipal Ombudsman?
  • Where you believe the Region has not followed appropriate procedures in arriving at a decision
  • Where you believe the Region has acted in a way that is contrary to its own rules, procedures or by-laws
  • Where you believe the Region has made a decision that is outside of its powers to make
  • Where you believe the Region has failed to take a specific action that it is required to take under its rules, procedures or by-laws
  • Where you believe a decision or recommendation made, act done or omitted to be done in the course of the administration of the Region, so long as it does not fall under the list of matters that are not within the Ombudsman's mandate to investigate (see below)
  • Complaints regarding closed meetings of Regional Council

When should I not use the Municipal Ombudsman?

  • Any Region decision, recommendation, act or omission in respect of which there is a right of appeal, review or objection to any court or tribunal, until that right of appeal, review or objection has been exercised, or the time for the exercise of that right has expired
  • Cases where the inquirer has not taken their complaint to the Region first
  • Complaints that have not gone through the Region of Waterloo's internal procedure
  • Decisions, recommendations, acts or omissions of a legal adviser or counsel to the Region;
  • Complaints that are within the mandate of the integrity commissioner
  • Complaints where the subject matter is deemed to be trivial, frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of the Ombudsman office process or which are not made in good faith, in the opinion of the Ombudsman office
  • Cases where more than one year has passed since the inquirer learned the facts on which the complaint or inquiry is based, unless special circumstances exist

Region of Waterloo Annual Ombudsman Reports

If you have a complaint

  • Have you already contacted the Region directly or followed our customer service feedback procedure? If not, the Municipal Ombudsman may refer you back to the appropriate Region of Waterloo contact. The Municipal Ombudsman will provide help if the issue is not responded to.
  • Can you provide information about the issue and the steps you’ve taken to address the problem?

Contact the Region of Waterloo Municipal Ombudsman

Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario
483 Bay Street, 10th floor, South Tower
Toronto, ON M5G 2C9 

  • Toll-free (Ontario only): 1-800-263-1830

  • Outside Ontario: 416-586-3300

  • TTY (teletypewriter): 1-866-411-4211

  • Fax: 416-586-3485

  • Toll-free Fax: 416-586-3485

  • Email:

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