Striving for Fairness: How does Alberta’s Ombudsman Connect the Dots?


September 18, 2014 :: Peter Hourihan
Moderated by Knud Petersen

In 1967, Alberta became the first jurisdiction in North America and the tenth in the world to create an ombudsoffice. One of seven Legislative Officers for Alberta, the Ombudsman and Public Interest Commissioner reports directly to the Legislature and is meant to promote fairness in public administration and investigate complaints from individuals regarding unfair actions or decisions made by provincial government departments, agencies and some professional organizations.

The Alberta government may also be credited with blurring the lines of accountability that are so critical to ensuring administrative fairness. 47 years after its creation, Alberta’s ombudsoffice continues its quest to ensure administrative fairness in an era of government restructuring and outsourcing that has produced an increasingly complex administrative environment. The speaker will connect the dots regarding the many aspects of his job and relate to examples of how his office can help in providing assistance to the public.

Speaker: Peter Hourihan

Peter was sworn in as Alberta’s eighth Ombudsman in October 2011. Originally from Three Hills and later Calgary, Alberta, Peter spent 35 years in the RCMP. His career took him to all provinces in western Canada and the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

An experienced mediator, Peter taught college level courses in Saskatchewan and was involved heavily in the internal RCMP program where he assisted in developing programs and delivering training. He has also worked internationally with the Department of Public Safety in Texas, USA, in the development and implementation of its mandatory mediation program. Additionally, Peter has significant experience as a decision-maker as well as an advisor in the areas of discipline and grievances.

Peter has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Athabasca University and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ottawa. He received the Long Service medal in 1996, Bronze Clasp in 2001 and Silver Clasp in 2006. He received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.


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