Montrealers submitted over 2,300 complaints to city's ombudsman last year, report shows

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Montreal's ombudsman’s office tackled a record 2,365 complaints last year, up from 2,150 in 2020.  (Charles Constant/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Montreal's ombudsman’s office tackled a record 2,365 complaints last year, up from 2,150 in 2020. (Charles Constant/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Problems in parks and systematic delays in public works were some of the biggest problems Montrealers reported to the city's ombudsman last year, according to a new report.

The ombudsman's office tackled a record 2,365 complaints last year — up from 2,150 in 2020.

Among the biggest issues were public works (with 320 files), citizen services (220), nuisances (172) and complaints relating to community gardens, trees and parks (132).

In her report released Monday, Montreal ombudsman Nadine Mailloux noted that last year, "with a pandemic still very present, the vast majority of parks were swamped in Montreal."

Some residents who live near public parks contacted the office to report people "urinating and defecating on their properties or in their parking lots," or leaving foul-smelling garbage behind.

Noting the lack of temporary, chemical toilets, the ombudsman's office reached out to the city to address the issue. A spokesperson for the city told Radio-Canada that workers are already implementing the recommendation.

Other issues the report noted included fire safety in some places of worship in Montréal-Nord, a lack of transparency in green alley initiatives, universal accessibility on a bike path and noise caused by municipal trucks in Saint-Laurent.

The report also flagged "worrying delays" with the city's Home Adaptation Program, which offers a subsidy to homeowners for renovations to make their homes more accessible, notably for those with mobility issues.

Most were waiting 14 to 16 months for the necessary funding. One applicant with Parkinson's disease waited over 20 months for their file to be processed, according to the report.

The housing service now estimates that it will take 10 to 12 months for the file to be treated, a time frame that Mailloux said is still concerning, "considering in particular the approximately 60 complete files still awaiting treatment."

Many complaints also stemmed from tensions surrounding Indigenous homelessness in the Milton Park neighbourhood in the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough.

Those complaints pushed Mailloux to release a separate report earlier this year, looking specifically at what more needs to be done to tackle what she called a "humanitarian crisis."

Mailloux said it was unclear which organizations were accountable for what, and there is a lack of basic information about what resources were available for the homeless.

That file hasn't been resolved and remains open.

Since its founding in 2003, the ombudsman's office has treated 27,656 files, according to its own statistics.

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