P.E.I. names first-ever ombudsperson

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Sandy Hermiston, P.E.I.'s first-ever ombudsperson, previously was ombudsperson in Cayman Islands in the Caribbean.  (ombudsman.ky - image credit)
Sandy Hermiston, P.E.I.'s first-ever ombudsperson, previously was ombudsperson in Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. (ombudsman.ky - image credit)

Prince Edward Island's first-ever ombudsperson was named Thursday in the provincial legislature.

Sandy Hermiston has been working as the ombudsperson for the Cayman Islands since 2017. Before that, she was at the office of the Alberta Ombudsman and Public Interest Commissioner.

Simply put, an ombudsperson handles complaints by citizens against government. P.E.I. is the last province to name an ombudsperson.

This past spring, legislation to create the office passed in the P.E.I. legislature.

Herb Dickieson, the only New Democrat ever elected to the P.E.I. legislature, introduced a bill to create an ombudsman in 1998 but that was defeated by the PC government of Pat Binns.

The Liberals promised to create the position under Robert Ghiz in the lead-up to the 2007 election, but didn't follow through after they won.

Both the PCs and the Greens included an ombudsman in their 2019 campaign platforms.

In her new position on P.E.I., Hermiston will also be responsible for overseeing the province's whistleblower act.

Hermiston will take up her new job Feb. 14, 2022.

MLAs dealing with the hiring process said the province received 24 applications for the job during a public competition.

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