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The Québec Ombudsman commends the desire to update the chartered administrators' Code of Ethics and strengthen their duties and obligations in order to improve the protection of the public and has issued recommendations to ensure that the proposed amendments achieve this objective.
The Québec Ombudsman welcomes the amendments that will allow study participants and their heirs or legal representatives access to the complaint examination procedure.
The Québec Ombudsman offered comments on the Commission d’accès à l’information (CAI) 2011 Five-Year Report: Technology and Privacy, in a Time of Societal Choices, submitted for general consultation to the Commission des institutions. The Ombudsman supports most of the recommendations in the report. It notes, however, that several of the recommendations will have an impact on the CAI's ability to exercise the duties assigned to it under the Act respecting access. The wait times to be heard by a CAI commissioner are already quite long.
The Québec Ombudsperson acknowledges the soundness of the amendments made to the Tax Administration Act to take more effective action against economic crimes against the State. She also notes the increased tax credit for homecare of the elderly and the amount granted to natural caregivers of elderly spouses.
In a letter to the Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity, the Ombudsperson expresses concern about the amendments to the Individual and Family Assistance Regulation. Although she agrees with certain principles of the Draft Regulation, particularly the prevention of abuse, she fears that it increases the vulnerability of some social assistance recipients. Ms. Saint-Germain makes three recommendations to the Minister:
Pending an overhaul of the crime victims compensation system, which the Québec Ombudsman has been calling for since 2002, it endorses the government’s will to increase assistance to crime victims and their families.
In a letter to the Chair of the Committee on Institutions, the Ombudsperson made recommendations concerning:
Today the Ombudsperson endorsed Bill 12 as part of the special consultations and public hearings on this bill. In her estimation, the bill strikes a balance between the public interest and the rights of all peace officers concerned. When the bill is passed and the act becomes law, it will establish a civilian organization that combines independence and expertise. The organization will be tasked with conducting investigations on incidents involving police officers that resulted in serious injury to civilians or civilian fatalities. That being the case, Ms. Saint-Germain made five recommendations aimed at fostering deployment and enforcement of the act.
The Québec Ombudsman agrees with the introduction in the draft regulations published in the Gazette officielle on January 23 of new professional activities that may be engaged in by a pharmacist, including prescribing and administering certain medications. In a letter to the Chair of the Office des professions du Québec, also sent to the Minister of Health and Social Services, Raymonde Saint-Germain qualified this by saying that she was worried about the possible financial impact of some of the measures on citizens. She fears that pharmacists will bill for services currently provided free of charge by physicians.
In the Ombudsperson’s opinion, the draft regulation “is likely to improve the situation of recipients of last resort financial assistance as well as that of certain people related to them.” She is especially satisfied with the extension of the application deadline for the special benefit for funeral expenses from 30 to 90 days.
Raymonde Saint-Germain’s viewpoint is that the amendments to the Regulation respecting occupational health and safety and the Safety Code for the Construction Industry will help prevent construction and maintenance workers’ exposure to asbestos. The draft regulation provides that within two years of its being assented to, all buildings where there are workers must be inspected with a view to recovering fireproofing or insulation containing asbestos. Every employer must also have a log of the outcomes of the inspections and any follow-up and keep it updated.