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Ombudsman launches investigation into red tape at city hall

Toronto’s ombudsman has started an investigation into red tape at city hall.

Fiona Crean said she started the probe after noticing a lot of complaints to her office seemed to have red tape in them. A search by her staff discovered that more than half of them have some element of red tape as part of the complainant’s story.

“What I’m talking about is the needless duplication or overtly complex procedures, rules or processes that provide no benefit to the public,” she said during a news conference.

“Red tape not only wastes time and resources but it’s also cumbersome for individuals, small businesses and public servants who may be hindered in doing their job.”

Some examples of red tape include a resident of Toronto public housing who needs to move to a new unit and is told by city staff to go to the legal aid clinic in order to complete their complicated forms and small business owners who cannot apply online for a business licence and must queue in line at only one office on Coxwell Avenue.

As part of her investigation, the ombudsman is asking residents for their experiences with red tape at city hall.

She said her staff has already found some examples of cumbersome and complex rules, but she wants this to be a comprehensive investigation.

Residents who have had problems can go to ombudstoronto.ca to tell their story.

Crean expects to complete the fact-finding portion of her investigation by the spring.

The ombudsman’s office investigates complaints from residents about municipal government services.