Ombudsperson Jay Chalke chats with a Surrey resident prior to addressing a small crowd at the South Surrey Arts & Recreation Centre Wednesday.

Ombudsperson Jay Chalke chats with a Surrey resident prior to addressing a small crowd at the South Surrey Arts & Recreation Centre Wednesday.

Busiest day of concerns in White Rock

Staff of B.C.'s Office of the Ombudsperson held the busiest of their mobile clinics this week in White Rock Wednesday.

Staff of B.C.’s Office of the Ombudsperson held the busiest of their mobile clinics this week in White Rock Wednesday.

While an official tally of the number of people who booked appointments or showed up at the White Rock Community Centre with concerns about treatment by a public authority were not available, organizers confirmed the event was booked solid all day – busier than clinics held in Surrey and Delta.

It was organized as an opportunity to “reach out to individual members of the public face-to-face,” ombudsoerson Jay Chalke told Peace Arch News last week.

The turnout was far less at a presentation Chalke hosted that morning at the South Surrey Arts & Recreation Centre, where he addressed just five people – a crowd he described as “small, but attentive and involved.”

Chalke outlined his office’s role, noting the majority of complaints centre around the Ministry of Development and Social Innovation – a product of the impact decisions made by that ministry have.

“Individuals who require support from the state have the most necessary connection with government,” Chalke told PAN.

“The decisions have a major impact.”

Local government issues, on the other hand, comprise about seven per cent of complaints.

Questions from attendees included what weight his reports have in court – they’re inadmissible – if the office covers organizations that are contracted to public authorities and what the wait time is for investigations.

Regarding the latter, Chalke said cases assessed to merit a full investigation – approximately 600 of 2,000 complaints fielded each year – are triaged.