Office of the University Ombudsperson

The Role of the Office of the University Ombudsperson

The central role of the Office of the University Ombudsperson (OUO) is to help ensure procedural fairness in university decision-making.

The Office of the Ombudsperson is an important resource to the Queen’s community in helping students, alumni, parents, staff and faculty understand policies and procedures within the university and in the identification of opportunities for improvement in policies and procedures.

A key principle guiding the role of the Ombudsperson is impartiality. The Ombudsperson and all staff working within the OUO are precluded from acting as advocates. The Office has no case management role. Rather, it facilitates fair processes within the university.

The Office provides general advice to community members about their rights and responsibilities and provides guidance on the procedures to follow. The Office also proactively reviews policies, procedures and decision-making frameworks of the university and identifies opportunities for systemic improvement.

What is the role of an Ombudsperson?

An ombudsperson is concerned with the right of every person to be treated fairly. Ombudsperson offices are founded on the principles of independence, impartiality, accessibility and confidentiality. They are guided by a commitment to fair treatment and fair process. For more information about the Queen’s OUO, please visit the Terms of Reference page.

How is an Ombudsperson different from a lawyer?

An ombudsperson is an impartial party, not an advocate. Typically an ombudsperson works with institutional policies and procedures rather than the law. There is no fee for using the services of an ombudsperson in a college or university.

The OUO does not provide legal advice or counselling services, nor can it be an advocate. We can, however, refer you to the appropriate agency for such services.

Who can use the Ombudsperson Office?

The OUO can be used by anyone in the Queen’s community: staff, students or faculty.

When should I go to the Ombudsperson Office?

You can contact the Office if you:

  • aren’t sure where to go to get your problem or concern addressed
  • believe you have been treated unfairly
  • have a conflict or problem and need help in pursuing a resolution
  • are seeking an appeal and need help understanding the process
  • are a staff or faculty member and need advice on process or decision-making related to students
  • are a student club, staff, or faculty member and want training on fairness and making decisions