Ombudsman

Mila > Ombudsman

About

The Ombudsman receives the concerns and complaints filed by members of the Mila community who believe they are the victims of injustice, misconduct, or violation of their rights. The Ombudsman can at any point attempt to resolve issues informally. Members have to exhaust all internal mechanisms, procedures, and resources at their disposal before the ombudsman intervenes. The Ombudsman reports directly to the Board of Directors of Mila.

The Ombudsman Office is confidential, impartial, independent, and open to all members of the Mila community.

Your Ombudsman

Julie Boncompain has been Mila’s Ombudsman since January 1, 2020. A lawyer in practice for the last 18 years who has developed particular expertise in dispute prevention and resolution (DRP) as well as conflict management in the areas of education, labor and business law.

Me Boncompain has been acting as the Protector of Rights (Ombudsman) at Polytechnique Montréal since 2020 and has undertaken mediation and arbitration mandates for non-profit organizations, private and para-public companies as a consultant. She is on the Executive Committee of the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons (ACCUO) since 2019 and chairs the Association des Ombudsman des Universités du Québec (AOUQ) since 2020.

Her knowledge of the university environment and vast experience in dealing with various organizational issues make her well equipped to perform her new duties at Mila.

Mandate

The Ombudsman is available to all members of the Mila community. The Ombudsman’s mandate is to ensure fair and equitable treatment by the administration of all situations experienced by members of the Mila community. She can advise, refer, expedite, identify and propose solutions at any time in a case.

She may only intervene in an ongoing process or review a decision when all internal Mila channels, mechanisms, processes, and resources have been exhausted. 

For any admissible complaint, the Ombudsman may conduct an investigation and intervene with stakeholders and decision-makers likely to be able to contribute to the resolution of the situation. To this end, she has access to all documents and information she may require for the investigation and may make recommendations to the concerned stakeholders and decision-makers at the end of an investigation.

Overview

The role of the Ombudsman

The Ombudsman’s mission is to provide an independent, impartial and judgment-free space for Mila members to voice concerns or issues they feel are unfair and unjust, or if they are the victims of injustice, misconduct, or a violation of their rights.

When to contact the Ombudsman

You can contact the Ombudsman when:

  • You are unsure what course of action to take or what resources remain at your disposal;
  • You have exhausted all internal administrative courses of actions at Mila or your affiliate institution, and the situation remains unfair or unjust;
  • You want to talk to someone about an administrative or interpersonal issue, or issues related to your status and privileges as a researcher at Mila;
  • You need the help of a mediator-facilitator to resolve a conflict or facilitate a conversation.

Who can use these services?

The Ombudsman’s Office serves all members of the Mila ecosystem with respect and compassion, including students, supervision candidates, interns, researchers, faculty, staff, and management.

Values

We promote a collaborative and preventative approach in the treatment of your case and will listen to you with respect.

Services

The Ombudsman can:

  • Provide information and advice quickly and informally about Mila’s policies and procedures to identify possible courses of action and recommend steps to be taken;
  • Refer you to available resources;
  • Facilitate discussions with the administration, faculty, staff, or students;
  • Proactively explore possible avenues to resolve conflicts or issues;
  • Independently and impartially investigate the merits of a request. The Office has access to any document, may obtain all necessary information, and interview any person, when necessary;
  • Formulate and submit individual or systemic formal recommendations to remedy an identified injustice or inequality;
  • Act as a mediator-facilitator to resolve a conflict and build bridges towards solutions when communication is poor.

The Ombudsman cannot:

  • Intervene if you have not exhausted all internal administrative remedies or in an ongoing internal administrative proceeding;
  • Provide legal advice or act as a representative;
  • Provide customer service;
  • Handle anonymous cases
  • Reverse a decision or impose a decision;
  • Intervene in a file that involves the interpretation or application of the collective agreement (appeal or review grievance);
  • Intervene when the applicant has already exercised a recourse before a court or an administrative tribunal concerning the facts on which the application for intervention is based or when a formal notice concerning these facts has been sent to the institution;
  • Intervene in the context of an unjustifiable, frivolous, premature application – such a request may be denied or dismissed at the office’s discretion.

Our Commitment

Impartiality

Keep to the facts of the case without partisanship as objectively as possible, based on the principles of natural justice and fairness.

Independence

Protect against any bias that would lead to a misinterpretation of the facts in question.

Confidentiality

Maintain the confidentiality of the person using our services unless this responsibility is waived by an explicit appeal at the request of the applicant.

Accountability

The Ombudsman submits an annual report to the Board of Directors once a year. 

This report describes the issues that the Ombudsman dealt with during the past year and the shortcomings that the Ombudsman had the opportunity to observe. The report also includes any recommendations that the Ombudsman deems useful to make to the Board in order to address the identified shortcomings and inequities.

 

Contact

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