Meet Alberta’s New Ombudsman at 50th Anniversary Celebration

Marianne Ryan, Alberta’s ninth Ombudsman, will mark the office’s 50th anniversary with a public celebration held at Calgary’s Central Library on September 13, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with brief remarks from Ms. Ryan at 12 p.m.

Photo of Alberta’s ninth Ombudsman, Marianne Ryan. (Chad Bouman)

At the event, Albertans will have an opportunity to meet the Ombudsman, speak to investigators and learn how the office can help individuals who feel they’ve been treated unfairly by any of the authorities under the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

“Alberta established the first ombudsman office in North America on September 1, 1967,” said Ms. Ryan. “Over the past 50 years this office has had an impact on how government conducts business and has contributed to improved service across its departments, agencies, boards and commissions.”

With a half-century of collaborative experience behind it, the office is poised to build on past accomplishments and continue delivering a valuable service to Albertans.

Most Ombudsman investigations arise from complaints made by individual citizens. If it is found the authority has acted unfairly to the complainant, the Ombudsman makes recommendations to resolve the issue.

Over the years the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction has been expanded to include many professional organizations such as accountants and most health professions. It is anticipated that in the next year the Ombudsman will receive the responsibility to investigate municipalities.

Join the new Ombudsman in celebrating this milestone:

Wednesday, September 13, 2107

Calgary Central Library
616 Macleod Trail S.E.
11:00 am – 2:00 pm


On September 1, 1967, the Alberta Legislature created the first “parliamentary” Ombudsman office in North America, aimed at helping citizens receive fair treatment from provincial government departments and agencies. Every province except Prince Edward Island has since followed suit.

The Ombudsman is an independent officer of the Alberta Legislature investigating complaints against provincial government departments, board, commissions and agencies, and various other authorities.

Over the past 50 years, the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction and powers have evolved. For example, through various amendments to the Ombudsman Act, the office was given jurisdiction over the Workers’ Compensation Board in 1968, scheduled health professions beginning in 2001, and the Patient Concerns Resolution Process of Alberta Health Services in 2006.

The goal of the Ombudsman is to create fair administration for all Albertans. The investigation of a specific complaint may raise examples of isolated unfairness, but it may also shine a spotlight on systemic issues which, when rectified, create better government experiences for all citizens.

There are limitations to what the Ombudsman can investigate. In addition to private entities, such as insurance companies or condominium associations, the Ombudsman has no power to investigate complaints about federal government departments, police services, universities or schools or matters handled by the courts.

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Biography of Marianne Ryan

Marianne Ryan was officially appointed as Alberta’s ninth Ombudsman and second Public Interest Commissioner on July 4, 2017.  On July 7, 2017, Ryan was acclaimed as the new North American Regional Director for the International Ombudsman Institute.

Ryan grew up on a farm near London, Ontario, and joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 1982 after graduating from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  Ryan led a successful career that spanned 35 years, touching the lives of people in Manitoba, British Columbia, and Alberta.

Ryan’s first posting was in Manitoba where she spent time building bridges with Indigenous communities.  She has extensive operational police experience at the local, national and international levels, leading major investigations targeting organized crime groups involved in a myriad of criminal activities including drugs, proceeds of crime and organized crime.  Ryan also has extensive experience in human resources and change management.

Three years after becoming the Officer in Charge of Criminal Operations for Alberta, Ryan was appointed Commanding Officer of the RCMP for Alberta in 2013. She retired from the RCMP in March 2017.

Ryan resides with her partner and their family in Edmonton.