HEALTH FREEDOM OMBUDSMAN
24. (1) The Governor in Council shall, by commission under the Great Seal,
appoint a Health Freedom Ombudsman after consultation with the leader of every
recognized party in the Senate and the House of Commons and approval of the
appointment by resolution of the Senate and the House of Commons.
(2) The Health Freedom Ombudsman holds office during good behaviour
for a term of 7 years but may be removed for cause by the Governor in Council on
address of the Senate and the House of Commons.
(3) Once having served as the Health Freedom Ombudsman, a person is not
eligible for re-appointment to that office.
(4) The Health Freedom Ombudsman shall be paid a salary equal to the
salary of a Judge of the Federal Court of Canada.
(5) The provisions of the Public Service Superannuation Act, other than those
relating to tenure of office, apply to the Health Freedom Ombudsman except that
a person appointed as Health Freedom Ombudsman from outside the public
service may, by notice in writing given to the President of the Treasury Board not
more than sixty days after the date of appointment as Health Freedom
Ombudsman, elect to participate in the pension plan provided for in the Diplomatic
Service (Special) Superannuation Act in which case the provisions of that Act, other
than those relating to tenure of office, apply and the provisions of the Public Service
Superannuation Act do not apply.
POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE HEALTH FREEDOM OMBUDSMAN
25. (1) The Health Freedom Ombudsman on a complaint, or on the
Ombudsman's own initiative, may investigate any action by a department or by
any person acting under the authority of any law of Canada to determine whether
the action violates any of the rights, freedoms, or principles herein recognized and
(2) The powers and duties conferred on the Health Freedom Ombudsman
may be exercised and performed despite a provision in an Act to the effect that:
(a)a decision, recommendation, or act is final;
(b)no appeal lies in respect of it, or
(c)a proceeding or decision of the department whose decision,
recommendation, or act it is must not be challenged, reviewed,
quashed, or called into question.
(3) Parliament or any of its committees may at any time refer a matter to the
Health Freedom Ombudsman for investigation and report.
(4)The Health Freedom Ombudsman must:
(a)investigate the matter referred under subsection (3), so far as it is
within the Ombudsman's jurisdiction and subject to any special
(b)report back as the Ombudsman thinks fit.
(5) Sections 37 to 40 do not apply in respect of an investigation or report
made under subsection (4).
26. The Health Freedom Ombudsman may investigate actions occurring before
the commencement of this Act.
27. If a question arises about the Health Freedom Ombudsman's jurisdiction to
investigate a case or class of cases, the Ombudsman may apply to the Federal
Court for a declaratory order determining the question.
REFUSAL TO INVESTIGATE
28. The Health Freedom Ombudsman may refuse to investigate or cease
investigating a complaint if, in the opinion of the Ombudsman, any of the
(a)the complainant or person aggrieved knew or ought to have known
of the action to which the complaint refers more than one year before
the complaint was received by the Ombudsman;
(b)the subject matter of the complaint primarily affects a person other
than the complainant and the complainant does not have sufficient
personal interest in it;
(c)the complaint is frivolous, vexatious, not made in good faith, or
concerns a trivial matter;
(d)having regard to all of the circumstances, further investigation is not
necessary in order to consider the complaint;
(e)in the circumstances, investigation would not benefit the complainant
or person aggrieved;
(f)the Ombudsman cannot contact the complainant or the complainant
fails to respond after a reasonable number of attempts by the
Ombudsman to contact the complainant;
(g)the complaint is withdrawn by the complainant, or
(h)the complaint is settled.
NOTICE BY OMBUDSMAN
29. (1) If the Health Freedom Ombudsman investigates an action, the
Ombudsman must notify the department, persons affected, and any other person
the Ombudsman considers appropriate to notify in the circumstances.
(2) At any time during or after an investigation the Health Freedom
Ombudsman may consult with a department to attempt to settle the complaint, or
for any other purpose.
(3) If before making a decision respecting an action being investigated the
Health Freedom Ombudsman receives a request for consultation from the
department or persons affected, the Ombudsman must consult with the parties
making the request.
POWER TO OBTAIN INFORMATION
30. (1) The Health Freedom Ombudsman may receive and obtain information
from persons in the manner the Ombudsman considers appropriate, and in the
Ombudsman's discretion may conduct hearings.
(2) Without restricting subsection (1), the Health Freedom Ombudsman
may do one or more of the following:
(a)at any reasonable time enter, remain on, and inspect all of the
premises occupied by a department, talk in private with any person
there, and otherwise investigate matters within the Ombudsman's
(b)require a person to furnish information or produce, at a time and
place the Ombudsman specifies, a document or thing in the person's
possession or control that relates to an investigation, whether or not
that person is a past or present member or employee of a department
and whether or not the document or thing is in the control or under
the control of a department;
(c)make copies of information furnished or a document or thing
produced under this section;
(d)summon before the Ombudsman and examine on oath any person who the Ombudsman believes is able to give information relevant to
an investigation, whether or not that person is a complainant or a
member or employee of a department, and for that purpose may
administer an oath;
(e)receive and accept, on oath or otherwise, evidence the Ombudsman
considers appropriate, whether or not it would be admissible in a
(3) If the department requests the return of a document or thing obtained
under subsection (2), the Health Freedom Ombudsman must return it to the
department within 48 hours after receiving the request, but the Ombudsman may
again require its production in accordance with this section.
31. A person must not discharge, suspend, expel, intimidate, coerce, evict,
impose any pecuniary or other penalty on, or otherwise discriminate against a
person because that person complains, gives evidence, or otherwise assists in a
complaint, investigation, inquiry, or reporting to or of the Health Freedom
OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE REPRESENTATIONS
32. If it appears to the Health Freedom Ombudsman that there may be
sufficient grounds for making a report or recommendation under this Act that may
adversely affect a department or person, the Ombudsman must, before deciding
(a)inform the department or person of the grounds, and
(b)give the department or person the opportunity to make
representations, either orally or in writing at the discretion of the
ATTORNEY GENERAL MAY RESTRICT INVESTIGATIVE POWERS
33. (1) The Health Freedom Ombudsman must not enter any premises and
must not require any information or answer to be given or any document or thing
to be produced if the Attorney General certifies that entering the premises, giving
the information, answering the question, or producing the document or thing
(a)interfere with or impede the investigation or detection of an offence;
(b)result in or involve the disclosure of deliberations of the Privy
(c)result in or involve the disclosure of proceedings of the Privy Council
or a committee of it, relating to matters of a secret or confidential
nature, and that the disclosure would be contrary or prejudicial to the
(2) The Ombudsman must report each certificate of the Attorney General to
Parliament not later than in the Ombudsman's next annual report.
APPLICATION OF OTHER LAWS RESPECTING DISCLOSURE
34. (1) Subject to section 33, a rule of law that authorizes or requires the
withholding of a document or thing, or the refusal to disclose a matter in answer
to a question, on the ground that the production or disclosure would be injurious
to the public interest does not apply to production of the document or thing or the
disclosure of the matter to the Health Freedom Ombudsman.
(2) Subject to section 33 and to subsection (4), a person who is bound by an
enactment to maintain confidentiality in relation to or not to disclose any matter
must not be required to supply any information to or answer any question put by
the Health Freedom Ombudsman in relation to that matter, or to produce to the
Ombudsman any document or thing relating to it, if compliance with that
requirement would be in breach of the obligation of confidentiality or
(3) Subject to section 33 but despite subsection (2), if a person is bound to
maintain confidentiality in respect of a matter only because of an oath under an
Act of Parliament or a rule of law referred to in subsection (1), the person must
disclose the information, answer questions, and produce documents or things on
the request of the Health Freedom Ombudsman.
(4) Subject to section 33, after receiving a complainant's consent in writing,
the Health Freedom Ombudsman may require a person described in subsection (2)
to, and that person must, supply information, answer any question, or produce
any document or thing required by the Ombudsman that relates only to the
35. (1) Subject to section 34, a person has the same privileges in relation to
giving information, answering questions or producing documents or things to the
Health Freedom Ombudsman as the person would have with respect to a
proceeding in a court.
(2) Except on the trial of a person for perjury or for an offence under section
46, evidence given by a person in proceedings before the Health Freedom
Ombudsman and evidence of the existence of the proceedings is inadmissible
against that person in a court or in any other proceeding of a judicial nature.
IF INVESTIGATION IS REFUSED OR DISCONTINUED OR COMPLAINT
IS NOT SUBSTANTIATED
36. (1) If the Health Freedom Ombudsman decides:
(a)not to investigate or further investigate a complaint, or
(b)at the conclusion of an investigation, that the complaint has not been
the Ombudsman must:
(c)record the decision in writing, and
(d)as soon as is reasonable, notify both the complainant and the
department of the decision and the reasons for it.
(2) The reasons provided under subsection (1)(d) with respect to a decision
referred to in subsection (1)(b) must be in writing.
(3) The Health Freedom Ombudsman may indicate with the notification
under subsection (1)(d) any other recourse that may be available to the
PROCEDURE AFTER INVESTIGATION
37. (1) If, after completing an investigation, the Health Freedom Ombudsman
is of the opinion that the action that was the subject matter of the investigation
was in violation of any of the rights, freedoms, or principles herein recognized and
declared, the Ombudsman must report that opinion and the reasons for it to the
department and may make the recommendation the Ombudsman considers
(2) Without restricting subsection (1), the Health Freedom Ombudsman
may recommend that:
(a)an action be referred to the appropriate department for further
(b)an action be remedied, rectified, cancelled, or changed;
(c)reasons be given;
(d)a practice, procedure, or course of conduct be altered;
(e)an enactment or other rule of law be reconsidered, or
(f)any other steps be taken.
AUTHORITY TO NOTIFY HEALTH FREEDOM OMBUDSMAN OF
38. (1) If a recommendation is made under section 37, the Health Freedom
Ombudsman may request the department:
(a)to notify the Ombudsman within a specified time of the steps that
have been or are proposed to be taken to give effect to the
(b)if no steps have been or are proposed to be taken, the reasons for not
following the recommendation.
(2) If, after considering a response made by a department under subsection
(1), the Health Freedom Ombudsman believes it advisable to modify or further
modify the recommendation, the Ombudsman must notify the department of the
recommendation as modified and may request that the department notify the
(a)of the steps that have been or are proposed to be taken to give effect
to the modified recommendation, or
(b)if no steps have been or are proposed to be taken, of the reasons for
not following the modified recommendation.
REPORT OF OMBUDSMAN IF NO SUITABLE ACTION TAKEN
39. (1) If within a reasonable time after a request has been made under section
38 no steps are taken that the Health Freedom Ombudsman believes adequate or
appropriate, the Ombudsman, after considering any reasons given by the
department, shall submit a report of the matter to the Governor General in
Council and, after that, shall make a report to Parliament respecting the matter as
the Ombudsman considers appropriate.
(2) The Health Freedom Ombudsman must attach to a report under
subsection (1) a copy of the Ombudsman's recommendation and any response
made to it under section 38, but the Ombudsman must delete from the
recommendation and from the response any material that would unreasonably
invade any person's privacy, and may delete material revealing the identity of a
member, officer, or employee of a department.
COMPLAINANT TO BE INFORMED
40. (1) If the Health Freedom Ombudsman makes a recommendation under
section 37 or 38 and no steps that the Ombudsman believes adequate or
appropriate are taken within a reasonable time, the Ombudsman:
(a)must inform the complainant of the recommendation, and
(b)may make additional comments the Ombudsman considers
(2) The Health Freedom Ombudsman must in every case inform the
complainant within a reasonable time of the result of the investigation.
NO HEARING AS OF RIGHT
41. A person is not entitled as of right to a hearing before the Health Freedom
Ombudsman except as provided in this Act.
HEALTH FREEDOM OMBUDSMAN NOT SUBJECT TO REVIEW
42. Proceedings of the Health Freedom Ombudsman must not be challenged,
reviewed, or called into question by a court, except on the ground of lack or excess
43. (1) Proceedings do not lie against the Health Freedom Ombudsman or
against a person acting under the authority of the Ombudsman for anything done
in good faith, reported, or said in the course of the exercise or purported exercise
of duties under this Act.
(2) For the purposes of any Act or law respecting libel or slander:
(a)anything said, all information supplied and all documents and things
produced in the course of an inquiry or proceeding before the Health
Freedom Ombudsman under this Act are privileged to the same
extent as if the inquiry or proceeding were a proceeding in a court,
(b)a report made by the Health Freedom Ombudsman and a fair and
accurate account of the report in a newspaper, periodical publication,
or broadcast is privileged to the same extent as if the report of the
Ombudsman were the order of a court.
ANNUAL AND SPECIAL REPORTS
44. (1) The Health Freedom Ombudsman must report annually on the affairs of
the Ombudsman's office to the Speaker of Parliament.
(2) The Speaker must lay the report before Parliament as soon as possible.
(3) If the Health Freedom Ombudsman considers it to be in the public
interest or in the interest of a person or department, the Ombudsman may make a
special report to Parliament or comment publicly about a matter relating generally
to the exercise of the Ombudsman's duties under this Act or to a particular case
investigated by the Ombudsman.
45. (1) Before beginning to perform the duties of the office, the Health Freedom
Ombudsman must take an oath:
(a)to faithfully and impartially exercise the powers and perform the
duties of the office, and
(b)not to divulge any information received under this Act, except if
permitted by this Act.
(2) A person on the staff of the Health Freedom Ombudsman must, before
beginning to perform duties, take an oath before the Ombudsman not to divulge
any information received under this Act except if permitted by this Act.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) the Health Freedom Ombudsman is a
commissioner for taking oaths.
(4) The Health Freedom Ombudsman and every person on the staff of the
Ombudsman must, subject to this Act, maintain confidentiality in respect of all
matters that come to their knowledge in performing their duties under this Act.
(5) The Health Freedom Ombudsman or a person holding an office or
appointment under the Ombudsman must not give or be compelled to give
evidence in a court or in proceedings of a judicial nature in respect of anything
coming to his or her knowledge in the exercise of duties under this Act, except:
(a)to enforce the Ombudsman's powers of investigation;
(b)to enforce compliance with sections 24 to 46, or
(c)with respect to a trial of a person for perjury.
(6) An investigation under this Act must be conducted in private unless the
Health Freedom Ombudsman considers that there are special circumstances in
which public knowledge is essential in order to further the investigation.
(7) Despite this section, the Health Freedom Ombudsman may disclose or
authorize a member of his or her staff to disclose a matter that, in the opinion of
the Ombudsman, is necessary to:
(a)further an investigation;
(b)prosecute an offence under this Act, or
(c)establish grounds for conclusions and recommendations made in a
report under this Act.
OFFENSES CONCERNING THE HEALTH FREEDOM OMBUDSMAN
46. A person commits an offence who does any of the following:
(a)without lawful justification or excuse, intentionally obstructs,
hinders, or resists the Health Freedom Ombudsman in the exercise of
a power conferred or a duty imposed under this Act;
(b)without lawful justification or excuse, refuses or intentionally fails to
comply with a lawful requirement of the Health Freedom
Ombudsman under this Act;
(c)intentionally makes a false statement to or misleads or attempts to
mislead the Health Freedom Ombudsman in the exercise of a power
conferred or a duty imposed under this Act;
(d)violates an oath taken under this Act, or
(e)contravenes section 31.
47.The provisions of this Act concerning the Health Freedom Ombudsman are
in addition to the provisions of any other enactment or rule of law under which:
(a)a remedy, right of appeal, or objection is provided, or
(b)a procedure is provided for inquiry into or investigation of an action,
and nothing in this Act limits or affects that remedy, right of appeal, objection, or
48. Subparagraph 3(2)(c) of the Statutory Instruments Act is repealed and replaced
"(c) it does not trespass unduly on existing rights and freedoms and is not,
in any case, inconsistent with the purposes and provisions of the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Bill of Rights, and the Charter of Health