PROPERTY ASSESSMENT APPEAL BOARD

Information Sheet - 15
January 2006

COMPLAINTS, COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS


The Board welcomes complaints, comments and suggestions as a way for the public to voice any concerns and an opportunity to improve our rules, processes and organization. If you have any concerns about a particular situation, staff or Board member, or suggestions on how the Board does its job, we encourage you to communicate with us.

This Information Sheet details how you can voice concerns and offer suggestions and what steps the Board will take to respond. We want to ensure you are heard and appropriate actions are taken to follow up and address any issues.

The procedures, outlined below, are not intended or suitable for handling complaints about the outcomes of the Board’s decisions. If you are not satisfied with a written decision of the Board, your only avenue is to appeal to the Supreme Court of BC as detailed in Information Sheet 13 – Stated Cases.


How do I file a complaint or make a comment or suggestion to the Board?

Simply send a letter to the Board and provide details on your complaint, comment or suggestion. If you are concerned about a specific incident or conduct of a staff or Board member, please include the date, time, names of the persons involved and a summary of the incident and your concerns. Please include your contact information, including a daytime phone number, in case we have any follow up questions.


What happens next?
  1. The Board will acknowledge receipt of your correspondence and confirm the process that will be followed.

  2. We will refer your correspondence to the appropriate staff member to investigate any complaints or concerns and to consider any suggestions. Usually the following staff member will handle the issue:

    Type of Issue: Referred to:
    Complaints about a procedure or step in an active appeal Appeal Manager, responsible for the appeal.
    Conduct of an Appeal Manager Chair
    Conduct of a Board member at a hearing Chair
    Conduct of a staff member Registrar for administration staff and Chair for senior staff
    General complaints, comments and suggestions Chair or Registrar depending on the nature of the issue


  3. The Board will investigate any complaints, which will usually include discussing the matter with the Board or staff member involved to get their input. The Board may also contact you for further information.

    On issues related to handling an active appeal, it may be appropriate for the Appeal Manager to treat the complaint as a request to reconsider the action on the appeal. The Board may arrange a telephone Appeal Management Conference with the parties to resolve the issue.

    If the complaint concerns the conduct of a Board member during a hearing, the Chair will usually not proceed with an investigation until after the decision is issued on the appeal. This will avoid any possibility of compromising the impartiality of the Board in reaching its decision. In limited circumstances, depending on the nature of the complaint, the Chair may initiate an investigation prior the Board member reaching his/her decision.

    If you have concerns during a hearing regarding possible bias or an apprehension of bias on the part of a Board member, we encourage you to raise those concerns during the hearing. Board members must consider any allegations of conflict of interest or bias raised at a hearing. The Board member will advise the parties of his/her determination and, when appropriate, resign from the proceeding.

  4. The Board will write back to you on the findings of the investigation, including any steps that will be taken to avoid any similar problems in the future.

  5. For any comments and suggestions, the Board will consider your input and write back to you noting any changes that will be adopted. Because many of our activities occur on an annual basis, it may not be practical to adopt improvements until the following year.


What if I am not satisfied with the outcome of a complaint?

If the Registrar handled your complaint, you may wish to write directly to the Chair and request reconsideration on how it was handled. Please recommend any alternative actions you would like the Board to take. The Chair will review the issue and write back to you on her findings, including any new actions to address your concerns.

If the Chair handled your initial complaint or the Chair has already reviewed how your complaint was handled and you are still not satisfied, you may wish to contact:

Ombudsman of British Columbia Telephone: 1-800-567-3247 (toll free)
PO Box 9039 Stn Prov Govt Fax: (250)387-0198 (Victoria)
Victoria, B.C., V8W 9A5 Website: www.ombud.gov.bc.ca