We do provide recommendations on an individual basis. In my initial remarks, I mentioned that we receive about 1,400 to 1,500 complaints on a yearly basis. All these are individual cases that we address. In most cases, we try to resolve the issue at the lowest level possible by communicating with the commanding officer, the base commander, or the element to find and resolve the issue.
All we have is the ability to provide recommendations. We cannot supersede our review or investigation to the decision of the decision-maker within the Canadian Forces. We only have the ability to turn around and say, “The office has reviewed your case. This is what we recommend to the chain of command”. It is up to them to decide if they want to implement our recommendation.
We also look at the more systemic issues. If we start to see many, many similar issues related to something fairly specific, and if we believe there's an issue within the system as such, the ombudsman has the ability on its own to initiate an investigation of the systemic issues.
We would carry out a longer investigation and come up with recommendations. This would be a written report that would be, in most cases, given directly to the minister for his review and comment. After 28 days, the report would become public and available, as well as posted on our website.