André Marin

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André Marin
Ontario's sixth Ombudsman, André Marin.jpg
Ontario Ombudsman
In office
April 1, 2005 – September 14, 2015
Preceded by Clare Lewis
Succeeded by Barbara Finlay

André Marin is the former Ontario Ombudsman. His recent term as a provincial ombudsman ended on September 14, 2015.


André Marin worked as an assistant Crown attorney and a part-time professor of law in Ottawa, Canada.[1][2]

From September 1996 until June 1998, he served as the Director of Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).[1][2] During his tenure at the SIU, the office initiated over 300 investigations, laid 5 charges resulting from those investigations and obtained no convictions. Marin was sued twice by police officers for malicious prosecution.[3]

In June 1998, André Marin was appointed as Canada’s first military ombudsman for complaints from members of the Canadian Armed Forces.[1][2] A 2006 report for the Canadian Department of National Defence found Marin had created a dysfunctional workplace at his office during his tenure, with multiple complaints and staff departures.[4]

Ombudsman of Ontario[edit]

On April 1, 2005 Marin was appointed as Ombudsman of Ontario by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.[1][2] On June 1, 2010, he was reappointed to a second five-year term ending on May 31, 2015.

Office complaints[edit]

In 2010, the Toronto Star investigated human rights and labour complaints made by staff under Andre Marin’s tenure.[5] Current and former staff members complained of a culture of fear and harassment.[5] A number of complaints were filed against the ombudsman, the office and his management team with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and the union.[6][7] Marin had called the allegations "absurd". Marin was quoted as saying he had "high expectations" for his employees.[5]

In January of 2011, the Ontario Press Council dismissed a complaint launched by Marin in relation to the content of a Toronto Star article which relayed information provided by former employees about his office's management practices. [8] Council initially accepted a complaint by Marin about references in the articles to his retention of then Ottawa lawyer David Paciocco, but the complaint was ruled on and ultimately dismissed. [8] The decision itself was "...the first in its 38-year history to deal with the permissible limits of investigative journalism."[8]

Notable reports[edit]

In December 2010, Marin's office released a "scorching" report on the province's conduct in regards to the 2010 G-20 Toronto summit.[9] Marin said that it was "illegal" for the government to pass secret regulations allowing for the detaining of protesters during the 2010 G-20 Toronto summit protests.[9]

Marin was criticized by police after he announced his intention in August 2013 to investigate guidelines on the use of force after the death of Sammy Yatim by officers.[10] The shooting was already the subject of investigations by the SIU and police chief Bill Blair.[10]

In October 2013, he released a report criticizing London, Ontario mayor Joe Fontana and city councillors for a secret meeting at a restaurant where they discussed city business.[11] The councillors and mayor denied the report.[11]

In November 2014, Marin released a report that was harshly critical of the Liberal government, calling it 'systematic government ineptitude" that led to the deaths of four children in unlicensed home daycares.[12][13] The investigation was prompted after a 2-year-old child died in an unlicensed daycare in Vaughan.[12] Marin issued an "unprecedented" 113 recommendations, and called on the province to take urgent action.[12][13]

Controversy over expenses[edit]

In 2010, the Globe and Mail publicized some of the expenses he billed to taxpayers, including his personal grooming products, a $38 toothbrush and a $2,000 for a flat screen TV for his Ottawa home.[14] The Star also reported that Marin used the office's corporate services director to pick-up his dry cleaning and keep an eye on Marin’s maid when she cleaned his Toronto condo.[14][15][16]

In April 2015, Marin’s expenses came under scrutiny again when the National Post revealed Marin had billed Ontario taxpayers an average of $14,800 in three months for housing expenses so he could maintain residences in both Toronto and Ottawa, sometimes spending more than $2,000 a month in rent while in Toronto. It is estimated Marin billed taxpayers $592,000 in housing since being appointed in 2005.[17]

Extending term[edit]

On May 28, 2015 the Ontario Legislature voted to extend Marin's term as ombudsman until September 14, 2015 to allow him to wrap-up investigations. Over 60 people applied to become Ontario's next ombudsman, including Marin and outgoing Toronto ombudsman Fiona Crean.[18]

Social media activities[edit]

Marin developed a reputation for an aggressive use of social media, including sometimes issuing personal attacks and grandstanding.[19][20] Some members of the press have criticized his judgment and impartiality.[20][21]

In early May 2015, with his term soon coming to an end and no decision made whether to rehire him for a unprecedented third term, Marin used the Ontario Ombudsman Twitter account to call for supporters to urge for his rehiring and to retweet attacks aimed at the Liberal government and Premier Wynne.[19] A sarcastic comment was also sent about Globe & Mail columnist Adam Radwanski's late father after Radwanski commented that his Twitter feed was being clogged tweets aimed at Marin.[22] Marin also endorsed tweets calling Wynne's government a “banana republic” and another tweet calling Wynne's government as corrupt as FIFA.[19][20] The Globe and Mail in an editorial said he exercised "extremely poor judgment."[20] Andrea Horwath, leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party, defended Marin's Twitter use, saying he had good reason to cause a fuss in support of his attempts to be rehired.[19][22]

In July 2015, Marin acknowledged his tweets from May were a mistake and said he had learned from the experience, but defended his right to be vocal about criticizing the government.[23]

End of tenure as Ombudsman[edit]

On September 14, 2015, a motion to grant Marin a second extension was defeated in the Legislature, bringing his tenure to an end.[24]


  1. ^ a b c d Canadian Who’s Who 2011. Orillia, Ontario: Third Sector Publishing. 2011. p. 792. ISBN 978-0-921173-27-4. 
  2. ^ a b c d Hyson, Stewart, ed. (2009). Provincial and Territorial Ombudsman Offices in Canada. University of Toronto Press. p. 200. ISBN 978-1-4426-4067-2. 
  3. ^ "Ontario ombudsman wrong person to lead SIU probe, critics say". National Post. 
  4. ^ Bruser, David; Welsh, Moira (June 2, 2010). "André Marin left dysfunction and discontent as military ombud". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2015-03-06. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c Welsh, Moira; Bruser, David (May 28, 2010). "Staff say Ombudsman Andre Marins Office Plagued by Culture of Fear". Toronto Star. Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  6. ^ archUrlHash=AAAAAQARb250YXJpbyBvbWJ1ZHNtYW4AAAAAAQ "Lam v. Ontario Ombudsman, 2009 HRTO 1261" Check |url= scheme (help). CanLII. CanLII. Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "Foote v. Ombudsman (Ontario), 2008 HRTO 415". CanLII. CanLII. Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c "Press council rules on complaint against Star". The Toronto Star. 2011-01-21. Retrieved 2015-11-13. 
  9. ^ a b Ferguson, Robert Benzie and Rob (2010-12-07). "Ombudsman Andre Marin has recommended that the little-known 1939 legislation should be revised and protocols developed so the public is made aware when police powers are modified.". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  10. ^ a b "Police decry André Marin’s probe into use-of-force guidelines". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  11. ^ a b Brennan, Richard J. (2013-10-22). "Ontario Ombudsman André Marin’s has found a secret meeting of the mayor and six London, Ont. city council members was a betrayal of public trust.". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  12. ^ a b c Monsebraaten, Laurie; Oved, Marco Chown (2014-10-22). "Andre Marin issued an unprecedented 113 recommendations, and calls the case of 2-year-old Eva Ravikovich’s death in a ‘brazenly illegal’ daycare, the ‘canary in the coal mine.’". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  13. ^ a b "Ontario's unlicensed daycares require 'urgent action': ombudsman Andre Marin". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  14. ^ a b Howlett, Karen; Radawanski, Adam (August 23, 2012). "Tables are turned as Ontario Ombudsman's expenses come under scrutiny". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "Public Sector Salary Disclosure 2009". Ontario Ministry of Finance. Ontario Ministry of Finance. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  16. ^ Bruser, David (July 11, 2010). "André Marin gave contracts to friend starting in 2001". Toronto Star. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  17. ^ Csanady, Ashley (22 April 2015). "Why are taxpayers forking over hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Ontario ombudsman’s pricey commute?". National Post. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  18. ^ Ferguson, Rob (May 28, 2015). "Ontario ombudsman André Marin’s job extended". Toronto Star. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  19. ^ a b c d Morrow, Adrian (May 28, 2015). "Ontario’s Ombudsman starts Twitter flame war as end of term approaches". Globe & Mail. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  20. ^ a b c d "Ontario ombudsman goes rogue. Government smiles". Globe & Mail. May 31, 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  21. ^ "Andre Marin gets four-month extension after Twitter appeal". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  22. ^ a b Csanady, Ashley (May 28, 2015). "Ontario Ombudsman tweets his case to keep his job as the competition piles up". National Post. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  23. ^ Ferguson, Rob (2015-07-28). "Ontario ombudsman André Marin calls tweets a mistake". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  24. ^ "Motion to extend Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin's term denied". City News. Sep 14, 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015. 
Legal offices
Preceded by
James M. Stewart
Director of the Special Investigations Unit
Succeeded by
Peter A. Tinsley

External links[edit]