Procedures and Guidelines

PGME Ombudsperson Guidelines

Categories: Health Safety Wellness PGME

Updated on:

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To provide guidelines for the selection of an Ombudsperson to act as an impartial representative
for residents and other members of the Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) community. To
provide structure for the capacity of the Ombudsperson when providing advice or mediation for
resident issues or concerns in a safe and positive environment.

Issues for discussion with the Ombudsperson may include (but are not limited to):
  • Assessment and progression in training
  • Learning environment
  • Discrimination, harassment, mistreatment
  • Safety, wellness, personal issues


This document applies to all medical residents, faculty, staff in Postgraduate Medical Education
programs at the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan.


  1. Ombudspersons are not mandatory. Should a program choose to have an
    Ombudsperson, these guidelines will apply.
  2. The residency training program will identify a person who agrees to act as an
    Ombudsperson for residents in that program. To ensure a fair and transparent process,
    resident input is required for the selection of the Ombudsperson. The person selected
    will be acceptable to the resident body. The Ombudsperson may be a member of the
    Department of the same program, but must not be a faculty who evaluates residents,
    is in a supervisory role, or is a member of that program’s Resident Program Committee
    or Competency Committee. The Ombudsperson may be from outside of the home
    program. It is recommended to avoid selecting a current Program Director or Division
    Head for this role.
  3. The Ombudsperson role is voluntary. The ombudsperson will recuse themselves from
    situations where there is an identified conflict of interest.
  4. The Ombudsperson will operate at arm’s length of the residency training program and
    the PGME office to maintain confidentiality. Identified systemic issues within a residency
    program will be reported in a timely manner to the PGME Associate Dean to address (if
  5. All information and records will be confidential. The Ombudsperson will treat all
    discussions as strictly confidential unless the resident consents to share their
    information to other individuals or organizations. In extraordinary circumstances
    resident information may be shared with the PGME Resident Resource Officer without
    the resident’s consent where there is a serious concern for the life, health or safety of
    the resident.
  6. Ombudspersons are advisors and mediators, not decision makers. Ombudspersons will
    not offer psychological counselling or legal advice. Ombudspersons will not participate
    in or assist with student appeals.
  7. The Ombudsperson has no formal or binding authority; however, they do have the
    ability to recommend and discuss with all parties involved. The Ombudsperson must
    consider all sides of a question in an impartial manner and is guided by the following:
  • Objectivity
  • Accessibility
  • Fairness
  • Independence
  • Confidentiality
  • Advocates for fairness
  • Direct the resident to the PGME Resident Resource Office if a resident is unsure
  • where to go for help
  • Listen and clarify
  • Listen carefully and on a confidential basis to the concerns, and ask questions of the resident to help clarify his or her concerns
  • Gather all of the relevant facts
  • Make inquiries on behalf of the resident
Advise and inform
  • Advise the resident how to access appropriate decision makers
  • Refer the resident to another appropriate agency if necessary
  • Refer the resident to the appropriate PGME Coordinator regarding relevant academic or non-academic policies and/or procedures
  • Guide the resident through the preparation of an articulate and informative case to help the decision maker come to a fair resolution
Mediate and explore
  • Mediate or negotiate with the resident and other parties
  • Explore options with the resident, regardless of the outcome of the case


The program is responsible for:

  • Selecting the Ombudsperson
  • Introducing the Ombudsperson to any new residents entering the program
  • Providing residents and the PGME office with the Ombudsperson’s contact information

Residents are responsible for accessing the services of the Ombudsperson.


Instances or concerns of non-compliance should be brought to the attention of the Associate
Dean, PGME.


These guidelines have been adapted with permission from Dalhousie University.


Coordinator, Academic & Non-Academic Processes, PGME Office
Phone: 306-966-6145