June 19, 2014 8:56 pm

Why Mississauga wants to end ‘frivolous’ complaints


TORONTO – Do you live in Mississauga and have a complaint? Make sure it’s serious before calling the city.

Mississauga councillors have moved forward with a draft policy to deal with complaints they consider frivolous and vexatious.

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“In the last several years we’ve had many instances where you have a resident who does not wish to accept the response they get from staff or from councillor and they keep coming back and back on the same issue and you get involved in a lot of time without it being productive,” said Mississauga city manager Janice Baker.

While city staff and councillors encourage residents to call in their concerns, they say some calls get out of hand.

“Our staff have spent weeks trying to deal with a resident who has an issue that we simply are not in a position to resolve and they simply will not accept we can’t fix their problem,” Baker said.

Residents have mixed opinion on the issue.

“I personally believe a councillor’s responsibility is to listen to everyone’s complaint in city,” Bilil Khan said.

But Shyrna Tarapore believes the committee made the right choice.

“We’ve had situations in our area that aren’t being dealt with and that’s because they’re taking too much time to deal with the silly things and they need to be taking more time on important things,” Tarapore said.

Germaine Espirit said once the city has done its due diligence investigating a complaint, officials can deal with other concerns more efficiently.

“You’re going to put money and manpower into things that are more important to the city,” he said.

The draft policy defines frivolous and vexatious complaints as intending “to embarrass or annoy the recipient, or is part of a pattern of conduct by the complainant that amounts to an abuse of the complaints process.”

City staff would review the complaint before deciding its frivolous and giving a warning letter.

In extreme cases, “corporate policy on workplace violence should be consulted if complainant’s behaviour threatens safety or security of staff.”

The policy will go to council for final approval in July.

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