A citizen contacted the Ombudsman’s office to contest her borough’s intention to modify her civic address.

Arrondissement de L’Île-Bizard–Sainte-Geneviève had, indeed, decided to change the civic address of this citizen and to attribute her current address to her neighbor: the said neighbor had submitted that the civic address he always had, 48A, caused him some inconveniences. He was complaining mainly of the fact that his mail was sometimes delivered to number 48, instead of 48A; that restaurants often delivered to his house meals intended for the residents of number 48, or vice versa; and finally, that emergency vehicles could eventually make the same mistake and get the wrong door, although no such situation had ever occurred in the past.

Our complainant was invoking greater inconveniences if the borough changed her address. She would have to prepare a list of all possible correspondents and undertake many steps to have her address changed with a multitude of companies and organizations (lots of time, inconveniences and costs). She would also need to have her legal documents modified, including her Property titles and the documents related to her mortgage (time, inconveniences, and costs). She was also worried that, for some time, her mail would be delivered to her neighbor’s house. Finally, since her civic address is carved in a stone which is part of the façade of her house, she would have to incur significant costs to have this stone replaced, while ensuring that there would be no damage to her house.

We conducted an investigation with the borough who could not provide any additional reasons to support their decision to change these two civic addresses, other than those invoked by the neighbor and mentioned hereinabove.

After analysis, we concluded that the disadvantages this citizen would incur, if her address was changed, would be greater than those her neighbor was complaining about. Indeed, the majority of situations he was alleging could be avoided or corrected by simply reminding people and entities, such as Canada Post, that his address is 48A and by requesting that they pay more specific attention to this fact. We also took into consideration the fact that the contemplated change would also require rectifications in various municipal documents and computerized files.

The borough finally accepted our conclusions. The citizen was extremely happy to keep the civic address that had been hers for many years and to avoid all the troubles she would have incurred, had it been changed.

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