Suzanne Belson has more than thirty years experience in the ombudsman field, eleven as Senior Investigator with the Department of National Defense/Canadian Forces Ombudsman and, prior to that, as the Ombudsperson at Concordia University in Montreal for twenty-two years from 1978 to 1999.
Suzanne is a founding member of the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman, and served for ten years on its Board of Directors. Since 2005 she has chaired the Forum’s Education and Training Committee, which develops and offers a wide range of professional development courses for ombudsman and their staff. Suzanne is also a founding member and past president of the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons, which honoured her in 2000 with its first Distinguished Service Award. She was also recognized by Concordia University with its Guinea Pig Award for work with the University Intervention Team, a resource to members of the university faced with problems involving violence and disruptive behaviour.
Suzanne has acted as an external evaluator of post-secondary institution ombudsman offices and consulted with school boards, colleges and universities, government agencies and private corporations. On a contract basis, she has helped organizations develop policies for ombudsman offices and investigated a variety of cases involving a broad range of subjects, including interpersonal conflicts, harassment, human resource issues and academic matters. In addition to organizing and developing the curriculum for dozens of courses and training conferences for ombudsman and other complaint handlers, Suzanne has presented papers and training sessions at numerous conferences and organizations in Canada, the US and overseas on such topics as: the role and function of ombudsman offices, how to set up an office, investigating complaints, and dealing with violence and disruptive behaviour.
Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Graduate Diploma in Institutional Administration and a Master of Arts in Educational Studies. Volunteer activities include several years as Canadian Circuit Representative for the Association of Student Judicial Affairs and membership on several community boards including Dawson College, social service agencies and a cemetery.