About the Ombudsperson
About the Ombudsperson and Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner & Team
Ms. Hermiston was appointed as PEI’s first Ombudsperson in February 2022.
She has more than 35 years of experience as a lawyer, most of which have been spent in the public service. Sandy has worked in the Ombudsman world since 2014, first as counsel to the Alberta Ombudsman and more recently as the Cayman Island’s first-ever Ombudsman.
Sandy’s public service career began in 1990 in Canada’s north (Yellowknife, NWT) where she spent seven years living and working in a small jurisdiction where the reach of work was wide and communities tight knit. She then moved “south” to Edmonton, Canada’s most northern major city, where she spent 17 years as general counsel to an administrative tribunal, acquiring extensive expertise in administrative law and procedural fairness. In 2014 Sandy was appointed general counsel to the independent offices of the Alberta Ombudsman and Public Interest Commissioner, working to resolve complaints of fairness and whistleblowing disclosures. Ms. Hermiston was appointed as the first-ever Ombudsman of the Cayman Islands in 2017 where she successfully established an office dealing with typical Ombudsman complaints as well as freedom of information, data protection, whistle-blower protection and public complaints about police misconduct.
During her career as a public servant, Sandy has demonstrated her ability to establish newly-created roles and offices, having done so in four different jurisdictions. She possesses a broad understanding and knowledge of public administration and government structures and functions, as well as significant experience in the governance of public bodies.
Sandy is committed to ensuring fair treatment, reasonable decision-making and transparency in PEI. She sees complaints and whistleblower disclosures as opportunities for meaningful dialogue and improvement. She will ensure that where things go wrong, action is taken to put them right wherever possible.
Matthew Chapman – Deputy Ombudsperson
Matthew joined OmbudsPEI as the Deputy Ombudsperson in June 2022, bringing with him a wealth of experience in ombudsperson investigations and in helping the federal government recognize egregious historical harms. Coordinating and investigating complaints and disclosures made to OmbudsPEI, Matt relies on a broad skillset developed over his academic and professional careers.
Matt obtained his commercial pilot’s license from Selkirk College in 2002 and worked in the aviation industry in northern Saskatchewan before obtaining a bachelor’s degree in history in 2007. After researching and writing a book for the Navy in 2008, he earned a master’s degree in military history from the University of Victoria in 2010. For the next five years Matt worked with the federal government to help compensate victims of childhood physical and sexual abuse suffered at Indian Residential Schools across Canada.
In 2015 Matt joined the office of the BC Ombudsperson where he conducted hundreds of investigations and helped public agencies shift their practices to become more administratively fair. Of note in his ombuds career, Matt was an investigator in the BC Ombudsperson’s largest investigation to date, resulting in the public report Misfire: The 2012 Ministry of Health Employment Terminations and Related Matters. He was also the lead investigator and author of the public report Severed Trust: Enabling WorkSafeBC to do the right thing when its mistakes hurt injured workers.
Matt is grateful to all Islanders for welcoming him and his family and is honored to help the province establish a meaningful, effective and enduring Office of the Ombudsperson.
Lauren McKearney – Office Manager / Executive Assistant
Lauren joined OmbudsPEI in June 2022 as their Office Manager/Executive Assistant. After graduating from the University of Prince Edward Island in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts, Lauren moved on to work in the non-profit, government, and legal sectors. Lauren contributes to the success of the office through her customer service and management skills.
As a born and raised Islander, Lauren is proud to be a part of the first team to serve the people of Prince Edward Island in the Office of the Ombudsperson and Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner. Lauren hopes that through her and the OmbudsPEI team, the highest level of public sector accountability and transparency can be achieved.
Alex Dalton – Investigator
Alex joined the OmbudsPEI team in July 2022 as an Investigator. Alex has deep roots in PEI, having been born and raised on a beef and potato farm in West Prince. After high school she moved to New Brunswick for eight years where she completed an undergraduate degree in international relations at Mount Allison University (2012) and a law degree at the University of New Brunswick (2015). After articling she worked as a lawyer for six years in the areas of criminal, mental health and family law in PEI, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, including acting as a prosecutor and public defender. These experiences have afforded her the ability to connect with and help people from all walks of life.
Alex is happy to have returned home to PEI. She is an active member of the community, having been president of a local charity (Community Legal Information), a member of the PEI Youth Futures Council and a volunteer at numerous free legal information clinics. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, being outdoors and spending time with family and friends.
Alex is excited to be part of the OmbudsPEI team and is looking forward to serving Islanders.
Cody McEachern – Investigator
Cody joined the OmbudsPEI team in April 2023 as an investigator. Born in Fredericton, N.B. and raised in P.E.I., Cody has spent the last eight years exploring the Maritimes both personally and professionally as a journalist and photographer. While attending Holland College in 2015 for journalism, Cody began his reporting career as a freelance business and tourism writer for Brunswick News and got his first summer internship at the company’s Woodstock paper, the Bugle-Observer. After graduating in 2017, Cody moved to Halifax N.S. to work as a freelance reporter with The Halifax Metro, before moving into a full-time reporter position for Truro Daily News in Truro, N.S. From there, Cody spent six years working in newsrooms in both Nova Scotia and P.E.I. as a reporter, lead editor and news director, most recently as the business and municipal reporter for The Guardian in Charlottetown.
Throughout his career, Cody has gained experience through his reporting on the topics of housing, business, mental health and addictions, municipal issues, labour, education and healthcare, among others. In his spare time, he can be found spending time with his wife and two kids, playing guitar, flying his drone or taking photos of the Island’s unique landscapes and towns.
Cody is excited to be a part of the OmbudsPEI team and is looking forward to using his experience to help advance fairness for Islanders.