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Government was warned new social assistance payment system flawed: OPSEU

We the North
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TORONTO – The union representing workers at the Ontario Disability Support Plan (ODSP) and Ontario Works (OW) says the government was warned months ago that the new computer system was flawed and would cause chaos in the programs.

In response to a report from the CBC, Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, says his union told the government that the new computer system, which implemented Nov. 12, 2014, had too many flaws and would badly affect both the workers and the recipients whose lives depend on social assistance.

“The government has spent four years and $250 million dollars on this system,” Thomas said. “All it has accomplished so far is havoc in the offices, overpayments to recipients and now there’s a possibility some may not receive any money prior to the holidays. It’s a total mess and could have been avoided if the government had listened to the workers instead of relying on software consultants.”

Workers have reported massive problems across the province since the new computer system was implemented. Thomas said he is sending a letter to the Minister of Community and Social Services in the next few days asking her to immediately revert back to the old computer system until the problems are fixed.

“Half of the 52 First Nations agencies have been permitted to ‘opt out’ of the new system and are still running on the old software, which works,” Thomas said. “The old system is still operating, reliable, and can be used while this new system has the numerous problems eliminated. There are real, live people depending on this…they shouldn’t be held hostage because the government won’t admit they implemented a faulty computer program.”

For more information:

Warren (Smokey) Thomas 1-800-268-7376

Roxanne Barnes (416) 809-2791

Tara Langford (613) 812-1970