On February 12, hundreds of OPSEU members working in the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) rallied in 30 towns and cities across the province to express their frustrations with the deeply flawed Social Assistance Management System (SAMS) launched last November.
This Day of Action raised community awareness and fostered solidarity with everyone impacted by the SAMS tragedy.
Dressed in blue and armed with postcards that read “End the Nightmare and Save Our Services” frontline staff brought a clear message to their communities that SAMS is not working.
“It’s painfully obvious: SAMS has introduced chaos into Ontario’s social assistance system placing an incredible amount of pressure on frontline staff and depriving social assistance recipients of essential income, employment and medical supports,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas addressing a group of more than a hundred OPSEU members out front of the ODSP office at 385 Yonge Street in downtown Toronto.
“You warned the government multiple times that SAMS was not ready to be implemented,” said Thomas. “Unfortunately, they did not listen.
“I want to thank all members for their incredible work and unyielding strength in the face of this horrendous situation” said Roxanne Barnes, Chair of OPSEU’s Ministry of Community and Social Services Employee Relations Committee (MERC) “this show of solidarity is just fantastic!”