December 22nd, 2014

Families on Social Assistance receive bad news 48 hours before Christmas Eve

Queen’s Park – New Democrats have learned that Ontarians who rely on Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program are still not receiving cheques or deposits in spite of promises from the Liberal government that the problems with their new computer system would be fixed in time for the holidays. Cindy Forster, Ontario NDP Critic for Community and Social Services and MPP for Welland, says this is unacceptable.

“It’s 48 hours until Christmas Eve, and people on OW and ODSP are finding out that new computer system rolled out by the Liberals is still broken,” said Forster. “This is one of the toughest times of the year for families on Social Assistance. The Liberals were warned for a year that this computer program had problems, but the Liberals rolled it out right before the Christmas holiday. They went ahead, and now some of the most vulnerable Ontarians are paying the price. Again.” Problems with the new computer software became apparent last month when the $240 million system failed to send cheques or complete deposits to people across Ontario, and some recipients received as little as $5. The software has been plagued with problems across North America. Something Ontario was well aware of. Frontline workers estimate that 36,000 Ontarians were paid the incorrect sums earlier this month. “The holidays should be a time for joy and hope. Instead, the Liberals are throwing families into chaos, with many wondering how they’ll make it through the holiday season,” continued Forster. Kathleen Wynne had previously dismissed the problem as a “glitch” while her Minister said the problem was a “slight glitch” and cast doubt on these families saying she found it “very difficult to validate some of the anecdotes.”