TORONTO, July 22, 2015 /CNW/ - The union that represents over 10,000 operating and maintenance staff of the Toronto Transit Commission is calling for an exhaustive investigation into allegations of fraud against the TTC's health care benefits plan and the plan's administrator, Manulife Financial.
Toronto Police have arrested and charged the owner and two employees of a Toronto orthotics business with upwards of four million dollars of fraudulent billing for services and devices that were allegedly not received by TTC employees.
"These allegations are extremely distressing to our union," said Manny Sforza, Executive Vice President of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113.
"Health care benefits are negotiated for the well-being of our members and their families and it is outrageous that anyone would bring those benefits into disrepute through fraud. The damage is not just financial; it will slow down and even potentially discourage legitimate claims, many of which involve children with neuromuscular and skeletal disabilities who need orthoses to live a normal, pain-free life.
"As well, the nature of our members' work, particularly heavy vehicle operation, generates a greater-than-normal need for corrective orthotic treatment and devices. It would be hazardous to the public to have either operators or maintenance staff working in pain, which is why it is particularly distressing to have such a health care need called into question because of fraud."
ATU Local 113 is not involved in the administration of the TTC benefits program. Benefits are negotiated as part of the collective agreement with the TTC, which is responsible for funding them and choosing the administrator.
"We want to know how millions of dollars in fraudulent claims originating with a single business could have been undetected by the plan administrator."
Sforza said the union has not been contacted by TPS about these charges and would have no knowledge of individual TTC employees who may have been involved.
"We would absolutely condemn any fraud against our benefits program by anyone. No individual cases have been brought to our attention, however, and because the union is not involved at all with benefits administration, this is not surprising. These are police matters that are unrelated to labour relations but if we can be helpful in any investigation, we will be."
SOURCE Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113
For further information: Bill Reno, 416-223-7366