Ontario's Social Assistance Management System is none of those things - Thomas

TORONTO, March 23, 2015 /CNW/ - Ontario's Social Assistance Management System is seriously misnamed, said Ontario Public Service Employees Union President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

"It is, in fact, anti-social and no assistance whatsoever to the staff who have to work with it and to the clients they serve. And to call it a management system is pure farce," he said.

"This thing can't get anything right. It can't get the right cheques to vulnerable citizens with disabilities and those on social assistance; it's costing municipalities a small fortune in unexpected overtime and training; it managed to leak private information on hundreds of social assistance recipients; and now it can't even print out accurate tax forms.

"We'll have to pay another $175,000 to cover that bungle, on top of three $5 million "one-time-only" payments to municipalities, and the $242 million we paid to IBM to set up the disaster in the first place," he said. "And I assume we are continuing to pay IBM to try to fix this thing.

The fact that several municipalities have had to bring in counsellors to deal with staff stress points to a program with totally unacceptable ramifications for everyone who has to deal with it, he said. That is a totally unprecedented situation where the work is making significant numbers of employees so stressed and frustrated that they need emotional intervention to carry on with their jobs.

"It's time someone took responsibility and acknowledged that this simply cannot continue, and that person should be Community and Social Services Minister Helena Jaczek," Thomas said. "If she won't do the honourable thing and step aside, then Premier Kathleen Wynne should do the responsible thing and fire her."

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

For further information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas - cell: 613-329-1931


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