Advertisement

Ontario on the hook for more to fix troubled support payment system

Helena Jaczek, Ontario's Minister for Community and Social Services is surrounded by the media following question period at Queen's Park Legislature in Toronto on Monday December 1, 2014. A glitch with social assistance transfers was found to have queued up $20 million in overpayments.
Helena Jaczek, Ontario's Minister for Community and Social Services is surrounded by the media following question period at Queen's Park Legislature in Toronto on Monday December 1, 2014. A glitch with social assistance transfers was found to have queued up $20 million in overpayments. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO – Ontario’s minister of community and social services says she’ll implement all of the recommendations from a report on how to fix a troubled support payment system, but she can’t say what that will cost.

The government commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to report on the Social Assistance Management System, which is responsible for welfare and disability support payments.

The report says that to implement all 19 recommendations, such as better training for front-line staff and appointing a program manager, the government will need to asses “current and future resource capacity.”

Minister Helena Jaczek says she doesn’t know yet if that will cost the province more money than it has already spent on the $242-million system plus millions more in additional staffing costs.

Jaczek says there have been major challenges with the SAMS implementation and she is “disappointed,” but payments have gone to the people who need them.

Story continues below advertisement

She says the ministry underestimated the impact that SAMS, a completely new system from the old one, would have on front-line staff and the amount of training they needed.