Straightening Out an Ontario Works Mix-Up

9 May 2019

Ms. A, a client of Toronto Employment & Social Services (TESS), called Ombudsman Toronto because her Ontario Works (OW) benefits were late and she believed a new caseworker had wrongly reduced her payment. Enrolled in an OW program for working single mothers, Ms. A was receiving monthly funds to help her provide for her family’s needs. She found herself unable to pay her rent or other pre-authorized payments and was charged extra fees.

We contacted TESS, who reviewed the matter and confirmed the error. We also found that they did not keep clear records of claims and complaints, making it difficult to determine what had happened.

To fairly resolve the problem, TESS agreed to reimburse Ms. A for costs she had incurred by writing cheques without sufficient funds and it transferred her file to her original case worker. Staff acknowledged their mistakes in Ms. A’s case and agreed to learn from them.

All names are changed to protect the privacy of complainants.