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Caught in Red Tape

What Happened

Ms. D came to Canada in 1989 and applied for refugee status. She was given a permit to work and a temporary Social Insurance Number, but was later denied landed status in September 2010. This meant Ms. D lost the ability to work and was not eligible for Employment Insurance. She appealed the decision, but in the meantime, Ms. D was unable to work and needing money. She went to the Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) office, where she told by staff that she needed to apply by telephone. Following the instructions she was given by TESS staff, Ms. D went home and called the intake line, but was told she was not eligible for assistance because of her status in Canada. Instead, they said she could go to a shelter. Upset, Ms. D contacted our office.

What We Did

We contacted TESS to ask what could be done to help Ms. D. TESS staff said that the information given to Ms. D might be wrong and that she should try applying again. If she was denied, she could appeal. We explained the situation to Ms. D, who once again applied over the phone. This time, TESS asked to meet with Ms. D in person, requesting that she bring her immigration appeal documents.

The Result

Through our intervention, the error was corrected and Ms. D received the financial assistance she needed. She was eligible for the assistance as the immigration decision was being appealed.