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Rude? Not!

What Happened

Mr. R complained to our office that employees in the Toronto Employment and Social Services Division (TESS) were rude when he applied for Ontario Works benefits. Specifically, Mr. R complained about TESS’s policies of requiring two pieces of photo ID to pick up cheques and not using email to communicate with clients. He also complained that TESS refused him access to its employment programs.

What We Did

After reviewing TESS’s policies and speaking with several TESS staff members, we met with TESS’s general manager. The general manager said it was Mr. R who was aggressive when staff told him that he needed to have two pieces of ID, and that staff spent time explaining the various job programs and gave him an application, which he did not use. The general manager said the two pieces of ID helped prevent fraud and were only needed when the client was new or unknown to the staff.

Mr. R did receive his cheque when a supervisor intervened. The general manager also said TESS had reviewed its policies and was shifting to a debit card payment system, replacing manual cheques. TESS did not use email with clients because of concerns about privacy, but that policy was also under review. We found that TESS provided a reasonable explanation for its actions and there was no evidence of rude or inappropriate behaviour.

The Result

We talked with Mr. R, explaining our findings. We also told Mr. R that TESS was changing to a debit card system and reviewing its use of email