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A False Impression of Fairness: An Investigation of One Person’s Appeal of the Loss of Subsidized Daycare

The Issue

Mr. K complained to the Ombudsman that the Children’s Services Division (CSD) unfairly withdrew subsidized daycare for his children. The City also wanted him to pay back about $23,000. The City said Mr. K failed to provide notice of his loss of employment, although Mr. K contended that he had done so and CSD was penalizing him for their own error in losing the documents.

Our Investigation

Our investigation addressed the following issues:

  • The appeals process;
  • The investigations process;
  • Record-keeping practices.

We interviewed Mr. K, his spouse, and City staff. We also examined Mr. K’s file, the Appeal Committee’s records, and the relevant policies, procedures, and legislation.

What We Found

The commitment of City staff was evident throughout this investigation. However, the evidence revealed serious errors and systemic problems with the appeals process, internal investigations, communication, record-keeping, and staff training. 

Our Recommendations

To address the fairness issues found during this investigation, we made 12 recommendations addressing both systemic issues that arose from the complaint, and as well as individual recommendations regarding the complaint itself.