April 25, 2013

Some people on social assistance in 11 Ontario municipalities may be inconvenienced by an error in computer processing that affected a portion of this month’s Ontario Works payments.

The error will affect only Ontario Works clients who have made prior arrangements for their municipality to deduct some of their payment in order to pay bills such as utilities or rent. The one-time processing error caused the full amount of the Ontario Works payment to go to the social assistance client. As a result, the clients will be personally responsible for paying their affected bills this month.

Despite the error, the ministry has made every effort to ensure all payments are being made on time and no Ontario Works client will be short-changed (and the error did not produce any over-payments). The Ministry of Community and Social Services says the circumstances that caused the unprecedented error are unlikely to recur, but it is reviewing procedures to ensure proper safeguards.

The Ministry is working with the 11 municipalities to alert both the affected clients and the vendors.

Quick facts

  • About 5,500 vendors (such as utilities or landlords)
  • 16,222 individuals or families, about 6.2 per cent of the 260,000 individuals or families receiving Ontario Works
  • 11 of 47 municipalities: Brantford, Cochrane, Kawartha Lakes, London, Niagara, Northumberland, Ottawa, Parry Sound, Peel, Toronto and Windsor

Media inquiries

Rob Newman, Minister’s Office, 416-325-5219
Charlotte Wilkinson, Communications, 416-325-5760