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Money B.C. Ombudsperson's report shows thousands of welfare recipients unfairly penalized

11:06  17 may  2018
11:06  17 may  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

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The B . C . Ombudsperson has a new report on an unlawful policy that unfairly penalized nearly 4,000 people on social assistance over 6 years. Under earnings exemptions for welfare recipients in B . C ., individuals are allowed to keep a certain amount of earned income without having it deducted from

the B . C . Ombudsperson found thousands of people who were on social assistance as far back as 2012 were unfairly penalized by a government Under earnings exemptions for welfare recipients Similar from the Web. B . C . Ombudsperson ' s report shows thousands of welfare - www.cbc.ca.

The Ministry of Social Development has accepted the Ombudsman's recommendation to identify and reimburse the estimated 3,700 income assistance recipients who, over the years, received less income assistance than they should have.© Peter Scobie/CBC The Ministry of Social Development has accepted the Ombudsman's recommendation to identify and reimburse the estimated 3,700 income assistance recipients who, over the years, received less income assistance than they should have.

A new investigation by the B.C. Ombudsperson found thousands of people who were on social assistance as far back as 2012 were unfairly penalized by a government policy.

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A new investigation by the B . C . Ombudsperson found thousands of people who were on social assistance as far back as 2012 were unfairly penalized While the ministry is working to remedy the unlawful policy by reimbursing recipients and looking at systemic issues, Chalke said there are more

Welcome to the Office of the Ombudsperson . If you think a provincial government ministry, local government, or other provincial public authority has treated you unfairly – we may be able to help.

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The ministry has accepted the office's recommendation to provide additional income assistance to the estimated 3,700 people who over the years received less income assistance than they should have.

B.C. Ombudsperson Jay Chalke says the investigation was triggered by one woman's complaint.

Under earnings exemptions for welfare recipients in B.C., individuals are allowed to keep a certain amount of earned income without having it deducted from their income assistance. Anything above that amount is deducted dollar-for-dollar.

"The ministry describes the purpose in its own manual of the earnings exemption saying that its to offer recipients and opportunity to build job skills and experience to increase employability and take advantage of part-time or temporary work and better provide for their families while receiving assistance," Chalke said.

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Последние твиты от SPARC BC (@SPARCBC). The Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia works with communities in building a just and healthy society for all. Coast Salish Territories.

The Office of the Ombudsperson receives complaints from seniors and their families, typically relating the affordability and quality of residential care. If you have been treated unfairly by the provincial government, a local government, or any other public body, the B . C . Ombudsperson is here to help.

Unlawful policy

Chalke said the woman, in the case he reviewed, earned enough income in a month that she didn't receive any income assistance. However, the following month, the ministry's computer system again invoked a one-month suspension of her earning's exemption.

"That one month suspension is not authorized by law and is inconsistent with the concept of an earnings exemption," Chalke said.

The woman filed a complaint with the ministry's own internal branch and was successful getting the automatic suspension revoked.

She was suspended a second time, and her second complaint was also successful.

When it happened a third time, she reached out to the Ombudsperson.

Listen to the interview with Jay Chalke on All Points West :

Chalke said the repetitive complaints process to overturn the suspension was concerning, and the fact the ministry did not consider whether there were others in her same position eligible for similar exemptions.

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The Office of the Ombudsperson receives complaints about the unfair administrative decisions or actions, including lack of adequate reasons, unreasonable delay, unfair procedures, and arbitrary or unauthorised procedures. It is not a requirement that a person be a B . C . resident or Canadian citizen.

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"The ministry only applied to her and only for that specific time period and required her to go back a second time. More broadly, they did not apply the ruling to other people who were similarly situated to the complainant who came to us," he said.

"That was unjust and oppressive."

Looking ahead

Chalke said situations like this can arise when extremely complex government operating policies don't reflect the fundamental premise of the law.

While the ministry is working to remedy the unlawful policy by reimbursing recipients and looking at systemic issues, Chalke said there are more broad ways to prevent situations like this one from happening in the future.

"Certainly, transparency is important. Having proper oversight is important," he said.

"We welcome people who have concerns about the decisions made at the ministry to come to us and we'll investigate."

With files from All Points West

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