OPSEU marks one-year anniversary of the Social Assistance Management System debacle

SAMS is yet another privatization boondoggle.

Toronto (13 Nov. 2015) — On the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Social Assistance Management System (SAMS), the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) says that the system is still experiencing defects and program outages. 

Read OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas's full statement below

You can also read the letter sent to the Ontario Minister of Community and Social Services about SAMS. 

November 12 marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of the fiasco known as the Social Assistance Management System (SAMS).

When it was put into operation in November 2014, SAMS was an unmitigated disaster. Its inefficiencies, errors and poor design severely undermined the efforts of front-line workers to provide high-quality service to social assistance recipients and their families.  The system frequently shortchanged many recipients with too little money or none at all.

The technical problems with SAMS have been well documented in the media. The government has spent tens of millions of additional dollars trying to make the system functional.  Despite the reduced media coverage in the past 4–5 months, SAMS continues to be a major source of frustration for workers and social assistance recipients. OPSEU/NUPGE members still regularly report defects and experience program outages.

I want to thank the front-line OPSEU/NUPGE members who work in Ontario Works, the Ontario Disability Support Program, and the Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities Program. Their tireless efforts over the past year to navigate this botched computer system and minimize the harm to their clients have been nothing short of heroic.

In a recent report, the Ministry of Community and Social Services indicated that SAMS has cost $300 million to date. The Auditor General is conducting a value-for-money audit of SAMS, which will be included in her next annual report. 

I suspect she will conclude that SAMS is yet another private sector boondoggle that costs more and delivers less.

More information: 

OPSEU letter to Minister of Community and Social Services



The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

NUPGE Components: 

Occupational Groups: 

Issues and Campaigns: