Dave White of Monkland is Unhappy With Service Ontario Senior’s Procedures – November 16, 2012

It was with a feeling of Deja-vu that I read the front page article in Tuesday’s Ottawa SUN News about the 96 year old woman who had to deal with Services Ontario to replace her lost health card.
A few years ago a similar horror story unfolded in Cornwall, Ontario at the bureau of Ontario Services with my elderly 87 year old aunt.
This one was not over her photo, as she had her Quebec health card with her picture, however she had moved from Montreal to live in Cornwall after she had a stroke and this left her with a condition called aphasia, or the inability to communicate by speech. As such I was given power of attorney and became her ‘voice’.
When she moved from Montreal, she stayed for about 6 months at my sister’s home in Cornwall till she was accepted in an elderly, self caring facility, as her only problem was her inability to talk.
After waiting the eligibality period where she was to change her Quebec health card for her Ontario health card, I took her to the Ontario Services office to obtain her card.
We went there with her citizenship card, her Quebec health card and other documents but were told to come back with the documents required ON THEIR LIST. You see, she was ‘missing’ a document that showed her address, like a Hydro, Phone or Bank Statement where she was now residing at my sister’s home.
I told the clerk that she had no such document as she paid no utilities and the bank does not sent her a statement as her bank book is all that they usually provide for elderly people.
So, I went with my aunt to the bank and the manager there thought that ‘Services Ontario’ request was ridiculous in there demands so she made a print out of my aunt’s account, put on the bank stamp and provided her business card so the moron’s at Services Ontario would contact her to verify that her address was registered with the bank as being at my sisters’s home. If that was not enough, they mailed my aunt a letter of bank information to my sister’s address (addressed to my aunt), but this was not a ‘statement’ as she never received any in the first place or would under the banks arrangements with senior citizens.
So, going back a second time the clerks once again rejected her proof of address and ‘scolded’ me telling me they only accepted the documents on their list as proof.
So, there is a formal complaint procedure and I mailed the director of Services Ontario to complain about their obstinate insistence on only accepting documentation from their “LIST’ without using common sense and decency when dealing with elderly people. He called me back after receiving my mail and instead of using decency and common sense himself, defended the actions of the clerks in Cornwall, but insisted that they were ‘flexible’ in making decisions for themselves. I was quite upset with him and asked where was both the flexibility of the clerks or even his own attitude in stating that the only documentation accepted were the documents on their list. He did not answer that. He also told me that their ‘diligence’ was to prevent Health Care fraud. I just had to laugh in his face as how would issuing a photo card with my 87 year old aunt’s picture possibly be used by someone else.
This issue was not resolved till my aunt received her income tax return, many months later with my sister’s address.
I could have kicked the clerk in her butt as she rudely told me “You see, how easy it is when you bring in the correct documents”! Swear to God, that’s exactly what she told me. But, I said nothing and after a third try my aunt finally got her Ontario Health Card.
Just a note that in either the case of the 96 year old or my 87 year old aunt, neither would have been deprived of urgent or necessary health care, however it seems that our provincial bureaucracy needs a swift kick in the pants for their rudeness, obstinacies and lack of using a little common sense and human decency in dealing with all people, especially the elderly.
While being three times at the Services Office, I witnessed many people being turned away for lack of ‘proper documentation’. I somehow feel that in duplicating or triplicating citizen’s visits that they were providing job security and a life long career for themselves.
This has got to be cleaned up. Shame on the Cornwall Services branch and their regional directors.
Thanks for publishing your front page article. They need more published to shame their arrogance and stupidity.
Dave G White
Monkland, Ontario

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  1. I ran into the same thing at OHIP with trying to get my 16 year old son’s OHIP changed to get his PHOTO on his card.

    He has his Ontario Drivers license.
    Birth Certificate.
    OHIP renewal card.
    High School ID card.
    High School record.
    AND they REFUSED it because he didn’t have something to “prove” he lived in Ontario.

    Tell me what a 16 year old KID is supposed to have to prove he lives in Ontario ?
    School records ? School Photo ID ? Drivers license ?
    His OHIP renewal sent to our ONTARIO address ?

    Nope…they refused. I had to go open a bank account for him and wait for the first bank statement to show up

  2. Terrible story but so glad you shared it, Dave. Can totally picture the non-thinking, flippant ketchup-heads, nasally whining: “See, how easy it is when you bring in the correct documents?”

    Jerks. How about at least: “Thank you for your patience during this stressful time.”

    Effing idiots. No class. No grace. Terrible.

    Here’s hoping your mom is doing okay.

  3. I went through the same hard times to get my health card renewed here in Ottawa that already had my picture. I don’t drive a car so I had no picture other than the one on my health card, I don’t have a passport since I don’t travel only one from the mid 1970’s which I didn’t present, I don’t use the bus very often so I don’t have a bus pass with my photo only bus tickets. I had a big argument with the clerk and told her that if I just fell off a boat or a plane I would be accepted without any problems coming in here as a refugee. My husband laughed saying that he was more Canadian than myself and he is Lebanese born but he has a drivers licence and all the rest and I could have killed the clerk. She was talking to her boss in Toronto while I was fuming right across from her. You don’t have to be a senior citizen or someone from Québec and I was born and raised in this country and sometimes I wonder what country I am living in since so many are covered up like tents and I have to really look around to see if I am in Canada, the Mid East, Africa, etc. I am fuming just writing this to all of you. I sure developed my husband’s horrible character when people give me a hard time.

    Never ever had I had a hard time when I gave in my old health card to get the new one with the picture some years ago. Now it will be my daughter’s turn in February and she too does not drive, has no passport but does have a bank account. This is really crazy indeed.

    I had my birth certificate and things like that but it wasn’t enough for them. I am so mighty angry just writing about this since I know how people feel. Canada is gone and gone for good since it is not a country any longer but a corporation.

  4. Just a note that in the Service Ontario office is a prominent sign posted.’Rude or Vulgar language or behaviour will not be tolerated’. When you see such a sign you just know that you are going to get bad service. Last night I wrote to my MPP Jim McDonell with my post on CFN.
    I asked him to do something about it, possibly submitting a private members bill in parliament (if they ever get back) to bring back some sanity to our brain dead bureaucrats. I will keep you posted. I also asked for an apology from Service Ontario and this is not just for me and my aunt but for all Ontarians who have encountered the worst in our civil servants.
    Thanks to all the other posters who have shared their horror stories with Service Ontario, both young and elderly.
    Isn’t karma a bitch! Services Ontario has now been exposed and shamed now so let’s hope that our elected officials can bring back some ‘Service’ in their title.

    Dave White

  5. Author

    While you’re at it Dave ask your MPP why his office refused to post any holiday notices on CFN? We have the highest amount of readers locally yet no Christmas, Canada, Remembrance Day notices by Mr. McDonell…

  6. Hey, admin, have you not learnt yet, anybody who thinks that they are at his level, or above, don’t or can’t fathom that we too have monetary values/political outlook and therefore we are of no value to them. How stupid can one ( them) be.
    I know if I were in that boat, I would make sure that EVERY newspaper,newsletter,info list, has my mark there.
    Besides, everyday is a holiday to them.
    Have a nice day.

  7. When the health cards were issued here in downtown Albert Street here in Ottawa things were done a great deal better and I remember we would go from one booth to another for things to be done but there was none of this nonsense that we have going on today. Everything went smoothly for all of us then until that place closed down because of provincial cuts and everything was put at the licence offices. Now everything is one big enormous boondoggle of a mess. The employees do not know their keester from their brains and they do not know how to deal with the public. No wonder the country is in a terrible mess financially – none know how to work and how to work properly.

    Admin (Jamie) glad to have you back on board. Would you believe that I miss your posts. No kidding. I think that we all did.

  8. Well Jamie, Mr McDonell is at least not as quick as Mr Kilger was and Bob is not so computer illiterate as you think as he answered my e-mail within two hours (or maybe it was his lawyers who advised him a ‘dinger’ had just come in). I’ll keep you posted.
    If I get into a one on one discussion I will advise Jim to publish his notices on your excellent web site. One thing I have to say, is that unlike the other ‘right wing’ site that I share my opinions and values with (and half are editorialized to death or not published at all ), you are not afraid to let the people speak. (At least so far that I didn’t merit your weekly POS award)
    Now, just a warning as a friend of mine in politics (a paralegal) advised me that at times you were on the verge of defamation of character, and all your readers would hate to have to visit you in Kingston. But we would. Now that’s a career move that you should avoid.


  9. Hey Dave, have you ever considered running for high office? You are gifted with insight, vision, research capacity and a measure of community mindedness I’ve seen over the years reading your ‘works’ of intelligence your many provocative or deep thought augmentations of many mind sets that wake a few of us up. Thank you by the way.

    Seriously Dave, I am sure the funding would come………would MP be a stretch? How’s your French?

  10. Dukers1, I’ve been asked that before but my short answer is NO because I am too nice a ‘human’ to lower my standards to getting into ‘dirty’ politics. But I think as individuals we all have a voice and so I write from the comfort of my home, and maybe help move others to have a voice too.
    My French is great with the help of Google Translate, but then again so is my Spanish, Greek, Russian Hebrew, Arabic…etc
    I grew up in Quebec and some say I speak French OK but I think of it more as Frenglish. Of course, some of my old Quebec girlfriends though I had a cute accent, but then as you could imagine, there was not too much conversation.
    But thanks for the compliment, Of course, you must be referring to my poetry a few yars ago “A Wikileaks Kind of Christmas”, published right here on CFN, or my postings that got by the censor board at the cornwalldaily.com

    Dave White
    Monkland (‘the rectum of the world’) Stephen Colbert missed by about 800 km.

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