Media Release: Community groups ask Auditor General to Conduct Review of Ministry’s Integrated Case Management System

The British Columbia Public Interest Advocacy Centre issued the following press release today.

For Immediate Release

Community groups ask Auditor General to ensure welfare computer system has emergency back-up system in place

(Vancouver) August 22, 2014   Eight social justice organizations and churches from across BC have asked the BC Auditor General to look into whether the BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation has appropriate contingency plans in place should the computer system used to administer welfare crash again.

Beginning in late April, 2014, the Ministry’s Integrated Case Management (ICM) computer system remained mostly offline for more than two weeks. During this time, the Ministry was not able to provide many of its clients with much-needed services, including shelter and support payments, security deposits, crisis grants, and eligibility assessments for people with an immediate need for welfare.

The request was filed with the Auditor General today by the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, First United Church Community Ministry Society, Kettle Friendship Society, Okanagan Advocacy & Resource Society, Together Against Poverty Society, Vancouver South Presbytery of the United Church of Canada, and Wilson Heights United Church Advocacy Program.

Kris Sutherland, Manager of Advocacy Services at the Kettle Friendship Society said “We saw first-hand the chaos and stress that the failure of ICM caused to our clients and want the Ministry to have a plan to ensure that it never happens again.”

Sarah Khan, Staff Lawyer with the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre, added that “The ICM has created additional barriers to accessing services for people in need of welfare, we are hopeful that the Ministry can work with the Auditor General to fix the problems so that vulnerable people are still able to access services and don’t risk losing their housing and the ability to meet their basic needs.”

For more information, please contact:

Rosemary Collins, Wilson Heights United Church Ph: 604 358-7673
Didi Dufresne, First United Church Ph: 604 319-0743
Sarah Khan, BCPIAC Ph: 604-687-3063
Kris Sutherland, Kettle Friendship Society  Ph: 604-253-7922