Toronto, Canada – It’s about time, but there are many other questions that need to be considered. As reported today in the Toronto Star  the  Ontario Works  clients, about 35,000 will be able to have it loaded onto a debit card thus bypassing the cheques which cost them money when they cash them at places like MoneyMart.

With the new system the city is expected to save from $1 to 2.5 million per year, and they just thought of this idea this year?  Another thing they should seriously consider is make it a MUST that they register their landlord as the payee and have their rent cheque go directly to the landlord before they have access to any of the money, but the problem with that is some of the recipients do not have a residence.
There are many problems associated with this process and I hope they consider these before starting the new program.  Will the cards be identified as coming from welfare, thus attaching a stigma to the user?
Will they be charged for making a withdrawal from a banking machine? Most machines in Toronto charge from $1.50 to $3 per withdrawal.  Will the people getting these debit cards, know how to use them? Some may not be able to remember the pin code.
Will the government try to stop them from buying certain items? Like liquor/beer or anything else?
Why don’t they take it a step further and just open a ‘bank account’ for the city and have ATM machines around the city, and the clients can cash their cheques at the city bank or use the city ATM’s.

Another disturbing factor I have heard about is that the welfare system gives certain individuals extra money for a MetroPass  (for free riding on the transit) rather than giving them the actual MetroPass, why is that?  Are they required to show the MetroPass to the office to prove they are buying it?  I’m suggesting clients use the extra $120 to buy other things, where is the oversight?

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Daniel … Toronto, CANADA
My take on everything