Barrett calls for better response from FRO Ombudsman names it number one for complaints

For Immediate Release August 28, 2013

OTTAWA – MPP Toby Barrett is calling for improved service at the Family Responsibility Office.

He wrote a letter to Ted McMeekin, Minister of Community and Social Services, in the wake of an increasing number of complaints to his constituency office since the FRO changed their system earlier this year. Since then, more people have complained about the lack of returned phone calls, misinformation and frustration in dealing with voice mail.

“This is not the kind of service we expect for the people of Ontario,” Barrett said. “People involved with FRO are often in sensitive and volatile situations, they don’t need additional frustrations from a lack of service from staff.”

In his letter, Barrett gave the example of a constituent receiving a letter saying his case was $20,000 in arrears and there was a tight deadline to respond. In reality, there were no arrears and FRO had misfiled a court order related to the error. In another case, a constituent had to chase a “dead-beat dad” down in the United States.

Barrett also pointed to the recently-released Ontario Ombudsman’s annual report, whereby the Ombudsman gives FRO the dubious honour of making it the most-complained-about Ontario government organization.

“Similar complaint trends were observed this year, such as FRO staff failing to review documentation, consider all available facts or ensure records are up to date before taking enforcement action for unpaid support,” the report said. “Another frequent complaint involved enforcement actions not in compliance with FRO policies and procedures.”

“The Ombudsman confirms what my staff has been hearing from people,” Barrett said. “This is simply not acceptable. When will the government tackle this problem?”

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For more information contact
MPP Toby Barrett at 1-800-903-8629 or 519-428-0446