Parents who signed up for the Ontario school strike compensation that has been offered during the wide-ranging educational job action have been getting a little more than they expected, it seems. The provincial government has apparently overpaid parents' remuneration by several days' worth in some cases. The government is blaming a computer glitch as the culprit.
Last month, the PC party in Ontario announced it would offer up to $60 per day for parents whose childcare routines had been interrupted by strike action.
And, within a few hours of that confirmation on January 15, the program had seen some 12,000 applications.
However, it is now being reported by the Canadian Press via CP24 that there have been numerous parents actually receiving up to four days' worth of money deposited right into their bank accounts.
While that may be nice for the specific parents in question, it's far from things going according to plan.
According to CityNews, the Ford government recognizes that they have had an issue with overpaying parents for their childcare costs during the strike days.
They say that technical difficulties in counting the number of days that the schools affected had actually been closed led to data error on their end. The government insists the issue has been resolved.
Support For Parents is here. Eligible parents of children up to age 12 (Grade 7), or up to age 21 for children and… https://t.co/wBJnZyAIga— Education Ontario (@Education Ontario)1580948059.0
“All Support for Parents applications received undergo a verification process to ensure that they meet the eligibility requirements," a Ministry of Education spokesperson told Narcity on Thursday.
"We will continue to review our systems to ensure all parents receive support during this period of disruption.”
At the point of those parents receiving the excess money, CP reports elementary teachers had only participated in a strike for one day.
Toronto mother Kristina Hollywood told The Press via CP24: "My initial reaction was they made a mistake, that this wasn't done properly and it was just kind of giving out money willy-nilly. Then I was like, well if that's not a bribe, I don't know what is."
Have you signed up to receive up to $60/day during union led escalation? Sign up today for the #SupportForParents… https://t.co/aF9Is5rnIR— Stephen Lecce (@Stephen Lecce)1580479229.0
Nearly 1 million children across the province are currently out of school due to another strike.* Despite the cold, thousands of teachers are out on the streets of Toronto, and even jamming up Front Street with protests.
Per City, one parent said she only expected to get $65 dollars because her two children had only lost one day of school due to the strikes. Instead, she actually got $320, $160 for each kid.
The government says any parents who have concerns about the payment they received can call the Support for Parents helpline at 1-888-444-3770.
Big shout-out to @theJagmeetSingh for joining #ETFO members on the picket line in #Ottawa today!! @OCETFO… https://t.co/LxEYHBPvTx— Sam Hammond (@Sam Hammond)1581008978.0
The Ministry of Education is not able to state how much money was overpaid, but they reportedly say that it affects just a small number of parents in Ontario, according to The Press via Global News.
City reports some 361,705 applications for the money have been received in under a month. The government apparently suggests 90,748 payments have been deposited so far.
Since August 31, all four major teachers’ unions in Ontario have been without contracts. The only bargaining at the moment is with the union that represents French teachers, per CP.
Both public high school and English Catholic teachers have held individual Ontario strikes. At the moment, future negotiations are not yet scheduled.
*This article has been updated.