SAMS implementation costs skyrocket to nearly $300 million

Published on October 22, 2015

QUEEN’S PARK – The Liberal Government’s implementation of the Social Assistance Management System (SAMS) has been a failure, says Ontario PC Community and Social Services Critic Randy Pettapiece (MPP for Perth-Wellington).

Pettapiece questioned Minister Helena Jaczek today in response to her government’s report detailing the new costs of the SAMS implementation.

“An additional $50 million has been spent on the SAMS implementation because the government bungled the process,” said Pettapiece. “That extra $50 million has to come from somewhere, yet the Minister refuses to disclose how her government will be covering these expensive mistakes.”

Yesterday, the government released an integrated transition report detailing how it plans to move forward with SAMS. The report confirms that the SAMS implementation is nearly $50 million over budget, and full implementation will be behind by 19 months.

Originally estimated to cost $242 million to develop, the government’s implementation of the SAMS software was riddled with serious problems. Erroneous cheques were issued to Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program recipients, and municipalities and service providers are on the hook for at least $20 million in cost overruns.

“In March, the Minister said she was ‘truly sorry’ for the problems with SAMS, but yesterday’s transition report shows no contrition. It’s nothing but a pat on the back,” said Pettapiece in the Legislature.

The government claims that SAMS will save $5 million annually in operating costs over the previous management system (SDMT). However, with the $50 million additional project costs, it will take over 10 years for the province to see any savings in the use of SAMS.

“The list of projects this government has mismanaged just continues to grow,” concluded Pettapiece. “It’s unacceptable that we all have to pay for Liberal mistakes.”

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