British Columbia’s government is refusing to pay a young woman for its own mistakes and the provincial ombudsperson says she may not be the only one harmed.
Jay Chalke says the Ministry of Children and Family Development gave the woman incorrect information, leading her to believe she was eligible for government support for post-secondary education worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Chalke’s report says the ministry doesn’t accept responsibility, nor will it compensate her and it also won’t look to see if others have been similarly affected.
The report has five recommendations to the B.C. government, including paying the woman for the full value of the tuition, cost of living and health care supports she was told she would receive.
The ministry rejects three of the report’s five recommendations, but Chalke says it has agreed to two suggestions centred around developing strategies to make sure government staff are aware of benefits, limitations and obligations in giving legal advice for youth.
Chalke says the situation is fundamental, the government made a mistake, so it should fix it, and he’s troubled that the ministry isn’t stepping up to do that.
B.C.’s Office of the Ombudsperson is an independent voice that investigates complaints about local and public sector organizations and reports of serious wrongdoing in the provincial government.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 6, 2023.