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Update on SAMS Implementation

December 23, 2014

In early December, the Ministry of Community and Social Services and OMSSA formed a subgroup to work together to address and alleviate ongoing challenges with SAMS implementation.


A key objective of the working group has been to ensure that the on the ground challenges experienced by OMSSA members are shared with the Ministry in a timely manner. This includes SAMS functioning, staff load pressures, client impact and the implications on the regular business of Ontario Works and your organizations.


OMSSA's efforts and messages will continue to emphasize that the implementation of SAMS should not hinder the quality of life of the clients you serve, nor hinder financially the organizations who deliver these services, and that we need to get to a point, sooner rather than later, where SAMS will reflect the value of the people we serve in the communities where they live.


OMSSA would like to hear from you how we can continue to support you through SAMS implementation.


The following is a message from the MCSS-OMSSA SAMS Implementation Sub-Group Co-Chairs, Richard Steele, Assistant Deputy Minister, Social Assistance Operations, Ministry of Community and Social Services, and Catherine Matheson, OMSSA President and General Manager, Community Development, City of Greater Sudbury:

In an effort to ensure clear two-way communications and ongoing partnership as we work through the implementation of SAMS together, the Ministry and OMSSA have established a sub-group with the purpose of providing updates on key ministry activities related to SAMS, as well as providing a forum for joint planning and priority setting, raising and resolving municipal and DSSAB concerns, and sharing feedback from a municipal and DSSAB perspective with respect to the new technology.


A draft terms of reference for this working group is under development and will be shared with you all in a future communication.


As co-chairs of this group, we are committed to enabling meaningful dialogue with respect to completing the transition to SAMS and how we can better support our delivery agents in the field.


Weekly teleconferences have occurred since the beginning of December with a number of CMSMs / DSSABs and ministry staff represented. Please see the attached list for participants.


One of the key action items has been the establishment of a technical working group comprised of municipal, DSSAB and Ministry staff to ensure clear, shared understanding of issues being encountered, identification of priorities and development of workable solutions. The group will be meeting bi-weekly for full day working sessions commencing in early January 2015. Information from the technical working group will be shared with the members of the sub-group and with Administrators in general. 


The sub-group has also provided a forum for the discussion of additional administrative relief measures and additional implementation funding that have been announced by the Ministry.


A number of suggestions have been put forward with respect to how the Ministry can enhance supports in the field and we will continue to further investigate and brainstorm together how this will take shape in the future.


A number of you have sought clarification regarding the respective roles of this new technical working group and the existing DARG sub-group on SAMS. There has been active discussion on this matter, with the appropriate go-forward role for the DARG sub-group to be finalized at the DARG table.


Finally, there has been a request for any Ministry messaging that may be available in relation to the OPSEU litigation regarding SAMS. You can view the Ministry's Q & A on this matter here


Thank you sincerely for your ongoing efforts and support.


Richard Steele
Assistant Deputy Minister
Social Assistance Operations
Ministry of Community and Social Services
Catherine Matheson
OMSSA President
General Manager, Community Development, City of Greater Sudbury