Some parents frustrated over months-long delays for pandemic payouts

·2 min read
Michael Cusden says he is still waiting to receive benefit payments for his two sons after applying in the spring.  (Submitted by Michael Cusden - image credit)
Michael Cusden says he is still waiting to receive benefit payments for his two sons after applying in the spring. (Submitted by Michael Cusden - image credit)

Some families in Ontario say they're still waiting to receive a $400 payment from the government that was expected in late spring.

The third round of the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit was announced in the provincial budget in late March, with the one-time payment meant to ease the strain on parents and allow them to return to work.

Michael Cusden had already successfully received the benefit once when he decided to re-apply for his two boys, aged 8 and 11.

"I did it, and nothing ever showed up in my bank account," he told CBC Toronto.

Months later, the money has yet to appear, despite repeated phone calls to get to the bottom of the problem, Cusden said.

"I started calling ... and every time they'd verify that my two kids' numbers were in the system and everything was filled out properly, and then they'd just say it's processing," he said.

Cusden tried using Twitter to get in touch with the Ministry of Education, and stumbled upon a larger group of parents experiencing the same issue. The same complaint has also cropped up in parent-centric Facebook groups.

Evan Mitsui/CBC
Evan Mitsui/CBC

CBC Toronto asked the provincial government how many parents have experienced delays in this round of the benefit pay-outs — but so far it has not provided that information.

A Ministry of Education spokesperson did say that since the program began last year, it has processed more than two million payments.

"Additional processing time may occur as we continue to verify, and correct information, provided in the application," wrote the spokesperson.

"There is an OCCB helpline that can be called if there are inquiries. The number is 1-888-444-3770 or TTY: 1-800-268-7095 and is available Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m."

Cusden told the CBC News: "it's kind of comical" that a new school year is now fast approaching with no sign of the money.

"Right now, we're doing back to school shopping… we got everything we needed with the thought in mind that that's going to get paid for when that money comes," he said.

"It's just added debt, basically."

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