Tag Archives: Service Ontario

Only Child tells tale of two photo ID ops

Only Child getting ready for photo ops for photo ID

Only Child getting ready for photo ops for photo ID

It’s all in the level of government you tackle. The Municipality of Toronto (Ontario, Canada) may have a questionable character as mayor, but their TTC consumer service is sure going great, and I suspect improving a lot since Andy Byford became the head honcho at TTC.

Not so Service Ontario and its “parent” ministry – the Ministry of Government Services. (I spit on that last word).

So, the baddie first.

Last Saturday was almost a repeat of the previous Saturday’s venture to the Service Ontario centre near my residence. That includes it was again raining, again I waited ages for a bus, and again a line-up inside the Service Ontario Centre, which again kept moving.

Finally I got to the head of the line and with a different counter clerk this time. I might as well have been dealing with a brick wall. This bitch did clarify that the paper certificate isn’t valid but also wouldn’t accept the laminated version because she said it didn’t have a registration number. Bitch No. 1 the previous Saturday said they accept laminated versions. I was so upset I said I’m a journalist and I’m not letting this one go and stormed out of the place.

It wasn’t until I got home and had another look at my laminated birth certificate card that I noticed –yup, it does have a registration number.

I went to work online and used my journalistic research skills. First I found more rules and regulations for obtaining an Ontario Photo ID card. The only reference to a laminated birth certificate card was in the footnotes to the tune of if your original birth certificate says that any laminated version is void, you can’t use the laminated version. Well my non-valid original birth certificate was issued decades before laminated versions came along.

Then Ms. Google came through with finding out which Ontario Ministry oversees this photo ID business. Found a complaint form and did a generic form of my story (no personal information was allowed except I put in I was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada – but so were a lot of others) and I did mention the actual Service Ontario Centre giving me grief.

They got back to me two days later by email. Are you sitting down? It gets more ridiculous. The reply clarified that my paper documents isn’t valid and why. Okay, I accept that. But for the laminated one they said that any issued after 1982 isn’t valid. (Mine was issued in 1970) and it is up to the individual Service Ontario clerk whether to accept the laminated version or not). Monty Python would be proud. For some reason their dead parrot skit is running through my mind.

My next step was to forward the response from the MGS (including my online form complaint to them) to my Ontario Member of Parliament with a few comments to start off the email and a request to help me get my Ontario Photo ID using my valid laminated birth certificate card. And I gave my phone number and times when I’m available in case the MPP prefers to phone me.

Next step will be the media.

Now the goodie – the TTC.

Yesterday morning I phoned the TTC Metropass department to find out how to get my adult pass changed to seniors effective next month when I officially become senior. The fellow said he could do it over the phone and after a few questions (like my birthdate, name, address), he said the seniors metropass would start from December and would be in the mail for then. Plus the lower amount will be deducted monthly from my bank account (I will save about $22.25 a month). Then he transferred me to the TTC photo ID department.

The lady answering the phone was polite and told me that I would only need my Ontario Health card for ID and that they were open to 7 p.m.

I showed up there around 6.20 p.m. yesterday and I couldn’t be more impressed. These young counter clerks, late teens to early 20s, need to be complimented publicly for their professionalism, concern, helpfulness and friendliness. Actually the guy standing by the short lineup (mostly students for their cards) was probably closer to earlier 30s, but he checked my Health Card and then I went to the first clerk behind the wicket. At first she said I was too early and to come back the last week in November (because I’d have the actual Dec. senior card received in the mail) but when I explained that I had called earlier in the day and wasn’t told this, she said she remembered speaking to me. She said to save me another trip, she would issue the card but I wasn’t to use it until Dec. 1. I agreed. That makes sense.

The poor guy who had to take my photo – three tries but that was me not standing in the right place. But he was friendly and helpful and the picture turned out okay – just a bit of glare on my glasses. My new photo ID card spewed out in one minute flat.

I was out of there in five minutes.

Service Ontario you need to take a page from the TTC.

I still need the Ontario photo ID as it is a substitute for those of us who don’t drive and have no driver’s licence. The TTC one doesn’t have an address on it and can’t be used cart blanche.

The battle against Service Ontario and I suppose MGS continues.


Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes


Filed under Complaining tactics, Consumer action, Only child, Problems, Seniors, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child on more government/consumer issues

Only Child gearing up to tackle government depts and companies that screw up her life

Only Child gearing up to tackle government depts and companies that screw up her life

Last Saturday morning was grey, rainy and windy. A perfect premonition for snafus. If that didn’t warn me then my bus being nearly 10 minutes late should have.

It didn’t. And although I put it out there (God, universe – take your pick) to have things work out for getting my Photo ID card – they didn’t. So much for any smidgeon of trust.

No trouble finding the new Service Ontario outlet – a short bus ride from my home. Somewhat long line-up inside but it seemed to move quickly enough – until I got to one of the four wickets.

When I phoned the day before I was told for a photo ID card I needed a birth certificate, my Ontario Health Insurance card and my divorce papers (the latter bridgingthe name change gap as well as giving certified dates of marriage and divorce.)

The latter two were no problem. The unfriendly government employee behind the counter said my original birth certificate wasn’t valid – I needed one issued by the City of Toronto and this one looked like a church one – was it?

“I wouldn’t know; I was a baby then,” I replied.

Then I pointed out that the title said “Birth Certificate” and the part where the issuer was the City of Toronto in the County of York (back in the grey ages) and that it was signed by a Toronto City registrar. She wouldn’t buy it so faxed a copy to her superior in the downtown office. This “superior  idiot” agreed with her. She said that it was issued by a hospital. Now there was no indication of a hospital issuing it and if that were true, it should be valid. Even as late as 1978 when my son was born, his original certificate came from the hospital (but has all the city – Newmarket here – info on it.). In the 1980s I used my original paper birth certificate to obtain the laminated one the Ontario Government were creating and this ***hole Service Ontario employee stated that the laminated ones were valid.

Why has the original paper birth certificate worked for proof of birth elsewhere?

Why has the Ontario government been considering chucking issuing new laminated birth certificates? What will they accept then? Invisible birth certificates?

The photo ID is supposed to be for those of us who don’t have a driver’s licence and costs much less. Is what happened to me a variation of being discriminated against because I don’t drive?

I have a laminated birth certificate. Yesterday I took it (and other ID cards) out of my safety deposit box. They were all in there for safety purposes – the police tell us to do this instead of carrying them around with us or leaving them lying around in our homes in case of b and e’s and/or muggings.

But with government stupidity it looks like you have to constantly carry them around. You never know when you might need them.

I talked to a few people at the CARP Zoomer show (for adults 45 plus) Sunday and was told to complain to the Ontario Ombudsman and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. Will do – once I get my damn ID card and get all the other becoming senior issues and procedures done.

For the record, at this point here are my lists – gratitude/good companies/government depts. And my *hit list of the baddies. Note: some get on both lists – short explanation in brackets afterwards.

Only Child’s Gratitude Good Companies/Government Depts.

  1. Service Canada – phone and in person, in particular one branch at Gerrard and Pape in Toronto – others praise their helpfulness, friendliness. What government service should be like.
  2. Dell Canada (in part – for being able to lease laptops for years at a continually reduced monthly rate)
  3. Sears Canada (in part – Optical Department, Home Services – particularly window blinds – and watch repair)
  4. State Farm (they handle my house and business insurance and did a good job switching the former to monthly payments)
  5. Kristin Green and Associates (manage my website and domain and I have two email accounts connected to this) – despite their switchover to a new server, after my email request for help, Kristin phoned me back and walked me through any changes to my accounts that I couldn’t do. And explained it all in a friendly helpful manner.
  6. Scotiabank – for usually being helpful – and they accepted my original paper birth certificate for eliminating some costs for seniors

Only Child’s *hit list

  1. Service Ontario – see beginning of blog post.
  2. CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) – for lack of  knowledge of recent changes to paying taxes with CPP payments – cost me a lot of time and phone running around and delay paying the extra which I was required to pay (but was first told it wasn’t necessary)
  3. Empire Life Insurance Company for never informing me about the setup for my life insurance premium – it’s part investment –  and that there is a built-in what’s it that if you don’t add in extra to cover  increase in premiums you get a letter stating that if you don’t pay the extra by a certain day, your policy is canceled. The kicker? You have to phone them at the end of each fiscal year that you want to increase your premium or they don’t on your bill. I’m looking into other companies’ life insurance premiums where a medical isn’t required and will take this company to the Insurance Bureau of Canada and Ontario Ombudsman for unethical stupid practices. Today I put my foot down and said if they didn’t send me a bill for the real amount owing for the next quarter I’m paying the faulty lower one they just sent – technically and legally I can do that.
  4. Sears Canada (because the idiot new CEO is planning on closing the flagship store in downtown Toronto in the Eaton Centre. That’s my store for optical, etc. Now I’ll have to go further into Toronto outskirts – if they have Sears Optical there for any warranty-covered follow-ups to new eyeglasses which I would get before the anticipated February 2014 closing. Also I like their clothes better than Hudson Bay)
  5.  Direct Energy for trying to tell me my heating protection plan with them was not valid.
  6. Enbridge Canada for closing my account because they thought I moved and some guy named Peter moved in. They mixed up our streets – same name except mine is a Crescent and Peter’s is a Circle. This was two years ago and was fixed after I phoned several times.
  7. All utility companies for raising the rates and putting many of us deeper into the poor house – no matter what we do to save energy.
  8. The Canadian federal and Ontario provincial government for their service-cutting (mostly the feds) and its results and the province’s errors with hydro and gas and making the taxpayer pay (there is a debt repayment amount in our bi-monthly hydro bills).
  9. Dell Canada for screwing up my original new laptop lease order – they didn’t put in the order and wouldn’t admit they made a mistake. But they ordered it again and it is now here.

The list can go on and on, but I think you get the picture.


Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Consumerism, Income Taxes, Problems, Seniors