12/11/2013 08:32 EST | Updated 02/10/2014 05:59 EST

AG report highlights ServiceOntario mistakes

Ontario's auditor general says ServiceOntario centres are making too many mistakes and could save millions by moving more transactions online.

ServiceOntario handled some 35 million transactions in the last fiscal year, including health card applications and renewals for driver's licence and vehicle licence plates.

In her report released Monday, Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk said that at least 45 per cent of ServiceOntario centres are making too many mistakes, everything from missing signatures on health card applications to renewals for the wrong licence plates.

Her report also said the government is missing a chance to save money by moving more transactions online.

The AG's report found that 70 per cent of ServiceOntario transactions were processed in person, far short of its goal to move between 50 and 60 per cent of transactions online by 2012.

Other findings about Service Ontario in the AG's report:

- Old health cards. More than three million of the old red and white health cards remain in circulation. This is a problem because they have no photo or expiry date, making them a security and forgery risk. Full conversation to the more secure green cards isn't expected until 2018.

- ID for the dead? More than 15,000 Ontario Health cards are circulating in the names of people who are deceased, as are 1,400 drivers licences.

- Birth certificates: paper, not plastic.  The AG wants to see the government shift to more secure plastic documents. It's expensive, but Service Ontario has agreed to re-examine that option next year.

- Wait times. ServiceOntario did not measure or report on the customer wait at peak times or at specific
service centres, which often far exceeded its target time of 15 minutes. Also, none of ServiceOntario’s seven telephone contact centres met the government's service standards for answering calls.

- Accessible parking permits. The AG found that SeviceOntario had weak processes for issuing and controlling accessible parking permits to ensure they were not being used by people who did not require them.