The following was issued today by TTC CEO Andy Byford to all TTC employees regarding an alleged benefits fraud and ensuing criminal charges that have been laid against a health care service provider. As the police investigation continues, and with an internal TTC investigation now underway, the TTC will provide no further comment.
Dear TTC colleagues,
It is with concern that I write to make you aware of an alleged fraud against the TTC's employee benefit plan involving a Toronto-based health care provider. Toronto police have laid several criminal charges against the owner of Healthy Fit, which has provided health care products and services to some TTC employees and, possibly, their dependents.
It is alleged that receipts were provided to individuals by Healthy Fit for claim reimbursement where no product or service was obtained or where receipt amounts were inflated. It is further alleged that the health care provider and the person making the claim would then share the money paid out by the TTC's insurer, Manulife Financial, for these improper and fraudulent claims.
Effective immediately, any Healthy Fit claims made recently, or in the future, will be rejected.
This matter was brought to the TTC's attention via the Integrity line. The Integrity line allows for information to be provided to TTC investigators, anonymously if the person wishes, for investigation. At the time of Integrity's introduction two years ago, some criticized it, suggesting it was a waste of resources. The fact is the Integrity line continues to demonstrate its value as another tool in our efforts to stamp out wrongdoing by any employee, contractor or service provider. It works and it is here to stay.
When the TTC received information related to this alleged scheme, it immediately advised Manulife. They, in turn, launched their own investigation, which, ultimately, led to the involvement of Toronto police.
The TTC takes, very seriously, the responsibility placed on it to protect public money. While there is no evidence today linking TTC employees or their dependents to any crime, an internal investigation has now been launched, and no stone will be left unturned. The police investigation also continues.
If, through these investigations, an employee is found to have been party to this alleged fraud they will face serious consequences, up to and including criminal charges and/or termination of employment.
Furthermore, the TTC will seek full restitution from anyone found to have defrauded the organization and, ultimately, the public.
Benefits fraud and abuse is a serious, industry-wide problem that goes far beyond the TTC. Nevertheless, I have asked our own staff to reach out to the benefits industry and work with it in any way we can - to either support or lead these efforts - to improve fraud prevention and detection.
I am also asking for an internal review of our benefits program, including options like requiring pre-approved or preferred suppliers for the unregulated medical device industry, all in an effort to further strengthen the many controls already in place at the TTC to protect public money.
The vast majority of you, including your dependents who rely on the TTC's generous benefits program, demonstrate integrity day in and day out and would never consider engaging in benefits fraud. As a team, we have worked hard to improve both our core service of delivering a safe and reliable transit system and our collective reputation. The TTC's internal investigation, and the ongoing police inquiry, will ensure those found in breach of the law, as well as those who have breached TTC policy, are held to account.
Thank you for reading this important communique. I am determined that ethical behaviour and integrity become ingrained in our culture, and that wrongdoing - by even just a few - is eliminated in its entirety. Public trust in us has never been more critical as we seek to modernize and change as a company.
Chief Executive Officer