Help support social assistance reform
RE: Anti-poverty activists rally for social assistance bill ( Jan. 30)
This story shines a light on the low rates of Ontario’s social assistance. After a drastic cut (21.6 per cent) in 1995, the Ontario government has provided an annual increase of 1 per cent.
After 13 years of inflation (about 5 per cent a year for food and 2 per cent for accommodation) the buying power of social assistance has been continuously shrinking. Unattached people receiving Ontario Works are now $104 short each month of being able to buy a nutritious diet.
Taxpayers often resist increasing the rates, not realizing that many recipients are sidelined because of physical or mental disabilities. They are unaware of the circumstances of recipients like Donna B. She had to survive on OW ($681 in 2016) for over a year after her car engine backed up, severely damaging her lungs. She had difficulty breathing, could no longer work, and had to relinquish the care of her children to her ex-husband. Because her condition was not recognized by the Ontario Disability Support Program, she could not afford the healthy diet she needed for her recuperation.
Paul Miller, MPP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek is pushing the government to establish a Social Assistance Research Commission to recommend realistic rates. If you would like to help, please call the author at 519-6473927 (not long distance from Hamilton). Sally Palmer, Hamilton