The newspaper called it. Social assistance programs definitely aren’t being fixed.

The Star provides a rather interesting take on why it is the province of Ontario, and indeed many other governments both in and out of Canada, are usually pretty hesitant to fix systems like welfare, or the only slightly less crippling disability support system. In a nutshell, the province views it as a case for less eligibility. If you’re not working for at least the minimum necessary to live, the article argues, you’re not entitled to at least the minimum to live. This according to the province’s mentality, anyway. Which is a rather interesting notion, when you consider many of these entities now are, supposedly, in place to help people who otherwise can’t meet those minimum standards. Minimum standards that, as one Toronto counsellor’s finding out for himself, aren’t really doing a whole lot of being met.

Toronto Councillor Joe Mihevc’s 11-year-old daughter Catherine looks at her family’s food bank ration of tinned salmon, dried chick peas and peanut butter and wonders what her friends will think when they come to her house for lunch this week.

That was one of the first reactions of 10 prominent Torontonians at the Stop Community Food Centre yesterday, as they embarked on a week of living on what thousands of people on social assistance regularly pick up from local food banks.

That’s not far from the truth. And, on the $572 welfare recipients get–again, this according to the very same “do the math” campaign, food banks are probably going to be a frequent stopping point for a hell of a lot of people. Particularly those who’d rather a roof over their head when they do grab something to eat. And, keep in mind, the $572 is just for a single person. Living in Pembroke, nevermind Toronto, I couldn’t manage to pull off being self-sufficient on that. I can barely manage that on ODSP–hence my two, and soon to be three, letters to the government on the subject.

On ODSP, a single person is entitled to only $460 more than someone on welfare. Which escentially means I can aford to live in subsidised housing and maybe buy escential groceries. It also means, even though I’m not currently in subsidised housing, I won’t flatline financially. It’ll be extremely close on a lot of days, but that’s about it. A welfare recipient, however? It’s either subsidised or nothing for them. There aren’t very many small apartments, particularly in Toronto, for less than $500 a month. If there are, they probably don’t come with anything included, thus negating total expenses still being less than $500 per month. Which doesn’t leave a whole lot of getting by money for pretty much anything else. And that’s the system the province, according to the Star, isn’t very likely to fix any time soon. Unless a whole freaking lot of us find ourselves some blunt objects and a local MPP.

H/T to Zoom, who pointed this campaign out back in February. The fact there’s interest out there from people who aren’t currently benefitting from the system might just go a ways towards helping. Or, at least, it can’t hurt. Now, about those local MPP’s.

1 comment
  1. Good post, James! And thanks for the hat tip.

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