Ontario’s generous provincial government strikes again.

The budget for 2010 came out on thursday. And, expecting to see a slight improvement in areas that actually matter, I read things over as they came in–because, you know, I’m like that. Sure enough, slight was probably the best way to describe the improvements. Very slight, in some cases. One improvement in particular I was looking out for, since it affects me directly–at least until such time as I can find something I can call work, is Ontario’s disability support program (ODSP). They’ve already drawn my irritation for being among the cheapest of the out of work options currently available to anyone not currently managing just fine through the recession–second only to welfare in its cheapness. And now, they’re managing to become only very slightly less cheap.

In 2009, we saw an increase of approximately 2 percent in payments through ODSP. Which, for me, amounted to a grand total of $20 more on my check. Woopdy do–I can now aford to more easily pay for my hot water tank rental. Go me. This year, and not until fall of this year at that, we get an additional single percentage point increase. Which amounts to another $10. Yay–now I can aford my hot water tank rental, and maybe stuff for sandwitches!

In contrast, at the end of march minimum wage is going to go up roughly 75 cents more per hour–the seventh such increase since 2004. For those keeping score, that leads to a roughly $500 gap between what someone like me who can’t go find a gig flipping burgers on account of not being able to see the grill is making, versus what someone doing the said burger flipping job is making. And yet, they claim ODSP is designed with independence in mind for those who can’t do things like flip burgers or work in construction until something more to their liking comes along. I’d like to see where they get that from.

To their credit, everyone not currently a member of the liberal party is sort of trying to say things of a similar nature–1 percent, is that all? Not that I expect that to do a whole lot of good, so I wrote and sent an email to Ontario’s premier, the minister of community and social services–who oversees the ODSP situation, both opposition party leaders and Pembroke’s MPP–also a member of the conservative party. Those conversations, or what they think passes for conversations, are about to become open letters on this blog. As will every other correspondence that gets sent their way–and there’s going to be others.

I took the advice of another Ottawa area blogger and did the math, and could very easily live on a minimum wage style budget–believe it or not, quite luxuriously actually. I’m in Pembroke, which automaticly means subtract at least $100 from the price tag on just about anything related to actually living–rent, for starters. So my overly luxurious habbits aren’t exactly cause for concern, here. The overly generous habbits of our government, however, now there’s a cause for concern. Can we hit minimum wage before I hit the point of flat busted, please? That’d be appreciated.

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