• The government really did not think this through. … Or they did, and that’s the problem.

    So we’re under a new Covid thing again. That thing, because otherwise Covid will bore the hell out of me, shall be known when I write about it as om-nom-nomicron. Naturally this means we’re also under a new Covid benefit again. I say “under” rather than “entitled to” because, well, there are no entitleds.

    The federal government has established a new COVID-19 support benefit, but it can’t be accessed because no one in the country meets its eligibility criteria, prompting criticism of the support. The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (new window) (CWLB) officially came into existence last Friday. Like its predecessors, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), it’s designed to provide temporary income support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike those programs, it’s only available to workers who cannot work due to a local lockdown designation, but no region is officially under lockdown.

    So. Basically.

    • 1: Create a benefit to help out during a pandemic (good).
    • 2: Slap some restrictions on that benefit so the guy making $100k who’s job hasn’t been affected by the pandemic doesn’t qualify (good).
    • 3: Allow the provinces to do, well, what the provinces will do, and shut down places that will contribute to Covid exploding–in Québec, this apparently means schools, gyms, bars, etc (good).
    • 4: Deny the newly unemployed access to the benefit you just created because their region’s not under lockdown yet (WTF, gov?).
    • 5: Profit, I guess.

    I mean I’m not an expert here by any means, but did somebody miss a memo? Yeah, the first round of Covid benefits were way too freaking unrestricted. I could have applied for them and my job wasn’t impacted in any way by Covid other than, you know, that whole being ordered to work from home thing. But methinks somebody might be overcompensating just a little much. either that, or we’re headed for another Christmas lockdown in Canada (note: ford, that is not a suggestion). I’d like to know what Ottawa was thinking, but I’ll settle for knowing *if* Ottawa was thinking. Or perhaps that’s the problem.

    Update: Looks like that memo arrived a little bit later than planned.

    The federal government is expanding access to pandemic financial supports, as much of the country grapples with surging COVID-19 infections and new restrictions are implemented across the country. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the measures in a news conference Wednesday, in which he appeared virtually. Trudeau said he was following local public health advice after six members of his staff and security detail tested positive for COVID-19. “For the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit and the Local Lockdown Program, you’ll be able to apply if you’re subject to capacity limiting restrictions,” Trudeau said.

    Think, then do, guys. The other way around never works. Let this be a lesson… that you’ll probably ignore.

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  • No one reads the terms and conditions. Or the anything else. Yeah, that includes you.

    So, I’ve been in tech for years. Whether it’s tech support, or IT, or just generally dicking around with whatever project. I’ve seen more terms of service pages than I have hairs on my head. And I’m fairly sure I’ve read a grand total of maybe 2 of them. Here’s the thing. So have you. Here’s the other thing. It’s not just the T&C’s.

    People don’t like to read, even if reading turns out to actually be good for them. And in one case, had just one person actually–as a Linux professor of mine put it–read all the words, that person might have found themselves $50 richer.

    Kenyon Wilson is the associate head of performing arts at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and decided to put an Easter egg in the syllabus for his music seminar class this past semester. The hint read: “Thus (free to the first who claims; locker one hundred forty-seven; combination fifteen, twenty-five, thirty-five), students may be ineligible to make up classes and …” This would have led students to a locker that contained a $50 bill, free to the first student to claim it.

    It would have, except–yep–no one read the T&C’s. So that $50 sat in a locker for the semester, and the only one who knew it was there was the guy who put it there. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn he’s also the only one he knows who actually reads all of the words.

    So if you know a guy who tells you he reads the rules, you know a guy who’s lying. But be gentle. He’s just trying to be like everyone else.

    PS: Professor Allen, thank you for not doing something similar just to make sure we were reading all of the words on your final exam. I’m not thanking you, however, for your final exam–that was kind of brutal.

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  • Some job perks are priceless.

    I’ve been rocking a new job lately (more on that somewhere else down the line), which actually comes with a surprising amount of awesome benefits–not to mention being significantly less soul sucking than the job I traded in for it. But not all the benefits I enjoy come from my employer. Some of them come from the people I help, and are made of awesome.

    Full disclosure: The new job is WordPress related, which is only a partial motivation for reviving this site–and hoping, this time, I actually stick with it. The new job is also tech support (sort of) related, so there’s a window into the kind of help that would have netted me what it did.

    I’m a huge space nerd. More appropriately I’m a huge science fiction nerd, but there’s a lot of space in my science fiction. So I’m drawn, even if I don’t have the kind of time to sit and watch it all the time, to what they’re up to with our modern day space program. I was super stoked a Canadian became the commander of the International space Station. I was… notably less stoked when another Canadian space name became our Governor general and turned out to be absolutely bonkers, but eh, you can’t win it all. But mostly I’m stoked there’s a space station floating around above us–my brain did not at all connect this to DS9. Nope. Not at all.

    Here’s essentially what happened. I was doing what I do, and a user–we’ll call him Bob–had accidentally done a thing that resulted in pretty much all of the content disappearing from his site. The content was still there, it just wasn’t directly visible. This resulted in a mild bit of panic, naturally, and he was convinced he’d broken essentially all the things. He didn’t, and the actual fix took all of about 10 seconds, but that was the longest 10 seconds of his life (his words, not mine).

    His thanks for fixing his issue was to share with me a documentary he’d been involved in working on. That documentary, which I’ll link below, is basically all of the space nerd things in the span of 2 hours or so. So, more or less, exactly how I wanted to spend an evening after a long week.

    Sometimes, the customers make my day in a way the employer can only hope to. And sometimes, I look forward to sitting at home and watching TV.

    If you’re wanting to see what I saw as my thank you present, here you are. It’s completely available on YouTube, is in two parts, and if you like nerdness, this is you. Here’s part 1, and part 2.

  • Ottawa’s LRT finally charges what it’s worth–for a month.

    I’m a little late to this party–in that the month is almost over, but this seems like as good a reason to pick up the habit again as any. Ottawa’s LRT is finally worth riding.

    No, the service hasn’t improved a ton. Or at all, really. And we’ve yet to see a major dumping of snow, so I mean the service hasn’t degraded beyond its usual either. But as an apology for the LRT’s crap service being, well, crap service, the city has decided for the month of December (like I said, I’m late to this party) that LRT ridership should now be completely free. Or put another way, you should now pay what the service is worth–squat.

    The bright side is I’ve actually been tempted to take the thing by choice, despite the fact not going anywhere is quickly becoming the medically smart option again. Of course the catch is it’s an apology for the service sucking, rather than an admission that it’s not going to improve, so come January I’ll be willingly and by choice giving my money to Uber. But, I mean, you can’t have it all, right? At leas tnot if you live in Ottawa.

  • I no longer buy the financial arguments against a basic income.

    I used to be somewhat skeptical we could afford, as either a province or a nation, to experiment with what a basic income would actually do. Mostly because I don’t like borrowing, and am fully aware that the more we borrow, the more we’ll be paying back through taxes–at least, if the government is borrowing responsibly. If the current global situation has done anything positive, if one wants to call it positive, it’s served to disabuse me of that idea. Mostly because we’ve spent more as a country in the last month or so than it was believed a federal basic income system would cost per year over 5 years. I’m an evidence guy. I’ve always said that. And as much as math and I are rarely on speaking terms, math is still evidence. And that evidence has me reevaluating how I understand social spending.

    If the federal government wanted to implement a basic income system a la Ontario’s cancelled pilot (*), it would cost Canada as a whole about $80 billion a year, to keep it simple. Less if, as a part of that system the government cancelled other social safety net programs (not likely), or teamed up with the provinces (slightly less likely) to implement it. By contrast, it’s been a month and the federal government’s already earmarked $107 billion to keep people as close as possible to financially afloat while we try and flatten the curve. Again, math and I are rarely on speaking terms. But $107 billion in a month or so–with presumedly more coming besides–is a lot bigger than $80 billion over the course of a year. The government didn’t bat an eye at doing this, therefore in theory, it shouldn’t be batting an eye at looking at basic income when we get through the other side.

    I’d like to say I’m all for it, but my skepticism involves a lot more than financial concerns–which is why the Ontario experiment the report above was based on should have been allowed to continue (thanks, Doug). Everyone knows someone on welfare or disability who easily couldn’t be, but would rather be there than actually do something. If you yourself are on welfare, you’re more likely to know someone who fits that description. In my case, I’m related to it by a former marriage (not mine). That doesn’t mean they’re the majority, or even a significant minority. But that does mean they exist. Say that number right now is 10%. Assuming a basic income system went live, it would apply to a lot of the same people. Would that number still be 10%? Would it drop? Would it increase? And in answering that question, we’d answer another–how many of these people are that way because they can’t afford not to be, versus this is an honest to goodness choice they’ve made? I’d have liked to see actual data to support one way or the other. There are studies that suggest it might have actually worked out that way if it was allowed to play out, and I’m liking what I see here. Which is why I’d also be perfectly okay with this experiment running federally–unless we’re running it right now, at which point screw it, we’re good.

    Ontario’s experiment cost $150 million. If we skipped the experiment and just rolled it out federally, it would cost $80 billion. Clearly, we can afford it. And if we’d stop playing with the tax code to win elections, we might actually have less difficulty affording it than even the PBO report tries to point out. However we do it, if we do it, I don’t buy any longer the excuse that we can’t afford it. We’ve already spent this year’s basic income money and nearly half of next. If we don’t consider actually letting a basic income experiment play out so we have actual honest to goodness results to rely on, the reasons will be just about entirely political at this point. I know what an NDP voter will tell me re: a basic income. I know what a Liberal voter might tell me re: a basic income–depending on whether their second choice is Conservative or NDP. I know what a Conservative voter will tell me re: a basic income. When the dust settles, and we can all stop our heads from collectively spinning, it’s time to put up or shut up. If I know anything at all after all this, “we can’t afford it” no longer works. New arguments, please.

    (*): If you voted for Ford based on his promise to not touch the basic income pilot, you no longer get to mock Trudeau voters for “this will be the last election under First Past the Post”. And if you voted for both of them, please stop. Just stop. You’re not helping.

  • Piss poor planning prevents proper performance. Or, this is not how you reduce a deficit, Ontario.

    Cuts hurt. This is not news. It wasn’t news when Ontario was a Liberal province, and it’s even less so now that it’s trying to be a Conservative one–though not trying too hard, given we elected a guy who wouldn’t know what the word Conservative actually meant if you handed him a dictionary. And when you have to turn around and give 80% of the money you cut right back the next year, cuts hurt like hell. Enter our premier.

    In last year’s budget, he knocked $25000000 off the health policy and research budget. Yesterday, he gave $20000000 of it back so the fine folks who know what they’re doing can hopefully find a vaccine for the mess we’re in. Because that’s apparently how we role in 2020.

    Now, the argument could be made that they’re still $5000000 short of where they should be, but that’s not the argument I’m making. Because it’s not an argument. Let’s assume just for kicks that Ford used his head for more than a hat rack. Say he left that money untouched last year. OR reallocated it to some other health initiative–like, maybe, say, an initiative to make more masks and respirators available in hospitals so we’re not, you know, reusing. Basically, anything other than what we ended up doing. How much of a difference would that have made today?

    If reducing the deficit was actually the goal here, ignoring the fact for a second that we’re still spending more under this government than we were the last one, we missed. Of all the cuts, that one has to sting the most. Too bad confidence is low they’re smart enough to feel it. So much for Ontario’s Conservative government. If you’re not going to help, at least give us something to show for it. This… is not that.

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  • This was not what I meant when I said I wanted to try Corona.

    If there’s one good thing that’s come out of this whole Covid-19 mess, besides me having time to actually do moderately useful things with this platform, it’s that I finally get to see how I’d do if I had a mostly working from home job. It helps that nothing about my job requires I physically be in the office to begin with, but it’s nice to be able to quantify what that means. That being said, I was kind of hoping my first Corona would be just slightly different–and, ideally, not result in the ruining of anyone’s life but my own.

    I don’t know if the fact this mess came on so quick scares me more, or the fact most places still have no clue what to do with/about it and we’re a month into this thing. Surprisingly, neither our provincial nor our federal government have entirely gummed up the works yet, but there’s still plenty of time for one or both to trip over themselves–and both Doug Ford and Justin Trudeau are shockingly good at tripping over themselves at inopportune times. But right now, I don’t feel like slapping either of them. That’s a first.

    I haven’t touched this thing in over 2 years, which I think is the longest I’ve gone without at least making sure it was still breathing. Note to self: this was a good habit to get into–stay there this time. Unfortunately, me not touching this thing for a couple years didn’t do this place any favours. Code that hadn’t seen an update since 2015 was still floating about like it had a place to be. So a quarantine project of mine has been to clean that up. Half the junk that was here I’d forgotten I put here, so that’s a thing. Now, at least, when I remember to use it, the platform should run slightly faster. Or it’s fired.

    Life’s been pretty much turned up side down everywhere. Except probably a couple places in the US that are up for nomination at this year’s Darwin awards. If I had a routine of any sort, the province’s not quite a lockdown would have probably torn it to pieces. As it is, I’m noticing even the small things I would normally do just because they were handy have gotten complicated. Going for a walk to the convenience store next door just for an excuse to be somewhere else, for example. And coming back with a couple slices of really good, really cheap pizza because I might as well seeing as I was already there. Stuff I don’t notice I do semi-regularly until it becomes no longer an option.

    I’m not sure if I’ll like where we’re going once we come out the other side of this thing. Mostly because I have no idea what the other side will look like. Will there be more working from home? Will talk of a basic income actually go places? Will I land somewhere that wants to do more than pay peanuts for a metric ton of work? I have no clue. A bunch of people who are presently working from home would like to think this is the new normal. The way the government’s spending money now on an emergency response to Covid-19 than any level has ever spent on a social safety net in as long as I’ve been breathing, and there’s a bunch of people who don’t currently qualify that are hoping this becomes the new floor. I got an email from an HR person saying they want to talk to me after the dust settles, so I’m semi-hoping there’s a job offer attached to that conversation. But I have absolutely no clue. The only thing I know for certain, this was not exactly what I meant when I said I wanted to try Corona. Yall can have this back, now.

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  • 7 months and still a geek.

    So remember when I had all these plans for doing all this stuff and junk? Remember when that was going to be a thing? Yeah, neither do I. But apparently that was in August–7 months and 2 days ago, at least according to the last time I touched this website. So what’s kept me busy?

    The short version: Life sometimes sucks. The slightly longer version: I’ve been alternating between doing the job I’ve had since last February and getting my life something vaguely resembling back in order. It’s resulted in no shortage of doing everything at once and forgetting I’ve left half of it in the air, but that’s apparently how 2017-2018 me rolls. It’s only because I happen to have found half an hour while at work that I can even give this thing a poke here and there for old time’s sake. Perhaps this time around I’ll actually, you know, stick with it like I used to before it all went to hell.

    While I’ve been ignoring this thing, a bunch of stuff’s happened. Like Ottawa eventually at some point maybe possibly getting Lyft, assuming we ask nicely. And my hockey team actually looking like there might be a slim chance the next time it gains the playoffs it’ll do slightly more than roll over and play dead. And if this management’s worth more than the last one, it won’t do something braindead in the off season–like, for instance, deciding they can’t afford to keep Austin Matthews. I swear to chocolate, that is probably the one thing guaranteed to have me not watching another Leafs game. Not that I’ve been watching much hockey this year–yes, I know, I’m surprised too, but you’ll have that.

    The job itself’s going well, even if the pay itself isn’t. I’m still getting my hands dirty at every opportunity, and there’s been plenty–one of our customers is currently putting up with a pretty major outage, so I’ve been spending the bulk of the day poking around inside their equipment and waiting on other people from other companies in other parts of the country to get their asses in gear. I’m learning a lot about technology that I thought I knew about from school, only to find out they only slightly scratched the surface, which is both extremely nice and way freaky. For example, going into this job I assumed a router was a router was a router. Oh, I know business level routers and such are a hell of a lot more flexible than, say, the router that comes built into your ISP’s modem, but they get a lot more involved than that. In particular, if you can afford to set up a proper VOIP system, you’ve got separate connections for your voice circuits and your data circuits (read: your phone and internet run through separate lines). Apparently, there is such a beast as a router explicitly designed to handle voice connectivity. This I did not know until I started working at Nova, and only because at times like today’s major incident I end up needing to poke at one. So I’m getting paid, albeit not well, to take the things I’ve been paying to learn and spin them around a few times, occasionally spitting out something slightly more useful than I had an hour ago.

    Beyond that, though, it’s been pretty routine. Get up, go to work, come home, chill, try to find that social life–I’m actually figuring out how to use that again, and–oh yeah–replace a dead desktop–the thing was over 7 years old and finally gave up the ghost in October. That gave me an excuse to poke around inside the thing, which of course having nothing to lose I did in about 45 seconds. The long and short of that poking? Computer’s dead, hard drive’s perfectly fine. So one USB enclosure later and the data that was on my now retired desktop llives on one of my external hard drives. As for the drive that used to belong to that desktop? It has a new life now as someone else’s video drive–I already have 3 external drives, I did not need a fourth. The drive itself is maybe 3-4 years old, so has plenty of life left–it was the only part I ever had to replace in what was essentially a hand-me-down computer. And just as soon as I get my financial life in slightly more of an order, a desktop that is not a hand-me-down computer is on my shopping list.

    That’s life, if you’re me. There’s a bunch of other things too, but this post’s already longer than it should be. Perhaps hell will freeze and I’ll remember what this thing’s supposed to do. And perhaps I’ll land a job that wants to pay me $50k. Let’s see which one of these things is likely. While we’re seeing, let’s see if submitting this makes the site crash. Hey, you’d freeze and panic too if you ran into something you’d forgotten how to do–like, for example, tolerate my pointless rambling. There will be actual content. Just, well, perhaps not today. Mostly because chasing other people has fried my brain. A lot has changed, but sometimes, technology is still wicked evil.

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  • So life happened. It’s still happening.

    So a funny thing happened. I got all enthusiastic like about having some free time to do the geek things I’ve been putting off because academia. I even have, written down somewhere I’ve probably forgotten exactly where, very specific plans re: what I was hoping I might accomplish between the end of said academia and, uh, now. And then stuff happened and now suddenly it’s August and I need to relearn how to do basic things–like, you know, having a social life. Or tinkering with PHP without bringing the whole damned server down around my ears (that’s harder than you think when you haven’t touched it in an age). Or remembering the proper credentials for getting into a website I took great pains in securing after a complete rebuild before those security precautions locked the thing down to the point where it required manual, behind the scenes intervension. So basically it’s been a bit. But with good reason. See, what I wasn’t planning on was life deciding it was going to rather considerably pick up speed after I left school. Since it did, a bunch of crap happened, most of it good, some of it not so much, all of it in very short order.

    I’d planned to kick back and take it easy for a month or two after leaving the college. I should have known better than to plan anything, because the minute I did, the universe had other ideas. Not long after I was finished, I had a rather sudden family emergency to deal with. Certain members of my family are still dealing with the aftermath of that emergency, and out of respect for them we’ll not be delving into too many details, but I will say it’s been way too long since I’ve had any reason to throw everything I owned into a suitcase that fast. While we were dealing with that, I got a call back here in Ottawa for a job interview–this was, keep in mind, mid-February, so considerably quicker than I had any reason to expect.

    The interview was for a company I hadn’t really heard of until I’d applied for a position there. The position, which they’ve essentially generalized as network operations analyst, is pretty much exactly what my time at college was–some exposure to everything from a Windows server to the networking gear connecting it to the rest of the world. The interview took a bit, but was pretty much just your standard “How would you solve X problem in Y situation” type conversation. And in that interview, something else I wasn’t planning for happened. The conversation circled around for a bit, then the guy doing the interview–who, as it turns out, would also be the guy I would end up directly reporting to–walked out of the room to have a conversation with someone further up the food chain. 20 minutes later he was back and I was signing an employment contract. I walked out of that interview with a foot in the door for a paycheck.

    Since that was definitely not on the immediate agenda when I got up that morning, and since I had a week and a bit to get me settled before I started, that meant a lot of very quickly moving parts in very many moving directions and I spent more time on the phone in that week than I did the 6 months previous. By the time I stepped foot in the office for the first time as an actual employee, my head had been spinning for 3 days–and there was still a ton I had to do, most of it involving learning how to not break their systems. But it became official nonetheless, and I ended up the latest name on the Nova Networks roster.

    The next bit was essentially me learning exactly how they do things, which is still taking some getting used to and I’ve been there for a few months already. And while I was knee deep in that, I was also officially graduating from the college–with flimsy little diploma thing and everything, which they were thoughtful enough to mail to me ages before graduation, just in case I said to hang with it and hit the bar instead (it was tempting). It was a good excuse to catch up with people, and I discovered–not for the first time–I wasn’t the only one to land a job pretty much right out of college. A few of those folks actually landed jobs at the same company I did, but not necessarily with the same team, so there’s that. Honestly the alcohol would have been fun, but tying up loose ends seemed the marginally better choice. Besides the alcohol came later.

    With all that out of the way, I found the room to start getting the rest of my life back on track, so that’s been a thing. It’s a bit of a trick, particularly given it involves a wee bit of financial creativity in spots and as nice as the job is I’m not exactly rolling in finances with which to be creative, but barring a complete implosion the likes of which I haven’t seen in a number of years, it shouldn’t be too extremely painful for too extremely long. The only thing now is to remember exactly where I left that social life.

    It’s been crazy, and will probably get crazier, but I think I’m starting to get used to it. Which, more than likely, means I’ll find some other excuse to forget how to get back into this thing. That’s what happens when life happens. But who knows? With things becoming slightly more routine now and academia not sucking out my soul, maybe–just maybe–the rest of my old habbits will catch up with me. Or maybe I need another drink.

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  • Is the broken ODSP system finally hitting the mainstream?

    If you’ve spent any time on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), or its partner program for the mostly non-disabled (Ontario Works), you’ve very quickly become aware of two rather important–and probably unsurprising–problems. Problem the first: the Ontario Disability Support Program has a disability. And problem the second: Ontario Works, rather, doesn’t.

    Randall Denley, in a Jan. 5 column, argues that, in addressing the social assistance system, “The first thing is to get the welfare changes to one side and focus on the disability income shortfall.” However, the social assistance rates he cites suggest his conclusion is wrong.

    As he puts it, “Under the optimistically named Ontario Works welfare program, the most a single person gets is $706 a month. People with disabilities get a lordly $1,138.” Sure, $1,138 is too low, but should we focus on those getting that amount rather than on those getting $706?

    We got to the size of the gap between the two programs when Mike Harris, premier at the time, cut Ontario Works rates by 21.6 per cent. Since the Liberals have been in government provincially, they have only increased the dollar gap by making increases for the two programs on a percentage basis (with a minor exception: when Ted McMeekin was the minister in charge, he added a small amount to benefits for singles on Ontario Works).

    Denley also buys the line peddled by Ontario governments of all stripes – Liberal, Conservative and NDP – that Ontario Works (OW) is a program for people temporarily in need of financial support. But for the 2014-15 fiscal year, the average time on OW was 27 months. Half were on it for more than 15 months. When I was a welfare supervisor in Ottawa in the 1990s, I saw many files going back 10 years. I even saw some going back 20 and 25 years. Short-term, my eye.

    Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It should. The systems are interchangeable In one way, and one way only. Neither system is sufficient to allow a person to be entirely independent, let alone survive long enough to actually find away to get themselves off that system. The key difference? ODSP tries–and fails–just a little bit harder.

    I’ve made mention of the gap between the two systems before. I’ve said they both needed a good solid fixing before. But now, I’m not the only one who’s at least paying lip service to the problems. Several places in Ontario are now tossing about the idea of introducing a basic income to solve most of the problems caused by the two systems, as well as a few the two systems aren’t designed to either cause or deal with. No one seems to have any idea the form this pilot project will take, if it takes any form at all, but there are no shortages of ideas or things people would like to see.

    The Green Wood Coalition’s paper on a Basic Income Guarantee in Ontario was to be presented to a Social Services Ministry consultation event in Cobourg Wednesday evening.

    Written by spokesperson David Sheffield, who also was scheduled to make an oral presentation, it supports Senator Hugh Segal’s recommendation that “the Government of Ontario immediately raise the Ontario Works rate for a single individual to $1,320 per month and raise ODSP rates by at least $500 per month.”

    At this time, a single person on Ontario Works gets $720 monthly (and this just went up) and someone on the Ontario Disability Support Program typically gets just under $1,200, Sheffield said in an interview prior to his presentation.

    “It is the position of Green Wood Coalition that eliminating poverty is an urgent health, human rights and social justice issue that requires action on the part of the municipal, provincial and federal governments. As a street-level, charitable organization that uses a community model of caring to walk alongside people living with poverty, mental illness, addiction and other disability, in Port Hope, Green Wood Coalition has observed, first hand, the detrimental effects of poverty on individuals and families.

    Of course, what isn’t mentioned in this or any of the other articles is that about $500 is very close to the difference between what a person on ODSP gets now and Ontario’s current minimum wage–a wage that was just increased this year because, according to Ontario’s government, living costs too much. They’re right, and if they implement something even remotely like what’s being discussed here, that will put a very large dent in a lot of people’s problems. Taking care of the lower classes is supposed to be the new lliberal thing these days, at least if Ontario’s liberals take their marching orders from our new Prime Minister (he’s borrowing some of her staff, so they ought to), and this would go a few miles towards handling that. Which is why I’m surprised this government’s even talking about it, given they’ve been rather not at all interested in doing anything about it before now.

    Equally surprising is the fact this is getting media attention. It should, of course, but lack of interest from the people who matter means not a whole lot for the media to cover, unless they’d like to cover a protest that doesn’t end up accomplishing much. It’s a very nice change, and if it keeps the issue from being swept under the rug as previous incarnations of this same government have also been known to do, I’ll drink a shot of cheap alcohol in their honour–I can’t afford anything with actual class, sorry.

    I’m trying not to be too hopeful here, but initial signs are that ODSP’s broken might actually be trying its best to enter the mainstream. If it gets there, it’s about damned time. If it stays there, amazing. And if it fixes things, there will be no one happier than me–yes, despite the fact I’m still trying my best to get the hell off this program as quickly as humanly possible. So I’ll thank the government kindly if they don’t break everything in the attempt. That would be just a little bit awesome. Now, let’s see if they’re up to it.

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