Sunday, February 24, 2008

I'm tired

I’m tired. Not the “I’ve drank too much egg nog and stayed out too late at a party tired”. I’m “there is no program, resource agency or government body…that can help you,” tired. I’m tired of letting people down.

“Yes I know you are working full time and I know your minimum wage job isn’t enough to live on but there is no help yet for your bills…maybe in January.”

“I know you’re cold now, I know you have no food, no heat, no hydro and worst of all…no hope, but this is all the information I can give you.”

“I agree it’s not fair they claw it back.”

“I know it’s not enough to live on”

“I’m sorry you have nowhere to live”

“I’m just sorry.”

They closed the Status of Women’s offices because the funds were being spent on administration. So what? Is there something inheritantly wrong with paying people to do a job? Do they want more programming and needed the administration funds to fund these programs? I don’t think so because if that were true they would have just closed the offices, not cut the funding and announced the investment in more programs.

The removal of the word equality from the Status of Women’s mandate, what’s the point of that? It is a word, with a huge meaning behind it to women, what would be the harm in leaving it there? Is the word ‘scary’?

I truly wonder what the thinking is behind government decisions. I’ve found some statistics that say it costs upwards of $40 000 to have a child in the foster care system. Imagine if some of that was used to cope with poverty related refers to Children’s Aid. Raising Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Payments, the minimum wage to a point where it is conceivable to make ends meet would prevent a lot of government involvement, and therefore administration costs, in people’s lives.

There is a huge reliance, of the government, on public will, to cover off what is suppose to be our safety net. Social Services refers people to the United Way of Bruce Grey all the time. We can connect people to food banks, financial counseling, second hand stores and other resources. I wonder what would happen if we all closed up shop and went home?

What would the government do then?

We won’t do it, we cannot risk people going hungry, cold or without a resource. It amazes me that everyone I talk to agrees that many of the rules surrounding government related assistance don’t make sense and are a deterrent for working and getting ahead. But no one seems to have the political will to do anything about it.

4 comments:

Ron Payne said...

My question to you and to myself is how do they get away with the callous and unjust manner that workers approach their clients with, at Ontario Works, ODSP and even the Social Benefits Tribunal.

The answer is very simple. Because they can.

For the record I would like to state, I have seen many improvements to the STB since a change of it’s Chair and I expect to see many more. I can’t say the same for Ontario Works and ODSP.

The research shows when clients have contact with workers the response is not always the same. You could ask three different workers the same question and receive three different answers.

If the worker doesn't especially like you, they will simply ignore you. This means things like no return phone calls, ignoring verbal requests for benefits, requesting more than usual documents be brought in to prove eligibility and so on.

If the worker really doesn't like you, they will often do everything in their power to harass, intimidate and frustrate you into giving up and going away. This means things like ignoring written requests for benefits, telling you that the benefit doesn’t exist, denying benefits when you are entitled and no decision letters and so on.

If the worker does like you, they will give you any of the benefits that you ask for if you entitled. This is only if the worker is aware of the benefits requested. Here is an interesting problem. The vast majority of the workers are not aware of benefits that are available. This even includes some of the excellent workers. Another problem is that the fast majority of clients don’t even know what the benefits are.

All clients must document, tape record and video record everything, every time when dealing with any OW or ODSP staff.

The governments must, as a gesture of good will, give all Ontario Works and ODSP clients a written copy of the benefits that they say clients are entitled.

This would be a first concrete step taken to start the process in eliminating poverty.

Ontario Works Directive # 31.0 found at http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/english/pillars/social/ow-directives/ow_policy_directives.htm or the:

Ontario Disability Support Program Directives #s 9.1 to 9.19 Found at http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/english/pillars/social/odsp-is-directives/ODSP_incomesupport.htm

The only real remedy to this problem is for clients to sue their respective governments. For Ontario Works it would be their local municipal government and the Province of Ontario and for ODSP it would be the Province of Ontario.

In the Ontario Works Act it states No personal liability

77.(1)No action or other proceeding in damages shall be instituted against the Ministry, the Director, a delivery agent, an officer or employee of any of them or anyone acting under their authority for any act done in good faith in the execution or intended execution of a duty or authority under this Act or for any alleged neglect or default in the execution in good faith of any duty or authority under this Act.

In the Ontario Disability Support Program it states No personal liability
58. (1) No action or other proceeding in damages shall be instituted against the Ministry, the Director or a delivery agent, an officer, employee of any of them or anyone acting under their authority for any act done in good faith in the execution or intended execution of a duty or authority under this Act or for any alleged neglect or default in the execution in good faith of any duty or authority under this Act. 1997, c. 25, Sched. B, s. 58 (1).

This means that a client could sue for damages if bad faith could be proven.
It is called bad faith; a person who intentionally tries to deceive or mislead another in order to gain some advantage.

It is called willful blindness or willful deceit.

The government must get rid of the discretionary powers it allows workers in the OW and OSSP ACT, Regulations and Directives. You’re either entitled to benefits or your not. It is extremely simple but the government will not do it until it gets sued for Bad Faith.

It’s so simple; all the government has to do is to look at how the federal government implements its Employment Insurance application process, and they are saving millions.

To receive benefits you must go online to apply, with exceptions for some disabled clients. You fill out a simple template and the next thing you experience is a cheque in the mail. If the federal government trusts us why can’t you?

Ron Payne
Welfare Legal
Hamilton, Ontario.
E-mail welfarelegal2004@hotmail.com

Rural said...

Off subject but…….
In a reply to “Is anybody there?” on http://www.saugblog.blogspot.com/ Francesca said:-
“Sustainability is a key focus for this discussion group. How does sustainability relate to issues such as poverty and related issues?” and requested that the subject be opened for discussion.
Done….your turn!

Ron Payne said...

WHO IS REALLY COMMITTING THE FRAUD AROUND HERE

The general public has no idea what the system is really like. They think fraud is ramped in Ontario Works and ODSP. Here is something to think about and it is just the tip of the iceberg according to our research.
The provincial government says welfare fraud is around 2%.
Who is really committing the fraud around here?
The federal government says income tax fraud is 13%

Ontario Works staff charged in $1.3million Fraud
By Sarah Elizabeth Brown Tuesday March 4,2008
Chronicle Journal http://tbay.ok.bc.ca/stories.php?id=95704

Government ODSP worker charged in $585,000 fraud case.
By SooToday.com Staff Wednesday, November 14, 2007
SooToday
http://www.sootoday.com/content/news/full_story.asp?StoryNumber=28485
http://odsp.blogspot.com/2007/11/former-government-worker-charged-in.html

93.7 million dollars in corporate welfare
Linda Leatherdale March 7,2008
http://money.canoe.ca/Columnists/Leatherdale/2008/03/07/4938021-sun.html
http://theoldcraftsman.com/blog/?p=387#comment-174
Premier Dalton McGuity is handing over a 9.7 million dollar corporate welfare cheque to Kellogg. Kellogg’s profit was $1 billion. Also Ford got a $55 million cheque and is now cutting shifts, while GM got $29million and is also cutting shifts.

$150 million called corporate welfare for a profitable industry.
Rob Ferguson January 10, 2008
Queens Park Bureau http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/292631
The Ontario Government has earmarked $150 million to encourage pharmaceutical companies to do more drug research and manufacturing in the province.

Ron Payne
Welfare Legal
Hamilton, Ontario
E-mail welfarelegal2004@hotmail.com

Ron Payne said...

Media Release

The Evidence Is In

Poverty’s Smoke and Mirrors, Part 2

To see part 1 http://www.special-need-child-canada.com/povertys-smoke-and-mirrors.html

The article above went out to the main media and approximately 65 other print news media starting September 21 2008. It was also put on the World Wide Web.

To my knowledge it was only printed in 3 Ontario news papers in the Letters to the Editor section.
1) Hamilton’s, Mountain News
2) Hamilton’s, Stoney Creek News
3) London’s, The London Free Press

Thank you to these three papers for caring enough about people that live in poverty to print this article.

As of today November 06 2008 the Ontario government has only posted old outdated directives dated Sept 2001.
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/english/pillars/social/directives/ow_policy_directives.html

Obviously these directives are of no use to anyone simply because of the fact they are outdated and the ministry is now using the July 2008 up to date directives but has not shared them with the public.

You may remember Welfare Legal was so offended by this abuse we offered $100.00 to anyone that could produce a copy of the latest Ontario Works directive 7.4.

As of this date no one has collected the $100.00. Welfare Legal now has a copy of the new directives that the government has not shared.

We take the position that this is the most serious kind of abuse by our government to implement new policies but not allow those most in need to have access to them. The only reason the government has given for this abuse is that the Ontario Government has not prepared a French version of these directives.

This is a Human Rights violation, among others, to implement a secrete version of the directives and not share them with the public and not to have a French version available.

As we have stated before the Ontario government has in fact been cutting the benefits of Ontario Works, (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program, (ODSP) recipients without letting the general public aware of these cuts.

The latest cuts that have become public are the cuts to benefits to grandparents that are caring for their own grandchildren, who many had, have been apprehended by the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). The grand parent’s complaints were heard loud and clear the government seems to have withdrawn these policy changes.

The new directive 7.4 and others shows more cuts that the public is not aware of yet.

One of these cuts shows that the Ontario government no longer supports volunteering here in Ontario. In the old outdated directives dated September 2001, the government used to give a small benefit to those recipients that had to do volunteer work as a condition of eligibility for OW. These cuts also affect those who wish to do volunteer work and are disabled on ODSP as well.
Are volunteers no longer needed here in Ontario?

These cuts which are ongoing, have been made to help pay for the meager increases to OW and ODSP of 2%. They are also part of the government’s bigger plan, to upload the cost of OW and ODSP from the municipality to the province and to pay for its poverty reduction strategy.

At the end of the day the government will save millions of dollars in benefits that the former Mike Harris Tories said people on OW and ODSP were entitled to. Does this make sense to anyone?

This story gets much, much worse. It turns out that the aboriginal community in Ontario had the foresight not to allow its members to be subjected to the policies and procedures put in place by the Mike Harris government, when they bought the draconian computer program from Anderson Consulting now Accenture. The cost of that program was $400,000.00 and rising. This program was designed to cut people off of benefits automatically, with no human contact. There seems to be 2 classes of people being governed differently here, and what are the costs?

It would seem they were allowed to have their own computer program made up by a private company called AD Morrison.
http://www.admorrison.com/

A private professional researcher contacted Welfare Legal in an attempt to collect the $100.00 offered for the latest Ontario Works directive 7.4 and alerted us to a Pandora’s Box. You will see on the home page of AD Morrison’s site there is a link to “Latest Directives”. This link contained a third set of OW directives that was not available to the general public.

After Welfare Legal contacted the ministry to see if this in fact was the latest and new directive 7.4, the ministry contacted us with a reply that had nothing to do with our request. Then out of the blue this link was taken of the site.

After gathering all the evidence we soon learned that the Ontario government had not been keeping these new directive from the public since July 2008, they had in fact been hiding them starting in December 2005 and no one new about it. At least no one that has come forward so far.

There has been no response from any legal clinic or private paralegal in Ontario showing that they new about this breach of the Human Rights Code by our provincial government. If anyone was aware of this why didn’t they take it to the media? Does nobody care about this abuse? Does nobody care about eliminating poverty?

It is interesting to note that the government has even changed the directive numbers to confuse us even more once we were allowed to become aware of them.

September 2001 shows directive 31.0, the out dated benefits that we all are aware of.

December 2005 shows
7.3 is EMPLOYMENT AND PARTICIPATION BENEFITS
7.4 is COMMUNITY START UP AND MAINTENANCE BENEFIT

July 2008 shows
7.4 is EMPLOYMENT AND PARTICIPATION BENEFITS
7.5 is COMMUNITY START UP AND MAINTENANCE BENEFIT

For a copy of these directives
http://owcorruption.blogspot.com/

How can the Ontario government say it is attempting to alleviate poverty when it is secretly cutting the benefits of those most in need? (Reverse Robin Hood)

Ron Payne
Welfare Legal
Hamilton, Ontario
Phone 905-253-0205
E-mail welfarelegal2004@hotmail.com
Blog http://welfarelegal.blogspot.com/