Ontario Works can be cruel, punishing system

TheBarrieExaminer.com – article
May 21, 2011.    Mary Savage, Sudbury

Well, well, well. An election was called. Now it’s over. Aren’t we all excited? Aren’t all of our government representatives just so kind, caring, respectful, useful, fair and committed?

Committed! They should all be committed to a learning centre for life and taught how to be humane. Heaven help us.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s new budget was going to take the seniors out of poverty with $600-plus a year for singles, and $800-plus a year for a couple. What cave are they trying to crawl out of and in what century?

What happened to our taxes from the first years when they were implemented? When did our government that used to be for the people become the government controlled by businesses and money? Is there anything we can do to get back our own government elected by the people, without donations and control of big businesses? Is this mission impossible, a hope and a dream, or is there even a glimmer in the possibility of taking our government back?

Here we go again with an Ontario election in October with all the lies and false promises.

I am extremely appalled and concerned that there has not been much attention, or mention, of child poverty, senior poverty, social programs and especially provincial disability programs, which are my target.

Provincial disability, a part of Ontario Works, is an exceptionally mean, cruel, punishing system.

The system treats the people and families on it as liars and sub-standard Canadian citizens. We are questioned and treated as though we are in jail or out on a parole system.

When we have to go to the local office, we take a number, wait for our number to be called. Then, we visit our worker in a little room with two chairs and a counter in front of the chairs bounded by plexiglass to the ceiling. Our worker is seated behind it. This scenario makes some of us feel very degraded.

For those of you who do not have any empathy for the ‘likes of us’, your money is being extremely misused. So, the recipients are not the only ones being screwed in this system, as well as in other social works systems. Thus, you should have a vested interest in how your tax money is being used and misused. Most people who are not directly involved have no idea what the social systems are all about.

There are always users and abusers. But there are wonderful, deserving people who need help when bad things happen, especially the victims of this system who are children.

The system needs more trained and educated staff who can deal with their crushing workloads. They need more money and humane policies and staff. Don’t get me wrong. We are especially grateful for all the help we get. We only want the system to be just and fair.

Let us all make this one of the most important provincial election issues.

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