Without more money welfare ‘reform’ useless

ThePeterboroughExaminer.com – article/letters-to-the-editor
March 20, 2012.   Carol Winter

The Mcguinty government made a commitment in 2008 to reform the social assistance system and last summer and fall commissioners toured the province getting input from communities across the province. In Peterborough a significant number of people with lived experience gave hours of their time to point out deficiencies in the present system and give their ideas on how it could be improved.

Suggestions included increasing benefits and the minimum wage, ensuring that people have a livable income, increasing the availability of geared-to-income housing, and increasing the amount of earnings allowed before clawbacks occur.

The commissioners made clear the fact that the government did not intend to increase by a loonie the amount spent on social services. This really made the commission’s work a waste of everyone’s time because the only solution to hard-core poverty is adequate funding. The commission’s own reports point out that the number of Ontario disability support recipients has been increasing at a rate of 5% per year. This in itself will have a significant price tag. When you add in inflation rates and that people already need an increase to bring t hem up to a livable income, the government’s proposed maximum growth rate of 0.5% means that the poor will continue to become poorer each year.

The commission’s proposal for reform presents three “options.” It is nice to have choices, but if the choice is between bread and tap water and bread and well water it is clear that the “benefactor” is not bargaining in good faith. The people of Ontario need to respond “none of the above” to the three inadequate proposals they have been offered.

Every year the auditor general’s report documents horrific overspending by Queen’s Park. If the government sincerely wishes to help those struggling to survive in this prosperous province it needs to divert funding from less crucial programs, stop its scandalous protection of the assets of disgustingly wealthy corporations and individuals, and ensure that all Ontario residents have adequate safe housing and incomes which bring them above the poverty line.

CAROL WINTER, Bridle Dr.

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