Province playing welfare shell game

Posted on May 12, 2013 in Social Security Debates – Opinion/Readers’Letters – Re: Ontario takes a pass on real welfare reform, Opinion May 6
May 12 2013. Peter Clutterbuck

Carol Goar appears to have it right, although I would not agree that community advocates and social assistance recipients across the province are just relieved that the budget did not lead to further cuts.

There is a strong sense of disappointment that the previously expressed social justice convictions of the new premier have not moved from rhetoric to action and that the NDP leader never advocated for the interests of Ontario’s poorest with the same vigour as for its car owners.

Goar’s sources indicate that Premier Kathleen Wynne was ready to offer a $100 a month benefit increase to those on the lowest rate but this was derailed by the community’s “lobby” for keeping the special diet allowance. This, of course, is the usual game of playing off one part of the caseload, impoverished single adults without work, against the other, disabled people with medical dietary needs. Some justice.

In fact, our group, which represents voices for welfare reform in 25 communities across the province, recommended to the government that the $100 a month be introduced over this and the next budget year in two $50 installments so that rate increases would not have to be paid for by cutting the special diet allowance.

It is a strange notion of social justice that asks disabled people with medical needs to sacrifice essential health supports in order to begin to relieve the deep poverty of single adults not in the labour market.

Peter Clutterbuck, Poverty Free Ontario, Toronto

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