June 15, 2009


Well, I've been whining about life on Canada's social safety net or lack thereof - but now I've heard something that makes me really really mad. I always knew Ontario Works payments were criminally low - they are designed to make starvation the alternative to seeking employment. ($572/mo for a single person). Of course, this assumes an environment where jobs are available even to those with no money to clothe themselves or take care of themselves. That is horrible enough.
But for people who qualify for ODSP (the disability support plan), who have been deemed by the mighty province to be unable to work, the rate is equally horrid. Yep, they pay some of your drug bills, but the additional expenses of living with a disability aren't always covered. And the benign rate offered by the government for disabled persons? Oooh. $1072 a month. You'd better hope you don't want to live in a city or anything. Or a house. Or a decent apartment.
I've just been looking at apartments in Ottawa and for a one bedroom, it's over $700. Add the costs of food, utilities, transport, and clothing and you've got nothing. Oh, and yeah, you can get coverage for some things, but that means your doctor has to fill out yet another form. Because one just isn't enough.
I feel stupid that this outrage is just hitting me now - I've always known in the back of my mind life was horrid, but I've had the privilege of meeting a few folks on one or the other of these generous plans lately and I am so impressed they haven't rioted in the streets - or maybe I'm not. I know they are tired from lack of food and housing, and I know they fear the Provincial overlords who spend millions on checking for welfare fraud instead of spending it on the people who need the money, but this is outrageous. And it's my fault I've never taken the time to research the actual rates, relying on the Province to act somewhat in line with their stated goals - fool that I am!
For me, I have some luck - I have been approved (I think) for my businesses disability program, which will give me a living amount, though I won't be rich. But these people - so many of them - there must be something we can do!
Nah, it's too tough to think about. Let's watch "So you think you can dance" one more time...GRRRRRRRR.

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