Comment 26885

By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted October 10, 2008 at 07:36:08

A Smith: As a community activist on poverty issues, that are a many people who are low income that donate their time and energy on many projects. For example look at the Campaign for Adequate Welfare And Disability Benefits, Income Security Working Group, Living Wage and Fair Employment Coalition, the numerous neighbourhood groups that are made up of people that struggle, in an effort to bring their voices to the table. These are all grassroots groups.

The goal is to empower people, to fight for what is right and not to follow the corporate, propagagnda, that everything is to be blame on those that struggle.

What you are not understanding is that the current social safety net does little to help people to achieve a goal that would actually help them, it does not give people a hand up, it gives people a hand out, which at the present time contributes greatly to the growing number of people living in poverty.

Lets say you get sick, an illness in which you cannot work. Your current employer may have benefit coverage but if the illness is long term, the employer will try to get rid of you. I know, I have seen this happen. The current system will allow you to lose your home, assets, which leaves you with nothing. Then you must wallow on OW for three years before you can access ODSP, which is a little better then OW.

If you had read the report by the Ombudsman of Ontario in regards to the ODSP system, you would be shocked as to what goes on. In the report it focused on one individual who had been disabled from birth. The system says for children like this it is suppose to be easy for the transition once the child reaches the age of 18. The child was clearly disabled but the ODSP wanted report after report, they kept saying the child was not disabled, as most of the people running this area of the government are not medically trained but bureaucrats. This particular family fought for over 18 months, to get access to ODSP for their child, actually the family resorted to writing the Ombudsman's office in order to get action. These are not rich people but working people.

Take a look at the current OW system, where one could lose their job due to factors beyond their control, they may not find work before EI benefits run out. If one goes the City of Hamilton Economic and Development website and look under OW/ODSP recipients, you will see that most of the work for those trying to make the transition is temp work. Temp work is usually low paying, one does not have access to any benefits, forget pensions. Under Employment Standards Act, those in workfare programs are not protected, those working in the temp industry see violations of legislated law go on daily. People working in this industry are being denied access to EI benefits.

If one who is on the system who has children that are going to post secondary education are limited to the amount of money they can earn to support and/or pay their tuition, so they do not incur a large debt load while going to school, I believe it is around $100 per month they can earn, anything above that is taken off the parents ODSP or OW cheques.

The have created a system, which has layer upon layer of not for profit corporations in order to access programs, which in turn do very little to help people. Your tax dollars are paying for this, yet you seem to not really know what the system is all about.

I went to a so called networking workshop but is was not networking in the sense that to me networking means the ability to meet and mingle with others in order to exchange information that would actually help and /or empower people, like directing them to groups as in the first paragraph. The agenda of this workshop was to promote very low paying jobs, to listen to the facilator, who had no real knowledge of the job market, giving out information that is false. In fact when I mentioned that the work was not a living wage, I was attacked verbally by the facilator who said it is a living wage to someone, no it was not a living wage to anybody, who is trying to break the reins of poverty. I mean really does someone who worked as a receptionist really have knowledge? Do any of these not for profits really look at issues such as globization, NAFTA, de-industrialization, workplace bullying, the violations of legislated law within the Employment Standards Act. No they do not, the object is to get them off the system period, and they do not care if people's rights are being violated.

The current system puts people into a matrix of endless poverty, while people like you defend the system without really knowing what it is about. There is no fairness in our system but you can go on and keep believing the corporate message, the sound bits.

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