Dear (McGuinty or MPP)
As a member of your community, I am writing to express my deep concern and outrage about the government’s recent decision to end the Special Diet Allowance program and replace it with another program.
The Special Diet Allowance provides people in our community with the money they need each month to purchase healthy food to help treat their medical condition, as prescribed by their doctor.
The government has confirmed that the new program being contemplated will be much smaller. This means that many people in our community who are currently receiving the allowance will no longer get the help they need to treat their illnesses.
This decision directly contradicts the government’s stated commitments to poverty reduction and the commitment your party made by supporting the Poverty Reduction Act in the legislature last year. It also flies in the face of medical and social research on the essential benefit of proper nutrition, particularly for those living with the additional stress of physical and mental illness in an underlying condition of poverty.
The government says that the program is “unsustainable”. What this really means is that they don’t intend to provide enough money for poor people in our community to eat healthy food. The government also says that the program is “not achieving the intended results”. What this really means is that they think that a medical need for healthy food is fraudulent. The government has never provided proof of abuse in the program sufficient to justify its cancellation. In any other government program, abuse or fraudulent claims are investigated and, if confirmed, dealt with directly.
The government also defends this decision by saying that they have done many other things to reduce poverty. But the Ontario Child Benefit, full-day kindergarten, and money for child care won’t help sick adults in our community to address their medical need for healthy food. And the 1% increase to social assistance benefits will not even cover inflation this year, let alone replace the Special Diet allowance.
I am urging you to fight this decision, and to tell this government that ending the Special Diet Allowance is a dire mistake. The new program will not respond adequately to the needs of people in our community who desperately need this program.
Please work with me to convince the government to restore the Special Diet program.