According to me…..

People who are on the *system*…welfare, ODSP… they get a bad wrap.  Just because they are there, doesn’t mean they want to be there.

Some folks end up there through no fault of their own.  You lose your job because you fall ill.  Your rent is 800.00 –  you can no longer afford it.  Or your landlord of 11 years sells his building and informs all that live there that they have two months to move.  But now you are on the system.  You’re used to working and making good money – but that’s not the case now.  Now you must survive an entire month on 591.00 – that’s rent, food, clothes, medical needs, transportation.  Your rent *allotment* is considered to be 345.00.  lol  In a city where it costs approximately (at the lowest) 425.00 JUST to rent a single room where you must share bathroom facillities – what does that leave you to live on?   166.00.  So you think you’ll get a roommate and lower the costs?  Don’t think you can get just *any* roommate – if it’s the opposite sex they will call you a couple and decide your fate on what that other person earns!!  And what happens if you CAN’T find a new place to live?  Now you’re homeless…A buspass is 130.00.  If you want to search for work or go to a food bank or another resource to get food – churches, community centres.  What do you spend on food a month?  For a single person?  And I mean on food you like… food that’s good for you.  If you go to a food bank what do you get?  You get starch and carbohydrates.  You get rice, pasta, tin foods.  And it’s not just one race of people going there.  Each person has different requirements.  In some places the people cannot eat specific foods for religious reasons.  People with diabetes can’t eat any of the above.  And don’t expect meat or salad.  If you were to have a choice to eat what and how much you need, what would you require to spend on food?  To live a healthy and dignified life?  What about a phone?  You need a phone to call for jobs and get call backs, right?  So add that in.

Without proper nutrition you get sick.  Your health care costs rise.  Your confidence and self esteem drop.  Try looking for an apartment and telling your new landlord that you are on the system… Try explaining to a new boss in an interview what you’ve been *doing* with yourself for the last few months.  Attempt to get a job where no one is hiring.  Then you start to make choices.  Do I buy the food I need or get a buspass?  Do I pay rent or bills?  If I get an interview, how will I get there and what will I wear?  If I get a haircut do I cut out some food?

Now – knowing that people are starving – let’s take a look at the special food diet.  This was implemented to supply people with foods they need depending on their illnesses.  At first it wasn’t well known, but as time went on folks discovered it and took advantage of the fact that they could actually get money for FOOD.   So the numbers went up…. well, why not.  People need to eat.  So now the gov has decided that it’s *unsustainable* to feed people?…they are phasing out this diet.  Now you must reapply to the ministry of health, as apposed to social assistance.   They will have a list of illnesses they deem appropriate to cover and it will be less money than recipients were originally receiving, perhaps even coupon type mentality.  And not all recipients are being grandfathered into the new plan.  Another cut, another slash to the poor.  Way to go – so proud of our government.

People – all people – have a right to food.  There is certainly enough of it on this planet and our government knows this.  But here’s the catch.  If they raise the rates of social assistance – they have to raise the minimum wages in companies.  Minimum wage is still below the poverty line.  But if social assistance is near that rate – then they believe people will have no desire to take those low paying jobs.  And if they don’t provide social assistance and they just let people die in the streets – they believe there will be a massive uproar in the people…  Well, that’s what they need.  Massive uproar.  Because they ARE starving people.

Food banks were introduced as an emergency measure – they weren’t meant to be part of your monthly income.  They weren’t meant to be sustainable.

Health, and healthy food choices should be a normal part of life.  Life with dignity.  Shame on our government for starving it’s people.  No one can be expected to get ahead when they are hungry and this has been proven just by the fact that we have lunch programs or breakfast programs in schools for our children.  What are we doing?  Feeding them young and then starving them when they grow up?

And so what if you DO get a job, a part time job to start?  They take half of your pay OR MORE… each month.  So you work this month – they take it off your next cheque…but what if you don’t work next month?  They don’t help you get ahead.  They hold you down.

Some folks have life long illnesses.  They are on the system.  Did they ask to get Cancer, or AIDs or Diabetes, or Myofibrillar myopathies?

Truly – stop misconceiving the world around you…know your facts.  Help raise awareness – when we raise the lowest of us, we all raise to new heights.

Single folks aside – what about people with children!  (Thanks Kayla B for pointing this out.)  People have to go day to day worrying about how to feed their children.  Have you ever had a small child?  In school?  Try paying for all the trips.  Try telling your child that 6.50 is too much and they have to stay home when all the other children are going on a trip.  Try sending your child to school with a lunch comprised of food bank goods.  Try spending money on gym suits, day planners, locks for lockers…etc.  The list never ends, as anyone with kids knows.  And this doesn’t even cover clothing them… in what they feel comfortable in – because kids make fun of each other.  And what about how they are treated when they are asked what their parents do for a living?  Bring your parents to school?  Really?  How about having your friend over at lunch time?  What are you going to feed them?

Then there’s a whole other section – folks that were brought up on assistance – and then the grown up children go on it.  It’s all they know.  Maybe they had a parent that had a life long illness, that couldn’t work.  All that child knows is the system.  We all learn coping mechanisms and tools of survival from our caretakers, our providers – and this is what they learn.  No one knows anything but what they are taught when they are younger.  As you get older you learn for yourself.  But it’s ok – because if they get a job – assistance will just take some of that money to keep them there.

All in all.  Poor people are not criminals, or lazy or wanting to be on the system.  They are aware that working provides better money.  They are aware that it’s no fun to be stressed out because every minute of the day is spent searching for ways to get food – for themselves and maybe for their loved ones as well.  If the system covered at least the basics – a place to live and food in their bellies… they would have a life with some dignity and they would be a stronger people.


Comments on: "Preconcieved Notions and Misconceptions." (10)

  1. Kayla said:

    i also found that they fund a lot of family based programs, not with a lot of money, but they push pregnancy on you, give you more money and such for doing so. i know enough women who have or will fall for this. As a single person with no children they don’t really give you a pat on the back.. the opposite is true 😉

    — actually had a few workers sit me down and show me all the benefits you get from getting preg/ having kids… and they actually did a presentation in a class (pharmacy tech – supported by welfare) of all the benefits and how much more money etc… found it counterintuitive.. and i stood up and said i don’t want to have kids, they said blankly they have nothing for me…. and continued on with the spiel..

    • I find that absolutely atrocious that they do this!!! I never knew.
      They should be ashamed. It’s backwards and insulting. It’s a good thing you are so strong and you aren’t convinced by this.
      Ps… thanks for stopping in and posting this. 🙂 And nice email addy. LOL 😛

  2. LOL @dam at converting. lol 🙂

    I agree there is a fine line, but no one can work or even look for work when they are starving. lol I don’t know if you use this term there, but looking for work should be a full time job… is what we say. Who’s going to work everyday hungry? If I met me hungry, I wouldn’t hire me, I’m a bear! lol
    I mean, you can’t supply enough money that it’s equivalent or above the minimum wage – not that that’s any great shakes either… I agree. People need to see the benefit of working. 🙂 Here our minimum wage isn’t above the suggested poverty line either. lol How do you win?
    So, is your country looking after them or convincing them to go to work? lol I’m not sure which you are saying…. 🙂

    Thanks for the luck…we’re going to need it. So long as our gov goes home at night and eats a juicy steak based on their personal raises… they don’t seem to care. They helped out all those companies… paid off their debts and got themselves in trouble, and now the small guy has to pay for it…. pfft.

    I do post here all our successes and battles, so now you are IN THE KNOW. lol 😉 Have a most wonderful day!

    • Like i said, please do not think for one minute, that i’m suggesting that your government is looking after your poor, it blatantly is NOT; and they should be ashamed!!

      As for those thieving tykes in the banks……please don’t start me off lol.


  3. You can also follow this link for some quick links I have provided. 🙂

  4. We try to rally support – raise awareness of the short term issues (building power in our community, raising rates) and the long term (raising awareness, getting more people involved, pressuring gov). We try to remove the misconceptions that people have – which help hold the poor where they are. 🙂 We don’t like to say educate, so much as raise awareness…because it’s the lack of knowing that stops action. People are mostly unaware of what is truly going on.
    We write letters / deputations to the budget hearings, and invade their offices, rally and march. We have petitions to sign and we have a program called Do The Math – invaluable tool – which shows you beyond a doubt that people are living well below the poverty line. For example: Most folks – as an individual – need approximately 1400 a month to live a relatively decent life. This doesn’t include entertainment, or goodies… this is food, rent and such. They receive 591. They start out each month 800 in the hole. Not a great start.
    We are trying to get the gov to raise the rates of assistance to where people can at the very minimum eat and pay rent. You can’t rent anything in Toronto for 345 a month, who are they kidding? Not us. We show movies (Poor No More, and Home Safe Toronto) on the situation, and have meetings – with food at each one. 🙂 It’s really a matter of getting enough voices to be heard. And it’s growing. We now have the endorsements of the unions – OPSEU and CUPE, we have the nurses association, and more. If you’ve heard of OCAP – they are huge in this and always have been. (John Clarke is at most of the rallys and such – in fact, spearheads them.) They attend rally’s and write letters themselves. As we get momentum and the gov can’t ignore it any longer, they will have to listen… no big change has ever come from not making noise. One of the things that we did was get 16 high visibility people to live off a food basket for one week. These baskets you get at food banks… you are allowed one a week..sometimes one every two weeks, depending on the food bank and the area you live in. They are meant to feed a single person for three days. After the week was up they reported back. It made a lot of headlines here. We intend to follow that up… but the main thing is to keep at it, keep the pressure on. Let them know that we aren’t going away and that they should be ashamed.
    The worst of the worst is that the gov set out to definitively show what a person NEEDS to eat for a week, to be healthy. They created the healthy food basket. Based on real nutritional needs and cost, etc… and the cost was much much higher than they provide people. But still they won’t budge. Makes you wonder.
    We have a website Put Food in the Budget that I post events to and news… lol I think they’ve trained a few of us to do this but there are really only two of us that ever post… sad.
    We also demand / attend meetings with our local MPPs.
    We’re pretty active, and I’ve probably missed some info here, lol…but here are some links you can visit if you feel so inclined to learn more. 🙂

    And thanks.. for the comment and interest. 🙂

    Do The Math

    The Challenge – the follow up / report back

    Put Food in the Budget

    Put Food In The Budget Petition


    • Do the Maths is a very clever idea and shows very clearly the gross difference of incomes and what’s needed to survive. I had some trouble converting to $ lol, but I was still way off the mark.

      Seriously though, if I didn’t have a job I think I’d be far better off in the UK, than in Canada.

      We have a lot of people on benefits in the UK, in fact we receive an allowance for our youngest, Jack, he’s Autistic and receives Disability Allowance every month.

      There is a fine balance between looking after people and encouraging them back into school or work.
      I’m not suggesting, for one minute, that your country is looking after it’s poor, it clearly isn’t; but in the UK this is a big issue and the new coalition is gonna run into head on!

      I wish you the very best of luck with your protest, and please keep us ‘up to date’ with your successes!

      Respect and Peace!

  5. Wow, that moved and inspired me, hard hitting truths about life on the breadline. It’s such a horribly contrived vicious circle, that our poor are trapped in and you’re right the governments of the world should do more!!
    What do you and your colleagues do? If you don’t mind me asking? RaP

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