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Posts tagged ‘budget’

Poverty Advocates Decry Loss of Diet Allowance

Laurie Monsebraaten
Social Justice Reporter

Ontario is scrapping the Special Diet Allowance that helps people on social assistance pay extra food costs related to specific medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Confirming the pre-budget fears of anti-poverty advocates, the Liberal government cited last fall’s provincial auditor’s report, which found evidence of abuse in the welfare-based program.

Instead, the budget is proposing a new nutritional supplement to be administered by the health ministry.

The allowance program that provides up to $250 per month and helps about one in five people on social assistance “is not sustainable and is not achieving the intended results,” budget documents say.

Click Toronto Star link above for further information.


Budget Puts Food Plan On Diet

The Toronto Sun

As poverty activists feared, the Ontario government is yanking a $200 million special diet allowance for people on social assistance.

The program will be replaced with a new “nutritional supplement program” administered not by social services, but by the health ministry.

Officials would provide no immediate information on this new program nor confirm how much money would be invested.

Tom Pearson, of the Poverty Action For Change Coalition in York, said about 160,000 Ontarians are affected by changes to the special diet.

“They’re going to end up cutting that program,” Pearson predicted.

The Ontario government is boosting welfare and disability benefit payments by 1% starting in late fall.

The $57 million cost of the 1% increase in benefits would be shared with municipalities which would be expected to pick up roughly 20%, although that burden will lighten as the province uploads social services costs over the next few years.

But John Clarke, of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), has said that the loss of the special diet program would be the equivalent of a 1.5% loss in benefits.

The program has come under fire from the provincial auditor who raised questions about whether it was going to people with medical conditions, or being used by some recipients as a way to boost their general income.

“This program is not sustainable and is not achieving the intended results,” the budget document says. “The transition to the nutritional supplement program would occur over the next several months. This would give recipients the opportunity to adjust to the new program.”

The government also intends to create a web portal to centralize access to information about the wide variety of social assistance programs.

It’s also saying it will bring in automated income verification for people on social assistance.

Doris Grinspun, of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, said the organization will be keeping a close eye on the fate of the special diet program as it transitions into a new entity.

RNAO expects the minister of health to hold open and transparent consultations with poverty groups and health care stakeholders to ensure that the new program doesn’t end up “damaging” people, she said.

Good morning world!

Well today should be interesting!  Let’s hope it’s sunny, too!  Because yesterday was divine!
I’m going to Old  City Hall later for a Community Budget Watch at Toronto City Hall members’ lounge starting at 4pm, hosted by 25 by 5.  Who’d have thunk  lol  We are going to hand out flyers and such… everyone is invited!  100 Queen Street West… It only goes until 5:30.  😉
Last Monday I went to Ryerson for a talk by CASSA… it was really great.  We saw a show put on by the *Down and Outs*… a group of young folks that get together by Jane and Finch and discuss their situations.  They made us write poetry.  lol  And then some speakers.  Our refugee status in Canada is horrid…by the by.  The entire day was about equality for women, youth, Asian peoples, LGBTTIQQ2S.  🙂
So I’m on coffee number two!  And the day is lovely so far… so bring it!  😛

Food program may be put on diet, critics say…

On March 4, the Toronto Sun had this article written by Antonella Artuso, Queen’s Park Bureau Chief, about the special diet and the budget.

“Poverty activists fear the Ontario government is prepared to gut a special diet program for people on social assistance.

The government has already cut the program back significantly through stealth measures — getting welfare staff to challenge medical diagnoses and reject application forms, said John Clarke, of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.”

To read more, click here for the *article* and here for the *hansard*.

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