Visit the main ISAC website here.

Tell Your Story

Are you on Ontario Works? Or the Ontario Disability Support Program?

Your expertise is crucial.

The experience you’ve gained will help to re-imagine a social assistance system that provides the resources and supports that people and communities need to live with dignity and economic security.  

Please scroll to the bottom of this page and use the Comments box to share that experience by telling us your story, keeping in mind these two issues:

1. Problems in the Present

What are the ways OW and ODSP have undermined you, failed to support you, denied you opportunities, or stopped you from reaching your full potential?

2. Imagining the Future

What resources, programs, and assistance do you think would help you and people in your community thrive, have economic security, and be able to live the life you want to live?

What do you think your life might look like if you had the resources, programs, and assistance you just described?

The stories of people with lived experience are critical to transforming social assistance and developing new policies and programs.

Please note that we may use your story in our advocacy efforts with government. If you don’t want us to do this, please note that in your comments.

Or, you can use your experience and advocate for yourself – when you’re done telling us your story, send an email to the government directly with room for your comments provided.


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  • On Tuesday, June 23, Theresa Schrader said:

    I have been on Ontario Works for many years. In September I am starting a Social Work Diploma. I have worked very hard to be where I am now, and Ontario Works was more of a trap than anything.
    The biggest thing that I think should change at OW is the way they look at jobs and employment. The system is not working. Recipients of Ontario Works are getting minimum wage jobs. There is not much dignity or prosperity in working for $9.50/hour. These jobs are fine for people that live at home with their parents. Or have someone supporting their rent. With the price of living in Toronto, minimum wage is just not enough.
    The world we live in today requires a post-secondary education. This is not supported by Ontario Work, it is overlooked. After a year of attending a bridging program in college I was told that I could no longer receive a transportation allowance to get to school. I had to start volunteering on top of going to school, because the activity you do to get the allowance has to be job skill related. Also we are not allowed to get comfortable and build a relationship with the agency where we volunteer. We have to find a new placement every 6 months. That doesn’t assist in one’s journey to be self-supporting.
    In order to avoid people coming through the system over and over again we have to help them reach their full potential so they can become self-sufficient. The best way for someone to find employment that will sustain them and their families is through post-secondary education. This is where OW needs to change.
    Please help those that want to go to school. Help them remove their barriers. Once they get through school it is likely they will not return to the system. Some people are on the system because they were born into poverty, others had circumstances that brought them there. It doesn’t mean we want to stay there forever. We aspire to be more. Please remove the BARRIERS!!!!

  • On Thursday, June 25, Robert said:

    Presently on OW have been for years. Have the forms for both ODSP and CPP-D being filled. Here in waterloo region I am being forced to attend an Intensive case manager program every 2 weeks (supposed to help you find a full time job the may not exist) even though I have a part time income I can’t see myself working full time. Don’t know of too many jobs that I can do with limited use of my arms (shoulder fractures).
    What I like best, is how they completely ignore everything you tell them, and stick you into whatever program that they have been told to channel you into.
    They seemed more concerned about nailing you for a non-compliance issue, rather than helping you.
    Far too many of their programs exist to keep themselves employed and does very little for the people.

  • On Sunday, June 28, Poor in London said:

    We had two community meetings this week – and the overwhelming response to the OCB – OW/ODSP changes is thus… no matter that politicians tell us that no one will be worse of with the cuts to social assistance, we are not buying that the government is getting kids out of poverty just by cutting them from the social assistance budgets. Everybody else gets the benefit of the OCB increase EXCEPT the poorest children in Ontario: those on Social Assistance – how can legal clinics promote this as fair; it is no more fair than clawing back the NCBS – remember feed the kids and pay the rent – what are poor families supposed to feed their kids while they wait for the tax credit late in the month. How many people do you actually think can rent a place and pay for their utilities within the shelter allowance? Please don’t tell us we won’t be losing anything – our dignity is all we have!

  • On Sunday, June 28, Jennefer said:

    The Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) continues to raise the problems with the way the Ontario Child Benefit is being implemented. For example, see this recent Toronto Star article:

  • On Friday, July 3, Somewhere in Ontario said:

    When is ODSP in particular going to stop punishing the spouses and partners of recipients of ODSP? If somebody is on ODSP, they are on it for a reason. If they get married or live common law with a partner, their partner is then pulled into the ODSP slavery game … where that partner cannot save for their own retirement, cannot have more than XXX $$ worth of assets and 50% of what they earn is taken right off their ODSP spouse’s cheque. Why work?

    This is not heard of in cases where the spouse receives Worker’s Compensation, Employment Insurance, Canada Pension or any other benefit … those with working partners are forced to do with a lot less money, even poverty level. If the partner makes “too much”, the recipient gets nothing. Who wants to be totally dependent on another person, particularly if that other person has no obligation to support you in law? Where’s the protection for the person with the disability? Where is the respect for their independence and well-being?

    Where is the respect for the independence of the working spouse? Their income and assets should matter squat for the person on disability … would we not encourage more people to marry and possibly get out of poverty if they stopped abusing spouses and dragging them into the ODSP quagmire? It will cost the government nothing – at least nothing more than they spend right now.

    I know of people who were forced to break up over this rule and then ODSP forces the recipient to sue the working spouse for support from what little they have left after they had to strip themselves of almost everything in order to permit their disabled spouse to continue to get some benefits. What GOOD does this do? How does the current rule keep people OUT of poverty?

  • On Tuesday, July 21, A Hurting Mom said:

    Last year I was told that we were loosing the basic amount on our checks for our children due to the raise on the O.C.B. I just phoned my local office of O.D.S.P because my check went down yet another $82 only to be told that tecinally we did not lose the basic amount for the kids and because I now recieve an additional $92 dollars a month on O.C.B I get $82 of it taken off of my O.D.S.P. How fair is that if I was working at least I could of kept 50%. The worker also stated that this is the way the government was trying to get kids off of Social Assistance. I asked her and how far is my $10 dollars supposed to go?
    So far I have lost the Back to school allowance, Winter Allowance and several hundred off my check and this is helping how? I live in a town where you have to travel for food, doctor appointments and dental appointments. Sure there are travel grants for Dr’s appointments but for them to help with travel for dental appointments is like pulling teeth.
    You have to fight to get on O.D.S.P and now as a parent you feel hopeless because you want the best for your children but when you are always loosing money and fighting for what you should get. It hurts when you have to tell your child sorry we have to cancel your appointment cause we can’t afford the gas.
    I did not plan to become disabled and not able to work, I finished highschool ect so I could give my kids a better life. Now cause I am diabled I am constantly more and more telling my kids I can’t afford it. At least on O.W they help with after shool stuff like baseball and martical Arts but on O.D.S.P there is no such help.
    How does the Government think they are helping children when the parents get more money they take it as soon as they get it? The government make parents on O.D.S.P feel helpless cause they say if you work you keep 50%. what about us who cannot work? We just lose money how is that fair?
    I do not know what to do anymore, you want to be able to give your kids stuff plus a roof and food but everytime you turn around you lose more and more.

  • On Wednesday, July 22, Jeannie said:

    I learned after I worked the numbers that once again, despite the increase in the Ont. child benefit, I am gaining $11 and that is the total for BOTH of my daughters. Why are they clawing us back? Those with access to a job aren’t getting their salaries cut back as a result of getting an increase on the Ont. child benefit. Where’s everybody when an issue like this comes up? How come getting out of poverty seems to be a major fight that we never seem to win?

  • On Saturday, July 25, dazed and confused said:

    someone in government needs to tell me why someone on OW can live in a geared to income unit and pay the bare minimum according to the area where that unit is located ($287.00/month for a three bedroom) in my small town and OW puts that exact amount on your cheque monthly under shelter, but the housing provider figures the market rent for that unit is $860.00/month the difference being $573.00 the same government pays the difference how is it then that the ontario government is willing to pay $860.00/month for a select group of OW recipients but if i was to go out and rent an apartment from a private landlord in a more desirable area to put my kids at an advantage socializing with a more financially secure group of families showing them that there really are people out there making ends meet, the maximum shelter allowance in that case is only $605.00/month. i can’t get an education, i got removed from the budget for over 3 months the caseworker after month 3 didn’t even bother to put me back on the budget but the system still managed to deduct my working income off my cheque for the entire 3+ months i wasn’t even on because i quit a job i couldn’t physically do but had another job before the end of that same month, i’m promised gas money if i can prove i’m looking for a job but the money never comes the job search forms keep being demanded even in this depressed economy and area that has been battered the most, i have three case workers that don’t know what the other is doing, we don’t have anything healthy to eat all we can afford are pastas and other starchy foods, i don’t have any decent clothes to wear to interviews and when they give you money to go and get some it’s never enough to buy the entire outfit, no one ever tells you what you can do i sometimes wonder what’s the point in even looking for work since having lost my job in march with the economy like it is all that’s out there for me with no current marketable skills and no formal education is the minimum wage and that doesn’t get you off the system that beats you up from every angle, i’m stressed all the time wondering if i’ve jumped through all the hoops for the month and am i going to get my cheque at the first of the month, they’ve held my cheque for 8 straight months it’s like being held hostage. i just wish i could find a job that makes my ends meet and live like everyone else around me go to work pay my bills take my kids out for dinner buy a house and take my kids on vacation that’s not to much to ask is it?

  • On Tuesday, August 4, R in TBay said:

    I was turned down for ESUB in Thunder Bay this week. I’m so frustrated. I am eligible because I am doing various approved employment-related activities, such as working part-time as a tutor, volunteering on a local anti-poverty committee, and attending appointments to work on my resume, etc. My application was for $500 to pay for brake repairs to my vehicle. I am driving around with “metal on metal”…very unsafe. I submitted a quote from Canadian
    I was told my application was denied because “regular ongoing vehicle repairs and maintenance are not an approved item under employment startup. (Transportation is, but I guess they don’t see how repairing my brakes is transportation?!! WTF!!!!!!!) The denial letter also says that since I receive an amount for medically necessary travel, and an amount from OW discretionary benefits, under their volunteer recognition program, they said that money is for “transportation expenses, which would include gas, regular maintenance and repairs, licences, etc.”
    I am just apoplectic when I see the absurdity of their reasoning. Its so obvious to me that ESUB clearly says it can be used for transportation, and repairing brakes is a transportation expense. Argh. I want not to freak out on the ODSP worker who makes my life impossibly stressed. Every single benefit I apply for, she denies, and then I request internal review, and win, or else I go to my MPP’s office, and point out the problem, and they call ODSP, and then I get what I was applying for.
    The whole process takes months, every single time. Its so unfair and makes me exhausted, depressed, full of rage, and insane. I want the ODSP staff to be held accountable for the bullshit they put people through because it causes real damage to one’s health. I can’t afford any more attacks on my health. Its precarious enough to start with.
    Thanks to anyone listening.

  • On Saturday, August 8, Sara Jarvis – Ottawa ON said:

    Too many Ontarions – like those on Ontario Disability Support Benefits like myself – are unable to meet ends meet NOW. As the cost of living jumps by double digits, ODSP is creeping up at 2% per year while the claw backs get worse. Our income is actually shrinking EACH AND EVERY MONTH!

    Could you live on less than $300 per month? That is what ODSP’s ‘generosity’ currently means to me! The financial stress of my situation as well as my battle for the money I SHOULD BE ENTITLED TO has made it all but impossible to focus on my artwork – not a good thing for a full-time professional artist!

    I encourage you to contact your MPP AND Dalton McGuinty and ask him to act on his December 2008 promise to review the current Social Assistance system in Ontario, and to be sure to include social assistance recipients in the review to ensure it is not another waste of taxpayer’s money used to convince everyone that the system is fine. It’s not fine. It’s BROKE! AND IT IS TIME TO FIX IT!!!

  • On Wednesday, August 12, Nancy said:

    I am on ODSP and think the money required for Medically Necessary travel, especially if it is a long distance, should be paid up front – but that is not the story. I am telling the story of a relative who is no longer here to be able to tell his story.
    He was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and it was not long unitl he needed assistance around the clock. He was able to move into an apartment in the same house as my parents but ODSP didn’t even pay him the $700 and whatever it is when you live at home. They wanted proof he was in his own apartment and they were invited out to see the apartment with him in it. It had its own fridge and stove, cupboards, dining room, living room, bathroom, and the hall and doorways were big enough for a wheelchair. He was able to cook for himself for quite some time but he needed help getting in the wheelchair, so they set up an intercom system so he could let them know when he needed some assistance. It took ODSP two months to decide to pay the rent on the unit and didn’t pay one month’s rent at all. He was sick and dying and didn’t want to fight with them so if you ever find yourself in a similar position of being terminal just remember the system is still out to do you out of everything you are entitled to. If he had been able to walk he would have gone into the office and straightened them out but because he was pretty much home-bound he let it slide – something he never did before. I guess if you’re dying you don’t need to pay rent or have any expenses.

  • On Sunday, August 16, Meghan said:

    I was talking with a good friend over dinner the other day. We talked about the things everyone talks about over dinner – the lovely meal, the ‘secret’ ingredient in the mashed potatoes, the news of the day. The discussion naturally turned to welfare. We’re both receiving it. And we had never really discussed our situations with each other before. I was hoping, as all of us hope, to be employed soon and in a position where I could leave welfare after more than two years. We talked about some of the things welfare provides and doesn’t provide and how that might be changed to offer adequacy to recipients while they look for meaningful work. And I said I felt that I could get by on the meagre amount I receive, not because it’s adequate for a single Mom, but because I don’t like to complain. I’ve been self-sufficient all my life and I like my independence, even though I know I’ve always, always been wrong about being independent. We all need each other. And I’ve been happy to tell people over the years that it’s a pleasure to pay taxes to support that end. That’s my country. We take care of each other and I’m proud to be able to say that.
    Well, I don’t think I’m so proud anymore. I often say that you can’t know an experience like welfare or disability until you have lived it. I couldn’t have known.
    But still, I told my friend that I don’t like to complain. I used a word I’m sorry I used. I said I felt like I was ‘whining’ even when asking for something to which I was eminently welcome. It was something that I would only receive if I asked for it. To me, it meant humiliating myself.
    There was no way for me to know more humiliation without cutting too far into what little dignity I preserved for myself by not ‘whining.’ I couldn’t ask for it. I couldn’t ask for anything. The system did what it does well. It beats us down. It tears into our spirit. It robs us of dignity.
    The system, at its best, should support people in times of crisis and encourage us, through adequacy, to help preserve our sense of self-worth and dignity. It doesn’t. Rather, it’s punitive. And it depends, in part, upon people like me, who despise being made to ask, being made to beg, for no less than the dignity we all deserve.
    After a lifetime of meaningful, rewarding work. I’ve fallen far. I’ve fallen far because there was far to fall. And because, in retrospect, there were no supports to grab hold of on the way down. And because there was no way for me to ask.
    So what happens when I do ask? Instead of being comforted, I am directed to a program designed to get me off the system as quickly as possible. One where I can wait by the phone, inexplicably with child care available to me at a moment’s notice, to take a job as a dishwasher and have half of my minimum wage clawed back to punish me even further. Or I’m directed to a resume writing course. Or to a seminar on how to achieve the post-secondary education I already possess.
    No. The dignity I’ve built and known all my life is not for sale. I won’t beg you to strip me of it. I’ll get by on food vouchers and food banks and inadequate amounts of support until I land that job again, hopefully before my health gives way. It may take years. And with every year, it will become harder.
    But I won’t whine to the welfare mandarins. I can’t. I have to preserve what little dignity I allow myself.
    Dignity should be a word the SAR uses on every page of any change to legislation.

  • On Tuesday, August 25, Eme said:

    I was working for a Call Center. I became extremely ill as did others who worked there.
    I of course had to take sick leave. I went on Employment Insurance which only covers one for fifteen weeks. In that fifteen weeks, I had to have my eyes, throat and hearing checked and make arrangements to see a psychiatrist as well.
    I had numerous symptoms. I had never actually experienced anything like this ever. Everything about it was very frightening. Even making it to a store was almost impossible for me. Going to a hospital or the Dr’s office was like a nightmare for me. Panic attacks are awful.
    Turns out I have an anxiety disorder. Even using the phone is out of the question.
    The paper work and Dr’s notes were horrendous compliment of the Call Center I worked for. If I had to pay for them out of pocket it would have cost me over $2000. Fortunately I have an insurance policy with my Dr’s office which cover all of them.
    Between Dr’s notes, Dr’s appointments and the paper work needed by the company I worked for I was in a living nightmare. Words cannot even begin to explain what it was like.
    Getting help was a trial all of its own.
    I had to go on Welfare OW after my Employment Insurance ran out. I even had problems with EI. Had to get a lawyer to straighten it out. They were trying to cut me off EI after only 6 weeks.
    Going on OW is possibly one of my worst nightmares. My mental health worker helped me make the appointment.
    Fortunately the people at my OW office were very kind to me.
    I of course came very close to becoming homeless due to the very bleak amount of money one receives from OW. This just enhanced my mental problems tenfold.
    Stress, stress and more stress. Things were so bad by times I suffered from psychotic episodes. So for me to fathom my way through anything was extremely difficult.
    Even getting a mental health worker was a problem. Seems in my area it would have taken me 4 months to see one. I was lucky enough to get one about 25k from where I live however. So I took the opportunity. I could not do much for myself and needed someone who could do things for me. My worker was also very helpful in enlightening me as to how to deal with my disorder. I didn’t want to take any of the drugs that were offered to me as they were for the most part addictive. Talk therapy helped far better in my opinion.
    If I had been on drugs, driving would have been out of the question which would make me more dependent on others for help. As for the funds to and from appointments, OW would only help with that if you went three times a month. Otherwise they would not help pay for gas. For me that was not a real issue as my mental health worker was relatively close. If I had to travel farther this would have been a problem.
    Car repairs are a problem for sure. Without a car I would feel trapped which in my case is a nightmare all of its own. My appointments are too far to walk for sure.
    It took me months to actually go to a store for groceries without having a panic attack. For the longest time I had to take a friend with me.
    Being on OW was almost unfathomable. I was going deeper and deeper in debt. I had to put things like food on my credit card. What I received from OW barely covered rent, heat and hydro.
    It took about a year to get Ontario Disability. I am still in debt. I still seem to always be falling behind. I am not certain all the problems there are with ODSP as of yet.
    My workers to date have been kind at ODSP as well. I in that department have been very fortunate. Of course it was not always like that here. I have spoken to many who were treated horrendously when Mike Harris was in power.
    People on OW starve. It is a cruel system. Doesn’t matter how well your workers treat you. You still are treated badly because of the rules and regulations and the lack of money to look after yourself.
    Being on ODSP is a bit better, but those with disabilities need extra funds. Each disability has special needs.
    If I had to take a taxi everywhere I went, it would cost me a fortune. Plus using a phone is an extreme problem for me. I can call, but the aftermath leaves something to be desired let me tell you. I basically become a basketcase for about 8 or 9 hours after.
    Having a car actually saves me money and protects my sanity. Repairs however are costly. Gas is costly etc. Insurance is also costly.
    If I were living in Toronto or Ottawa for example, odds are I would become homeless quickly being on ODSP.
    Fortunately my rent is relatively reasonable, but I certainly don’t live in a place that luxurious by any means. It is very tiny and cramped. It is all I can afford however. For me I have limited choices, of where I can live due to my disorder.
    I cannot live in low rental because of my disorder. Crowds and noise can cause me to have panic attacks. So even when it comes to my living conditions I have to be extremely careful.

  • On Tuesday, August 25, Eme said:

    Point of interest :if you ever get a letter From Employment Insurance saying you owe them money after being on sick leave, do not pay them, go to a lawyer and you may find they actually owe you money. I went to a Legal Clinic.
    EI did that to me. They sent me a letter stating I owed them every cent they had given me for sick leave.
    As it turned out they owed me money.
    Sorry I forgot to mention that in my previous post.

  • On Thursday, August 27, JOHN said:

    People do not choose to be disabled and live in poverty. Things happen in life and that we are all subject to…such as illness, prolonged loss of job, etc.

    The current system ODSP does not meet the needs of the individuals who use it. For example, to rent an apartment in Toronto costs at least $800.00 a month. To this you must add food and transportation which is another roughly $400.00 month. It takes at least $1200 a month to live in the city of Toronto.

    The present level of support for an individual is nowhere near this. This causes great hardship for the disabled. The government must do the right thing and raise the ODSP rates.

    Remember most people are one paycheque away from poverty. This can happen to anyone – even YOU.

  • On Friday, August 28, Henry said:

    I am an ODSP recipient, and I suffer from a number of ailments, most importantly migraine headaches (neck injury), diabetes, depression, and social anxiety, which prevent me from working for any length of time.

    Because I don’t go out much -unless it’s to visit the drop-in centre for groceries, appointments and the very few activities that I can do, I spend much of my time on my old computer, where I write my poetry or upload my photos.

    My computer wasn’t new, or fast. It was just a matter of time before it died from wear and tear and old age. The super in my building, a friend who was aware of my situation, offered me a very simple, low stress, temporary job for my building to help me afford a new(er) computer, as fire watch on weekends. It only took me about 5 minutes every hour, and I had no interaction with the public.

    When I got my first paycheck I bought my replacement computer. Being the honest type I also made sure I declared the 450 dollars I had earned, aware I would have to repay the overpayment the following month. I suffered an anxiety attack when the super asked me to work another weekend, because of an unexpected delay in the installation of a fire system. I reluctantly agreed to work another weekend, afraid for the life of me that a second cheque would jepoardize my ODSP assistance.

    I received my second and final pay for the same amount, and my “job” ended. It was stressing me too much to continue.

    I don’t know if anything could have been done for me in this instance, but considering how important that computer was -and is- to my well-being, since it helps me in every aspect of my life (in my writing, photography, blood sugar reading logging, and as a means to print out my meals, shopping lists, letters to family, etc.),

    I think ODSP should have helped some. As a result of my having no option when my old computer failed, I ended up stressed out & anxious, and penalized financially for truthfully declaring my income, which caused additional stress. Anyway, that’s my story.

  • On Friday, August 28, Marc said:

    I come from a small town in northeastern Ontario; cold, dry winters, cool, dry summers. While I was nine I lost my mother; my father remarried a couple of years later, and at thirteen I was kicked out of my home by my father, and was bounced from foster home to foster home. Eventually I ended up with foster parents who owned a motel, and I worked for them doing construction, and getting hurt in an unreported workplace accident that damaged my neck.

    In spite of that I went back to work, graduated from high school, went to college. A classic tale of ‘poor little guy beating the odds and doing well’, right?

    Not so. During my college years my neck injury flared up, and I have been suffering from debilitating migraines ever since. With migraines came the inability to find -let alone keep- a job, and being in northern Ontario, the depression and the disability was undiagnosed and unreported. And so I dropped out of college, bounced from job to job, got more and more depressed until the inevitable suicide attempts, and the hospitalizations. And the welfare (it wasn’t called Ontario Works back then). And still I kept on trying to find work, and failing. And the cycle continued, so much so that I suffered from social phobias, being too afraid and too ashamed to have to explain why I was still unemployed and in pain.

    When the Ontario Works program began I jumped at the chance to get off the system. I ended up at a work placement, which led to my applying for a position in Ottawa, and I moved here in 1999.

    The stress of the move, combined with the faster pace and higher stress of city life, would have been enough to stress me out. If that wasn’t enough, Ottawa is much more humid than northern Ontario, and my migraines from my injured and now-arthritic neck proved too much to bear, and I got fired from my job, got depressed, and once again tried to kill myself.

    This time, I did get properly diagnosed, and after a long and slow recovery my family doctor filed my application for ODSP. I now live in a tiny bachelor apartment in a quiet suburb, and after many years I have grown to accept my limitations and I still rebel at being physically and emotionally disabled. I have been on ODSP for at least 8 years now, and while the provincial government has recently started to increase the social assistance payments by about $20 every year for the past 3 years or so, the rent has increased by 3% every year, eating up that pittance and leaving little extra for food, clothes, transportation, etc. No frills here, just the basic staples.

    And everything else is costing more too, and that $20 doesn’t buy anywhere near as much as it did a year ago.

    I have been living in denial of my illness for most of my life, and when I finally ended up on ODSP I had to do an awful lof of adjustments to my pride, my self-esteem and acceptance of my limitations. I have had to put up with the indignity of standing in line at food banks because I just couldn’t afford to buy some food whenever I wore out my shoes and had to use my grocery money to buy a cheap pair of sneakers. I’d like to think I still have my pride, but dammit, I had to swallow that pride every month for many years now.

    And worst of all, I still carry the memory that once, a long time ago, I wanted to work and be a contributing member of society, and pay my taxes and feel like I was somebody.

    The support services we get is not enough, and fails to keep up with inflation and the cost of living. We shouldn’t feel like second-class citizens, and we shouldn’t have to plead to be treated like human beings. It’s not right, and more should be done. More MUST be done.

    Thank you for hearing me out.

  • On Monday, September 21, Jennefer at ISAC said:

    A group of people who are currently on Ontario Works met recently at St. Stephen’s Community House to discuss Poverty Reduction and the Social Assistance Review.

    The participants in the discussion had the opportunity to discuss the problems in the system that block them from getting ahead, and what a well-designed social assistance system would look like. They made the following suggestions:

    Problems with Social Assistance:

    • OW will pay for the education you don’t want, but won’t allow you to get a loan from a friend to pay for the education you do want – you get cut off benefits if you get a loan
    • They make you take the programs you don’t want, not the ones you do.
    • You’re not allowed to work, but they don’t give you enough money to live on.
    • Deductions are unfair.
    • There is no housing. They tell you to get lower priced housing, but there isn’t any.
    • They don’t apply the rules consistently.
    • They don’t tell you what your rights are or what you’re entitled to.
    • Lots of people are scared of their worker:
    > They have too much control and they stress you out.
    > They cancel your benefits without notice.
    • There is no rhyme or reason to the rates in terms of different family types.
    • The training programs they offer are not good.
    • You have to change your volunteer job every 3 months, which is disruptive.
    • There’s not enough daycare, so you can’t work even if you want to.
    • The whole system doesn’t encourage you to reach your goals. This causes depression.
    • You get more service from outside agencies than you do from welfare.
    • Once you take one course, you have to wait two years before you can take another.
    • The system encourages you to cheat and work under the table, thereby encouraging cheap exploited labour.

    Suggestions for a Better System:

    • Help you make the transition to work – let you work and give you support.
    • Workers should answer your phone calls.
    • Include transportation money in the general benefit, not just for volunteering.
    • Should be able to get better training – for one year, not just a 3 month program.
    • Reward people for making an effort.
    • Provide a life coach to help you create a plan.
    • Recertification of foreign credentials.
    • Treat people like human beings, don’t just enforce the rules.
    • Temporary employment should be allowed.

  • On Sunday, October 4, Ben said:

    POINT ONE: I have had so much negative experience with being on social assistance and ODSP, that I thought I would write down my views. First off in brief my disability is one of major depression disorder to the point that I can no longer handle occupational stress. I have what you would call a non-apparent disability (if you met me in the street you would not know I had one unless I told you). It took 3 years to get off welfare and into ODSP and the only way I got it was through legal aid. I had to go through all the way to the social benefits tribunal, where they saw my disability first hand when I broke down. What bothered me most about that is that the person at the time that kept turning me down for ODSP didn’t bother to show up at the meeting (no reason was given) and nobody brought it up. To me as an ODSP recipient there is already an attitudinal barrier. If a reason was given or an apology sent to as why they did not show up it would not have bothered me so much.

    POINT 2: Since I now received a retroactive payment which was over that $5000.00 limit at that time, as I am a single person, I was forced by ODSP to spend this money (which they owed me anyway) within 6 months or I would be cut off and had to verify all purchase by receipts. As you can imagine this made me have numerous receipts. When I sent the receipts in I was told by the worker that it was a lot to go through (which the worker conviently left out on my personal file and only admitted to sending the receipts back). I did what I was obligated to do, but the worker failed as she was too lazy to go through the receipts. And only because I gave her about a month bank statement and calling my member of parliament did the situation get resolved.

    POINT 3: I am considered obese and have high cholesterol. I get $52.00 through the special diet allowance, which allows me to buy fruit vegetables and even milk on occasion. ODSP reviews this special diet about every 2 years (since that’s what the doctor usually puts on it). Although great on one hand if I lose weight and get cholesterol under control it’s a great health benefit. However I would lose the 52 dollars once that happened., and would no longer be able to afford to buy the things that got me healthy which would mean I would probably go back to being obese and high cholesterol once that happened.

    POINT 4: There seems to be great confusion, from workers, recepients, and ODSP forums etc. about reporting income. My feelings on this are that if the income is considered exempt it should never have to be reported. Exempt income (ex·empt  1. To free from an obligation, a duty, or a liability to which others are subject: exempting the disabled from military service. 2. Obsolete To set apart; isolate.adj. 1. Freed from an obligation, a duty, or a liability to which others are subject; excused: persons exempt from jury duty; income exempt from taxation; a beauty somehow exempt from the aging process. 2. Obsolete Set apart; isolated.n.One who is exempted from an obligation, a duty, or a liability. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009.) For example a gift or voluntary payment for any reason from any source as per current ODSP directives are exempt as income if it is not over $6000.00 in any 12 month period. If it was over $6000.00 dollars I can see the reason to report it. However if under $6000.00 within that time period, no ODSP recipient should have to report it. The report card section of voluntary gifts or payments should be changed to gifts or voluntary payments over $6000 in any 12 month period to avoid any type of confusion.

    POINT 5: I believe that some ODSP policies, directives and procedures fail to comply with the ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 2005
    “ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE: Establishment of policies, practices and procedures
    3.  (1)  Every provider of goods or services shall establish policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of its goods or services to persons with disabilities.
    (2)  The provider shall use reasonable efforts to ensure that its policies, practices and procedures are consistent with the following principles:
    1. The goods or services must be provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.”

    DIRECTIVE 2.3 and the entire directive 2.8 does not respect my dignity or independence for it creates a deterrent for me as a disabled person to enter into any type of spousal-like relationship and creates a deterrent and discrimination against people with disabilities and a societal attitude to not enter into a spousal-like relationship with anyone who is disabled.

    “2. The provision of goods or services to persons with disabilities and others must be integrated unless an alternate measure is necessary, whether temporarily or on a permanent basis, to enable a person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from the goods or services.
    3. Persons with disabilities must be given an opportunity equal to that given to others to obtain, use and benefit from the goods or services.
    (3)  Without limiting subsections (1) and (2), the policies must deal with the use of assistive devices by persons with disabilities to obtain, use or benefit from the provider’s goods or services or the availability, if any, of other measures which enable them to do so.
    (4)  When communicating with a person with a disability, a provider shall do so in a manner that takes into account the person’s disability.
    (5)  Every designated public sector organization and every other provider of goods or services that has at least 20 employees in Ontario shall prepare one or more documents describing its policies, practices and procedures and, upon request, shall give a copy of a document to any person.”

    POINT 6: There is always a constant anxiety that I will be cut off or suspended from my odsp benefits until I call the automated voice system to verify that I’m not getting cut off at the end of the month. For a variety of reasons I do not trust the team that is responsible for my case file, so much so that I asked under the privacy act for my entire case file from approx 2005 to present to ensure accuracy and that there was no current evidence of retaliation for standing up for my rights.

    POINT 7: Although I cannot verify a blocked number, I have caller ID. Usually when I ask the office or an ODSP rep a question leaving message on their answering machine (as I rarely ever get a real person to talk to) I usually get a call back from a blocked number but the person on the other end leaves no message. An ODSP number has never shown up on caller id; however there have been a few occasions where a message was left from an ODSP rep and the number showed up as coming from a blocked number. Due to safety issues, telemarketers, etc, I never answer a blocked number unless that person leaves a message so that I know who they are. If ODSP is calling and not leaving me a message on my answering machine which I truly believe is the case at times, I will not think it is of an important nature for if it was they would surely leave me a message.

    POINT 8: UNDER Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, “‘barrier’ means anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice; (‘obstacle’).” DIRECTIVE 2.3 creates a barrier for me in participating in AN ASPECT OF SOCIETY IN ANY marriage or marriage like relationships, for it punishes and puts an unhealthy burden on anyone I may have and interest in or anyone who may have an interest in me in a spousal like type of relationship. It punishes people and creates more stress for people who have a disabled spouse – this directive actually creates a discrimination against disability.

    “Requirements of Spousal Participation in an Ontario Works program: Participation requirements for a non-disabled spouse are mandatory, unless he or she meets the criteria for non-referral. (e.g. care giving obligations to a family member who is ill, elderly or disabled). If the person meets the criteria for non-referral, he or she should not be referred to Ontario Works employment service.” Again this directive puts an unhealthy strain on the disabled spouse as they would surely feel like they are a burden to the non disabled spouse which would be a strain on the relationship and a catalyst for separations or divorce – another example of a barrier for myself to participate in marriage or marriage like activities. Also, I do not understand – since ODSP and OW are considered 2 different entities, why do ODSP spouses have to follow OW rules?

    The entire directive creates a barrier for me and discrimination against non-disabled adults. In brief it allows me to have a spousal type relationship with another disabled person without any problems but punishes, puts a burden, would cause stress anxiety and exacerbate my condition by having a spousal type of relationship with a non-disabled person because that person would be forced to follow OW employment rules because I am disabled. This directive also causes people who or not disabled to discriminate against a spousal type relationship with people who are disabled, because it would affect their financial health. Once they knew of the directive the directive would act as a deterrent to the non disabled spouse to not become involved with anyone who is disabled, causing a discriminatory practice.

    POINT 9: To ensure that ODSP gets letters etc that were requested (because on one than more occasion they misplaced them in their office or could not find the person who had them) I have started the practice of using registered mail which costs me about $8.00 to ensure that nothing is lost. My feeling is ODSP should reimburse me. By their own admission things get lost in the mail. Which I have on my file. Anything that ODSP requires in writing and which costs a benefit unit to obtain should be entirely reimbursed by ODSP so as to lessen financial hardship that I am sure all ODSP clients are experiencing.

    POINT 10: The Transportation Cost benefit for medical travel should be eliminated and should be changed to .26 cent per Km (gas prices, etc – I’m being more than generous to ODSP on this one), so regardless if you traveled 10 km or 50 km for medical appointments travel you would receive .26 cent per km.

    POINT 11: For those that cannot afford public transportation or access to a friend’s or relative’s vehicle, ODSP in each municipality should make an agreement with cab companies where ODSP would pay the cab company directly for transporting ODSP clients, thus putting less emotional stress on the client which could exacerbate their disability.

    POINT 12: If the client feels that the team assigned to him or her is not acting in their best interest, the client should be able to switch to another team to avoid any type of retaliation from a biased worker. As is my understanding at the time, you are stuck with the team you have that handles your case.

    POINT 13: Basic needs should have an extra $200.00 added. Has anyone been to the grocery store or needed to buy gas lately, or buy a bus pass etc.? In the medical transportation directive, if your medical stay is an overnight, ODSP gives you certain amounts for breakfast lunch and dinner which amounts to about $200.00 / month so I would say ODSP has already admitted that that’s what a person needs for food per month.

    Under DIRECTIVE 9.12 MANDATORY SPECIAL NECESSITIES: Out of Town Travel: “If out of town travel is necessary for treatment or therapy (e.g. overnight stays en route for long trips, or during treatment that lasts for more than one day), it should be approved only to attend a hospital or doctor’s office. The most economical mode of transportation/accommodation that the approved health professional indicates a person can use, should be used. In these circumstances, costs for meals while traveling may be allowed. Meal allowances should not exceed $5.00 for breakfast, $8.00 for lunch and $15.00 for dinner (daily total $28.00). Alcoholic beverages are not covered.” Notice that this totals $28.00 per day, times that by 7 days in the week = $196.00 per week times 4 weeks in the month = $784.oo – $566.00 (as I am a single benefit unit) = a difference of $218.00 (I rounded it down); therefore at least for singles, they should get an extra 200 dollars. Also – note the word MANDATORY everyone in this directive.

  • On Tuesday, October 6, AB from Ontario said:

    I think the whole ODSP system should be reviewed systemically by the Human Rights Commission, and in its review, eliminate all policies, regulations and practices that discriminate against the rights of a person with a disability to live their lives otherwise like anybody else. By current practices, we are not only punishing the person with the disability, but also any potential spouses and adult children. Who says there is no apartheid in Ontario? Many people in receipt of this type of assistance feel they are being segregated from the rest of society and subject to legislated poverty and injustice. When is something going to be done about this?

  • On Wednesday, October 7, Angry in Ottawa said:

    I have been on ODSP a number of years. I have found ODSP is very unhelpful; they do not volunteer info. My current worker is decent; the one before I Googled her name and it actually came up! What I don’t like is that if they even THINK you have an overpayment, they start taking the money of your cheque – before the hearing!. I complained about this and was told (this was before my current worker) ‘If we are found to be wrong we will refund you the money’ I informed her that at 50% of the poverty line I could not afford more taken off i.e. a smaller benefit payment.

    I won my appeal and the Special Diet legal clinic lawyer told me ‘they will never leave you alone.’ That is true – I am on Appeal 9 now. They just keep coming back; don’t send out proper notices – or none at all. Think of all the taxpayer money spent on Appeals for $200 to $400 – I call them ‘make work’ projects; maybe they have to justify their existence. They are getting paid – back then it was $21.67/hour, we are not and it is very tiring to have to go through the process again and again. I now have THREE copy paper boxes (those nice boxes with the lids) just for ODSP. I called the police and said I wanted to charge someone with harassment; when they heard it was ODSP they laughed at me.

    Another thing; they amended the Act in November 2005 to exclude a lot of people, including those with letters guaranteeing them a special diet benefit until age 65. ‘Oh those letters are not mentioned in the Act so they are invalid.” That sets a dangerous precedent – you don’t like it change the law. Where will that end?

    Every Christmas I would get a request for something or other, (guaranteeing I could not have a holiday or time to myself) otherwise I would be cut off. They have tried to apply different tax rules to me (I have a letter from the Minister of Revenue that I am correct); that appeal is still outstanding.

    I do not like the fact that your benefit can suddenly disappear or part of it can, without any warning until you find your cheque/deposit short.
    This is extremely stressful. The people at 10 Rideau lost 3 out of 4 faxes I sent to them. I won one appeal by this; the ODSP woman started off by saying they had not heard back from me and hence they were not paying the security cable. I asked her ‘what is your fax number?’ – she gave me a number. I said to the adjudicator ‘Please turn to Exhibit 12, you will see highlighted ELEVEN faxes to that same number. Did they all go astray?’

    Lastly when I was at their office for a review, there were 12 people waiting and for over half something was wrong; promised letter not there, cheque not there, doctor signed on the wrong spot she had to go back, etc. The guy for the cheque (needed to buy workboots for a job starting that day) was told ‘come back tomorrow’. He became upset as the job would be gone the next day. He was quite irate.

    At that point I had had enough, seeing other people also treated this badly and sent an e-mail to Madeleine Meilleure concerning the incompetence of the staff. I informed her that this is what happened, what if the guy had a knife?; the employees are behind bullet proof glass but those waiting have no cover; that I was afraid to go back as I did not feel safe and if ODSP wanted to meet with me again it would have to be somewhere else.

    Her response? She sent the police to my door, they came at 10 pm. I only opened it because a tenant had died that morning and I thought they wanted to know if I knew him. Police report #07-241256 Aug 23 2007 Detective Walker. The result? ‘The M.P.P.’s complaint is completely unfounded.’

    They treat people in a demeaning manner and force us to fight for everything. The ‘financial adviser’ – for the incident at 10 Rideau I had an appointment – was quite rude when I asked her ‘what are your qualifications to do a review? Are you an accountant?’ She replied “I don’t have to justify myself to YOU!’ that gave it away she had no financial qualifications. She was also the one to try and use different tax rules. Under the Income Tax Act, disabled people are treated the same, except for items like the DTC. But not for reporting income and expenses on a Statement of Professional Income.

    ODSP staffers seem to get some obscene fun out of changing the rules to suit their office (why is it offices are different in treating same item/answering same question?). Both the Ombudsman Report ‘Losing the Waiting Game’ and McMaster University’s report by Lewchuck were very uncomplimentary.
    Thank you.

  • On Saturday, October 10, Cheryl Duggan said:


    Thanksgiving is a bountiful feast
    With lots of delectible treats.
    Dinner platters swimming in gravy.
    Eating more than the whole damn navy.
    This feast could cost over a $100 for one day.
    That’s not too high of a price to pay.
    What about those who are down on their luck?
    Without so much as a turkey toe to pluck.
    For people on O W and O D S P
    Celebrating with their families is where they’d like to be.
    Instead they stay home alone, socially isolated
    Being scorned, ridiculed and otherewise hated.
    Where is the dignity in scheduling their lives
    Around food banks, soup kitchens, and dumpster dives?
    It is disgusting that there is healthy food galore
    With nothing but charity and leftovers for the poor.
    Poverty reduction is not childs play.
    Never mind what the government will say.
    Forming a strategy around wee children
    Using them to build a political platform on
    They know that the cycle of poverty
    Is chronic, pervasive and hereditary.
    You need to start with the adults
    If you seriously expect to get results.
    Another $100 a month would make a huge difference
    To O W and O D S P recipients.
    Its high time you DO THE MATH
    People on assistance can’t afford to take a bath.
    Whoever defined the current rates based on needs
    Has left the system open to many discretionary deeds,
    Like ignoring peoples basic human rights.
    Addressing them would greatly relieve their plights.
    Lets give everyone the opportunity
    To enjoy some stuffing and Thanksgiving turkey.
    A Social Assistance Review is mandatory
    To change the outcome of this thankless story.


  • On Thursday, October 29, P-O’d in Ontario said:

    … and with the looming $25 billion deficit, I personally wouldn’t be surprised if the government takes a slash and burn approach to social assistance rates and benefits associated with it. Is there anybody out there telling the government that this is NOT acceptable? We already do NOT have enough to get by on … I am fearing being cut further back and my health and housing being put in jeopardy because of this.

  • On Thursday, October 29, Stuck in the crack said:

    As a disabled persons spouse, I went to school and paid thousands of dollars to enroll in a course that would ultimately allow me to open a business and become self sufficient. Not only was I taking on a debt, but ODSP deducted 50 percent of my earnings from my husbands disability, and I could not hire anyone to increase the revenue of my business that was growing. I worked in my shop 3 years before I myself fell upon illness and was having a hard time maintaining my clients on my own. Even though I was able to keep my business afloat, I needed to hire someone to keep up with the growing demand of clients in my business, my business was growing. After ODSP telling me that I could not deduct certain expenses, specifically regarding to deducting employee paycheques as a business expense that would ultimately be declared as included as my income. After they won their way and I had to give up my business that was doing so well, due to the rules of ODSP and the fact I was at that point partially physically disabled and then as a result of my circumstances broken down and mentally disabled, they then said I must comply with their Ontario Works agenda to secure employment with a minimum 35 hours a week working or I would be removed from my husbands benefits. I was unable to do this as I was very ill, so the worker found me to be in non-compliance. I was not in non-compliance, I resent that, I was ill and had no family doctor and still do not at this point 2 years later. I cannot find a family doctor and I remain on a list with a thousand others in my coomunity who are without one as well. Due to this, I cannot get necessary forms required by ODSP to confirm my illness has prevented me from working.because no Dr. or clinic you see will fill out the forms for a patient they dont have and know nothing about. I am alone, without resourse and my husband being discriminated against because he has to support me on his limited income. I find it particularily interesting that a system that is suppose to care for people with disabilities has no concern for then at all. As soon as they put me in non-compliance, it was the last my husband or myself has heard from them. Just recently after all this time he recieved a letter from them wanting to know the current status of the family in regards to our children. This was only to see what they could further deduct. I also find it repulsive that if your child is living with you they are responsible to contribute to the household income. I can tell you that my husbands disability income was reduced because they expect you to collect rent from your children, except the vast majority of recipients cannot force their kids to give them the money and cannot as parents throw them out on the street either.
    I will lose my house now, I suppose some would say that people with such a low income should not own a house, however rent would be higher in my case. When spouses didn’t have to work and were not required to participate in Ontario works I worked , everyday and took the deductions. I was healthy and able and did not choose to sit and do nothing. I resent the position the goverment is putting people in, saying sure you can start a business, that they support that, they in fact do not. I asked all the questions, I was told I could deduct employee expenses, I asked for the information and sat down with a case worker before deciding to open my business. If I would have been able to deduct business expenses for employees I would not had to give up my business. I also resent the fact that as a spouse, I am responsible for my husbands disability. There is no way to ever get away from being a single income, this is wrong. I have no idea what to do about my present situation. I am ill, without a doctor, I avoid going out because I run into people who ask me why I closed my business, I am ashamed and broken, I wasn’t before ODSP…Sincerely Stuck in the crack

  • On Wednesday, November 4, Another Whack Job from the Web said:

    The comments above are important. Why are people who are married to or living with a person on ODSP automatically forced to be on ODSP too? Would it not help some people get out of poverty by not counting spousal income against ODSP recipients? How about those who are capable of starting a business like the person above me “stuck in a crack”? If a person cannot run a business like any other savvy business person can, then how does ODSP expect them to make any money and get off the system eventually? Why does the government not see this is a trap that is an infringement on our human rights?

  • On Friday, November 6, Justin Mcnaughton said:

    I think the whole system is disgusting. I am a first time E.I. collector at 36 years of age after paying all my life, and although I have had no problems to speak of as of yet, I find the whole experience demeaning and humiliating. I think that they should make all contributions voluntary and allow you to opt of programs of this nature allowing private companies to enact a private unemployment insurance system which would deregulate the current market.

    If government had to compete with private companies for money, we would see reform happen almost immediately. How about the people who don’t qualify for instance? Where is their money? Why has the government taken these huge surpluses from the people and then used them in an illegal fashion to pay down our deficit ? A private company could not do this and would be held accountable but through legal red tape and discrete little known laws, the government has protected itself from recourse.

    My brother is an attorney and we have had long conversations about these laws and the current state of the system and let me tell you, it, a no win situation! We as tax paying citizens need to pressure government to handle this at the political level.

    I hope the supreme court of Canada decides otherwise and we see a huge reform in the way OUR money is handled, although I doubt it. This is the first time I have ever posted on a form but feel so strongly about the current state of things, I had to add my 2 cents so to speak.

    It,s no wonder people feel forced to resort to whatever they have to do to make ends meet. I think it is a shame that living in one of the G7 nations, with the wealth we have, recession or not, that people have to put up with this kind of government and their bulls**it policies that just do nothing more than rob us and demean everyone who is involved in the whole process.

    Thanks for the vent, good luck to all of you and keep fighting!

  • On Wednesday, November 18, chris Lam. said:

    I myself am a current ODSP member, and have been on Odsp since 2005 due to Degenerative joint Disease; Otherio Arthritis that has set into both knees, as well as my spine. I’m 38 years old now and have a hard time walking, and my doctor has me on pain meds for it.

    I have a problem with my odsp worker though, and well quite frankly this is why I’m writing this here is to ask for help.

    My problem is that every 2 months, my case worker cuts me off and harrases me. I don’t know why nor know what to do about it , or know how to file something on getting it stopped.

    I’m having mental breakdowns and lots of suicide thoughts as I’m being treated like dirt. And when I try to deal with the case worker, the case worker totally tries to aggravate me and calls me a piece of crap, etc. yes plain and simple!

    The stuff that she keeps asking me to give every 2 months in order to keep my cheque coming in is: 12 months of my bank statements, copy of my ownership for my truck, asking of any changes (understandable), asking for criminal record check abstract, driving record abstact, notes from my doctor, they ask about my sex life, and with who! Then have the nerve to tell me that I can’t have sex, and harass me over it when I wont tell them. And they ask other stuff. But it’s the same thing every two months! Like why? I have not done anything, I report any income I do make, I pay my rent as well as provide ODSP on request my rent receipts, and try answer most questions when they call or when I go to the office .

    Yet they continue every 2 months to call me and tell me that they are stopping payment unless I do what they say, and its usually the same questions and the same stuff. And I get treated like dirt every time I see them, and they tell me they own me and I have no rights!

    Any help would be good, I dont get a lot of income, barely enough to live on, and I only own a old truck for transportation, and they even question that.

  • On Thursday, November 19, Christina McDonald said:

    I don’t know if welfare works this way today but my story begins in 1989-90. I was a student who had just started college and thought things were great. I started having problems with my husband and we decided to separate, he got to keep the apartment we were living in, I got screwed.

    When I started school I needed all four wisdom teeth out. I had to use part of my student money to get it done surgically, then, once I lost my home I had to get a new place to live. Of course I had NO money for it, and so I ended up with going to welfare. They told me that I had to QUIT school in order to collect welfare. I tried offering to pay them back from my next loan, I tried everything I could think of, they would have none of it, it was quit school or no help.

    I quit school, and got their help. Life went on it is now 2009 and I CAN’T return to school because now I OWE GRANT MONEY to the tune of $670 because I withdrew from school early.

    My school life is basically over until I repay them, and the student loan people said then “maybe” they’d allow me to get another loan. Gee, great incentive to pay it.

    O.W. isn’t there to help you, it is there to ruin your life, set you up to fail and keep the workers employed. After all…..if no one needed welfare, no one would need those workers would they?

  • On Friday, December 11, Pat said:

    After several years of being on and off OW, I find myself on ODSP. I wonder if my mental health would be this bad if I had found stable and secure employment in my field a long time ago.

    In the five months I have received money from ODSP, I haven’t had a single penny for MSN (Mandatory Special Necessities). I am wasting time and OHIP money getting my doctor to fill out forms for special diet and MSN. I have been a diabetic for over 40 years (not a disability, I wouldn’t want it to be). I am disabled by a mood disorder.

    In other words, a doctor is being paid by OHIP to tell the social assistance system that Type 1 diabetes hasn’t yet been cured and I still need to take insulin and eat a proper diet.

    This is the stupidest rule I’ve know of.

    As for ODSP, I’m tired of trying to call my worker. I can’t count the dozens of times I tried to call about my cheque, hit the voicemail and only once did I receive a response – she wouldn’t even leave a message when my roommate answered the phone.

    When I was on OW, I would sometimes have these problems – esp. with MSN money. One quick call to my worker, often a message, yes, a reply within 24 hours and during the next 24 hours a deposit would be made to my bank account.

    Secondly, in discussion with therapists, I would like to be working part-time. This would be good for my mental health, not to mention financially. So, I am working with an employment counsellor who is part of the Employment Supports system. I wanted to take a course through a community college continuing ed program that would not only upgrade my rusty skills, but give me a certificate that is respected by employers.

    Employment Supports wouldn’t pay for the cost of tuition. At a mere $217, for the first course, and perhaps another $217 for the second, this makes no sense. I’m quite sure that money could be recovered from the Ministry of Community and Social Services in less than 2 months of my working.

    So, another stupid rule to get rid of. If social assistance recipients ae going to be able to find employment, they need marketable skills and they are prevented from getting this at our public educational/training institutions.

    Then there is the DAU – apparently because I was not “homicidal” my mood disorder couldn’t be serious enough to prevent me from working full-time and becoming economically independent. Now, I am intelligent and literate enough to read the Diagnostic Standards Manual and I’m not sure that is in any description of a mood disorder that I’ve ever seen. When is this unit going to be staffed by people who can read medical documents? Endless SBT hearings are costing the system money that should be put into the hands of those of us who are trying to manage our disabilities and function as well as we can.

  • On Sunday, December 13, TERI said:


    – you are emotionally, physically, physiologically and economically drained, your well being and independence is taken,
    – once upon a time you owned your own home, you had a job, money and a career, and two incomes
    – you end up in geared to income, now paying rent
    – you have to raise the children 24/7 on your own
    – you don’t eat to feed your children
    – you are responsible for feeding, clothing, housing, schooling, supplies, medication, transportation, doctors, dentist, specialist, band-aiding, protecting, your children from every thing and everyone
    – you distrust
    – you get depressed and have anxiety
    – you hope someone helps you
    – your children FEEL, HEAR, and SEE the poverty
    – your hydro, union gas and phone are getting cut off
    – you hope your job interview for mimium wage went well
    – you get the job and the daycare in walking distance is full and has a waiting list
    – the after school program has a waiting list
    – the school bus transportion declines your application for your 9 yr old child; they say you are out of boundary
    – you now have to pay the neighbour to walk your child to school on your minimum wage job
    – you borrow from peter to pay paul
    – you go to court for extra child support, you win only to have your geared to income rent increased
    – you no longer qualify for legal aid for further court action
    – you tell your children not to worry, they see your struggle
    – Ontario Works cuts you off, they say you bring in too much money
    – your family annual income for a single parent with 3 kids is barely $15,000.00
    – the POVERTY CUT OFF LINE FOR A FAMILY OF four is $36,000.00, you are below, below, below the cut off line
    – you now have no drug card and no dental card
    – your 17 year old wiill be 18 soon, your Canada Child Tax Benefit, your Ontario Child Benefit and your Child Support will be reduced
    – you are right where you started
    – you lost your minimum wage job
    – your child gets a part time job, your geared to income rent gets increased
    – you re-apply for Ontario Works again
    – you feel worthless,
    – you finally get a job making $30,000.00,
    – you are off Ontario Works
    – your geared to income goes to market rent, legal aid starts charging you to go back to court
    – you pay your dental and medical, school, recreational, all on your own
    – you go back to court, court says you pay half special expenses, and he pays half
    – you have done it alone for 8 years, 24/7
    – He makes $91,000.00 a year, he goes on vacation, he drives a nice car, he owns a home
    – You have educated yourself, you feel abused by your abusive partner, you feel abused by the system, you are the only one who will protect and educate your children,
    – again, you are left in the very same way you started out, LOW-INCOME AND CHILDREN still IN POVERTY.
    You are emotionally, physically, physiologically and economically drained, your well being and independence is taken,
    Child Support shound not be consider income.
    Change the way single parents are viewed in our system, it would go along way for the children who still live in poverty


  • On Sunday, December 13, Lyndel Hill on behalf of Kirsty Hill said:

    I am writing on behalf of my daughter who is severely Dyslexic, a disability that impacts on all aspects of daily life. A hidden disability. Without assistance she is unable to navigate the ODSP system as with most aspects of modern life – literacy and numeracy are essential for everyday life and for employment. She has the intelligence to work but can only manage a routine job that is practical such as cleaning. The jobs she has had she has loved. These are usual casual part time jobs but they improve her self esteem and give a structure to her day. When working ODSP claws back half of what she earns. If she earns $200 dollars in 2 weeks this leaves her with $100. Hardly enough for the TTC tickets that she needs to buy each month to get to the job. These jobs usually last a few months and often end when a slight pay raise of around 50 cents an hour becomes due. Obviously the employer can then start again with someone at a lower rate. How discouraging is this for a person who wants to work, is on time for work for the employer everyday and who by all reports does what is expected well. After all, these are usually jobs that no one else would want. It is impossible with the ODSP money allotted to make ends meet. Money is also needed for a special diet because of pre-diabetic concerns. All of $58 dollars per month. Does this buy the correct foods for such a diet? Certainly this is not possible. Without family support, which has so many regulations around what may or may not be contributed to the person with a disability, it is impossible to live at such a subsistence level. The rents in Toronto are also way above what any person could afford for an adequate standard of living. At present she is waiting yet again for help from a government agency affiliated with ODSP to find a part time job. Full time jobs are never offered. Our expectation as a family is that when one is found and she gets settled it will end again in a few months as the regulations around commitment to the disabled in the work force put little onus on the employer. When she loses her job letters to ODSP outlining the changes will be needed. She cannot do this. This is what the Auditor General seems to have computed into his statistics regarding overpayments as when the work situation changes so does the ODSP contribution to the disabled person. My last point on behalf of my daughter is that no one in this society can live on under $11,000 a year and no one can possibly manage even if they do have a part time job as this hardly increases ther total income for the year. The Harris Government did a lot of damage and although this government is trying to make changes the change is so small that it does not even meet the cost of living. The 2% this year has gone on the TTC. Sincerely, Lyndel Hill

  • On Wednesday, December 16, John said:

    I have been on O.D.S.P. since 2000. It is always a fight to get anything out of them. I have Hep C, and when the doctor filled out the form for Special Diet, all O.D.S.P. gave me was an increase of $10.00 per month on my check. How is $10.00 a month supposed to help me get the proper food and vitamins to help save my health?
    This is so sad. And I think it is a game that they play because if you die, you are off the system, and it is one less person they have to support.

  • On Friday, December 18, mr.sickofthis said:

    Ok people, check this out – I think this is what they (ODSP) should do.
    1. I think they should have the rate of the cheque raised to the person.
    2. If you have a part time job and make under $600 a month they shouldn’t take money off your cheque.
    3. The people out there with kids should get more than they are getting now cause if they don’t get healthy food they will be where you are.
    4. Hydro is a pain for people like me so why doesn’t odsp pay for it out of the office themselves.
    5. Overpayment – so the office that you sent the info lost your stuff or didn’t enter it. Get rid of it cause it makes it hard when it is taken off the cheque.
    6. This the easy one – more money for the people.
    7. Last one – why is it so hard to get your worker on the phone? Like, come on, it shouldn’t take a hour on hold to have a 5 minute talk for more info.

  • On Friday, December 25, SAREVIEW said:

    The best way to bring social assistance into the future is to repeal the Act, shut down the social assistance system, and replace it with an automatic “PIB Provincial Income Benefit” of $25,000.00 to anyone who reports $25,000.00 or less on their income tax return.
    The financial well being of Ontario residents would have the money multiplier effect of boosting the Ontario economy both in terms of human freedom and consistent monetary circulation, providing a stability to the economy and every Ontario resident.
    To be clear, this is an income add-on benefit plan wherein the “PIB Provincial Income Benefit”, supports any reported income from $0.00 to $25,000.00 with a PIB of $25,000.00.
    For example:
    -If an Ontario resident reports $0.00 on their income tax return they would be eligible for PIB of $25,000.00 for a total income of $25,000.00
    -If an Ontario resident reports $100.00 on their income tax return they would be eligible for PIB of $25,000.00 for a total income of $25,100.00
    -If an Ontario resident reports $1,000.00 on their income tax return they would be eligible for PIB of $25,000.00 for a total income of $26,000.00
    -If an Ontario resident reports $10,000.00 on their income tax return they would be eligible for PIB of $25,000.00 for a total income of $35,000.00
    -If an Ontario resident reports $25,000.00 on their income tax return they would be eligible for PIB of $25,000.00 for a total income of $50,000.00

  • On Saturday, January 9, Andrea Shierson said:

    I am an OW recipient. More importantly I am an OW recipient who has done what agencies have not heard of. I am a sole parent who found myself in a bad situation. But I refused to let a system define my future.

    I was promised Second Career funding and started school at Durham College. Only to find out I was not even eligible for the program or the funding.

    I was not upset about the promised money not coming through I was more upset at the carrot that was dangled in front of my face like a donkey.

    Here I was with an opportunity for a better life, a new start, a hopeful prosperous future for me and my son. The picture I had in my head of my son in the audience smiling proudly at me while I accepted my diploma. Suddenly that picture was viciously ripped from my vulnerable hands.

    But then I grabbed that picture back. I almost gave up my fight to be in school. To be in a place I had every right to be. To walk through the doors of knowledge I could not wait to be embraced by.

    And I walked through those doors and said I am not leaving. You will have to take me kicking and screaming. So I stood my ground, went to all my classes and have just completed my first semester with honours.

    Every month I get cut off OW because I am in school. Every month I panic wondering how am I going to feed my child, buy diapers, provide the basics.

    Every day of that month I go to school with others who have no idea that I literally cried over spilt milk last night because I had no more formula.

    Little does the teacher know that reacuring sound he hears is my stomach growling because I have put every penny into making payments on a prior loan to hopefully get OSAP.

    Little does the arrogant man at accounting know my school account is not paid because of a government mistake. That I was what they described as a hiccup.

    The Second Career Program was so new and problems occur with new programs. Well I am no hiccup. I am a woman on a mission. I will not let the rest of my life be predestined to a life of poverty because I have had a rough couple of years.

    So here I am a Journalism student at Durham College, in a place I am repeatedly told I shouldn’t be. That this does not happen while on OW. While I made it happen.

    With the help of the amazing faculty of Durham College and an amazing financial aid office. I have finally been approved to reapply for OSAP.

    So to anyone out there who longs for an education like I did. Fight for it. Know that you deserve to be there just as much as me or the next person.

    That we are a part of a recovering economy. And that we all have the power, knowledge, intelligence, passion, and persistence to contribute to what we know Canada can be as a whole.

    And if we all speak as one we can make a difference to the changes that need to take affect immediately to OW and ODSP. Such as making education like diplomas and not just certificates available to OW and ODSP recipients.

    If Canada is shifting to a more knowledge based society why is a massive piece of society being left out? Why are we left out of their plan?

    Why are we being defined by our short comings? We are human, we are Canadian, we are the true north strong and free. We can be anything we want to be.

    So anyone else out there willing to share your story please do so, so we can once again be strong and dependant on ourselves rather than depending on a system that depends on people like us to work minimum wage jobs.

    Please share you story to help make changes such as education so we at least have a choice to work a minimum wage job, rather than being told this is all we can do.

    My experience on OW has been like waling through a labrynth blindfolded with cement shoes on with hurdles to jump over like some circus act with my baby boy on my back.

    But I’m making it, only because I chose to not give up and when every door closed and someone told me I would never make it I tried even harder.

    So thank you to the system that was set up for me to fail. Because I am a stubborn woman and love a challenge. And now I am in college for Journalism and will have the tools and knowledge to tell our stories.

    Knowledge is power and we all deserve to have access to it.
    Andrea Shierson

  • On Monday, January 11, Larry said:

    I am disappointed that the review committee is all Toronto based. I live in Timmins and I can be rest assured that nobody will address the issues of poverty as we people in Timmins see it. There are also no poor people on the committee, just those that make money from the poor. Thing will never change. It seems the more things are discussed, the same results occur again and again.

  • On Wednesday, January 13, Wheelchairdemon said:

    I had been off ODSP for 18 months but then an Access Bus strike and a shift change at work made continuing the job impossible. I no longer had dependable access to public transportation.

    When I first went off work on sick leave due to the stress caused by the limits of transit, I fully expected I would be able to return to work, so I applied for E.I. Sick Benefits. Little did I know that ODSP would later tell me I had to wait the 15 weeks for the federal benefits to run out before I could return to ODSP. I was even warned that if I were to apply to stop the E.I. so I could get medical coverage, I would place myself at risk of being permanently denied ODSP. This is outlined in Directive 5.1.

    At issue here is that I was only receiving $932.00 per month from E.I. and, when the job ended, the employee medical benefits were stopped. I also live in subsidized housing so I had to cope with a two-tiered rent calculation policy as per the Social Housing Act. If I was on ODSP or OW, my rent for this unit would have been capped at $87.00, but because I was on E.I. Benefits, my rent was 30% of my income, or $256.00. No consideration could be given to the fact I had no coverage for needed medical supplies or expenses.

    From August until December I was left with no choice but to buy medical supplies with a line of credit and do without the needed wheelchair repairs or the purchase of a replacement CPAP machine when my 7-year old machine died and couldn’t be fixed.

    During the first income review, the income support specialist informed me that they determine income eligibility by taking the amount that ODSP would give as a basic living allowance, and add eligible expenses. If the total was more than I got from Unemployment, then I would get a partial cheque, plus the medical coverage. Unfortunately, because I live in subsidized housing my rent was low, so the total of these two figures was $902.43. I was $29.57 short of eligible expenses to get the medical benefits and, without ODSP, I had to pay a lot more for rent. Needless to say I had to do without a lot of necessities.

    When E.I. ran out and I did the second income review I was finally able to go back on ODSP. During the December income review I asked the case worker why I had to sink myself into debt to buy medical supplies that average $78.00 per month (I used a line of credit), and do without other medical necessities; necessities that are a direct result of having a disability? Her answer was that the wording in directive 5.9 specifically lists eligible sources of income for which disability related items and services could be declared as exempt from. E.I. Sick Benefits was not one of them.

    She then added that, if my disability had required the Special Diet Allowance (directive 6.4), I could have been back on ODSP in September as long as the amount that was to be allotted for the special diet exceeded the $29.57 I was short on, in expenses. This is because the directive allows for the cost of food to be deemed as eligible expense no matter what the source of income is.

    I find this appalling, and to be honest, discriminatory. Why would the directives provide medical coverage for a disability that requires one to eat a special diet and not for one whose disability requires them to purchase of medical supplies, wheelchair repairs, a new piece of medical equipment, or whatever?

    For the record, I took the full-time job fully trusting the Employment Supports incentives and the rules that were in effect for rapid reinstatement. I even had to write the government to get assistance in being migrated off ODSP so that I had some protection if my job were to ever come to an end. I was not earning enough to be migrated off, but with the improvements in health, I was willing to take an income loss. The only way I could be migrated off and still qualify for rapid reinstatement was to work as much overtime as was possible and I did this. I did not earn enough to save the $5,000 that could have been in the bank at the time of the income review. If I did, it would have been easy. I would have used my savings to buy the needed medical supplies. Instead, I had to use my line of credit, go into debt, and possibly wreck my credit rating, so I could look after my health and keep a roof over my head.

    ** Note – a letter about this issue was sent to the Minister of Community and Social services, the Premier, and my local MPP.

  • On Monday, January 18, Johanna said:

    I gave up a good job many years ago to raise a family. When I decided to go back to work, no jobs were available (I have a hidden disability). I was on Ontario Works for 2 months before I went back to school; I had to get a doctor’s note so that I would not have to look for work during that 2 month period. As long as my son was with me I was fine; the system was just changing over from Family Allowance to Ontario Works.
    I went back to school to take a computer course, amidst many obstacles – the course was trying for me because I could not work as fast because of my disability and I had transportation problems because I don’t drive. After the course, I had a student loan to repay but no job. I got some part time work but that soon evaporated and I was back on OW.
    On the recommendation of family and friends, I finally applied for ODSP. It took almost a year to get because somewhere along the line there was an OPSEU strike which affected my claim.
    I am doing better on ODSP but I still have to watch how I spend my money – no money for extras. I do a lot of volunteer work but would rather have a paying job. However, under the present system, I would lose money if I made more than $200; you get to keep half your income and in return you get $100 for expenses. That would mean working for much less than minimum wage.
    When I talked to an income worker at a workshop about this she kept saying that I had made this money but she ignored the fact that I would be losing money because half of my monthly income would be taken off my monthly benefit.
    The underlying assumption that all people on assistance are lazy and spend money irresponsibly has got to change. Governments say that they can’t afford to pay us enough to live on; but they can afford giving themselves huge wage increases and bonuses. I will support any change to the social assistance system and know that this province and country would be much better off if the system were changed. I would rather contribute to the economy by adequate income (we spend money to support ourselves) than take from it in the form of social assistance.

  • On Sunday, February 7, David Thomasson said:

    The ODSP Act is the single largest source of discrimination against Ontario’s Disabled People. Every ODSP Director’s Decision Prosecution and Punishment violates the disabled person’s right to equality and due process. Please go to for full details. Please raise your voice for the human rights of Ontario’s disabled people.

  • On Thursday, February 11, Jay said:

    I hear that Mr. McGuinty and his friends only want to deal with the deficit of $24 billion and they are not going to protect Ontario wWorks and ODSP from cuts. I am worried that we’re going to get another Harris-like series of cuts, no more special diet, reduced shelter benefits, no extras. We are already struggling. When can we ever have any hope?

  • On Monday, February 22, Debi said:

    My husband walked out in August 2006. My children and I lost our family home in December and after almost 2 years of court battles he was ordered to pay child and spousal support in March 2008. In July 2007 I suffered a small stoke and was counting on his support payments to pay bills and keep a roof over our head. In May of 2008 he quit his job as a teacher and stopped his support payments. I had no choice but to go on Social Assistance and was then transferred to ODSP. The experience itself was humiliating, degrading and painful. The agent was kind but when she pushed a huge document in front of me telling me to sign it or I would not receive benefits, I signed because I had no choice. I was in pain and in need. I was later to learn that this document was called “Assignment of Support Order”. I did not understand it then, nor do I now, except to know that this single document means that I never really received any support from ODSP, I only received a loan from them. Every penny they have given me, they want back. I have been in court again and again (a stipulation of The Assignment Order), trying to get my Ex to pay his support payments. The ministry receives these payments directly from The Family Responsibility Office. Last year there was an overpayment of support to ODSP which should have come directly to me. It took me over 5 months to receive it. After calling, phoning and speaking directly to ODSP agents, I was told by them to contact my local MPP to track the money down. I explained that the money went to them and that I shouldn’t have to do this, that this was their job to make sure that I received this payment. I felt humiliated that I wanted this money that was rightfully mine. I persisted enough that finally I received a cheque from them. I have two daughters who are in university who have scrimped and saved and done without to be able to stay in school and get an education. One of my daughters is a dependant and originally 50% of any money she earned from her part-time job was deducted from my cheque. She has never received any help with transportation costs or tuition because she felt to embarrassed to ask for it. I have now found out that any money I receive from my FRO arrears will go directly to “The Ministry” and any money that is left over that is mine is considered an asset by ODSP and will be deducted from my future cheques. Why is it that ODSP punishes those that are responsible? I am too sick to work but my children are becoming educated, work part time jobs, and after seeing the toll ODSP has had on me do not want to be on social assistance. They want to be contributing adults in this society. ODSP is one big grab bag that everyone gets thrown in, tossed about and dumped out at the end of the day with a stamp on their forehead that says “HELP”. Around that is a red circle with a line through it.

  • On Monday, March 8, Angela Best-Longhurst said:

    On December 4, 2008, my husband died of a massive heart attack. He called me on the cell phone telling me he was having a heart attack. I called EMS and gave him CPR until the EMS arrived. I had to tell our eight year, ten- month old daughter that her father had died. This was so difficult. Now begins the hard part for my daughter and I. My husband died so suddenly, leaving us penniless. We were behind in our rent, we had no food, we couldn’t find any insurance – nor could we pay for his funeral.

    It was less than twenty four hours later when I contacted Ontario Works to get assistance to make the funeral arragements. Before the caseworker helped me over the telephone she started telling me that I can no longer afford my living accommodation and that I have to move into a basement apartment, with family, with friends or a shelter. Then she went on to say that she has been on her own for thirteen years. I got very angry and turned the telephone over to my friend. I really didn’t see why I had to listen to her insensitivity nor did I need her advice when I didn’t know if I was coming or going. She didn’t want to handle the paperwork because it was almost the end of the day and she wanted to go home. She sent me on a wild goose chase to satisfy all of her demands. The hospital called me regarding the delay in moving the body. The hospital followed up with caseworker to get the ball rolling. The body was released seven days after his death, for viewing, on December 11, 2008. The viewing of the body took place on December 12, 2009. Funeral services and cremation took place on December 13, 2009. I asked the caseworker for a Death Certificate and she said if I want a Death Certificate that I had to pay for the funeral. If this process had been expidited very quickly then we would have to avoid all these delays. Before we knew it, it was Christmas.

    I was jobless and the holidays were right on us. On the second of January I went to Service Canada to apply for the Widows and Orphan Benefit. Service Canada Lost the application. We had to reapply for the benefits. Everything took time to be processed.

    I started to look for alternatives and the only concrete thing I came up with was to update my education using OSAP. I submitted the information to Ontario Works via the monthly statement. My caseworker put a hold on my funding until I brought in all my documents. Then she started asking me about the application and distribution of the money and if I applied any to housing it would be considered as income. She said if I am not available for work then my funding gets discontinued. She told me that she was there to get me off the system. It took every bit of my energy to get started and then she ripped my focus from my studies away from me. I tried to get it back and slipped into a depression. Now I haven’t accomplished updating my education because of her negative behaviour and because I couldn’t pull myself up again this time to get moving again. I thought caseworkers are supposed to help you, not destroy your independent thinking and your world. This information shows you the lack of support from my caseworker which led to my depression stopping me from taking advantage of an opportunity I got on my own. If you aren’t allowed to think outside the box to achieve the impossible, you will always be on OW and caseworkers will always have jobs because the same people will be on the system year in and year out. Is this what my child’s and my lives will be like?

    I had an appointment on May 25, 2009, with another caseworker for child care subsidy. I missed my appointment and called on the twenty-sixth to reschedule the appointment. I left a message with my own caseworker, and a message wih the caseworker that I had the appointment with regarding the subsidy for child care. My caseworker erased her messages and never returned my call. The other caseworker later returned my call after two weeks telling me that there was a reassessment of job function and she was told not to speak to me. Eventually I spoke to the Supervisor, and asked for this person to be reassigned because I felt that this person was toxic. The supervisor tole me that caseworkers are never reassigned and I said maybe this was not the place for me or maybe I should contact the media. By the time I got home my caseworker and another worker teamed up to work with me and eventually my original caseworker was replaced. The new caseworker has been good to me in the short time that I had the opportunity to use her services. She is currently sick and away from the office. It is unfortunate that you are forced to use the media just to get action. All the action I got is because I keep searching, looking for help so that I can move forward and take charge of my life. It seems that being on OW my life seems to be more complicated than ever. I wish that all my financial obligations would be taken care of so that I can concentrate on getting my daughter and I back to a normal life as quickly as possible. If there is an angel or miracle out there to help us I would take it so fast your head will spin. Realistically I don’t see an angel or a miracle out there that will help my daughter and I out of this difficult situation.

    Another example of undermining me happened when my caseworker sent me a letter cancelling my Ontario Works (OW) funding. I got really crazy because I had all the bills coming in with only CPP, Ontario Works and Child Tax Benefits to house, feed, clothe, pay utilities and cell phone. 100% of CPP was deducted from OW leaving us with a total of $357.00. I am always in a negative cash flow, just trying to robbing Paul to pay Peter. She never gave me and increase in my housing charge but instead she made me sign a document stating that my husband was dead. Just how cruel can you get? I recently received the approval of ODSP, and OW is currently working on this. I am not sure how this works so I can’t make any statements on problems I may encounter. My biggest problem is, will ODSP take off 100% of the Widows and Orphans Benefit from CPP? Because if this is done I am no further ahead, and how am I supposed to pay my arrears and live? I am currently under a doctor’s care and not working. I feel trapped – like damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I just have to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is my story, and this is what I am going through. I have tried not to use names because this is a true story. This is currently happening to me and more that is too numerous to mention.

  • On Thursday, April 1, Roy Whitman said:

    Well I got accepted for ODSP on Monday. Ya hoo, like that’s where I want to be in life. Then my worker calls and tells me that she found that I owe an overpayment of $3000 to OW from 1993. I laughed and said, what do you mean, I have been on OW since then and nothing has been said about that? I think it is kinda neat how my cheque was to be for $3400 now its $400. Like, wow. I think I will take my half of a heart and screwed back and go back to work till I die, which shouldn’t take long. I would have been worth more dead. But, oh ya, I had to cancel my life insurance. This sucks. I feel as though I have become a burden on my wife and children.

  • On Wednesday, April 21, Stuck in the Crack said:

    Hello, this is “stuck in the crack” again. You first heard from me last October. Well, nothing’s changed. Still have no doctor, unable to get medical forms filled out for ODSP, so I guess I’m still in ‘non-compliance’. I have degenerative disc disease, facets disease, and a tumour on my uterus and sciatica. Pretty sick and my husband who is on ODSP is looking after me on his single income. I keep wondering what I would do if I didn’t have him. Not much else to say. Every day is a struggle. My children have left me now – they don’t understand the system and just think I have given up. They think there is something I can do to change my situation. I can’t even walk around the block. Not much to say except it would be nice if I could afford medication, being as I am not even included on a drug benefit card, can’t even fill prescriptions when I have had to go to the hospital. I’m a non-person I guess, so tired of fighting.

  • On Wednesday, September 8, Kristin said:

    Well I’ll start right at the very beginning, in 2006 I went to Brock university for sociology while i was there I was sexually assaulted on campus. After the legal system completely screwed me over and the guys were never charged I figured I would do better off closer to home so I transferred to Carleton university for sociology, in both these programs I received OSAP. As a consequence of my assault, borderline personality disorder and generalized anxiety disorder began to manifest itself. With these disorders now rampant I ended up dropping out of school and moving back to my small hometown. Like any small town it was a vortex, with my lack of motivation, my lack of self-esteem and the fact I had no sense of belonging I was dragged under into the world of addiction. I ended up losing my bartending job as there were not enough hours and it was at this point I applied for ontario works. I stayed on ontario works throughout the whole winter of 2009, supporting my drug addiction and contributing absolutely nothing to society. As my addiction problem worsened my family picked up on it and reached out to me determined to help me get better. I began seeing a psychiatrist, mental health and pathways, I attempted to work however it was way too soon and I couldnèt handle being back in the workforce yet. At one point I ended up defaulting my OSAP loan in order to pay my rent as I really had no other choice. I decided my best bet was to go back to school and finish what I started, I opted for the social service worker program because those were the people that pulled me out of the rut I was in. With so much personal experience I had to offer in this field I would be crazy not to choose it. When I began my program OW informed me that they may be able to assist me with tuition, books, school supplies etc. I was then informed that they were not able to help me with tuition, then a week later I was informed they would not be able to help me with my books or school supplies…then another week later Ièm informed because I am a full time student I dont qualify for OW at all. So I am now a full time student with a mental disorder, a recovery addict struggling with every inch of my being to go somewhere, to make something out of the shattered fragments of my life… and I get turned away. how am I to pay my rent, my hydro, how do i get to school, how do i pay for my tuition, my books…What this tells me is that it is ok to be a drug addict and do nothing, sit at home and drain the economy…but its not ok to go to school and get help. explain to me how this is fair!! im so emotionally drained…you can only take so many kicks to the head until youre completely disabled…i keep fighting but honestly how much more do i have to fight.

  • On Friday, October 8, sylvie gravel said:

    I agree with you all’s… We are treated like we are not Canadians, because we can’t work, we have to suffer more and are families… This is one of my situations with ODSP… ODSP took my dignity and my basic human rights, because I can’t work I am being punished and my daughter, we have $1245 a month and her father pays $450 a month for support, but it goes to ODSP and not for me and her. So in reality they only have to pay me $845. It should not be that way. With that extra money I could have put it in an education fund for my daughter and rsp savings for me. My god where are my rights? And there is so much more that ODSP is wrong and that their policies will never let us get ahead. It will keep us in poverty and going to food banks… MY RENT is $875. Can they do the math, because we are all starving. How can we save for the future, we do’t have a future if they don’t change the system. My god I have so much family around Ontario, and they are so mad. They pay their tax and they never knew that ODSP work like welfare (Ontario Works). They just could not believe how they treat their tax money like that, they make it seem like they are doing good things with the money for people that are disabled, but they are starting to realize how we are really kept in poverty and our basic human rights are being violated and nevermind our dignity. That’s gone. Well the more people I make aware, the government won’t have a choice in changing the system the way it works, they should to something or else I think an election will come soon if they don’t do something for people like me. When taxpayers are getting mad in the way they are cheating the people that didn’t ask, or was not their fault that they are disabled and need help. They see what they are doing to us. So the more I tell people how it really works the better for us. So keep on passing this around and maybe we will see real change happening for poor, disabled, parents, children, youth, seniors. We should have the same rights as workers. We didn’t ask to be disabled. Sylvie Gravel.

  • On Friday, October 8, sylvie gravel said:

    My name is Sylvie Gravel and I need your help. I was in my second year of college when I was disabled in a diving accident and it changed my life for ever. Plus I have bipolar disorder and fybromyalgia and anxiety. Now I am reduced to being supported by the government with ODSP. I never had a chance at working and that’s what I always wanted. But that was not to be for me. So for a little while I had to be on welfare with my two kids, until I got ODSP… So now my kids are older and I just got a big reduction in my income because my son who is 19 got a job and I took him off my ODSP. So I said, now you can get your own food and supply and help me with the phone and gas money and all that, and try to get a vehicle so you can go to college after. But no no… its seems that ODSP took it in their hands to decide that they would but him as a boarder and took $100 off and plus the reduction I got off $280 because he is off my ODSP so I lost almost $400 just with him and then they took another $100 off because I am helping another boy who is 18 and going to high school and he still has 1 year and a half of high school. And I said, well you can stay here so he and my son share one room and the boy has no income and the father died in March. So now I lost another $100 because they count him as a boarder. So in total I have lost about $500 of my cheque. My daughter is 17 and she is in high school so before all this me, my daughter, and son were receiving $1730 a month and now, because I took my son off my ODSP and for helping a boy that was on the streets, now my income is $1245 for me and my daughter… I have no rights they took that right out of my hands. When I made the decision to take my son off of my ODSP and take that boy in house, my case worker and I talked before I made those decisions and when I told her that I was going to take my son off of ODSP and just make him get his own food and supply and help me with other stuff, I had to send her a letter stating that fact and I have a copy of that and I clearly said that I was not charging him for boarding. She never told me she would put him as a boarder, or that other boy. I never was told that she would put them as boarders, so when i receive my income with all that reduction I had an anxiety attack, and lots of stress. He is my son, this is my house, I should have the right to have who i want in my house. Where are my rights? I am not on welfare, I am disabled. The two should not be treated the same… I should be able to have my income I deserve, the income I would have had if I wouldn’t have gotten hurt, or with my mental disorders, that’s want they should base it on. Give me the right to do as I please especially about desisons who and what is in my house. It’s like don’t don’t understand they are punishing my kids for me being disabled. They should be able to keep their job and what they make to themselves. It should not be anyone’s business how much they make. I should and I do deserve my own income, that would be based on how much I would have made at my job before I got injured. I feel like they should really seperate the two. I am not on welfare, they should not be in my business. People like me that are disabled and were working hard to get a life and a good job and it didn’t work out because I got injured and got a mental disorder, it changed the course of my life. Well I should not be punished and be in poverty and not be able to do anything with my life or help my kids and my future grandkids. They will dictate who stays in my house, who gets what, who’s working, how much, wow, man this is not right. My human rigghts are being violated. I am going to be poor, my kids will stay poor cause they won’t be able to save any money for a car to go to school or even to go to work, ’cause hear in the north you have to have a vehicle to go to work or college, and you need gas and insurance… So because of me being disabled we are all going to suffer… Wow, it should not be any one’s business. I should have an income for myself that it is based on what I would have been making if I wouldn’t have been disabled… That would make me feel like a human being, because right know I don’t feel like I am one or that I am being treated like one. Where are my rights? Me making the decisions… I don’t have no say… I just can’t understand this… Welfare and ODSP should not be treated the same… I should not have any restrictions…my disability is my restriction why should I have more when it was not my fault in the first place? Please can you help me… It needs to change. I am 37 years old and me and my family don’t deserve to live like we are on welfare. I am disabled. I have no choice. My choices were taken away from me. Why should my government do the same? I have been receiving help with an attandant for 7 years because I can’t do day-to-day living on my own and my doctor gave me a prescription for a medical bed almost two years ago and ODSP only gives $1500 and those beds are like $3000 and there’s no way I could pay for that as you can see. So I still sleep on my lazy chair upright because that’s the only way I sleep and I sleep 5 hours that’s all for the last 5 years. I feel so useless, and how can I concentrate on my gentle yoga, light walking and stretching? What’s the point? I feel like they want me dead then they won’t have to care for me. Like I wanted that in the first place… I have no rights and I just don’t know anymore. I am no human, I am just a useless human being. And there’s more, I just found more and more that is so wrong and against my human rights, the list just goes on and on and how people at the office that takes care of your file makes you feel like a useless human being, by saying, well it’s the taxpayer’s money. Well what about the $450 you have been taking from my child support for 5 years now? It doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to us. What’s the point in having the ODSP program if they take your money when they are supposed to give you your amount you are allowed in the first place? Just like others, I am being ripped off by my own government and I can’t do anything about it. Where is the justice for me, for my basic human rights?

  • On Tuesday, October 12, sylvie said:


    OUR Government has to start helping the one million Ontarians that live in poverty. We have been waiting to hear the “good news” that will make our lives easier and to give us hope, whether we are in receipt of social assistance, disability benefits or low wages. The news media reports that your Government plans to provide meaningful assistance to address the problem of poverty. What about PROTECTING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES? The Government of Canada has a duty to change there policies and initiatives, on poverty, discriminating on our rights to have the same incomes as working people,and to be treated just like everyone else in canada, regardless if that person can work or not. Having our lives reduced to needing help, is hard in itself, When its because you where disabled is even harder to accept the life changing affect it as on you and your family. To be reduced to having your whole life in the hands of higher people, It make you feel even more worse and useless. MY choices are not my own. I have to comply with all rules, of ODSP or I get punished financially. The current legal and legislative of the government of canada, doesn’t protect the equality of poverty and people with disabilities. My Canadian charter of rights and freedoms in 1982 guarantees that I have the rights to EQUAL PROTECTION and EQUAL BENEFITS without discrimination base on my mental or physical disability or because I can’t work like other canadians. The Canadian human rights act is supposed to protect me and not let my ODSP PROGRAM AND ITS RULES CAUSE ME ANY UNDUE HARDSHIP. Until you and other members of your Government work your policies at the ground floor level like, we can only see the situation getting worse. MY COMPLAINTS are that the LAWS are suppose to protect me and my rights to be treated like other working canadians and to not have my human rights violated are discriminated because I am disabled and i can’t work mentally or physically. The ODSP PROGRAM HAS CAUSE ME UNDUE HARDSHIP IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:
    1. I’m a disabled person who can’t work. I shouldn’t be punished or be discriminated against because of that, and kept in poverty that cause me undue hardship and my family.
    2. MY INCOME SUPPORT should be the same as a working person. I didn’t ask to be disabled. The choice to work is out of my hands. The rest of my life should be my choice but because i can’t work i am being discriminated and punished. I have the right to have the same lifestyle as other working family. But as the ODSP program stands I have no rights because i can’t work so equality is out the window because i’m kept in poverty and stripped of my dignity and it robs my family of a normal life like other canadian families that can work by their choice. I have no choices. MY Income was reduced from 1730 to 1245 because 1- I took my 19 years old son off my odsp so 285 plus they put my own son as a boarder and took 100 dollars more off then another 100 dollars for a 18 year old that is in school, has no money, pays me nothing and shares the same room as my son so why should he pay for the same room that they are making my son pay for when that room was already mine in the first place. Where is my right to be like other working families that this doesn’t happen to…just because i am disabled and need income assistance. It gives them the right to be in charge of my life.
    If i was a worker, I would not be discriminated, and stripped of my human rights. It would not cause me and my family undue hardship and have privacy like other canadian families that don’t have all this restrictions to have an INCOME. I’m being made to feel less of a member of canada because of my disability and that I’m not able to work. I’m a burden to to tax payers with no rights to my own life, without a decent income like other workers. I do not deserve to live in poverty and be dictated on every aspect of my life. I didn’t choose to be a non worker. Its something i have to live with. I should have a income that would give me peace of mind. No rules telling me how, who, where, what, when about me or my family. I should have the same rights as a working person. Should not be discriminated because I’m not a working person. MY child support should all come back to me and my child..we deserve that money for our future. It belongs to us not the government. She deserves a good education and i deserve something for my future. They would have to support me anyways just like others. If we were lucky enough to have that amount of support. It should be are right to have it.
    3. Living Expenses. I would love to work, but my life path was not met to be that way. That choice was taken away from me and now all i think about is paying rent, am i going to have enough for food and not healthy food, thats out the door, and how can my family get ahead if they take away all our incomes. I need to be treated more fairly. My life should not be poor because I’m disabled.
    I’m considered a burden to the tax payers and society.
    4. MY personal life has to be reported, who lives with me, who has to pay me, how much do they make. I should have my own income based on what i deserve just like other working person. My family should be left alone. It should be separated from me. Its me that is unable to function in society NOT MY FAMILY. I should not be discriminated because of my disability and my family should be left out of that. My child support is being taken from my child and me so the government can pay my income support when they have to support me anyways. Its being discriminating towards me because I’m not a working person AND DISABLED. My child and me could have that 450 child support for the last 5 years and not suffer any poverty and undue hardship and put some for her education in a saving funds or something and for me. I could have had some for my old age in a rsp fund or something. But again that human right was taken away from me because i can’t work so I’m being treated differently then other canadians because i’m a person with a disability and my family has to suffer some undue hardship also. IF those things i listed are changed i believe that my health, stress, lack of food, never having enough, feeling like a loser because i can’t work and be like others hurts a lot. its very hard to accept and live with. When your own government rips all your human rights, it leaves you feeling like you are a burden to society, its decrated and its humiliating and it affects your health and so much more. I have every right to be treated like other working people. I didn’t ask to be disabled. Give me my basic human rights back. I deserve that much.
    CLOSING: Changing the system that affects people who never asked to be supported by the people and government, should not be treated that way. How would you feel if you got disabled or someone you love. They have to rely on a program like ODSP OR OW, and you get stripped of your money, privacy, income loss, poverty, never enough food, suffering with pain on top of worrying about your future and your kids future when there’s nothing you can do. You can’t save money at all, not with this ODSP program, you think about paying rent and getting food let alone trying to save. There is never enough for that. You would be so depressed at being on this program,that you would wonder why am i being stripped of my dignity, my rights to live like other working people. I sure didn’t see my life like this or ask to be like that. THat choice was taken away. If i could mentally and physically work i sure would, but that is something i had to accept and live with. I don’t need a program making me feel worse as a human being. Please give me my human rights back and don’t discriminate against me because I’m disabled and not able to work like other canadian people and family. MY family and me deserve the same consideration like them.

  • On Wednesday, November 3, First month back to work said:

    I am a spouse. My husband is on O.D.S.P. I was taken off because they said I was in non compliance when I was ill myself but I didn’t have a doctor so couldn’t get the forms filled out to be in compliance. I am back to work, have several health issues myself but could no longer afford to be ill so please don’t take this as I am fully able because I am not. I am just now as of days ago with a new doctor after being without one for 3 years. Anyway, my husband just submitted my earnings for my first month back to work and this was the result of my part time job at minimum wage. He got a cheque for $115. Yep they took off everything but that. Also they deducted a boarder fee for my son who does not pay board because, quite frankly, he’s trying to save for college. Despite the fact I have worked my entire life up until I became sick I have not been able to save one cent to help either of my children because of the deductions and overpayments O.D.S.P. takes off (from my minimum wage job). My son works less than 14 hours a week at his current job, just finished high school. So now, I am in the position that I am basically solely supporting the household, even though I still don’t make enough to cover all the expenses, not even including the medications my husband requires which are not covered under the O.D.S.P. medical card. When we asked about the boarder fee being deducted this is what we were told by the lady at the office, and I’ll add when she told us this it was very degrading as she snapped YOU CAN’T LIVE ANYWHERE IN ONTARIO FOR FREE. Well pardon me but yes you can if you can’t live anywhere on your own, that would be HOME. How does this government have the right to tell me I have to charge my child rent, especially since I don’t receive rent? However the government receives rent from deducting it from my husbands cheque. What’s next, are they gonna count the rooms in my house and decide to send over tenants to fill them and take that off too? I mean why not ? I’m furious. I should also explain that my husband I only “live” together. If I move out, I was also told he would be forced to sue me for support or his cheque would be denied. I should also make note that while I was sick, the year I was off and in “non compliance” he received no extra money on his cheque for me. In that time not once did I hear from the office and quite literally gave me some sanity until I had to go back to work or lose the house. At that point, the only reason they called was because I was back to work and they wanted to figure out how much further they could deduct. They were full aware I was sick, it was noted, but offered me no advice or resource to help during that time despite my efforts to seek help. $115, that’s what he is left with. Where is the dignity for my husband and why am I solely responsible to support him for the rest of my life with no hope of saving for even my own retirement or even enough money to fix a car I require to work or god forbid my furnace blows?

  • On Tuesday, November 23, Cindy Bissell said:

    Just recently I got cut off from the ODSP because my earnings were too high and just recently I did income review with low cost housing. My rent is going up to $763 a month. I wrote a request for my older son to move in with me to share the cost of living. When I told my worker at the ODSP about my rent, she said I still did not qualify for a cheque because they only cover $416 of the shelter cost for a single person. When I mention about my son moving in to share accommodation, they told me I needed to get a letter from low cost housing. When I called low costing housing about a letter, they refused to give to me and just said that my son has to pay $109 of the new rent of $763 and I have to pay for $654 of the rent. This is not what I wanted. I want a letter of proof to give to ODSP that we are doing shared accommodation that my son is paying for half and I am paying for the other half.
    What is wrong with this system? I should mention that my apartment at market rent is $809 and low cost housing will paying for only $46 of the rent. What is my human rights here? Can I get the letter and can I do shared accommodation?
    Please help me. I don’t know what to do.

  • On Monday, November 29, Carolina.S said:

    I am an OW recipient. As everyone says, post-secondary education is very important to get a good job. In my case, I am well educated, have a college diploma in Social Service Work and a university degree in Law. I’ve been unemployed since December 2008, and been on Ontario Works since then. The system creates fear among people. I am scared to do things independently according to my knowledge because you have to consult your case worker before you do anything. I feel like I have no freedom to express myself, make choices or find alternatives to get out of this system. I am young and I’ve always worked and being on Ontario Works makes me depressed. I feel so frustrated and worthless! The case workers and employment consultants want me to go out and find a job, but I have no money to go out. I have no money to buy food; how am I supposed to afford a bus pass or tokens? I am a prisoner in my own house! My welfare is $585 and my rent is $400 and I am left with $185 for the rest of the month paying three of my bills and depending on food banks. I’ve worked hard to pursue my education, and I’ve volunteered to gain experience but I am still unemployed. Education is freedom and I feel like I’ve lost that freedom being educated. Ontario needs to create more jobs for underprivileged people and the system should not cut down on every penny or raise the rent if an OW recipient starts working. If there aren’t any jobs for graduates, then the universities and colleges should stop taking new registrations. I am a graduate without a job and I have the potential to work and I deserve a well paying job and so do others. So Canada, I am living in poverty with a promising education you gave me, now help me get out of Ontario Works.

  • On Saturday, January 15, james chamberlain said:

    i am so tried of hearing from odsp they can’t give me more money. i have no car, i have cpp income, i cant get a loan, i also cant get food. i have to sell my home so i can get out of debt. it just makes me plain angry.

  • On Saturday, February 5, Stuck in Poverty said:

    Because I am married to someone on ODSP, I learned that my income is not mine. When I earn a dollar, my wife loses fifty cents. Perhaps, when Dalton McGuinty earns his big salary from us, for every dollar he makes his wife should lose fifty cents from HER income! It is only when this is done to them, will these people ever understand why this does not make any sense. I am already holding two jobs and going to school nights and my family still lives in poverty. My income is taxed back more than most millionaires.

  • On Monday, February 14, Catherine said:

    My comment to myself every month – “Why do they keep persecuting me for things I have not done??? I am not a criminal… only a person in a lot of pain.”

    I am continually getting cutoff letters (and rarely phone calls) every month regarding my reports and situation. My mental health would probably be a lot better if I wasn’t seemingly convicted of a crime every month. I have been getting cutoff letters approx every 2 months and phone calls regarding my earnings, or lack thereof, approx every 3 months.

    I was told a year ago that if I didn’t apply for CPP disability then my ODSP would be cut off. My disability includes not being able to fill out forms because of detail.I was lucky (really???) to know a manic/depressive person who told me that there was help out there. My workers (plural – because they are all sick or on leave, I suspect because of the changes) and my psychiatrist did NOT know about CCAC. I called 211 or 311 and they told me that there was a service available to help me out with my crisis of filling out these forms. I have already been told that I will get a letter next month (March) regarding the CPP app and the letter that will say that I have been cut off ODSP. I told my absentee worker that March was too soon, but she said it was the way the system worked and she couldn’t do anything about it.

    The system is that (1) if you are lucky enough to get uploaded from EI to OW to OSDP, then (2) they threaten you to make a CPP Disability Claim to upload to the Federal Gov’t… or else. So I await my next threat from them…

    For the last few months I have been getting letters that my account (sic) has been suspended, which creates hours on the phone because my last worker and the current worker are out on sick leave. The receptionist (after 1/2 hr or more on hold… to answer) says that she has no access to my account and transfers me to the voicemail that I just finished telling her that I had already accessed. My only saving grace is that I complained enough about my last 2 workers always being on leave and unable to contact… so I finally was connected with a wonderful person who has actually gotten things done, to a certain extent!!! I have only talked to my current worker once and she has been on leave every other time I try to contact her… my previous worker has been on leave for months!!!

    My latest cheque did not have my Special Meal Allowance. I have asked many times for support in planning my shopping and cooking for lowering high choleserol and high blood pressure, but there is no service available. Also, I did not get my Medical Transportation Allowance this month, so only one visit to my docs/pharmacist for Feb.

    Being “disabled” under “ODSP” is a full time job for me and I am very tired of spending all my energy and TTC and walking (1 1/2hrs each way to save TTC) to “correct” ODSP issues and justify my existence to them!!!

    I NEED A LIVEABLE ALLOWANCE AND THE TIME / OPPORTUNITY / SUPPORT to find an appropriate “work at home” job….

    It is very late now, but I couldn’t go to sleep without airing my frustrations to a service that is “too much by the book of the 1920s”…. sarcastically. Would you all be happier giving us the shock treatment??? NO, of course you wouldn’t because there are no facilities left that take care of people “off the grid”…

    I am sooo far from done airing my POs about the service, but it is late and sirens are again (as usual) going off outside… I am now living in the 2nd most dangerous area in the GTA… but that is another story for another time…

  • On Thursday, March 10, Nina Louise mccutcheon said:

    In 2009, I lived at 365 Simcoe St for 2 years. My landlord was not taking care of his property and I was getting ill ongoingly not knowing why. Later I had a new batch of kittens born that lived for 5 weeks, then became ill, holding them in my hands, and trying to get help from humane society. No one helped, and they died. I later found out it was a case of black mold. I was inhailing, I was put on medication because I had an upper respiratory problem, then reported it to city hall and it was put on A channel news. ODSP lied on TV saying they gave me full financial help, when in fact they did not. I had to fight constantly for money to survive. I travelled on my monthy wage with a severe upper respirtory infection. After a month they decided to give me $250.00 to stay one week in a motel, but not enough to eat or any other transportation rights. For 6 months I travelled in order to survive. This house was shut down and sold to a new owner. Nothing has been done about it since. I’ve been suffering as a result ever since on the streets of London, Ontario. I believe this place should be restored and returned to the client, knowing the fight and life expectancies of the fight. Also this place was one that had a lot of good memories, and was an example to society concerning lives today. Others spent money that lived in back of the house that they did not have, trying to work with the landlord who claimed to be a Christian landlord.

  • On Thursday, March 31, Harris said:

    OW or social assistance is giving a very hard time to poor people because ow is very small money. Nobody can easily survive. Plus every month will come a suspension letter. Finally, $1100/per month for a 3 person family, everything included maximum. bye

  • On Friday, April 8, Brad said:

    One major issue I have with the Ontario Disability Support Program is how it treats those who are on the program who choose to or are lucky enough to get married. You see, when someone on ODSP gets married the Ontario government says it now becomes the responsibility of the working non-disabled spouse to support their disabled spouse financially. They are still able to receive income support from the program but now the non-disabled working spouse has to submit pay stubs on a monthly basis. This is so that ODSP can reduce the income support the person in the relationship with the disability receives. To me it is truly sad the government of Ontario seems enjoys taking away the independence and freedom of those with disabilities who are on ODSP; by removing any possibility for them to fully and equally participate in marriage. Ask anyone in finance and they will tell you we live in a time when it takes two incomes to survive. When it comes down to it the government of Ontario through its Ontario Disability Support Program is discouraging people who don’t have a disability from marring anyone who is on ODSP, since they will only be punished for it. I believe and some might agree that it is completely wrong for any government to take away freedom and independence from those of us living with disabilities. But that is exactly what the government of Ontario is doing. As you see, the Ontario Disability Support Program is set up to hold those with disabilities back again by removing any possibility for them to ever be able to fully participate equally in marriage when it comes to finances.

    My issue is that I believe the government of Ontario must stop placing financial limits on those with disabilities simply because they get married. I believe that the time is now to make the Province of Ontario a place that allows people with disabilities who are on ODSP to equally contribute and be involved in every aspect of marriage even when it comes to finances.

    -People who get married while on ODSP see their income support drop by 80%, putting them at a disadvantage when it comes to marriage. This drop in income can also lead to divorce resulting from the added stress of being married while on ODSP.

    -The Ontario Disability Support Program is responsible for causing some to be reluctant in starting relationships with some who has a disability that is on ODSP. This is very wrong!

  • On Sunday, April 10, Robert Romano said:

    I just want to say it’s getting more and more impossible to live on odsp. The cost of living is so high, by the time I pay my rent and bills and food and maintaining my pet’s health, or if I do anything out of the ordinary – God forbid I should need something extra. I just moved and my old bed would not fit so I bought a new single bed that set me back $300.00. After that and moving I had no money for two weeks. I was in a terible state that caused my condition to worsen. It’s just getting worse, and now they will try to take my special diet which I really need because I have an overactive thyroid and I wiegh 95 pounds, plus I have a severe bipolar condition that leaves me helpless in many ways. I do like to paint but the cost of paint or any art supplies is barbaric. I tried going back to work just one day but they were deducting more than I made. I just live in fear every month wondering if I will make it and not overspend. My family lives far away and I never seem to have enough money to visit them. Unfortunately there are no extras for me, like someone that will help me when I’m out of money. I truly feel I need to receive more money just for the peace of mind, and now I’m facing new health problems as well. I just had to say I barely get by on what I’m receiving. I’m so tired of living this way. We have no quality of life because we have very little choice. I’m sick of it.


  • On Wednesday, April 13, Lisa said:

    My common-law partner has been on ODSP for 6 years now after years of undiagnosed manic-depression disorder, attempted suicide, and bi-polar disorder, which makes it impossible for him to work and even uncomfortable in social settings. We have been together for 4 1/2 years. I work as a housekeeper, making $12/hour. We recently had a baby and I had to go on maternity leave which is essentially EI. I had never been on unemployment before and it was a mess getting everything set up. (But that’s just another problem.) Anyways, being on EI means they deduct my earnings dollar for dollar, which I couldn’t even believe!! It’s bad enough when I’m working – they take 50% off his cheque… but now we have a baby and we get even less money! I currently make $140/week on mat. leave and my boyfriend’s cheque is $980/month. His worker said she will work it out so we get the same amount every month so I could budget better, even though she “wasn’t supposed to do that” as if she was doing me some huge favour. They also claim I failed to fax a paystub back in June of 2010, which I know is not possible, so now we owe ODSP $1600 which is insane because I have never made that much money on one paycheque. Another thing I hate about ODSP is it seems like we get a new worker every few months. No one knows where to find the information I want to know, such as how do we owe them so much? So now we pay $50 debt repayment from a mistake they made and can’t even explain. So here I am struggling to get by, dealing with low low income, a new baby, and one very unhappy boyfriend… ODSP is supposed to help these people and yet it seems to just make them more socially awkward. I wish there was a better system, and people would understand how hard and unfair it is to live like this.

  • On Friday, April 15, Trapped said:

    I simply do not get how my EI can be deducted dollar-for-dollar from my husband’s ODSP. I worked hard, and I paid for employment INSURANCE out of every cheque. I’m then told my EI is considered public assistance. How is it public assistance? Because they actually had to pay out? Go ask your auto insurer or home insurer about how INSURANCE works. They took my then-salary into account when my husbands benefit rate was determined. I had to bring a year’s worth of paystubs! Now I receive two thirds of that salary with EI, and instead of half, they deduct all of it, leaving us with less income than their own calculations said we needed to live on! And amid all of this, new taxes have nearly doubled our hydro bill. I’m now even afraid to look into training programs for fear that ODSP will deduct tuition payments from our living expenses… after all, that’s “public assistance” too…

  • On Monday, April 18, France Gauthier said:

    $600.00 a month for someone who cannot care for themselves and requires constant assistance and supervision. No one in a position of authority is prepared presently to correct such a flagrant social injustice. From Joseph and the book of dreams, may you and your first born be cursed and suffer the terrible ASP from the book of Egypt.

  • On Thursday, May 5, Chuck said:

    I have two stigmas – I am on ODSP (+ CPP-D) *and* I am an ex-mental patient. I have a wife who is also an ex-patient. I take care of her. But you know what? I just don’t give a damn what anyone thinks anymore. I’ve spent so much time looking up at those who should know guidance better than myself, that my spine should be fused into an arc. People seem like wild, immature animals at times when I read the hatred towards welfare or other recipients on message boards. Certain politicians and their media outlets repeatedly drove the message home years ago, whipped into shape by frightened business people and corporations – who could only have thought too many regular workers would stop being productive. The 21 Century scarlet letter….welfare. Mentioning it even casually now always works like a charm. Today, 2011, they stop just short of lashing out at those of us on disability, but I sense it’ll come soon. Retesting procedures, or some type of temporary job experiment that will suck the disabled out onto the battlefield – then directly onto the streets after they fail. Jails are ready once they get desperate enough… Remember Hamilton? Mental patients walking the streets after being evicted from hospitals…saddest, most lonely picture ever. Hell on legs. For those of us with a roof – every month is an adrenalin push – pay the rent – buy what little food you can – then simply exist. Just float like dead air, after the money runs out far too soon. Grocery shopping is futile. Guilt sets in – ” I should be able to make this money last a month.” ( Then I remember “Oh yeah, I’m a serf in a locked maze”). You hear people laughing around you and you try to imagine how or where they find such positive thoughts. How can they be so relaxed? Why aren’t they frightened like you? You fantasize about joining them, but you’re rather dead inside, malnourished and feeling small. I just walk by and say “Hi” – it’s not their fault the leaders of Canada hide the darkness so well. I have found simple pleasures and have honed them. I say FTW! I have dignity – no one touches it now:) Retirement? Savings? hahahaha – I don’t need to dream nonsense anymore.

  • On Thursday, May 12, Don said:

    I’ve been on ODSP since 2002 due to the after-effects of radiation therapy for cancer, severe rheumatoid arthritis and a few other things.

    I have a son with Asperger’s and severe ADD (not yet on ODSP but we’re trying). About 3 years ago he tried to go back to school but he was skipping too many classes. ODSP checked his attendance records and booted him out of my ODSP coverage resulting in the withdrawl of the money I got to support him. They did this in one month with no notification. As a result I missed a mortgage payment. In order to keep my home and not end up on the street I had to take out a $10,000 second mortgage at a horrendous interest rate (16.5%) and my credit rating is now in the toilet.

    The kicker is that the ODSP worker “forgot” that he was still covered by ODSP as a “dependant adult” and so the money should not have been withdrawn in the first place. Yes, she acknowledged the error and apologized. The money was also sent the next month. However I am now stuck with this extra monthly expense of $130 because a mortgage is, of course, a legally-binding contract. I have to continue it because there is no way I will ever be able to accumulate $10,000 to pay it off, so I’m trapped. The net result is that I now run out of money by the middle of each month and am unable to get credit for anything because the mortgage payment failure shows up in my credit report but not the fact that it happened due to the mistake of an ODSP clerk.

    I have no legal recourse as I can’t sue the government just because they made a mistake even though it results in the misery of my family. They deny any responsibility to make amends or otherwise fix the situation. So the problem is the lack of accountability of the ODSP client workers. Did the person who made this error get any kind of reprimand or official “black mark”? I think not. In fact, I doubt that her immediate superiors even know about it since it is probably easy for them to cover up their mistakes. There is also no appeal for this kind of situation since they have officially acknowledged the error and paid off the amount that was incorrectly withheld so I have no grounds for appeal, i.e., I can’t ask them to pay off the loan.

    I wish I would win the lottery, but, of course, I can’t afford lottery tickets anyway. There should be some kind of advocacy within ODSP for this kind of thing but there isn’t so I guess I’m screwed for the rest of my life.

  • On Tuesday, June 14, karen said:

    Point of Interest: Poverty reduction, not just going on across Canada, it’s in Europe as well the world. No surprise – high income blue collar employment has been taken away! Now across this great rich country of ours [Canada] we have increased the service industry. Low paying, little benefits instead of high paying employment, enjoyable benefits. Just look at the rebates for those under $20,000 income and those over this amount. Get the picture: Inequities vs equity – increase opportunities, freedom of choice, not by limiting freedom of choice or just strengthening the ability to choose – but stop restricting opportunities to choose different ways of life. Remember the song ‘Sisters are doing it for themselves’. Let’s do less stereotyping, and truly look at the true landscape of change, why and what has caused increased POVERTY.

  • On Sunday, June 19, Anonymous said:

    I’m having trouble renting an apartment. The minute landlords find out I’m on ODSP, they recall clients who didn’t pay and were hard to evict, a system that wasn’t responsive, and that low subsistence rates make it impossible to pay the bills, and something has to give. The funny thing is that I have a good credit rating, and a history of paying my bills first and buying food last… There is no legal recourse, as how could I ever prove discrimination? They simply don’t call back or tell me. Yet their apartment ads have been re-listed on Kijiji.

  • On Wednesday, July 6, Roy Whitman said:

    It has now been a year on ODSP. My clawbacks have lost my wife’s car. Her credit rating. She is now claiming bankruptcy. I am on more medication for depression and PTSD. I now have problems with my heart and kidneys. My life has gotten worse. I started with a bad back and a hope that it might get better. Now I want to just end my life so my wife and kids can have a better one. I strongly believe this is what the government and most of society wants. I have been turned away by doctors and dentist. People treat me different now that I am on the system as they like to refer to it. My relationship with my wife of 17 years is starting to fall apart due to her basically supporting me. I loved fishing and camping. I have to laugh that I have a handicap sticker for my car and I don’t fish anymore, I don’t have the ambition. People tell me how great it must be to stay home all that free time. What free time? I am in pain and emotionally screwed 24/7. I don’t get a weekend or a holiday. This 50 percent clawback is ridiculous. My wife works hard for her money yet clawed back by 50 percent she works for well under min. wage. My family of 5 lives on less than $1400 per month. I actually get people tell me that that is more than enough. I must be budgeting wrong. Well I am lucky enough to be in housing that is $400 per month then $250 per month for oil another $180 for electricity and $180 for phone, TV and internet. That’s a little over $1000 then there is car insurance and gas so my hardworking spouse can get to work. That right there puts us over our earnings. So now we add the $800 Child Tax Credit, we knock that down by the $200 we used for fuel, leaves $600. Well I guess we should eat, pay for school trips and all the supplies that schools can’t cover anymore. And well lets say my kids my wife and I have all been found to be malnourished because of the little good food we can get to eat. But yes we make too much money. I really can’t take this much longer. I am getting sicker more and more as every week passes. My life is a open book to the government. I have no privacy. Lets face it I have no real life nor will my children. My 16 year old figures there is no sense finishing school as he will never get to college. We can barely afford high school. Renting a movie once a month has recently come to an end on account of rising fuel costs and food prices. Where do we turn, what do we do? It’s not just wages are going down and everything else is going up. I can’t talk no more this is just pissing me off and I feel I am wasting my time.

  • On Friday, July 8, derreck riley said:

    I worked for 17yrs straight and then became disabled and have to live on scraps, literally. I would sometimes clear a $1000 a week. Now they expect me to live on less than $1000 a month? Where is the justice? I am not asking for a hand out, I worked hard for those 17yrs, I paid my taxes, contributed 3 children to society and now they treat my like the infamous welfare bum. I asked to be retrained only to be told it would be at my expense and my ODSP would be terminated while I attended school. I am disabled not dead. I don’t expect much from life but the last week in every month I’m starving and rolling cigarette butts! The 20 some percent that they took off ODSP and welfare years ago would make a huge difference now for sure, it doesn’t even equal $200 but that would at least see many families through to the end of the month. I have done some training in the field I want to move into at my own expense and never have I been reimbursed.

  • On Saturday, July 16, Well Past Done said:

    Wow. I decided to read the comments posted for reading my own. I don’t know if this will be edited or even posted. I’ve been on OW since getting injured a few years back, after getting dropped by WSIB while still injured, made a self recovery plan. I have been better and ready and willing to work for quite sometime. I joined every program, willingly that OW asked me to participate in including job programs and second career twice. Talk about feeling like a donkey chasing the carrot. Anyways you cant survive on $692 (ow+trans) a month (i.e., for me specifically $455/month rent..then add $40 for phone bill at least $150 for transportation (because lets face it..most of the jobs have moved outside of the city of Toronto depending on your field) and the public transit system are all different..that leaves some 55-60 dollars for food, toiletries, paying off bills and creditors etc etc…you’ve all heard the story. I took a chance and shorted my rent for a lil while…busting my hump for any job..good luck 200 resumes later 2 job interviews ( and this was just April May June 2011)…anyways long story short I’m being evicted, and since I’m being evicted there goes my OW…i know i have no one to blame but myself…I took the chance…so now I’m fed up…took whatever I could fit into a backpack…and spend my days sunning on the beach (sarcasm) waiting for god to send me to hell…

  • On Tuesday, July 19, Cindy Bissell said:

    My son who collects Ontario Disability Support Program cheque may be forced to pay child support and back support to a mother who collects Ontario Works, I thought there was law stated that when to people who collect from government cheques you cannot take child support from. This single mother’s lawyer is asking my son better than that this is what he wrote to courts in his proposal That father pay guideline support on his disclosed income of $8,820.00 annually at the rate of $69.00 per month retroactive to the month of commencement of proceedings, March 2011 . I would suggest that the retroactive amount be paid at the rate of $50.00 monthly. My son only get $658.00 dollars a month from the ODSP. But also the mother collects from Ontario Works. Can lawyer ask for this? What are my son’s rights here? He has never seen his child from the time the child was born, the mother is trying to deny him access and my son’s lawyer has not told this other lawyer that I am the trustee of my son fiances. Please help me I need some legal help

  • On Wednesday, August 24, Donna said:

    Here is an example of what happened to me between 2007 and 2010…I went to ODSP to reapply after being off for 4 years. They cleverly covered their tracks. I was given a home visit and put on rapid reinstatement. I never heard back or received a cheque. The worker I invited to my home knew I had no phone and that I was on the verge of losing my home. So almost a year later I received a letter stating they tried to contact me by phone. I laughed through my tears as I had lost my home and my family separated. They knew there was no phone.

    In 2010 I went to reapply again. This time I was told I owed $1320.00. I didn’t and I told them so and they told me that I had to prove it! Excuse me? you are the one that says I owe money you prove it! show me a canceled cheque with my signature and a bank stamp on the back! I was threatened that I had to write (in my handwriting a declaration stating and swearing I did not owe the money or I would not receive assistance. Under duress as we all do, I wrote out and signed the statement! I finally received a cheque! Woooohooo!!!

    Then I began getting screwed over for applying for transportation cost for appointments, medical appointments. I fought for three months and you should see the letters back and forth! It appears as though someone in grade three was at the other end of my communication. I could not understand how people with the level of education they have could honestly have such low to no communication or problem solving skills not to mention the fact they they didn’t really want to problem solve. I’m going to tell you now! I’m not going to be a victim of Stockholm Syndrome and praise the government for the grief, abuse and pennies I receive. I once paid taxes I still do when ever I shop or pay rent…and out of a family of about sixty in this city, whom also pay taxes, I’m the only one claiming assistance! You do no one a favor and only an injustice if this…the truth is not published! The fact is that every person seeking assistance signs these forms under duress and threat! The system is discriminatory and abusive to anyone needing help!

  • On Thursday, August 25, alanna said:

    ONTARIO WORKS IS A TRAP. Me and my boyfriend are 17 and 19. We have a daughter who is 11 months old. We went to school the first 6 months of her life and this summer we got fulltime jobs and were told we will be able to return to school in September. we signed a form that said were not aloud to quit are jobs. WELL WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT SCHOOL. ALMOST EVERY JOB NOWADAYS REQUIRES A HIGHSCHOOL EDUCATION. So this is what we get for working. We can never return to school because we will never have enough for rent. AND THEY DO NOT CARE.

  • On Thursday, August 25, A very depressed and worried Mother said:

    My husband is on ODSP. We have 2 girls and we are hardly getting by. If I work I only work for half of what I make. How is this fair? I am being punished because my husband is disabled so not fair. My girls also are being punished as we hardly ever have food in the house, no money to put them in sports or activities that they wish they can join. It is just so hard to have to say sorry we don’t have the money for that sweetie :( Breaks my heart. We don’t get to go on vacations like normal families cause we just cannot afford it. Can’t afford to own a vehicle. No money to even have them go to a friends birthday party. No money to buy a gift, no money for school outings, no money for new clothes for school, no money for nothing so we sit at home depressed and wonder when the next meal will be and do we have to eat pasta again tonight for the 5th time this week. And to see your kids go to bed hungry and what will they want to do tomorrow that I will have to say, no, sorry sweetie, we have no money :( . I would just like to know how do they call this living ……..A very depressed and worried mother.

  • On Friday, August 26, Roy Whitman said:

    O.D.S.P. The glorified welfare program. Ontario’s program to help segregate the people who are injured or too sick to work. The Program designed by the Conservative government to make sure that the sick and disabled would stay poor so they could not fight back. And to lower their life expectancy so they would not have to deal with us. They created a program that they themselves don’t understand. Now the kicker to all this is the fact that if you are disabled your spouse is disabled. Believe me after time they become disabled. The program strips them of any life if they remain with you. They can’t move forward in life, they can’t have RRSPs, lets face it they are a healthy working person then the Ont government beats down until they too require ODSP. My spouse is now in the process of filing for divorce after 17 years and no, we don’t fight we are actually still very much in love. It is just that we feel the Ont government don’t want us to be married. Her only complaint in life is living under a rule that say’s she can only make so much and have nothing for retirement. That’s what ODSP is – a way of destroying families. Keeping those on it sick and poor so they can’t get nowhere. Simply put it is population control. The faster they can kill us off the better.

  • On Sunday, August 28, Liz said:

    Here is what it boils down to and I find it correct to say that the main thing standing in the way of most recipients (on every level) is the fact that the “Ontario Government”, “our courts and Justice system” along with “The Ontario Human Rights Commission” and “Lawyers” are all in violation of and impeding on the Human Rights of each individual that seeks help!
    The law is not fair or equal as spelled out in our constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    “Policies are not laws” yet they are consistently created and open endedly used to perpetrate violations against each recipients Human Rights.
    To go further, even the current laws have been created to abolish Human Rights and reduce dignity for those economically and physically challenged who depend on the governmental system for help!
    It really is no more or less than Big Brother defining where on the level of Humanity we stand and “discrimmination” is the WORD!
    This is not complicated in anyway shape or form. However it does provide work for those who are true and real recipients of taxpayer funding…the ones with benefits and pensions! And if someone cares to debate this truth with me I would be glad to take it to task!

  • On Sunday, August 28, Liz said:

    On July 12, 2011 I made application to volunteer with a local organization. The forms were filled out and faxed immediately to ODSP. On July 22, my worker still had not viewed the form, so she claimed and then told me it was in a pile of unread faxes. She then told me it was being sent to OW. I heard nothing form OW and proceeded to call them in August. From the first week until now I was told that because I receive a medical transportation allowance, the $100.00 monthly benefits would be reduced to the amount of ten dollars. Where is the sense? It would provide me with one trip and a coffee to volunteer. I’m not taking grooming, transportation for volunteering and other needs out of my medical transportation. I don’t feel that the volunteer benefit is remotely related to what I receive for medical transportation and I have also been told that the benefit is not retroactive! I have been volunteering for July and August. I also have not received the $250.00 start-up and may not! So what kind of scam is this anyway? All I wanted to do was volunteer to a worthy cause within the scope that my disability would allow! This is not the only barrier I have faced with regard to a worker having discretionary pull over policies which all seem to go against the recipient! To tell my from the beginning the whole story would take days but in the end I lost my house, which ODSP had never contributed a dime to.

  • On Monday, August 29, marilyn hall said:


  • On Monday, August 29, Infamous said:

    I just read the law that protect these cockroaches its s.77(1) Act. These so called social workers, who do nothing more then judge and be-little their clients and constantly lie to whatever suits their purpose, are protected by the law, its unreal. So even if you can prove their diabolical acts nothing can be done. It’s time for us to serve justice and judge them. Think about it, be creative.

  • On Wednesday, August 31, MaryAnn said:

    Well here we go back to school shopping :( . Another time I have to say NO we can not afford that. And hear the please, but mommy all my friends have one? I am sorry sweetie I would love for you to have the same as your friends because you deserve it, you are such a good child but i just don’t have the money :( . Just once I wish a member of the government would have to say that to one of their kids and see their hearts break …. And so we have to chose get back to school things and do without groceries or vice versa. Then comes the first day of school and the letters come home stating money is needed for this and for that …. And where do you suppose we get the money, we are already doing without food !!! And our children are so embarrassed to have to tell the teacher my mom and dad don’t have any money :(. So can I ask one question: why are people on disability being punished? We did not ask to be disabled ?…….. yours truly A very depressed Mother

  • On Thursday, September 1, John Forsyth said:

    Hello all I am new to chat rooms such as this one, but I am very glad I have found a place to tell my story. I have only been on ODSP for just over a year, and I can’t believe the way not only your worker treats you, but the manager of the local office as well. I didn’t realize that being disabled meant you were less human than everyone else, and were there to get beat down by the people that were supposed to help you. Yes I am very angry, and here is why:
    I live in an older part of Brantford, Ont. I live with my wife and our two small boys ages 2 and 3. My wife and I own a small war time cottage built in the 1950s. Being a house built back then we do not have a basement we only have a crawl space. Within this crawl space is a pad that houses our furnace and water heater, the rest is made up of dirt.
    Just over two months ago we noticed our floor was sinking. When I went down into our crawl space I noticed all the wooden posts that use to hold up our floor joists had fallen over, basically leaving nothing to hold up our house. So, of course I called my worker to see what we could do about this.
    I was told to get a couple of quotes to have the problem fixed and hand them in ASAP. Wow, sounded so positive……doesn’t it??
    I was only able to get one quote. Only one company would go into our crawl space because of the dirt and the health risks it caused. The fact is the one person that did give us a quote became ill after being in our crawl space. I let my worker know this. I was told the one quote would be fine, and now I needed to get a quote to have the dirt removed. Which I did. Then a short time after that I was told that my request for home repairs had been denied.
    Wait a minute. Doesn’t ODSP directive state that home repairs will be made if the home could suffer massive damage if the repairs were not done, and repairs would be made if if the home could no longer be used as the family’s home??? Not in those words but the points are the same.
    So I started sending emails to anyone and everyone I could find. I sent a letter to our local newspaper and they ran my story on the front page. Due to that as well as pressure from the MP’s office, my local manager decided to take another look at my request for repairs. This time they wanted to know everything that needed to be fixed in our home. Well, because of the story being in the paper we had a local business owner offered to do a home inspection for free, so we took him up on it.
    The home inspection turned up very old wiring, as well as black mould, and no insulation in our walls or attic. I got quotes for all this work to be done as per the request of my worker and turned them in. After that we had a meeting at the ODSP office. At this meeting was the ODSP office manager, my worker, my lawyer ( I decided I needed this person because I couldn’t trust anyone that worked for ODSP ) and of course myself. I was even smart enough to use my cell phone to record this meeting.
    In this meeting we discussed where my family would be staying during the repairs, as well as ODSP wanted a company of their choosing to come check our foundation. That is their right under directive 9.4 so I didn’t have a problem with that, and that was pretty much the meeting.
    Turns out the local building inspector was going to come with the company ODSP wanted to check our foundation. Again I had no problem with that. The fact is I tried on my own to get the building inspector to come out to our home, but I was told that they do not do that type of service. I guess it depends on who you are as to what services the building inspector will provide.
    Anyway, the company called me the day before they were supposed to come through our home and told me they would not be coming through our home until they have the proper respirator to protect themselves from the mould and dirt. I was told they would get what they need and probably come through in the next couple of days. To date I haven’t heard anything back from them, and it’s been over two weeks now.
    All of a sudden we had the Childrens’ Aid at our door telling us the manager of the Brantford ODSP office had made a statement to them that said our home was unsafe. Because of this we had to take our children to a hotel which is our address now and will be until our home is deemed safe. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for protecting my children, and would do anything to do so. However, right up to the day the manager made this statement to CAS at no time was this an issue. Is wasn’t brought up during the meeting, and it was never brought up during any of the phone calls between myself and my worker, or the office manager. The real issue I have with this is the statement was made on the last day before the office manager went on vacation. Meaning she would not have to answer for her actions until she returns to work, as well as she lied in the statement to make things sound worse then they really are. Don’t get me wrong, things are pretty bad in our home, but to lie just to turn our lives up side down is disgusting.
    Anyway to date no repairs have been made in our home even though because of the actions of the manager of our ODSP office the repairs needed to our home directly reflect directive 9.4 pretty much to the letter. Why have these directives if they are not going to be followed? Are we to believe that we are supposed to live in a hotel for the rest of our lives? There has to be a way to force ODSP to follow their own rules. Has anyone out there ever sued ODSP for an act of bad faith? If so I would love to hear your story.

  • On Thursday, September 1, No Name said:

    The government whines and complains about the underground economy taking tax dollars. The thing is, the underground economy was created by OW and ODSP. They make you afraid to do things for yourself. I have no shame in saying, when I really needed it, I went on OW, because that is what its there for. For when you need it. And some people do need it for extended periods of time. And they are no different than anyone else in my eyes. However recently I have needed it again, and apparently I am still under suspension for ‘non compliance’ because last time I went off it (found a good job) I just didn’t bother sending in my job forms and all that jazz. Now they are trying to tell me they are upholding that suspension. Give me a break? I now work 35 hours a week under the table while trying to find a regular above board job which in my area, is uber hard to come by. They can whine and moan all they want about the underground economy, but its keeping people afloat.

  • On Friday, September 2, A.E.A. said:

    I’m 27 now – I’ve been on ODSP since my diagnosis at 19. I’ve lived with my much older common law partner for an unfortunate 9 years now. While I was incapacitated, my common law partner became the trustee for my benefits – I was so ill I could not make decisions on my own. Years later, after my condition has significantly improved he is still trustee, which is quite a problem due to the fact that I’ve wanted to separate from him for the last 5 years. He is controlling and manipulative and pays no rent, using my ODSP to pay rent, utilities, etc, leaving me with pennies while he keeps his wages for himself. He told me that if I leave, ODSP will cut me off my benefits because he’s the only one they know to deal with. Amazingly, I became pregnant early this year (he is obviously not the father!) – and he’s told me point blank that he expects me to adopt out my child. I am in the process of moving and separating from this monster. I would rather live in a shelter than with him. He took advantage of a vulnerable, extremely ill teenager when he was in his mid-forties! I don’t think people realize the psychological components of living on ODSP – and that financial abuse is just as bad and real as other kinds of abuse. I did not ask for my condition or this treatment. God bless other recipients of ODSP and may there come a day when people with chronic conditions are treated with respect.

  • On Friday, September 2, A.E.A. said:

    In response to the ODSP recipient having trouble finding an apartment: I recommend that you place a “Housing Wanted” ad in kijiji, worded very honestly about your ODSP benefits and your responsible financial habits. When I posted a want ad stating that I was on ODSP and looking for a place I received several replies from truly interested landlords.

  • On Friday, September 16, ashlea said:

    I was raised to pretty much believe that everyone on social assistance are just a bunch of lazy, good for nuthin’ people sitting on welfare soaking up the cash. People seemed to think that those on welfare had it good, as though they were rolling in the dough. I was also raised that you work, you just do. I started working odd jobs by the time I was 12 and by 16 had a part time job. Things that I never expected happening happened and my life to a strange and dramatic turn, most would say for the worst. I am actually grateful though. It has humbled me and opened my eyes to what its really like to live on assistance. Those who said all those negative things about people on assistance couldn’t be more wrong. I don’t know anyone who is ‘livin it up’ on assistance. Most people I know seem to have an anxiety about getting off as fast as possible even if that may not be the best thing for them.
    I wish that assistance could be classified into two groups. I am sure there are some people that assistance has been a way of life and they don’t care to get off it but the majority of us do want out of the system and to support our families. I find that we are all treated as though we ALL fit into the first group.
    We experience threats from our workers often. Even the kind workers have to send us threatening letters stating that our cheque will be held unless we do A,B,C. Our first real worker was awful to us. She insulted us in every possible way. It was to the point that I requested an advocate to be present at every meeting. This is when we were on OW. It’s very stressful to live that way. You are literally living from cheque to cheque and they threaten you with taking that away at the drop of a hat. If for any reason you can’t come up with the papers they need then what do you do for rent? Rent is always due the first of the month and here OW held your cheque, now you look like a bad tenant too.
    Do to my husbands severe condition we made it on to ODSP. Its a little nicer in that it gives us a little more money. We have 3yr old and a 2yr old. I tend to be the sole care provider for our children and my husband, due to his disability. I suffer from depression and some anxiety but not severe enough to be labelled ‘disabled’. I have been referred back to OW because they really really want me to work. Things are already stressful and now I need to add work to the picture. My kids’ stability is in spending almost all day every day with me. The system wants to strip that from them to send them to some subsidized childcare program so I can go work for 8hrs a day making about $5 per hour since they take half and I could probably only get a minimum paying job. How does that really help anyone in our family situation? It would be different if my kids were school-aged but in this situation it’s just taking the kids away from me and shuffling funds from ODSP to the subsidized daycare. Either way, the government is still paying for it and the $5per hour won’t do anything to help us get out of the system. A person’s work is worth more than $5/hr that is why there is minimum wage. This is totally taking advantage of families. I totally agree with what others have said about this practice being discriminatory against spouses of disabled people. If my husband was well he’d be making his own wage supporting the family and if I also was working my wage would not be interdependent on his wage. Why is it different if the person is on disability?
    Usually by the end of the first week of the month our money is gone. I pay all my bills first thing and then hope and pray that some miracle happens to get us just a little more money to last the rest of the month. I go to food banks when I have to. I eat at the community kitchen a couple days a week with my kids. I try to budget the best I can and save a tiny bit in case of emergency. It seems like we have an ’emergency’ almost once a month or every other month if we are lucky. The brakes on the car need replaced or this or that. Having a car is so expensive, at least if you drive it legally. It sucks up all kinds of funds, gas, insurance, maintenance, licensing and registration. Its not like there are any extra funds for this stuff. When your insurance needs renewed you are expected to come up with a double payment, how do you pull that one off? I would not have a car if I didn’t need it.
    Its just an awful feeling to see that there are 3 weeks left in the month and you have $50. It adds anxiety and stress to those who are already dealing with a lot, having a disability. What happens when my kids get bigger and need a full size bed? A frame, mattress, and box spring are expensive. They should have special funds for something like that. I know they may give you some for furniture if you move but what about just having growing kids? Plus, its like pulling teeth to get just one lousy mattress from them when you move -OW that is.
    OW had a better policy for medical travel expenses than ODSP which I find odd because since these people they are to be serving are in some form disabled it makes sense that they’d have more medical appointments so their program should be better. OW would cover every appointment I had for every member of my family. ODSP will only cover it if the gas cost equals $15 for each person. So even if all four of us have to travel to our own individual appointments in the next town over, costing a total of $40 ($10 for each trip) they won’t cover anything. $40 is a lot of money for our family, it makes a huge difference in our life.
    Another thing I agree with is that its ridiculous the way they try to make people get jobs without any training. I could get a job at a fast food place easily but the wage I earn would not support a family of four. It would be different if I was a single person (maybe, I’m not exactly sure if minimum wage could support a single person). Why not help me to get some training that will result in a wage that could actually get our family off assistance? I thought that was the purpose of OW, to get people out of the system. Instead they seem to work it so you can never get out. Perhaps people with children should qualify for some special college funding. It would help the family get off assistance and show the children that hard work can pay off. The whole family could have something to be proud of. The way it is there is a good chance that the children will follow in the social assistance cycle. Why try when you can never seem to get ahead?

  • On Saturday, September 17, JP said:

    I was on OW for about 2 1/2 years. My worker made me move out of the town I lived in because my rent was too high and found me an apartment in housing. I wasn’t aware that my cheque would go down, so got $115 for rent, and at the time I had $189 a month to live on. Needless to say I was outraged at this but had no choice on making it work. Used food banks a lot, could not afford tv, had to have a phone and internet for job hunting, asked if they could at least pay my phone since I needed for job hunting, worker told me phone was a luxury and they couldn’t do anything. Finally after two years of living in this backwater town, I was able to transfer to a housing apartment in a bigger town, found a job after 1 month and got off OW. Worked there for three years and was then laid off, so on OW again after my EI ran out. Same story, $115 a month for rent and now $207 to live on. I’m 52 years old, have health issues but do not qualify for ODSP. Found out I have Vitamin b12 deficiency, convinced this was due in part of being on OW those years, could never afford good food and still won’t be able to now. $207 or $189 is BS. One cannot live on that. After I pay for my phone and internet which I need for job hunting, I hardly have any left to buy food. Something definitely needs to be done for people on OW, even if it is just a food allowance and perhaps phone allowance for those who are job hunting.

  • On Wednesday, September 21, Brook Gibney said:

    This is the second time I have started to type in this little box, requested to “tell my story”. I deleted everything the first time. Why? Because it is what it is. My story is similar to every single one of these in some way or another. I don’t have enough. Period. For anything. For a life. Trouble is, what is needed to change all these autobiographies is MONEY. COLD HARD CASH. Where is it going to come from? OW has a budget, just like everything else. It can keep increasing and increasing, but only has more and more different individuals getting on it. There is another thing that is needed to change these stories. There is only one suggestion in my opinion that can actually change these stories and that is that ATTITUDES NEED TO CHANGE. The attitudes of the recipients; of “contributing members of society” and of the people who have the means to make these changes happen with their CASH FLOW and lastly, politicians. The problem with OW I feel is that it is a BUSINESS, A CORPORATION and is run as such. There is no SOCIAL work happening. Those poor SSWs are turning into nothing more than paper pushers. They will be cordial and caring most of the time, but they don’t go out of their way to say “WHAT CAN WE GIVE YOU TO MAKE THINGS BETTER? WHAT DO YOU NEED? HOW ARE YOU FEELING?” Until PEOPLE are put first, this system will remain the same and 10 years from now you can ask for “stories” again and you will likely see more of the same, if not worse, if attitudes do not change. To quote the late Jack Layton, Leader of the Official Opposition in his letter to Canadians from August 20th, 2011, there is an “unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth”…Attitudes need to change. From the top down and from the bottom up. One thing that WE, as normal everyday, impoverished people “living” on OW can DO, without the help of ANY ONE ELSE, is EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE. Nothing will change unless you vote. Vote for whoever you want, but go out and do it. I know a lot of people who are on OW, complain and feel cheated when an election is over and I say, “Well, who did you vote for?” and they say they couldn’t be bothered to go and vote. Don’t vote, don’t complain. All of these problems won’t be resolved through a simple “complaints department” or “town hall forum”. It all takes money. And to get that money, attitudes need to change or power needs to shift to someone who already has the right attitude. It may seem like an idealist approach to a very serious and complex issue, but if you are able to see poverty on a level that is different than just dollars and cents, you would understand what I’m trying to say. We live in a society that judges us on our worth. A person’s worth is seen by how much money they make, or what they have… Imagine why so many people living on OW or ODSP have mental health issues, addictions, physical ailments… Imagine being judged when you step out of the house in your one clean outfit, with your roots showing, or a hole in your shoe, or standing in line at a foodbank while people in big nice cars drive by shaking their heads… Back when people cared, maybe those things wouldn’t have mattered so much. But that’s not the society that we live in anymore. Recipients need to give back to their communities by volunteering which will not only make them “feel better” about themselves, but also change attitudes towards the poor; distribute more evenly our “collective wealth” to make the funding available, as we know if it was available, most would use it correctly, and put people first and you will see a difference. Love, hope, optimism.

  • On Saturday, September 24, MICHELL said:

    Why do welfare people get clothing allowance…for adults? Every year amount of $250 each year. I am living on ODSP. Why don’t ODSP adults get it too? I really need it… I’ve been on prednisone that puts a lot of weight on me and I lost all my hair. I really could use $250 too for clothes. Now I am over 280, but not my fault – the pills did it. I am in a wheelchair, disabled, I have to use oxygen 24/7. I have COPD and living with arthritis in my back, neck, leg, arm. I can’t even buy a winter jacket. Nor clothes. I can’t afford them. Now you know why people steal. I might have to do it too. Sorry. I don’t live on much.

  • On Saturday, September 24, MICHELL said:

    Last year I received $250 for a special diet. I am diabetic on the needles twice to four times a day! And I was told that was not included in your special diet allowance. Is that true? My friend has the same as me and she received $400 a month. This worker I had always argue with me told me $250 is max?? And my diabetic in with the $250. My worker, all she did was lie to me. I found out after I moved out of her town. Remember they just have a job there. They don’t make the rules. They try, then you talk over them. Call your MPP… works for me. They work for you too. Remember that. Thanks, Michell. Thank you for reading.

  • On Saturday, September 24, MICHELL said:

    Another question. My sister is moving out from the place she moved in six months ago. Will ODSP help her? Because of the mould. And doctors letters. She has been sick since she moved in six months ago. Another question. She would like her daughter, who is 19 years old, to move in with her and be on the lease together. Her daughter works part time. How will that work? Please help me. Thanks, Michell.

  • On Saturday, September 24, MICHELL said:

    Pat: Did you get your money for your diabetic diet? Special necessities? What needles do you use? I use Nova Mix so I buy tips. They give you around $40 for those. And the diet forms have changed. Hmm. I get so about $98/100 around there. I could be wrong. I hope this helps you. Good luck! Michell

  • On Wednesday, September 28, latisha said:

    I am writing this because I feel like I am robbing my husband of his life when I go to work, but I can stay home because ODSP is just not enough to feed my family and have a decent home. The reason I feel this way is because half of everything I earn is taken of his cheque and it doesn’t matter to to the system that when this happens it makes him feel like he is less of a man because he isn’t contributing to the family, which causes lots depression and well it wears thin on someone. Before it bothered me a little bit but I was in a minimum wage job. Now I have finally got a good job not great, but has a lot to offer in a period of time for me. But now I feel guilty that I have this job because he is feeling in his eyes left behind. I understand taking some but not everything he should at least be entitled to what a single man would get and half our rent. Because lets face it, it takes 2 incomes for a family of 4 to be comfortable in this life. Why should he be punished because I am making money? The other reason is because 4 years ago we had a very hard time and bills piled up and we ended up having our gas turned off in the end of fall and I called for help and got, ‘well we can help but we don’t have to because you should have been paying it’ and that we would have to look for another place to live if it happened again. Then that was followed with, ‘when are you getting a job to contribute?’ So here I am, I have job and he is now losing his more and more each month. How does the system think this is right? Are people that are disabled supposed to live a happy life if they can’t have one? We fell in love and started a family. He is not a vegetable he is still a person. Please change something. The system talks about helping families out of poverty, well here I am helping my family out and we are getting put right back in.

  • On Wednesday, September 28, Hungry in the Nation’s Capital said:

    I had two transplants and have been taking immunosuppressants for 18 years. Because of their many nasty side-effects by now I have several additional illnesses, among them rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and skin cancer. I am on ODSP and do have a drug card, but not all my medications and none of the vitamins my doctors prescribed are covered by the card. To be able to follow my doctors’ orders I have to borrow money every month from friends, which I pay back when my next cheque arrives, thus I’m not able to ever get out of that financial hole. My yearly income is $13,436, way under the poverty line. I’m unable to do regular work, but if I occasionally would have an opportunity to do something – for example, translating, I speak, read and write in four languages – it would be very helpful if I could keep the full amount. It still wouldn’t provide me with a comfortable living, but at least would make it possible for that period of time to buy my vitamins without either borrowing money or having to choose between nutritious food and vitamins. My proposal for reducing poverty is that temporary employment should be allowed without any deductions as long as the ODSP recipient’s income – including the extra temporary income – is under the poverty line.

  • On Wednesday, September 28, ODSP Spouse said:

    I am the non disabled spouse of an ODSP client. My husband has been on ODSP for the last 10 years and we have one son. We are lucky in that we have been in subsidized housing for the last 10 years. We own an old second hand car for which we recently were forced to pay out $500 for repairs so that it could pass the emissions test. Last year we paid $116 per month for car insurance (yes we know its cheap but we have had this policy for many years). This year the insurance company decided to GOUGE us by putting it up to $140 per month. Our car sits in the garage parking space – we only use it for family visits at thanksgiving, Xmas, new years and maybe one trip over the summer. That $500 we had to pay out meant that we could not pay our bills last month. Prior to that we were managing – we kept up with the bills, the rent, the food, and clothes and other costs. Now we are sinking fast. We requested some money from the CSUB for clothes for our son – he is growing tall very fast and needs new clothes every year. Our request was denied, because the CSUB is “not a clothing allowance”. ODSP does NOT have a clothing allowance so where the heck do we go to get a clothing allowance? Several years ago I was able to go to school for one year and I graduated with a diploma in administration. OSAP paid for the books and tuition fees but I was NOT permitted to receive the living allowance due to being on ODSP. However since I graduated (in 2009) the economy is so bad that I have not been able to find a job. I would like to start up my own business, but I really do NOT want to be penalised twice (by paying taxes to the government AND being clawed back at 50%) plus the fact that I cannot hire any employees while on the ODSP. So why should I even bother to start up a new business? There is NO financial incentive to do so. I am worried about when my son turns 16 years old and ODSP start charging us rent for him as a boarder no matter if he has a job or not. That SUCKS. Don’t they know there is a RECESSION?? There are NO JOBS. Why does ODSP ASSUME that ALL 16 year olds want to work? WHY does ODSP ASSUME that all 16 year olds can actually GET jobs? That just makes an ASS of U (the ODSP) and ME – believe me, I am not an ass!! To make matters worse, I have now been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease for which the meds are NOT covered under the ODSP drug card, so every month I have to PAY for my drugs. Despite regular visits to the specialist, my health is getting worse. I consider my health failure to be a direct result of the stress that being on ODSP has done to me. My DH is diabetic and has other disabilities as well. With the recent special diet changes – we lost $40. Our overpayment (directly caused by ODSP incompetence) is now down to $3900 (it used to be over $5000 when they first started making these stupid mistakes.) That is the other reason why I am reluctant to work. The sheer stupidity of ODSP workers in calculating this 50% clawback on wages. Because its done on the gross income – does everyone realise and understand that for those couples where the spouse works – you are being taxed twice? You get taxed once by the govt for taxes, CPP and EI and then you get taxed again by ODSP on that same GROSS amount – and lose 50%!!! This is sheer HIGHWAY ROBBERY!!!!

  • On Wednesday, September 28, Robert said:

    Well I had to contact ODSP about another matter and low and behold she asks me where I’m working. Hello, I’m the care giver for my wife. Now I’m getting another form to have filled out by a doctor who I only just got and knows nothing of my wife’s history. All because they didn’t input the info the last time and are to lazy to go and pull the file to see. My wife’s problem is never going away so why keep this crap up? Now I will have to explain everything over again to a new doctor etc etc. I’m leaning towards going to a legal clinic as this is just idiotic after 15 years.

  • On Friday, October 21, Cheryl said:

    I just wanted to say I think ODSP is so unfair. First when our kids were at home and they worked they would take 50% off the cheque and because someone at the office made an error we owe an overpayment from when our daughter lived here 4 years ago. Second my spouse is the recipient and I work 27 hours a week. I think the little money I make should not be taken off his cheque. Recently I fell ill and have been off work for the past two months. I received sick benefits from E.I. and they took dollar for dollar off of his cheque. How fair is that; I earned that money. How do they think we can pay our bills; in fact we are now in debt to a few companies. I am now forced to go back to work so we can at least keep 50% of my earnings and maybe get caught up on bills.

  • On Thursday, October 27, Elye said:

    I am a recipient of OW. I was forced to ask for their services due to a family member (who was my boss) stealing all my money – keeping my paycheques to put towards his wedding. I obviously lost my job. I could not do anything legal about it because it was under the table. But it paid well. I soon became a victim of a horrible disease that took over every aspect of my life. I suffer from psoriasis. 80% of my body is covered and its very painful and hard to live with. My social life was cut down to nothing. Didn’t mean I stopped looking for a new job, except this time when I spoke to the managers, dropped off my resumes, they would only look me up and down, ask what my “scaly skin” was, replied with “I will give you a call and let you know”. BEFORE I was even out the doors, they would throw away my resume. I ended up becoming mentally ill. I was mortified at the thought of having to interact with ANYONE. Doing any normal daily activities would give me serious anxiety attacks to the point where I could not breathe. I would not dare leave my apartment. In the summer, when I did to buy groceries or pay rent, I would have to wear winter clothes. Could you imagine walking in a heat wave, dressed like its January? I felt weak all summer. My parents finally had enough with watching me suffer, so they set me up with the best dermatologist all the way out in Ottawa. They prescribed me medication that costs over $600 a month for the next 2 years. I’m also just an 18 year old girl. So that is already way too much for me to handle. OW does not even pay the full amount of my rent (shelter). I have a roommate so I only pay 50/50. The rent is cheap so I don’t understand why they give me less than the amount I need. Not that it is a big deal, I just pay the difference with my Basic Needs amount. Which is less than $250. My roommate is a young man (also on OW), he eats like CRAZY. We’re good friends so sharing groceries is not a big deal. But it’s not enough to support ourselves. I have my medication, rent, food, and clothes to buy. So does my roommate. We cannot just depend on each other, which OW has forced us to do. I am now applying for disability, hoping they can help me. Now, my roommate had the “Employment Participation Plan”
    but what they demanded from him was outrageous. To go out every day looking constantly for a job, with no car, no $ for a bus, no $ to buy a cheap bike, etc. We live kind of far from a lot of places. They refused to give him his cheque until he had looked and successfully found employment. Which almost had us evicted. He had to ask an old boss of his to pretend he got a “temporary position” just to get the rent. It worked & there hasn’t been any problems. Until the next month, they suspended his cheque. They told him he needed to hand in a resume for him to get his check. So he did. Except that week, his worker had decided to go on vacation without letting him know that he would NOT be able to reach her. She was gone for almost a month. We were almost evicted again. When she got back, he called over a hundred times a day. It was an emergency. The emergency line, it takes up to 24hrs for them to call back. The normal line, 2 days. She had never contacted him back. Because he did not have money, we could not afford our phone bill. So our phone got cut off….Perfect. So now she obviously wasn’t going to get in touch with him. He had to call her on a payphone ANOTHER hundred times, leaving tons of voice mail. After another day of that bullcrap, she FINALLY picked up the phone and set an appointment. We almost got evicted..again.

  • On Friday, October 28, Sara said:

    I’m a young mom with a 4 month old baby. I’m getting my first apartment this November but I can no longer do that because Ontario Works has held my cheque FOR NO REASON. My worker didn’t give me anything saying I need to provide them information, I have called her but every time I call her she’s never there. I went in for my 4 month check up, she was on vacation. So there was another worker in. That worker that was in didn’t say anything or give me anything. I found out my cheque has been put on hold since Oct 14th. I had my appointment Oct 11th. I cannot afford this. I cannot afford them holding my cheque and not telling me why. This is bullshit! I’ve played by their rules and now I’m majorly screwed. Thanks Ontario Works! You NEVER take responsibility for YOUR MISTAKES! Because of them my baby and I have to suffer. Not to mention the fact that I do this all on my own. Baby daddy isn’t in the picture.

  • On Wednesday, November 2, Kaitlyn said:

    I’m 19 years old and attending school through student welfare. Now that i am evicted and can no longer be on housing support, how can i afford to live on my own? Ontario Works won’t give us enough to rent anywhere and i can’t have extra money for water or hydro. Soon i’ll be throwing my cat on the streets and living in a shelter for homeless people. It feels stressful, hopeless and sometimes depressing that i can’t live off the $330 welfare says i should be able to. $115 going to rent, $100 for food that doesn’t last a full month, $50 for a bus pass to get to and from school and finally my $50 phone bill each month. My money is all gone the very day i receive it.

  • On Wednesday, November 9, David said:

    I am completely unemployable due to my disability(s) and forced to live entirely on what ODSP allows me. This being said, they have taken away my special diet allowance and now I’m told I will no longer receive my tax refunds because of changes in the system. They keep taking from me but they haven’t raised my benefit levels once in seventeen years. I can’t afford the necessities of life as it stands and ODSP has started sending me notices to “seek employment” immediately despite my inability to get ANY work at all. I’m also unable to be insured because of my disability(s).

  • On Tuesday, November 15, kiss me first said:

    I am a graduate of college and was making very good money when I was done school. I was unable to continue to work due to a disability. I was never in the workforce long enough to pay into the C.P.P. I must rely on the pittance of $1400 a month to raise 2 children. I was fortunate enough to have a family member able to provide me an affordable rent ($850 and I’m only given $700 – this is my maximum allowable shelter cost), as the housing cost in my city is ridiculous. Then there is hydro, gas, water. My child tax credit allows me the LUXURY of basic phone and internet, as well as having to magically cover food, school costs (trips, books, sports), clothing, any extra-curricular activities for the kids. A haircut is unaffordable, riding the city bus to appointments is unaffordable, birthday parties out of the question. Three weeks a month I lose sleep wondering what to send for lunch. Thank God the school provides a breakfast club. It is impossible to hide the depression and embarrassment this causes me, thus adding to the despair I feel. People think why don’t you do something, IT’S DISABILITY PEOPLE, LONG-TERM. Do you not think I wouldn’t rather be making the $23 an hour I was certified to make? The only hope I foresee is when my children are able to leave home, I pray on a school scholarship, because I could never afford post secondary education. I can leave my home of some odd 15-18 years (because I will never be able to afford it on my just under $1000 income for a single person) and end my miserable existence. I will send my funeral costs to the government.

  • On Wednesday, November 16, Jessica said:

    I have been on social assistance on and off since I turned 17. I am now 23 and have 2 children. I totally agree with what people are saying. They definitely do not support bettering your life, they basically just want you to find a job – doesn’t matter the pay and they don’t want to see your face again. I have been trying to finish school. I am going back in Jan and I have been waiting for a meeting with daycare subsidy but can’t get it until shortly after my school starts. Daycare subsidy told me to talk to welfare, they will help. I went in and wrote a letter to my worker telling her my situation and asked her to call me. It’s been almost 2 weeks now and she has completely ignored my request. Throughout the year that she has been my worker she has been very degrading and makes me feel low about myself. I told her at one of our meetings that I was doing classes online and instead of saying “good for you” or something like that she says “oh so you’re taking the easy way.” Also she asked about the father of the children. My oldest son’s father committed suicide which was really hard on me and that’s why I stopped school and went back on welfare. My daughter, the youngest child’s father is finishing his high school but we do not live together. So I told her that and she asks “Does he visit?” I said yes all the time and she says “well, maybe you should tell him he’s not allowed to visit until he steps up and gets a job and stops being lazy; what kind of role model is he to your kids?” LIKE REALLY? Who is she to judge people who have lived a rough life and are trying to get on their feet and better themselves for their family? And last she had to fill out a paper for me and at the bottom of the paper it says, any extra comments and she puts in the comment box, “Jessica has been on OW since……..” What did that have to do with anything? That’s a degrading comment. She wants to make you feel like a lowlife piece of crap because you’ve had to be on OW for a long time. It’s none of her business. I have been an emotional wreck and have had to go to the hospital and now I am just getting better and trying to better my life. I don’t need someone who is going to make me depressed again and feel low about myself.
    OW needs to focus on helping people better their lives or the same people will be seen on and off the system for many years to come! OW also needs people who are caring and understanding to the people. Why is it that I always end up with a worker who thinks their shit don’t stink and they’re better then you will ever be? I personally thought that being a social worker is someone who is supposed to be understanding and helpful to people not degrading. They do not have the right to judge you because they don’t know what you have been through in your life and what things you have had to overcome to get to where you are. With me, I am lucky enough to still be alive because I have thought about killing myself so many times because of the way I am treated and all the things that I have been through.

  • On Tuesday, November 22, dja said:

    My story like many others started long ago. I was 8yrs old when my father died leaving my mother with three kids left at home, no money and working skills. She was forced to go on government assistance. That assistance went down as the kids left home until it was only her and myself left. By this time she was unable to work anymore as her bones were so bad her spine was like a question mark. I had to quit school to get part time work to help pay the bills. Not that there was any hope of further education anyways. I eventually left home too, had a job, got married had a son of my own. But within a year my marriage fell apart…lost my job…my son was disabled…and I was back home because I could not get help to get daycare so I could keep working. My mother tried to help for as long as she could but her poor health could not take it. Now my only option was to go on assistance. They would constantly cut off my cheques for various reasons. Everything from they lost my income statements to my son’s annuity being held in trust from my ex husbands accident until he turned 18. They would tell me to take my ex to court for the unpaid child support but would not help me do it. I finally got my ex to pay his child support which was then taken off my cheque. Where I live does offer subsidized housing – unfortunately they take off the difference there too dollar for dollar so it just makes things worse. When he turned 18 he got his $15,000 that was left to him but that was more than we were allowed on assistance and were cut off, forcing us to live on his annuity until it ran out. And though my son, now 20 yrs old, has finally got on disability last year, his life has been set to be in poverty forever. We now live with my common law husband who is also on disability as not one of us can afford to live without the others. Rent for people on assistance is just too high. No one in my house drives so travelling anywhere is hard, we get no extra money for. I have a denture plate for my front teeth that has been broken for a few years now. I asked to get it fixed but was told it was cosmetic. I can’t bite food without it coming out. I have lost most of my back teeth so I can’t chew food either. But I guess they figure that I don’t need to anymore since I don’t work. The system makes the most vulnerable people even more so by limiting help. Often people on assistance are taken advantage of and have no one to go to for help. Forcing people to use food bank to feed their children is not help. Then these poor children grow up only to have to do the same for their children, because they did not have the opportunity to get out of poverty. My father fought for this country, many of my relatives lost their lives for this country. But this country likes to treat anyone on assistance as a burden on society or just plain bums – much like the treatment veterans got after coming back from these wars. The people on assistance just fight a different kind of war…the day to day struggle to survive…and it takes a major toll, both mentally and physically. I think my forefathers were aiming for better when they fought for our rights. But I guess it only counts if you don’t need help.

  • On Monday, November 28, Ontario Deprivation Support Program said:

    10 years have gone by and it all started with a MVA claim and so I applied for my unemployment benefits and was denied and forced to go on welfare. Great MH regime – $250.00 a month. Then I was told I was disabled. Well my neck hurt and head trauma, head injury, so I was given lots and lots of drugs. Then to find out the MD had no license to practice medicine so the I suffered a coma for some time from the drugs. And the head games began. My life was almost stopped because of gross medical callous opportunity by the medical goon. Now it is all a head game of depriving you of your right to earn a living to be wealthy, to be even healthy, no more injured than ever. They still play the game. Every time I go to ask for help they take money away, so I have to study the law and take it all to court and fight for my democratic right to be free and a disabled “millionaire”. Great. Just a little secret of our medical society, they did this head injury treatment to stun the child. It is called forceps birthing. Cradle to grave they will do anything to rip you off the regime our Brittania our leaders and we the damaged must take it to civil court and get justice and the truth, and the millions we are so entitled to. Personal injury claimant….je

  • On Wednesday, November 30, Steven said:

    I was hoping to get my cheque for Ontario Works today but that didn’t happen so I called the I.V.R. and it said I was suspended. I never received any notice that I was under suspension. And the best part is, after about 5 messages my worker never called me back. Even the supervisor never called me back. And now thanks to them my hydro is going to be cut in 2 days.

  • On Saturday, December 3, alana said:

    I am a teen mother, living with my boyfriend and my one year old daughter. We get about 400 dollars a month to live on. I am one credit away from graduating high school, and my worker has told me I need to find a job within the year, BUT I plan to go to college next semester to take social work. This does not work for me. Ontario Works has proved to be a big scam. I plan to be off of it as soon as I get a career. I cannot afford to have a min wage job. I’ve already tried that. And I was not getting any school work done. You can’t even work full time at McDicks without a high school diploma! Ontario Works is a trap and does not encourage college/university, which is the only way people are going to be able to live soon, making at least 20 dollars or more an hour. ITS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE FOR AN ADULT TO LIVE ON $230 A MONTH. SORRY THE SYSTEM IS NOT WORKING. ITS MAKING PEOPLE HAVE NO HOPE AND GIVING THEM A VERY NON STABLE LIFE.

  • On Sunday, December 18, Brittany said:

    Hello, I am 21 years old and I am a single mother of one child. I have been on social assistance since 2008 because without adequate education it makes it near impossible to find a job that will support my small family. Some of the problems that I face as a single mom dependent on social assistance are:
    1. Often having to choose between paying the bills in full or putting food on the table;
    2. I quite often feel that I am beneath the “normal”, self-sufficient people of today’s society, thus weakening the little self-esteem and drive that I had to begin with;
    3. I feel like I am very limited on what I can and can’t do to support my family. I was working part time (and still receiving some OW) for a while but found it the exact same financially if not harder to meet the needs of my family.
    4. I have always had goals for myself and want so much to excel at something to better myself and consequently to better my family financially and socially but I feel very restricted as I know that OW will not assist me in getting the education that I desire and I feel that if I were to go on OSAP, that too will still not cover all the costs of day-to-day living and the costs of going to school, childcare, transportation etc. And on top of that, with relying on OSAP as opposed to social assistance, I fear how I will ever manage to pay all of that back; and if I don’t, I do not want that to negatively effect my daughter’s chance at pursuing a fulfilling education/career in her future. So that is one reason that holds me back from pursuing an education.

    I feel that the “system” definitely needs to be re-assessed in comparison to TODAY’S economy. I as a single mom with one dependent am entitled to $573 per month for my housing expenses – this includes any hydro, water, heat expenses etc. Now, I think anyone that has ever rented an apartment anywhere in the world would likely agree… This is just not a realistic standard. I realise that the social assistance programs offered are only to “assist” families, but how really does this “system” assist families to better themselves? In my personal opinion, it doesn’t. It simply enables families to live in poverty, it does NOT assist families in getting an education or finding a decent job that will actually support a family, therefore enabling them to no longer rely upon social assistance.
    I personally would benefit from programs that will help me gain the skills that I require to enroll in a fulfilling education program and not leave me and my family to owe tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. That only furthers my families financial troubles even more so.
    Also finding reliable and affordable childcare is often a problem and I think that a lot of others face this problem as well, along with all of the other challenges that I have mentioned above.
    I know that there is geared-to-income housing available, but the wait lists for getting into these places is terribly long, and I have found that a lot of these places are not really a good environment to raise a family, or to try and get ahead in life. I think that many families would benefit either from lower costs of living (rent/mortgage, bills and service fees and all other day-to-day expenses that people NEED to survive in today’s world) or make it so that the money that families are entitled to through social assistance is actually enough for a family to find appropriate and affordable housing. Instead of just barely “getting by” maybe they should try to put some things in place to help families get the social and financial supports that are required by each individual person/family so that they can get a proper education and in turn find a reliable income and then they will no longer need to rely upon social assistance programs.
    These are just my thoughts and I hope a little insight into what I and many many others struggle with on a daily basis.

  • On Wednesday, January 4, bill said:

    Wife’s on ODSP for years due to organ transplant. I was approved before her, this was in ’05, would love to work again, not used to being disabled. Anyway subsequently denied once she received her ODSP, have been fighting ever since. Had a small disagreement with worker and now have been sent to Ont Works. If I don’t go I’m uncooperative and will be taken off cheque. Have been filing forms for years and now I don’t have a doctor, I’m now sent packing. Its bad enough to have to live on ODSP, but it’s kinda worse when you know if you could you would be working. I still get job offers due to my excellent past work history, but can’t take them. Do these people think I would turn down $30/hr jobs to live off my wife’s disability? This is nothing but a game for the ODSP and I would love to see one of them becoming disabled to see how it feels. Nobody wants their benefits, everybody needs them. They should grow up and take some newer college courses. I spent more time in college for a job I can now not do, and they spent too little time for a job they’re not qualified to do. Everyone should kneel at their feet as they assume they are gods and have total control of your lives. Thanks ODSP you have done us proud.

  • On Thursday, January 5, Bethany said:

    I have been on Ontario Works since my husband and I separated in July. It was arranged for me to go back to school to finish my high school diploma (I’m 23 now) through the LEAP program (Learning, Earning, and Parenting). This sounds like a good set-up until you realize they are going to suspend you almost every month for things completely beyond your control. My ex does not have a job. After he moved out, he has been sleeping outside, eating canned food, who knows… the point is, he’s not paying support for our child. I told the Family Support Worker at OW this, and she tells me I need to bring in proof. How am I supposed to prove that he has no address and no income? How am I responsible for this? Why is my rent not paid right now? I have done everything that has been asked of me, obtained outstanding grades and maintained a very positive work ethic at my co-op placement. I have handed in parenting hour logs, my income card, and jumped through whatever other burning hoops they’ve asked me to. How am I falling through the cracks here? Also, what I’ve read above about post-secondary education is absolutely true. If I could afford to go to university, you bet I would. If I knew that OSAP could fund me (including cost of living, considering I am a single-parent), I would jump on that and go right ahead, but from what I’ve gathered from my peers, OSAP is just as flawed a system as Ontario Works, or even the Disability Support Program. My own mother, who has a slew of health issues preventing her from working, has been trying to get approved for disability for more years than I can remember, but they refuse to acknowledge her. She’s forced to remain on welfare in a demeaning situation, living in a bachelor apartment in the attic of someone’s house, handing in copies of her bank statements and bills every single month, being cut off for no reason most months. This is not ethical. I am disgusted, frustrated, de-motivated… Why can’t we just work together to get the help people need to those people? Why do we have to make it embarrassing? Why do the workers insist on being so condescending? People with legitimate needs are not being taken care of, while our tax dollars go to paying some hospital CEOs $767,000 a year… Another rant for another day, but know that this system is not JUST. It is not FAIR. It does not WORK!

  • On Friday, January 6, Jason said:

    I decided to return to school at St. Clair College in September in Chemical Laboratory Technology. I achieved a 4.0 GPA (out of 4). I spent 4 months jumping through hoops for OSAP and we’ve finally reached a point where I’m approved, but they lost the paperwork and they don’t know how to solve this. Now I’m quitting school so that I can get OW to get me on my feet and get a job, probably at minimum wage. It’s the most useless bureaucratic machine I have ever dealt with, except of course to document excuses for not helping people

  • On Friday, January 6, Kaylah said:

    I have been with my boyfriend for almost 7 years, and he is on disability. I graduated high school, and even did one year of university before having to drop out because of financial problems. We have been living together for close to 3 years, and just now I am being forced to have a meeting with Ontario Works. I do not want to be part of Ontario Works. I am aware that I am fully capable of working, but I do not think ODSP is taking into account the amount of time and energy it requires to care for my boyfriend because of his disability. He has no one else in his family to take care of him. I am the only one. So if they make me get a job, not only will the time I am able to take care of him suffer, his money will suffer too. He needs all the money (and could even use more!) that they give him. Because of his disability (cystic fibrosis) he has to eat ALL THE TIME and there have been times that because of finances we haven’t had food in the house, which is terrible for him! When will the government recognize people with disabilities who need MORE ASSISTANCE?! And not force their common-law partners to be part of something they don’t want to be part of because they want to give him even less money?! ODSP is not a choice for some people it is a NECESSITY FOR SURVIVAL. Maybe they should be forced to live on the wage they give disabled people and see if they can make it to the end of the month?!

  • On Monday, January 9, Shea said:

    I moved out of my house when I was 15 due to Children’s Aid. Not by choice and nothing was wrong. Children’s Aid lied to me and my family. But that’s another story. I am on OW and am 20 now. I had a baby at 19. I am trying to get post secondary education but am finding it difficult as OW does not support you in any way. My child’s father was coming around a lot, however, we did not have a romantic relationship. He would watch her, play with her, spend time with her etc. Someone then called and said he was living with me. I was then informed that because he came around so much 2-3 times a week and we went to “family events” where both of us attended, I was living with him and committing fraud. He didn’t have a job, I didn’t have a job. I was crying in OW’s office saying I needed my independence from him. He could not support us, he could not be in charge of all the money, he could not live with us (if I wanted him to live with us, I would have had him living with us). They forced him to support me as they wrote in their system to suspend my cheques and that I had committed fraud. They forced us to move in together and have a “relationship”. A month later he was arrested for domestic assault towards me. I fell back onto OW and have suffered a massive amount of stress and emotional problems since then. My child had to see everything that was going on and was in the middle of it. Now resulting in no contact between me and her father! My point? EVERYTHING WAS FINE BEFORE!!! My child had a relationship with dad and my relationship with him was friends, decent for our child, FINE! OW should not have forced this to happen! None of my abuse would have happened and obviously there was a reason why he didn’t live with us!!!! People should be allowed their independence. So many women don’t leave their home because they have NO MONEY! In this case – if we had gone onto a family allowance – he would have been receiving it in his account. What about me and my child? He had a drug and alcohol problem. So money going to his account = what? No rent paid, no food in the fridge etc! Do you see my point here? People who are living together should be on separate allowances. Yes, income can be reduced but spit between the 2 people to equal a family allowance but by no means should someone have to rely on that other person. Especially since OW doesn’t know the people or what happens behind the scenes!!! To rent a 2 bedroom where I live is $900. What do they allow you? $580. How does this work??? I don’t understand where they get their numbers from. Allowance should be based on rates in town!!! They should do their research! They should ask you what bills you have to pay – to see monthly grocery bills ETC! How the hell do they know what your BASIC NEEDS are???? How can they put a number on it if they have NO CLUE? It’s frustrating.

  • On Monday, January 9, we want accountability said:

    the ontario unemployment assistance programs is a boom for social services and advertising campaigns that has surpassed accountability, responsibility and honesty that is required to help the jobless, impoverished and the hopeless unheard numbers of people that these programs were supposed to help in the first place. service providers, colleges, and supposed reputable schools have taken advantage of the tax payers money which is freely distributed to the aid workers and little is used in real help. we have already become a 3rd world country, there is corruption albeit legalized to a barely recognizeable level.

  • On Wednesday, January 18, Me .. said:

    I have been a single mom for 5 years now. When the dad left I went on OW as I was only 17. I have been cut off almost every month due to one thing or another. Whenever I ask for help they say no or make it really hard to get the help I need. I was in school and they cut me off so I had no babysitter nor money to get to school. Due to missing 3 classes in a row I was kicked out. They blamed me for this and told me I had to do something in order to keep on assistance. I was in a car accident where a drunk driver rear-ended me. Now they are asking for any money I get goes to them. I have been cut off for my worker losing papers or them sending a letter and asking for information the next week by mail. I think that is unreasonable as it will take up to 3 days for the mail to get to me then mail to them. It’s a hassle every month. I have been kicked out of places I live due to them suspending my file. I have not had food due to them suspending my file. I feel like I ask for help and they just see me as another person on OW who does not want to work but work the system and that’s not the case. I have been working hard to raise my son and stay in school and I feel as they are treating me as if I’m dirt.

  • On Wednesday, January 18, Brian A. said:

    On Nov 1st, I received a letter from ODSP stating I have been determined as someone with disabilities. Someone from ODSP will contact you soon. Can anyone really define soon? It has been over two months since that letter arrived. Previously, rather recently I contacted my OW worker, who quoted “You will hear from them shortly.” Again, anyone care to define shortly? I am sure I am not the only person that has these same questions. Even googled some answers, from that search and it varies anywhere from a few days to a few months or years. What is the real truth? Yes IT IS THE OLD HURRY UP WAIT, province of Ontario. Live and work here in Ontario and get shoved aside.

  • On Wednesday, January 18, joseph said:

    ODSP is extreme hardship. I have lived in shame for a long time, on behalf of corrupt and failed governments — one after the other — blaming the victim, operating on totalitarian gradients of authoritarian economics, and disregarding citizen dignity and nation–builder freedoms. There are no meaningful diet allowances, no significant communications (e.g., telephone) budget, or realistic clothing allotments. Housing is sparse and unstable. Policies are byzantine and advantage the sosc and their administration alone, and all of this from behind the poverty sterile glass of the office interaction booths. How is it that corporations, not even citizens, or contractually committed tenants of the nation allotted destructive, appropriating and tax-dodging financial awards by the billions, when the system is left intentionally dysfunctional, while this literally fascist national extortion of the nations’ environment, its workforce, and infrastructure—built up over the last three hundred years, left to walk around in suits and receive glowing terms from public media and journalists? The vision of Canada, at the level of revolving door government-corporation loopholes that perpetuate coercion-extortion cycles is clearly ruinous to its own citizens. If the logic of epidemiological research like Emeritus Prof. Richard Wilkinson is not enough, surely the obvious corruption of private sociopathic interests in ruling powers ought to be evidence enough. Election reform would be a good start. 20thC baby-boomer photo-op sound-byte political representation is no longer sufficient or effective. The current political revanche in the urban centres, the militarization of the police, and blindingly irresponsible cuts to social infrastructure are not acceptable, sufficient or sustainable. At least a decade of my life, and that of many many others, has been wasted by people who are over-paid, over-respected, and erroneously supported. Many of the people in government are themselves the real (stereotypical) welfare cases, and many of the corporations that play monkey in the middle with the rest of us are indeed the real source of social and economic disability in Canada. The shame of Nation, of Province, and Municipality is palpable and real in these times of mounting evidence revealing the course and backward incompetence of this grotesque of corruption and media solipsism, that one is left with the intuition of a very very treasonous feeling that is not one’s own — that is overpoweringly present and intolerable in our very government and would-be leaders of corporate industry.

  • On Friday, January 20, John said:

    Does this SAR work at all ? I find it very confusing to get to the point. OW has control of a person’s rights (being told DO IT OR ELSE!). ODSP is cruel to say the least …and all workers are only trained to hurt people and getting their rocks off because they have the control to do it. So is SAR doing any thing at all ? I say NOT!! SAR is all bark and no bite is not going to solve anything ……..

  • On Sunday, January 22, dave said:

    In 1996 I applied for family benefits as suggested by my doctors and social workers. Took me almost 2 years to win. March 28th my dad dies leaving me a house. I had to take the money he left me to pay of 2 mortgages. I was cut off ODSP (I was grandfathered) as having assets in excess. So I had a legal rep to help me with this. On about this time I was working in a chicken hatchery. The boss had offered me a full time job. So I asked my legal rep what to do. I just won the right to put excess money in trust which I did with a local lawyer. He said I could try the job and if it did not work out, I could get rapidly reinstated. I took the job, did a major need renovation to the house as I had rats coming in and the tub would freeze. I worked for about 6 years. Then the boss fired me illegally. I did a couple other jobs up to 2008. For three years I looked for work. I had no help from any employment agencies. I have mild CP and low average intelligence. In April of 2011 I tried to commit suicide as I had no wheels, no job and $45,000 in debt. I spent 17 days in hospital. Was treated for my depression and major anxiety disorder. I also let out my secret of my physical abuse and sexual abuse started when I was 5 years old. It was suggested to see credit counsellors and reapply for my ODSP as I was working on getting my pension. The social worker said I had to reapply as it would take months. I called the legal center which knew my case. She got me rapidly reinstated. On about this time I got a writ court order from Scotia Visa for $23,000. I took it to a lawyer and he said it was a seizure of property. He suggested to get a mortgage through a mortgage broker which I did. I got enough to pay all my debts off. The payments are $413.29 per month. My worker says I can’t get this shelter cost. This is cheaper then rent. We have to appeal this decision. Its going to take 6 months. Why so long? To sum this up. I have mild CP, anxiety, some depression, low average intelligence, a language learning disorder. I have some kind of lump some coming from income tax as I never claimed disability. Amount is estimated anywhere between $2,000 to $30,000. Also may have some from victims of crime. All this could take up to a year or two. I plan to dump any sum of money on the mortgage. My only question is why are they denying me this cost? They pay other ODSP clients RENT OR MORTGAGE why not mine? Especially when they know I plan to pay this morTgage off quickly.

  • On Sunday, January 22, Sarina said:

    The government sucks. I have gotten ODSP since 2003. I am so malnourished its not funny. I can barely afford rent since landlords are greedy pri**s who charge more for an apartment then someone on Ontario Works even gets. There is no medical care for me. No place to live – I was on the subsidized housing list for homeless priority that I got from a shelter. I was moved around shelters and then the last shelter called and had them cancel my homeless priority since I can’t live with other people due to mental reasons despite that THEY never gave me homeless priority and I said I would rather live in my car and starve then live there and go insane and starve. So what is the recourse? Seems the only ones who get subsidized housing anymore are these dam* single mothers who cry abuse to get everything. I’d say that’s what I should do but I had a miscarriage because I am malnourished. :( PS I am not trying to be racist, hateful or “disparaging” (whatever that means) or discriminatory. I am just saying if you’re gonna give a decent hand out to one person (ie. when they pay a subsidy for someone to live in a nice house they can afford) they should do it for everyone or up the rates to reflect the TRUE COST OF LIVING. I watched Big Brother US last year and nearly had a stroke when I heard them all talking about spending a min of $600/mth for food. If I can afford $100 or so I consider that a good month. $600 for food for one person is unbelievable. :(

  • On Sunday, January 22, Sarina said:

    PS Those who do manage a pregnancy without miscarriage often end up with the CAS on their door steps. So even with kids you just can’t get ahead unless you’re one of the few “privileged” ones whose kids they don’t want. :(

  • On Tuesday, January 24, Anthony Carlo said:

    I filed a complaint with the SBRT about the special diet. It eventually went to the OHRC. I was waiting until August of last year to have my case heard. Then I am told my OHRC complaint was lost. The hearing the SBRT kept writing stating I was going to have evaporated and now my diet has been cut. Over the last several years I have received an interim order stating I was to get the full diet until my case was heard. Then POOF it is canceled? My file’s lost? What about the years of letters I was written by the SBRT ordering the full special diet? I was told if I lost I would have to pay back the money!!! Well I did not win whey are they ignoring the case and the letters they wrote me? Just because I am disabled I can’t participate in the SBRT processes and laws legislated to be fallowed equally for all? Now that the SRBT has refused to give me equal participation in the process I am left to believe the end of ODSP is near. Friday I received a letter stating my file is suspended for not reporting. I sent my income report to them at the address they told me to in a letter dated Jan 12th 2012. Then I find out today they wasted money sending out the notices as my office is now not moving next week. The office I sent my income report to is now not opening? The worker they told me was mine is not returning my messages only to find out that was wrong too? Well I could go on but many here have covered many of the things that have happens to us already. Lets all pray we elect some people that go back to the real values of a Proud Canada putting practices in place to ensure the disabled right to security of person.

  • On Wednesday, January 25, Dorothy H said:

    I have been on Ontario Works since August 2011…previously was on my ex’s Ontario Disability Support Program cheque and when the break-up happened, I was on my own to support my daughter, with no income. I lived in a shelter and then couch surfed for a couple weeks. I was scared and alone. I finally was forced with a decision…live on a couch until I was able to go to school, get a career and support my daughter, or go on Ontario Works. Now, I know that Ontario Works is there to help people like me, single 20 year old moms with barely anything if anything at all, but the way that the system has been abused and the way it is affecting people like me? Just sucks…
    The one thing that I don’t like is the fact that you can’t receive child support and have it kept in addition to your cheque. I am trying to receive that, but I was told that it would just be deducted from my OW…but I don’t think that’s fair at all! That money isn’t being used for me, it’s being used for that person’s child! That should mean something and not be taken lightly. Secondly, they barely give you enough to live off of! $931 a month, plus my baby bonus isn’t enough at all. Then I’m told any money I get from others, I have to get deducted as well? I don’t agree and think that should be changed. If worse comes to worst, they should take control over the rent…for instance, if I am living here, paying x amount of dollars a month, the rent should be paid directly to the landlord VIA the OW office, not our bank accounts! That would make sure that we weren’t just using our money for whatever and I would be fine with that..also…what’s up with this ODSP? Apparently a parent on ODSP DOESN’T have to pay child support to a parent on OW? But a parent on OW HAS to pay child support one way or another? What if the parent on ODSP can and HAS worked FULL TIME NIGHTS for two years…that there should prove he can and should…

  • On Friday, January 27, vicky said:

    I’m in a program every 6 months at Kingston General Hospital. The social worker wrote a letter to my worker when I had my old worker paid for my hotel room. Now my new worker said they won’t pay because I only live an hour away. What would happen if I stayed home and get up early in the morning and my ostomy bag leaks and some times it takes me 1/2 hour on a good day and on a bad day it takes me an hour or two to put it on. Then I would be late by 1 or 2 hours for my appointment. And in between the testing I also have 2 clinic at the same time – I have to do a 24 hour urine, then they take blood out of me, then they put isotope in me, then I wait 2 hours for more blood work, and then 1 hour more blood work, then another hour for blood work, and then another hour for more blood work. I’m at the hospital sometimes at eight in the morning till 2 or 3 in the afternoon and it’s a long day for me. I think they should pay for my hotel room like they did before, but my new worker has a letter from KGH and so did my old worker has a letter to her also. They should still pay and know I think it’s stupid my life is on the line. The testing is for my kidney transplant.

  • On Friday, January 27, debbie vassel said:

    After having been out of work for two years now, and have had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for three years, at one point going to emergency at St Mikes in Toronto because it got to the point where I could neither eat nor drink… my financial situation two years back was so extremely bad due to the call center only giving us three hours of work for six months, my IBS became so severe in November 2009 i suffered a breakdown, had to move out of my apartment as I could no longer afford living there, and had to give three weeks notice, and was sick in bed for a week. Well I have been looking for work for two years and was supposed to start a seasonal shift at the Bay on November 17 which was to end December 24. The morning of my shift I had such a violent episode of IBS that I lost so much fluid and came extremely close to suffering organ failure and have now had to apply for ODSP. It is really bad to have those kind of episodes as I also have liver disease and suffer extreme anxiety and am on Seroquel, and had OCD for six years and was constantly skin picking and my arms are horribly scarred. But the OCD started when I was on interferon for a year due to Hep C which I was for tested six months after treatment and was found to have cleared the virus. My IBS is extremely watery stools which is like urinating from my behind – that’s how extreme the episodes have now gotten.

  • On Sunday, February 5, Richard said:

    I am losing my home in Windsor because we can’t afford to pay our property taxes which are way behind. Me and my wife are both on ODSP, which says they allow for taxes in the monthly cheque but the reality is there is not enough for food, let alone taxes. This whole system stinks and is very unfair. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

  • On Monday, February 6, Patricia Cameron said:

    Some people have described Ontario Works as a trap. I would have to agree and say it definitely is not a way of life. We receive less money than ever. Sure, they say, oh, we have balanced out and made it so you have more. All they did was shift and omit money for children’s needs (winter clothes) and school. Now the school board has seen a need and provides basic necessities to allow the children to attend school with some pride. I strongly believe however EDUCATION is a must. Not these employment programs who are getting rich to have these people attend. Yes they attend only to receive money for the next month. I’ve heard people say this. Employment programs should only come after they have school. What good is a grade 9, 10 EDUCATION, to have any probabilities of a job in the first place? This is wrong. On a second note: to keep people on a low income for the rest of their lives, hey, let’s offer them to screw up their credit as well. Recipients of OW now have the option to be EVICTED as a way to receive LAST MONTHS RENT. What? I was shocked. So Ontario is now dishing out more money than ever to have people housed. And those with minimal education and less knowledge of the world are taking up this INHUMane offer. I really hope that someone has heart to pass on this message. And help put some smiles on peoples faces. People are beginning to lose hope that there is a better tomorrow and to have faith they can bring their families through this dark demeaning “TRAP” of being on Ontario Works. AMEN

  • On Monday, February 6, Christine Gross said:

    Last February I applied for welfare, I gave them all the information they needed. Well after all that they rejected me. This is now a year later. I live on the street now with my mother. Thank you for NOT helping out. Was willing to go to school. I have a job which I go to at 4 hours a week. I am in debt so far from not paying my bills.

  • On Monday, February 13, Tanya said:

    I was 18 when I became a mother. I was still in high school and because I became a mother I was determined to change my ways and become a positive role model for my son, thus I picked it up and worked hard to finish school. My son was born on June 29 and I was back in school the first Tuesday after Labour Day. When my son was a baby he was ill quite often thus I was unable to send him to daycare and would often have to miss school to take care of him. Because I went back to school when he was an infant, OW deemed my situation as being on “Student Assistance” as opposed to “Family Allowance”. Due to my son’s illness and my absence from school to take care of him, on several occasions my cheque would be held and I would have to obtain a doctor’s note to justify my absence from school. This meant groceries were not bought on time, rent was late and utilities were late as well. I also worked part time so that I could set money aside for when I went to college so that I could ensure that my son would have everything he needed, as trying to stretch and balance out OSAP was not as easy as it would appear. But that was a lost cause as OW took dollar for dollar what I made so how is it possible for one to get off the system and further themselves if there is no leeway? I felt as though these were unfair processes due to the fact that had I chosen to stay home and take care my son full time, I would have been able to do so with no provisions until he was age four. I chose to go back to school, I chose to better myself and pave my way for a more successful future but I felt as though for each two steps ahead I was kicked four steps down. I ended up finishing school through correspondence and getting a full time job because I could not live on a system that was holding me back from achieving my goals. I needed a crutch not a lifestyle but I wasn’t even given that (in my opinion). I felt like I was forced to abandon my path and choose a new one because the system didn’t want to “assist” me. Maybe that is their tough love mandate, however some people do not wish to spend their lives on the system but need a helping hand in order to further themselves personally. I did everything I needed to do by myself without having to take handouts but it was so incredibly hard and my son spent A LOT of time on the back burner because of it. I felt I was robbed because I will NEVER get that time back and it kills me. I am now 33 years old and I have graduated with two college diplomas and I have a full time job that pays sufficiently am I am proud to say I did it ALL by myself sans help. Don’t be so quick to profile a young mother because not everyone is the same and many young parents want more for themselves and their children but they often don’t have support and there are other ways to assist them in achieving their goals than using tough love. Thanks for nothing OW.

  • On Monday, February 13, Michael Franke said:

    I am currently on welfare and am having some issues with my caseworker. I tried talking to her supervisor but it has been over a week since she last left me a voice-mail and I had left her my last voice-mail on Friday Feb 9th 2012 to call me back but so far she hasn’t. I would like to know if or how I can sue the supervisor for not doing her job.

  • On Tuesday, February 14, Jaime said:

    I am on ODSP and have been for the past 7 years. I am 25 years old. If I had known at 16 that I was being pushed to fight for something for 2 years that was actually a trap, I would never have done it. But with all the problems I’ve had my whole life, I thought it was my only choice. Turns out, I should have counted on my family to help me rather than the government. At this point, they do not help with the therapy I need, they would rather medicate me than give me the actual help to get better. They would rather I smoke than quit, because they do not help people to quit smoking. I’m also allergic to gluten and dairy, but can’t get the food allowance because I would need to eat gluten for 30 days straight (that is torture to someone who is allergic and quit long ago) also, the test to prove it costs $60. Anyone on disability knows, there is no extra $60 for the test, as the $$ I get doesn’t even cover the costs of living. So because I cannot prove my allergies, I have to live off of bare minimum food, which in turn keeps me sick most of the time. I can’t count on the food bank for help, as they give you bare minimum, which most often includes gluten and dairy products. On to the next issue. I want to get better, I want to work, and support myself. I came to the conclusion dog training is the way to go (it helps with my mental and physical problems, it seems to be an obvious path for me) but no help from ODSP. They would rather I stay on ODSP for the rest of my life (which will cost them approx. $440,000 over the next 35 years or so) rather than help me with school ($5000) to never have to support me again. It is a trap, no one should set themselves up for failure like I did at 16 years old. I am now trapped for the rest of my life being sick all the time, not ever being happy, never being able to eat right, never having a future to look forward to. No hopes or dreams. My hopes and dreams were taken away before I had the chance to even have any hopes or dreams.

  • On Friday, February 17, Toronto wefare person said:

    I am not providing my email. I do not trust anybody anymore. You may be working FOR the government. I took Fine Arts at college. What a mistake, or, how did I know that not only would it be worthless, it would not be enough for any other kind of job. Are people not impressed that you completed college for anything? Was living with some woman, we had a fight, and she booted me out, on a day’s notice. That is how it goes when you live with the landlord. No rights as a tenant. Did not have a job to begin with. Went into debt for a motel after I got booted. Maxed what was left of my old cards, and then they got wrecked. My things went to storage, costing me $100 per month. Welfare is almost $600 so let’s say $600. From that is rent of $400 and the storage for $500. That leaves $100 for everything. I feel tired all the time as I eat crap all the time. I always get colds. I rely on the food bank, too. It is expensive to get around and there’s no money for a bus pass. Why? What difference does it make if somebody with no job rides the bus? That one thing would make a big difference. I am poor and tired and the economy is bad. I told my worker that my things are at a storage place as I had no place to place them, on short notice, and my room is too small for them. The worker says that welfare is not for paying those things. I know that. What I had hoped for was maybe the system could change and offer food stamps like the Americans do. If you can prove expenses, then maybe you get some food help and it is ONLY for food. Hard to believe that things go bad so fast, and that all day I think about food, like an animal. How do I get away from this poverty?

  • On Saturday, February 18, Elizabeth Young said:

    I am on ODSP and there are two main problems. The first is the high cost of housing. I am allocated approximately half of what I actually spend to rent my apartment. There is a 15 year waiting list for social housing for a single person here in Barrie. I would like to volunteer a few hours a week but there is no compensation by way of bus fare. This really is shameful. The other thing is that at tax time, even though I am on ODSP I do not get a disability tax credit. My Doctor told me not to even try as the Government made the guidelines so stringent that hardly anyone met the criteria. This is simply cruel. Many times I have had to resort to foraging for berries and rosehips just to live at the end of the month – this is particularly difficult with arthritis and degenerative disc disease.

  • On Monday, February 20, Will said:

    We are living at an interesting time. I’m sure when I say this many can relate. I lost my mid-range paying job about 3 years ago and of course am looking for a replacement. Since then, my house, my retirement savings, my investments, as well as a few other unmentionables are also gone. Now at 45 I can look back and reflect on some observations I’ve made based on what I’ve seen regarding employment over the last 25 years or so. It would seem that most of the larger manufacturing industries that paid a mid-class sustainable salary with health and retirement benefits are few and far between now, if not totally gone, and have been replaced by much smaller companies that employ few people at minimum wages without any heath or retirement insurance, and of course why would they offer more than they have to. You see lots of these companies in those smaller industrial units. It would appear now that most mid-class paying jobs are civil servant jobs or education related jobs. Which I find interesting because 25 years ago civil servant jobs, although good paying jobs, were sort of a last resort till something better came along but now are among the top sought after jobs. In fact when I hear people talk that get such a job, they’re celebrating while all their friends look on with envy. They are what’s left of a bye gone era where salaries kept up with the cost of living and benefits to boot. Now here’s a problem, when you have the working taxpayer making minimum wages with no light at the end of the tunnel paying the civil servants in some cases as much as 4-5 times what an average tax payer makes. You have a serious problem. Perhaps this is why the city can’t balance the budget, the mid-class tax base is all but gone. As a whole Mr. & Mrs. Smith’s salaries have remained the same for 25 years but costs of living have not. Average families with some credit are borrowing tens of thousands of dollars to survive, hoping to get that civil servant job in the future. But I’m digressing. So… Here I am 45 years old and trying to figure out what to do. No job, no money, no house, no retirement. The way I see it, is I’ve got three choices, taking into consideration today’s work and employment environment/options. I can move into the local park and hope there’s a vacant park bench to sleep on at night and walk though the malls during the day to stay warm because I wouldn’t/couldn’t qualify for any government financial assistance. This doesn’t seem to be a very happy existence at all. I could try and find one of those minimum paying jobs, like at McDonald’s or one of those small manufacturing companies I mentioned and spend the last working years of my life living in poverty, trying to maintain my health, my teeth, my eyes and a proper diet on $10.25 hr. I’m trying to imagine going to work for the rest of my working life, not having any extra money to take a vacation, not having enough extra to save for my retirement. Having to budget for a month just to go and get an ice-cream cone or other treat. This doesn’t seem to be a happy existence at all. I could consider just taking a very, very long nap. Perhaps by the time I reawakened things would have improved. Maybe minimum wages would increase. Gee maybe If I sleep long enough we wouldn’t need minimum wages any more, like the old days when nobody paid any attention to how much it was because most people’s pay was already fair enough to live. Hey. You know, this sounds like the best of the three options. Perhaps I’ll just sleep it off. But do you think when I re-awake it will come true? nah…I think I’ll just stay asleep, this sounds like a much happier existence. Good night…..

  • On Friday, February 24, Carole said:

    I didn’t ask to be in this position who wants to go from making 55k a yr to nothing…. I have been working since I was 12, was diagnosed with severe degenerative bone disease, sacrioiliitis and osteo arthritis, I am like an 81 yr old man inside my body not to mention the migraines that control me. I was working as an executive for an insurance company, am a single mother of two. I wanted my girls to know they had to work in order to survive and that no matter what obstacles stood in their way, you can do it. At 35 I lost my career, but I didn’t give up. I applied to another institution and worked another year, until they eventually let me go for absenteeism. I was devastated, never being on ODSP before I had no idea where to begin. So the system is as follows: you apply for OW and have to get rid of all your assets, cars, rrsps you can have so many assets however, how can you keep a vehicle if you cannot afford to pay the insurance? This is before ODSP. And as you are doing this process your children are starving and your rent is barely getting paid, having lost the winter clothing allowance and the back to school allowance this causes even further hardship as you get back on your rent and cannot afford even food. Stress is not the word. My days are spent crying as I want to work. I pray every day that I can wake up and be better so that I can have my life back but that reality for me is gone. My children suffer the most as they have lost out on activities that were readily available to them when I was working, and extra clothes and school trips. Sad when you cannot afford $7 for a school trip as this is potential bread money. My eight year old is constantly worried about money, why should she? But having to hear so many no’s you cannot do this and sorry we cannot afford that. I am at a loss and can understand why you become more ill, the stress is over powering. Being an executive going from riches to rags, I cannot tell you how disgusted I am with the way the system belittles you and makes you feel less adequate. I contributed as a taxpayer and was the one giving to food banks and salvation army. I never thought I would be the one to need this service and they do not make you feel dignified in any way shape or form. I know I am not alone in this battle. It’s too bad no one hears us. Looking at how many years people have protested and gone to their Minister’s in Parliament and nothing has changed other than to further dig our graves and cut back on necessities of life. We live to breathe not much more. You are in the government concentration camp, forced to live by their requirements not what is common sense, human compassion and empathy. God bless…..

  • On Saturday, February 25, guilty until proven innocent!! said:

    I am a single mother living in a small town. Here is my story. I had been on Ontario Works since I became pregnant in early 2009. Myself and my child’s father had briefly dated, but things just didn’t work out. But we remained very close friends, and eventually I fell pregnant. When I became pregnant I was living with my mother in a small apartment, but there simply wasn’t enough room for me, let alone my child. I was given a small cheque from OW to help support myself, buy my own food, etc. My child’s father was unemployed and bouncing couch to couch, so obviously living with him was not an option. I was able to find a room for rent from a friend who had rented a house too big for only himself. This friend was also a relative of my son’s father, and it was him who helped me find this place to live. My OW was increased and allowed me to move in. I lived with this roommate for a few months but he eventually purchased his own house and moved out. This left me with an entire house, and all utilities to pay on my own. I had spoken with the landlord of the house, and arranged an increase in my rent, until I found another roommate. I couldn’t find anyone to live with me and the landlord demanded I pay the full rent of the house which was much more than my assistance would allow, but I had no other choice. There are no houses/apartments in my area that are affordable within the “shelter allowance” I was receiving. So I stayed on just making ends meet. The house was in terrible condition, and myself as well as my son, (who had already been suffering serious medical issues) began to fall ill because of black mold and possibly other problems with the house. The landlord was out of town most of the year, and was never available to address these multiple issues. Having few family or friends to turn to, obviously in times of need I would call upon my son’s father. As I said before, he was unemployed and couldn’t do much to help financially. But he did what he could in terms of helping us out. This included repairing my broken furnace, supplying firewood for the fireplace in the meantime to keep us warm, he helped with food, rides to and from appointments (including my son’s many doctor appointments that OW refused to help cover the costs to get to and from) he also supplied most of our child’s clothes as his sister had recently had a son and most of his hand me downs suited my son perfectly. If I had claimed these non monetary gifts as a dollar value as I was told to by my worker, I would’ve been left with no money to pay rent and live on. (I will note every dollar I received from him I clearly claimed on my income reporting statements) we had a mutual agreement that he would help with money when he could, as well as other things. My child’s father was coming around a lot, however, we did not have a romantic relationship. He would watch him, play with him, spend time with him etc. I didn’t think this would be a problem, and encouraged him to spend as much time with our son as possible. Someone told social services that he had been living with me, which resulted in the suspension of my benefits. I believe it was a malicious call made by my landlord as I had threatened to turn him into the rental tribunal if he didn’t make necessary repairs to the house. I provided my worker with documents proving that my son’s father indeed did NOT live with me, and that he had his own residence. These documents included pay stubs, tax returns, government benefit cheques, etc. I was told this was not enough evidence, even though I have nothing more to give. I and now am facing criminal fraud charges because I supposedly owe for the 2 years we allegedly “lived together” when I had been living alone with my son the entire time. Due to my suspension I had to leave my home and many of my things behind. With only my child tax benefit to support us (under $500 monthly) I was forced into homelessness. If it weren’t for those few family and friends letting me stay with them, I do not know where I would be today. I was also refused my drug benefits which, in turn, left me unable to fill my sons many medical prescriptions he needs. He is on a special diet that requires a milk replacement formula that, without benefits, would cost me several hundred dollars monthly. I have since had to resort to giving him milk, which is very harsh on his digestive system, and has resulted in his health becoming even worse. My son’s father encouraged me to move in with him until I found a place to stay. I was reluctant as I was unaware of what my punishment for doing so would entail. I stayed with him 2 nights total. I contacted the local legal clinic and arranged to meet with a lawyer. I told her about how I had been staying with friends and family, but that it was rather unstable for me and my 2 year old who depended on me. I have a close family friend who offered to take us in, for free, on the condition that I go off assistance and find a job as soon as possible. I was told by the lawyer that if I withdrew from receiving assistance (even though I had already been suspended) that doing so would be admitting that I never needed it, and therefore admitting to committing fraud. I mentioned that my son’s father suggested us moving in with him. I was also told that if my son’s father did take us in, even though we had nowhere else to go, that would also for some reason mean that we were together romantically the whole time, and that he had been responsible financially for us over the two years we weren’t living together or even dating. Thus admitting that I never needed the assistance and again, admitting to committing fraud. Even with nowhere to turn, I am being told I am not allowed to accept help from family and friends, and that I am to remain on the system (that has cost me everything and ruined my life) until they decide whether I am guilty or not. My lawyer urged me to apply for interim assistance, which I am still waiting for. I still have nowhere to live, and still trying to find an apartment that is affordable to someone on assistance. All I am able to find is bachelor apartments and single rooms that are hardly adequate for an adult and toddler. But, not having much choice, I would gladly move into a single room, just to have somewhere to rest my head at night. Alas, no one wants to rent a room to a single mother on welfare. I have responded to every for rent ad I can find, and have been rejected or ignored by every single one. It also doesn’t help that I am unable to tell these potential landlord when I might be able to move in, if I even receive this interim assistance at all. So here I remain, on a friends couch. I have no idea what is next for me and my son. I have done nothing wrong and I will fight until I am proven innocent!!! I thought the law was innocent until proven guilty but when it comes to people receiving assistance from OW, people who genuinely NEED HELP, it seems to be guilty and impossible to prove innocent. I feel I have been treated unfairly and I will not stop until justice has been served.

  • On Sunday, February 26, Dave Varin said:

    I broke my shoulder and damaged 4 discs in my back in 2008, was on ODSP for 1 year.They deemed me not disabled after the one man tribunal and ordered I repay $10,000 of ODSP. My doctor completed another report almost 10 months ago. Again I was refused ODSP. OW is taking 40 dollars a month off my cheque and I am at risk of losing my home,the mortgage is only $342 per month. I am being forced to work while taking Oxicocet for pain of the sciatic nerve and back.Jobzone will not help me find employment because I have doctors orders to not work…I believe the Govt. wants me to be homeless…

  • On Wednesday, February 29, Richel said:

    Me and my boyfriend have been on and off of OW/Welfare for 2 years. Our assistance gets suspended every month. They keep saying failure to provide income. Our last worker just told us that we don’t need to fill out income statements anymore right now until we get a job. I was suppose to start school tomorrow which is March 1st so that I can get the rest of my high school credits for my diploma. My boyfriend has been struggling to find work so he has basically been in and out of temp services. Me and my boyfriend actually want a decent job which we can not get without our diploma. We don’t want to have to rely on the government. We have not received our cheque for this month of March. I wrote a letter requesting a bus pass because I cannot afford transportation back and forth to school. I kept calling the office and they keep putting me through to the worker who never answers the phone. I got a form in the mail saying the service is suspended and another form indicating that we now have a new worker. I left 2 messages on the phone with the previous worker and she didn’t even at least call us back to let us know that our case has been transferred to the new worker. We get cut off of assistance every time they give us a new worker and they lose all of our info from the previous worker. We don’t even receive the paper work in the mail in order to fill out the income statement since the previous worker said we don’t have to. As soon as they transfer us, we get cut off do to the income statements that this new worker wants and they wait till it is too late to even let us know this. I can’t go to school now until they get back to me or answer the phone. That is, if they even approve me for a bus pass. I even provided proof that I am going to school and the destination of the school. The workers are almost always rude to us there too. I can’t see without my glasses and the receptionist said, “you still need to wait till your worker gets this form before you can even go back with another form for the eye doctor.” My boyfriend told her, “she can’t see, she has no other frames. She cannot wait that long!” The receptionist than said, “Not my problem!” I had to wait 2 weeks with very bad vision. They won’t let my boyfriend/common law husband which is the spouse, do anything. He can’t even open his mouth until I write a letter giving him permission. That is awful! It cost us $12 just to get to that office and back every time. They no longer even provide us bus fair. One time when we tried asking the receptionist for our worker, she said, “I’m busy will you wait!” Then she proceeded to tell another worker about her new BMV Vehicle and her vacation! The workers go on vacation a lot, hmmm must be nice. They complain people on OW don’t do enough to get somewhere in life or we just feed off of the government as if we want to. Yet we are trying to get somewhere in life and because of them cutting us off again, I can’t even go to school so that I can get a better job. The school my spouse is able to go to costs too much money and welfare won’t give us that money. We tried but they said we have to give the school the money up front to than get reimbursed and we obviously can’t afford to give the school the money up front. We have no money! We’re behind on rent, we have no clean clothes left, I have no time on my phone and we’re very low on groceries! :( We don’t know what else to do.

  • On Wednesday, March 7, Family of four said:

    My boyfriend and I have been on OW for five years now. We now have 2 children ages 2 and 6 months, and can never seem to get ahead. The amount that we get does not pay for food costs that we need or rental costs. Our maximum rental allowance is only 6 or 7 hundred and need a 3 bedroom house or apartment and they cost over one thousand for a half decent one. Clothing for our growing children is gone, and families like mine cannot continue to provide the much needed cost of childcare. We have been searching for years for a secure job, but we need schooling which they will not fund. Something seriously needs to be done about this. If they were to raise the amount, education could be done and we could get a good paying job to properly take care of our family. No one wants to be on welfare forever, but not raising the rates is keeping people on it for longer. No one is able to save any money with these ridiculous rates. Please, as a mother who wants to give my children a better life, please raise the rates. Help is much needed for OW families.

  • On Saturday, March 10, Richie Black said:

    I have been on social assistance for about two years, trying hard to find a job, food, reasonable rent that I can afford all to no avail. I have been on the street before because of a social worker cutting my money. I was kicked out of a place where my cheque was being sent to pay for a room, I did not receive the rent, was locked out and went to my worker for help. BIG F*ING MISTAKE. Soon as I did not have a place to rent they treated my like a criminal. I was on the street that day. From roughly $590 to $220 because they will not give you anything but basic needs. That is just one story out of the hundreds that I have. Most rooms for rent around $400 a month are crack houses or basements that have more then their share of problems. I’m malnourished from lack of eating correctly because my basic needs is only $220 a month. Try living off $220 a month for food, soap, toothpaste and clothing. This means I can’t wash my clothing unless I don’t want to eat. I can’t pay bills. I can’t get out of this hole. Furthermore 5here is a stigma to renting to someone on social assistance. THEY JUST WON’T RENT TO YOU!!!!

  • On Sunday, March 11, ticked off and too exhausted to fight said:

    I have been on Ontario Works for only a few months because I live in a town where the jobless rate is so high, 800 people showed up to a job fair for only 35 jobs! So I had to go on Ontario Works to help out with my half of rent etc. Told them my half of ALL monthly expenses is $800 PLUS I have to pay back OSAP which is SUPPOSED to be $250/month. Well they only give me $600 each month which covers rent and one of many bills so basically I am starving. They have proved to be the best diet since thanks to them I now lose about 5 lbs a MONTH due to lack of funds for basic needs. OSAP is hounding me and my debt load that started at $14,000 for school is now closer to $20,000. Thanks, but I never wanted to be like a model.

  • On Sunday, March 18, mike said:

    Me and my wife have been on OW for almost a year now. We went threw a eviction that should have never happened. Argued with our landlord for 4 months about the septic backing up and it contaminated the well drinking WATER. So well I called the health department about it. I also been calling the landlord every day and would get told “u rent u fix it”. Health department came out for 3 months straight and kept saying he had to fix it. They gave him a deadline and he didn’t meet it but yet nothing was done about it. He went to the sheriff without even notifying us and all of a sudden the sheriff came to the door in about 2 weeks and said “u have 3 days”. I said I didn’t get no notice for court or notice about this. Well 3 days came and Monday 2:15 we were evicted. I now live in a HOMELESS SHELTER and went to OW for help with first and last and got told no. “I live in a shelter for god sakes”, I said, “how can’t u want to just help me?” Well easy way said is “no more or less” from the OW worker. I think if you live in a shelter for reasons beyond your control you should be able to turn to OW for help, not them saying “well, we pay for u at the shelter”. For what, crappy food and water? Thanks so much for our social assistance program. OW, I think that you are Rude Crude and Very Wrong and it’s not there to help you because OW would rather see you homeless than help you with first and last! Thanks for reading my thoughts People!! Mike

  • On Tuesday, March 20, steph said:

    I have been on this crap for 7 years. I have done nothing but tried day in and day out to get out of this hole I’m in… I can’t find a place to live with my son because of the prices of rent in Ottawa…. I can’t find nothing for less than $1000 a month and I am only getting $600 for rent .. which makes me really look at at least a 1 bedroom so my son at least has a room to live in… I also can’t get Ottawa housing due to a long 3 year waiting list…. I don’t ask a lot. All I want is somewhere to live to get on my feet again…

  • On Wednesday, March 21, Jessica said:

    I am single with no kids. I pay rent at home $400 a month. I’m on O.W. I am furious with them because I decided I wanted to go back to school. It is a private college and I did get accepted for OSAP, but they are not paying for my living expenses. But O.W is cutting me off regardless. Which is believe is stupid. I want to better myself and my future but how am I supposed to do that if I don’t have a place to live. This system confuses me so much. As well I had a friend who lived on his own and they gave him $596 or so a month his rent was $450. Now explain to me how this poor guy is supposed to live off $150 for the rest of the month???

  • On Thursday, March 29, ruthf said:

    I was injured in 1998, ruined my left shoulder and had to deal with WSIB. After 3 years of stress fighting for myself and children I had to go on OW till I finally got my compensation, then I was cut off till my money was spent. Since then I worked off and on since I was not able to do repetitive work, raise my arm or neck above my head, or any heavy lifting,anyone have any ideas? Or my WSIB would be affected negatively. Although OW had the letter from WSIB I was still made to work, at jobs I shouldn’t have and in notes about me was stated that I only want to take certain jobs and not complying, being difficult. 14 years later after pain, emotional distress (due to gov programs), and deterioration of my shoulder, my last worker put me on ODSP wondering why I hadn’t been put on it earlier, hhmmm! Now I’m afraid about my next fight with ODSP, because I might not be disabled enough. If I wasn’t so stubborn it would probably drive me to drink. What now? Ive wasted all this time fighting agencies that are supposed to be there to help those in need!

  • On Monday, April 2, Slayer said:

    I’d like too know why I can’t afford to live like a normal person. I don’t even make minimum wage. ODSP is supposed to cover a paycheque but it don’t add up. Instead we get treated like we wanted to be on ODSP. It just seems the cheques don’t keep up with the price increases. They say we got a raise 2% what is that when everything else went up 10% or more.

  • On Monday, April 2, Slayer said:

    If we try to get ahead they deduct it off our cheque. Is it to teach us a lesson for being sick? If I was working I could work 2 or even more jobs without it being deducted off my pay!

  • On Tuesday, April 3, Nadia said:

    It’s not really a story because I don’t want to go into the details of my experience with Ontario Works but the one thing that has been extremely frustrating for me is being forced into workshops that don’t benefit me in my job search. Not only being forced but going to the same types of workshops more than once. I just feel that resources could be better used if recipients had more choices as to the programs they take. I’m an older worker, in my fifties who has worked in manufacturing for most of my life. It’s been a very painful number of years for me trying to get any work other than temporary work. I attended a workshop which had a co-op placement but they really pressured me to sign up for agency work. I strongly feel that it’s a basic human rights issue to chose which jobs you will apply for. The experience left me feeling helpless and depressed and it’s something that I think about to this day. I wanted the chance to try for other types of work to get out of temporary jobs that were just a vicious cycle. The onus should be on the long term and not just some temporary fix so the current policy of “fastest route to work” makes for some pretty bullying situations with social workers and some of the employment training providers as well. That’s been my personal experience unfortunately.

  • On Monday, April 30, Thomas said:

    I am a 28 year old male. I have been collecting Ontario works for about a year now. I have been suffering from health problems (ie severe depression, chronic fatigue and anxiety) that forced me out of a fairly successful business a year and a half ago. Before last year I had never collected social assistance (and never thought I would) and prided myself on being self sufficient. The last year of my life has been a living hell trying to survive on the miniscule checks I get from Ontario works. In the beginning I thought it would help me and to a degree it has, but in a way it has trapped me in a cycle of poverty. Not having enough money to eat properly has aggravated my health problems making it difficult at best to get back on my feet. I have very little family support and I am in an economically depressed area with very few job opportunities. I lost my vehicle and am immobilized, not even enough money to catch a bus, I have to walk everywhere now. I feel like no one really cares and things will never get better for me, I have lost so much confidence in myself and life. I get a 535 dollar cheque and have to spend 450 on bills and rent leaving me with $85 for food for the month. I am practically wasting away, starving. I dont know what to do. That being said I think its clear the system does not work. I think our government should be ashamed. They destroy the economy with high taxes and free trade agreements and then wonder why hundreds of thousands of people are collecting welfare and disability. Because there are no good jobs! Then there is a prejudice towards people collecting social assistance like we are all lazy, no good bums. Many, if not most people collecting welfare (myself included) would much rather be working. If the government wasn’t so out of touch they would realize that if they want people to get off welfare they should be giving people enough to get on their feet, not just enough to survive. We send billions of dollars worth of food aid overseas, meanwhile Canadian citizens like myself are starving. I could go on and on about it. Today they sent me a check for 256 dollars, they took off half for earnings even though I haven’t been working. If I dont get that extra $256 dollars I will be kicked out of my apartment. Pray for me.

  • On Thursday, May 3, Unnamed said:

    I have been on ODSP for over 5 years, and have a child with autism. I have a partner. We can’t get married or live together because I would lose almost all my ODSP, and My partner would have to support me and my child. We don’t find this fair, especially since her income is barely enough to support herself comfortably.

  • On Wednesday, May 30, Lori said:

    I am a single mother with a 19 month old child and I was on welfare and throughout the time from when my son was born. I have nothing but trouble with welfare. They have suspended me on several occasions, refused to give me money to help with housing and food and basic need things for my son who has special diet needs. I have had to fight almost every month to get what I am entitled to. Now as of May 1st 2012 I have once again been suspended and I have moved to another city due to unsafe living environment in the other city I lived in. I tried to transfer my file to the city that I am in now and they refuse to allow me to transfer my file and the eligibility worker basically called me a liar and flat out turned me down for assistance, verbally only, with no letter or written document given to me as to explain why or to even say I have been turned down. They refused my paper work I tried to give them to prove that I am in dire need of welfare. As well, welfare refused to write me a letter saying I have no income and my file is in transition so I can get help at food banks. So I went to community legal aid and I got help to file an appeal and ask for interim assistance and I was denied interim assistance within 3 days after I file an appeal. So now I am in jeopardy of losing my new housing which I have have only resided in for now 2 months. Their reason is vague, just I have been turned down due to legislation according to information provided, so now I am in rent arrears for May 2012. Now heading into the month of June with no financial help from them at all and an appeal date for tribunal has been set by the welfare for early September 2012. So now they expect me and my son to go without money, food, baby supplies and rent for 5 months. This is despicable. So what am I to do? This inhumane and ignorant and wrong. How can they do this to a single mother with no other income whatsoever? Welfare and government have cushy jobs that pay well and never have to worry where their next meal comes from or how they are going to pay their rent and bills or how they will be able to take care of their children. This is unnecessary stress and should be illegal. I am fed up and distraught and I can’t stop crying due to this injustice that has been done to me and my 19 month old son.

  • On Tuesday, June 5, Self-Employment and Ontario Works Don’t Mix said:

    I’ve been reading many of the above stories this morning and have to say I feel truly sorry for the other honest people out there who are disrespected and left to fend for themselves while receiving social assistance. Let me preface this by saying that we all know that there is a stigma attached to receiving Ontario Works or ODSP. A lot of this comes from what other people perceive as a sense of entitlement in social assistance recipients, where outsiders feel that people on the system want something for nothing. The truth is that you do not get the money for nothing. Planning, paperwork, meetings, phone calls, and proving income and expenses can be like a part-time job in itself. You also pay dearly in self respect and dignity. I was on the Ontario Works program for 10 months after my son was born (most of 2008) and am currently on the system again (for about 10 months again). The first time I was on the system was because of some finicky rules with EI and maternity leave. I was a University student when I became pregnant, and although I worked and completed enough hours to receive EI maternity benefits I was only approved for $52/month because of the semester of school that I did not work (just a note, I did work that semester but in school related roles to deduct some of my living and school costs, not a paycheck). And so I turned to the OW program to ‘help’ me through. I was lucky enough to rent a room from my mom and therefore live within the basic shelter allowance during the year at home. The remaining couple hundred (I think about $250 at that time) was used for diapers, gas, car insurance, medicines, food, and clothing. I breastfed and received an additional $50 a month. I also received the Canadian Child Tax Benefit and Child Care Benefit to the tune of about $385 a month. Obviously while living within the shelter expense guidelines my basic needs were covered. Money was tight, but not unbearable. The problem was that there was no way that I would have been able to afford my own place, and my mother was a bit unstable to say the least. She had had substance abuse problems and had been physically and emotionally abusive since I was a child, and although I knew I shouldn’t live there I also knew the alternative would have been to be left with less than $400 a month after rent to live in a pretty dicey place in my hometown. Diapers alone were over a quarter of that amount. I stuck it out with my mother, despite being hit and thrown down stairs with my son in my arms. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always that bad. She’s always been more of a binger. I did call the local woman and children’s shelter to find out if they could give me a place to stay, and they literally laughed at me over the phone when I told them that it was my mother who was abusive. I checked into subsidized housing, however the wait list was 15 years for people not being abused by a spouse. Parents don’t count. I had to wait the entire year before returning to school to finish up my degree because the credits I needed were only offered during one semester. I left the Ontario Works program and returned to school with my son in a subsidized daycare program. I rented a room once again and despite the fact that my OSAP loan was delayed for 5 months (I received it a few weeks after graduating) I managed to almost get by on the Child Tax Benefits. I also borrowed money from some amazing roommates when my son got sick and his medical expenses were not covered by the student health plan. After school I worked in some contract jobs, but found it generally hard to find a good job with a child (restrictive daycare hours) and hard to make ends meet paying for child care as the subsidized daycare system left me on a waiting list for a year and a half after finishing school and his care cost me $950 a month during that time. To make matters worse, the subsidized care I received while in school was revoked because I did not respond to a letter I never received, and I was put into collections for the amount owing before I was even notified of the problem. I’ve been making interest payments on that collections account for 3 years now without paying off any of the balance because I cannot afford it. A few years of struggling left me looking for a way to improve my chances and so I entered graduate school on a student loan. I received a much higher amount of OSAP because I was a parent. I still lived quite stringently as most of my money went to books, tuition, other mandatory school expenses, transportation, and rent. I was now on subsidized daycare again and happily paid only $120 per month as opposed to the $950 I had been covering on my own. Upon graduation I believed that I would be able to find a well paying job in my field. I went on what the subsidized daycare system calls a job hunt for two months. Its a tough job market right now, and the majority of jobs are being eaten up by experienced workers. Unfortunately, most of the jobs that my expertise qualifies me for expect their employees to work 60+ hours a week, including evenings and weekends on a moments notice. At entry, they also couldn’t possibly cover my expenses and babysitting for those extra hours. I was devastated that I had to go onto Ontario Works again, but I needed to feed and house my son. At this time I had been living out of a bag at whoever’s house would take me. My son called it ‘camping’ and thought it was fun, but I was also paying storage fees for our things and knew we needed a place of our own. I’ve been back on the system for about ten months. I’ve rented a basement apartment which costs me approximately double what I am given for a shelter allowance. 100% of the entire OW check plus the child tax benefit goes to my rent. Don’t say that I should look for somewhere cheaper. I do every month and the truth is my credit rating is wrecked from the daycare subsidy debacle and it’s pretty hard to get an apartment without proof of income. I decided to start a consulting business with my skills and education, and although I was unable to generate enough income to get me off the system, the 50% deduction from my reported earnings gave me enough to pay a few bills and buy about $40 of groceries a week. Now after the past few months, my caseworker has passed me off to a self-employment worker and it turns out that with self-employment Ontario Works takes 100% of any earnings from your check. I currently receive $922 per month for shelter and basic needs for myself and my child when I’m not working. I have generally been bringing in about $600 per month with my home based business, meaning that Ontario Works has only had to pay me an average of $622 per month up until this point. That means that the first $922 I earn in a month counts towards nothing. I’m extremely grateful that they didn’t try to put in my previous earnings as an overpayment, because I wouldn’t be able to survive if they did. I’m still going to continue to work. I’d rather be poor by my own making than poor by the government’s. And I know that a couple of the relationships I’ve been nurturing for the past 6 or so months are finally starting to pan out to give me a semi-reliable income so that I can provide for my son. I estimate that I will be completely off the Ontario Works program within the next month, thank goodness. Despite the accusatory meetings (You REALLY don’t have someone living with you? Are you SURE you’re claiming all of your income? Is that business expense ACTUALLY mandatory to earn income?), late payments (We have a question about your income so we’re suspending your assistance), and fear of friends, family, neighbors, and clients finding out that I’ve been receiving Ontario Works due to the stigma, I’ve made it through and pray that I never have to go on it again. The funny thing is that I’m a success story of the program (if you can call it that) simply because I fell through a crack. My old worker was fairly new and didn’t know the difference between self-employment income and net earnings. I had thanked her for her help when she transferred me to a self-employment worker because I knew that I wouldn’t have had the chance to grow and nurture a new business without any type of guaranteed income coming in. If I had known from the start that I would lose 100% of my business earnings off my cheque, I honestly might not have bothered. Here are a few other ideas that would aid others in the system to self-sufficiency. Please note that these are recommendations for Ontario Works only. I have never been involved in ODSP and I don’t think that a strategy to encourage someone on that program back to work would be fair due to disabilities that obviously cause them difficulties with gaining or obtaining employment.

    1. Allow every person on Ontario Works the ability to make a certain amount without having any deductions. I would suggest the balance of what they would earn making minimum wage part-time ie. $10.25 (wage) x 20 (hours) x 4.34 (weeks per month) – $589 (amount a single person receives on OW) = $300.
    2. After the $300 a month (or whatever is determined appropriate) at 0% deductions, continue to the 50% deductions that is currently in place. Seeing as people must get working to earn that extra $300 a month, the ‘loss’ of 50% for extra hours wouldn’t seem as bad.
    3. Remove the three month period of 100% income deductions. By encouraging new OW recipients to wait 3 months before taking on part-time work, we’re encouraging people to get used to staying home and being unemployed.
    4. If you must deduct child support payments at 100%, be sure to deduct it only from the child’s basic needs and shelter amount. The money is meant to support the child, not the parent.
    5. Provide self-employment startup supports and seminars, in addition to training and education seminars and programs. Deduct from self-employment in the same way you would deduct any other income. It’s self employed individuals that are stimulating the economy and ultimately hiring on new workers. The income you make running a business is just that – income.
    6. Give advanced notice to people who are about to be cut off from Ontario Works. As of today I am at risk of being evicted for non-payment because of a ‘question’ about my income. My worker called me on the morning of the 1st which I knew was bad news. I called her back right away, but did not hear back until a few phone calls and a few days later. I ended up not having to provide anything to her, and she has now approved my check based off of a verbal answer to a question that could have been asked a week ago.
    7. Offer ‘life planning’ or ‘life coaching’ sessions for recipients. People should not be scared of their caseworkers if they are not doing anything wrong. Positive support and encouragement, as well as understanding could make a huge difference.
    8. Allow for subsidized housing to take place in market rent homes. I’ve never been in the subsidized housing program but I have a neighbor who has just recently been accepted. I do know that the waiting lists are long and that not many houses are being built. This neighbor of mine is on the Ontario Works program and with the subsidized housing will be paying $89 a month for a three bedroom townhouse. This isn’t fair. I’d rather each person pay a bit more and have subsidized housing be offered to people on the waiting list.
    9. Offer a subsidized public transit pass to everyone. Getting out and meeting people helps you get a job. Yet it’s difficult to do that when an adult transit pass costs upwards of $100 in most cities in Ontario. Transit passes make it easier to find cheap rent, as you don’t have to pay to be walking distance to everything.
    10. Integrate food bank services and child care subsidies. I have not yet gone to my local food bank mainly because I know people who volunteer there and do not want them to know that I am in receipt of financial assistance. However we all know that the basic personal allowance pretty much assumes you’re going to be getting a portion of your food from community projects like to food bank. Child care is a hidden issue with Ontario Works. It took three months of me paying my subsidized daycare costs ($120 a month) before anyone told me that I was in fact supposed to be paying $0 because I was on OW. I was not offered any refund for the error.
    I’m sure that there is more we could do, but these are suggestions within the framework of the current system. Many people who have never been through the Ontario Works nightmare may be offended by the fact that I believe more needs to be done. To them I say that living in poverty is one thing, but living on Ontario Works is beyond a mothers worst nightmare for the honest and hardworking people that just need a hand up.

  • On Monday, June 25, John N. Crook said:

    In 2011 my disabled spouse and I ( both on ODSP ) were systematically ousted out of our accommodation because we wouldn’t give the landlord a second set of post-dated cheques. We also went through a Carbon Monoxide Leak and 14 months of LTB hearings in which we were not heard. I am shocked to learn that the Ontario Government would even consider cutting the CSUMB benefit. I voted Liberal in the last election (Scarborough/Guildwood) and feel totally betrayed.

  • On Wednesday, June 27, AM said:

    I think those needing Ontario Works are used to keep others employed. The Direct Benefit is half what the province issues. The numbers are published every year. Half of the Direct Benefit goes to rent buildings, NGOs and overtime for city and OW employees in those resource centres, etc. I’ve never got near a job from this spending of my Direct Benefit. We have everything we need at the OW offices and those forced to live in poverty shouldn’t be used for jobs, renting buildings and paying NGOs. We need to back out the cost of the OW caseworkers and buildings and spend the rest on the Direct Benefit as was originally intended by the people. At no cost, this will raise those in need of income supplements out of poverty. I’m not willing to wait or compromise as this has already taken my Direct Benefit.

  • On Tuesday, August 28, Nadia said:

    I know this isn’t a discussion board but AM has stated a truth. There is a huge poverty industry in Ontario which draws tax payer dollars both federally and provincially for programs that may or may not be helpful to the client.

    Clients are forced into these programs by caseworkers whether the client thinks it will be useful or not. Follow the money and be surprised who is usually on boards of directors for these charities. My latest experience to me is an example of legislated slavery because the charity is also an employment agency and they demanded my social insurance number and said that it was in the act.

    Something is really wrong with a system like this. It’s ripe for corruption and clients should be entitled to basic necessities without the participation agreement. It’s hard to believe that this is Canada sometimes.

  • On Wednesday, September 26, Christel Gebauer said:

    I am on disability in BC. Two of us were living on $906/month for the past year, due to my teen turning 19 even though attending college and living at home (high cost of living here). If my teen had worked, it would come off my disability and we would have been no further ahead! Without notification, my disability money went down from $1300/month to $900/month. Cost of rent for example is $850/month and that is low! People on Social Assistance here do not receive the extra that Ontario people on Assistance do! We have many homeless people here, due to lack of money to equal the high cost of living!

  • On Thursday, November 8, Simone said:


  • On Tuesday, November 20, Jamie said:

    I recently applied for OW and was absolutely shocked with the small amount of money I was given. What they allow for rent is $200 less that what I pay, so basically I have $150 left to pay my bills and eat and clothe myself….that’s impossible. They told me I have to move somewhere so the rent is lower, they don’t help with that. They have Action Housing which guarantees nothing. I am scared to death. Where am I going to live? Will they cut me off if I don’t move? What do I do? Ontario Works is a joke…I am desperate

  • On Sunday, November 25, Cinday Bissell said:

    My older son is on ODSP and lives with me. I am no longer on the system because of my earnings being too high. I rent apartment through low cost housing and just recently I received notice about my rent increase. My new rent will be as high as $841.00. My son will have to only pay $109.00 of the rent. He knows that he is allowed up to $416.00 for shelter cost. The problem is low cost housing refuses to divide the rent in half. I would like to know what I can do here so my son is sharing half the living cost and how to write a letter to ODSP to ask for more of the shelter cost.

  • On Wednesday, December 5, Jennefer said:

    For anyone who has posted here looking for assistance with a problem about OW or ODSP – please contact your local community legal clinic. You can enter your postal code at this website to find your local clinic: Note that this is not a discussion board and questions cannot be answered here. Thanks!

  • On Wednesday, January 16, irena said:

    I was widowed August 30 2010 when my now-deceased husband passed away. He was 70. I was 62 at the t1 week to my 62nd birthday. I don’t know if anyone can help me out in this grey area in financials. I have submitted to be forced to live on sololy on the sum $489 and other tax or benefit payouts. I don’t understand how this is as I was a homemaker for the most part and worked minimal years, also my husband was a very avid and extremely hard worker and was only looking out for the future. Why did I get punished like this and atop all, i got the one-time national death benefit payout of $425.00 but it was taken away. I am past due on everything and out of reasonable options. I will be 65 this year but that is not going to be a difference. I can be reached at [information withheld for privacy reasons] if anyone out w/proper advice that lead a path out of this dark path so I can live normal and not sleep and live full-time debt position.

  • On Thursday, January 24, Bonnie D said:

    I’ve been on OW for 4 mths. I am 60 yrs old and unemployed for 3 years. I can’t find work and my alternative was OW. Being defeated I had no choice but to apply. The caseworker made me feel everything would be ok for awhile for me, but that is when the nightmare began. I was told I had to move to a cheaper apt. I lost my credit rating due to being unemployed for so long. How do I get another apt with poor credit? They told me to get someone to share with me so I had my 86 year old mother come to live with me temporarily. Because she was going to help pay 1/2 the rent and buy her own food, after she moved her life around to help me, OW said she had to go on my lease. She refused to be held to a contract because they said so. This was supposed to be temporary. Well, if she didn’t go on my lease they were going to deduct 40% of what she paid from my cheque. They also forced me to collect my CPP early and then deducted the full amount from my cheque. Any tax returns or HST, they wanted or deduct it from my cheque. My brother paid my car insurance because I couldn’t afford it any longer. OW felt this was a gift so they deducted it from my cheque. What went from $606 per month was now down to about $43 per month. How do you live on that? When asked what I was going to do, I commented that I could buy a gun and end it all but then OW would deduct the cost from my cheque. A prisoner is treated better than us. 3 square meals a day (healthy food), shelter and clothing. Better than what I get. Because of my age I can’t even get a minimum wage job, Tim’s or MacDonald’s won’t hire me….why???? I don’t know. I look clean and professional, I have sought after skills, 25 yrs in business, but I have a few wrinkles on my face and they all brand me as too old. First the working sector makes me feel useless then my GOVERNMENT refuses to assist me more so that I can at least feel human. I paid taxes for years but now I guess I’m on the WAY OUT LIST. No further needed. We should scrap the OW system and revamp it. Why do youths need to be on OW. Show them a fabulous future. Place them in training programs free if they live at home, give them the education needed to get out there and work and pay taxes and the OW should take care of the people who really need it and who can benefit the most to get back on their feet. Let the OW and the supplement programs work together. Most of us want to get back on our feet. The caseworkers should be allowed to make concessions for their clients based on what they see and hear from each individual. Different needs for different people. I believe the OW dependency would decline if these were implemented and therefore save our government money in the long run. I feel like an unwanted animal in a shelter waiting to be put down if not adopted in time.

  • On Saturday, February 9, ken zubec said:

    My spouse and I were both on ODSP until I turned 65 Oct/12. We were then put on a basic needs formula to determine extended health care beneftis she as well as I. We’re on the verge of losing the extended health benefits. My spouse is only 53. I might understand my losing the extended health care benefits even though we are both entitled to receive jointly. In desperation we had our doctor fill out a special diet form which ODSP recognized and allowed her $86.00 which because of ODSP basic need formula would extend our extended health care benefits for some time as they take dollar for dollar off my old age pension. To my chagrin I received a notice from old age pension that they were awarding me $83 a month for some sort of gains. This was only a few days after my spouse was awarded the $83 for special diet for hypertension (you would almost think that ODSP knew that would happen) so that now left us with a couple of dollars left in the kitty to enable us to receive extended health benefits. My spouse also has pre-diabetes (and unknown to us that there is an allowance for that). I received confirmation of this from two sources, Kinnaw-a-way Legal Clinic and the Canadian Diabetes Association which informed me that there is a special form available. So once again with the confirmation in written form back to the doctor we went. Our doctor was quite willing to grant us this request providing we provided a special form other than the special diet form (the special diet form does not have a section for pre-diabetes ) but there is supposed to be one available at ODSP. Upon contacting our worker at ODSP she denied any such existence of such a form and she would not make any attempt to inquire receiving such form from ODSP head office or wherever such forms would be kept. Now we (especially my 53 year old spouse) will most certainly lose our ODSP extended health benefits.

  • On Tuesday, February 26, Anne said:

    I was told that if 2 people have a child and split they cannot live together. But if they are no satin but want to live in the same place but in your own separate apartment with separate entrance is it allowed. It’s a home that’s split into 3 apartments, so like an apartment building. I know you can live right beside or even across from each other as long as you have a separate entrance. Would that be the same for a house?

  • On Saturday, March 2, Mark said:

    I have come to the realization that OW will do anything to get you off of their books, and I mean ANYTHING! I only get the max. of $606 per month, which in their delusional minds is supposed to pay for my 9 x 9 room that I rent and food. Of course no one can eat for 30 days on $100, so my son helps by buying some decent food for me eat. When they asked me “How do you afford food?”, I told them that my son pays out of his own pocket to get me a Sobey’s Food Gift Card (not cash!) so I do not die of starvation. They told me “You can’t do that!”. I said “Why not, if it was not for him I would starve.” Their response was “Whatever money your son uses to buy you food will be treated as income, and we will deduct that grocery money he spends on you as income for you and will deduct it from your cheque”. WHAT? I didn’t earn that money, he did, and it is not income that I earned to pay for the food!. How god damn ruthless is that and how low can they go!! So now I am left with two choices: pay my rent and starve, or not pay my rent and not starve. But of course, with no place to live if I want to eat, they will cut me off anyways because I do not have a residence to live in. In other words..”We will starve him out of where he lives, because he can’t have a room over his head and eat too”. So, in the next 28 days, I have to decide to either live on the street and starve to death anyways, on stay in my 9 x 9 room and starve.
    How can they stoop so low has to deny my right to food that I didn’t pay for?

  • On Thursday, March 7, ODSP Spouse said:

    This is ODSP spouse – again just bring you an update. Today is March 7, 2013. Since these “stories” have no years on them.

    Its been a year and half since I last wrote (Sept 2011) and things are getting worse. We are still in our subsidized housing. My son has now been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. We now receive 2 diet allowances and 2 diabetic supply amounts from ODSP since there are 2 diabetics in the family. Everything except needles are covered.

    The drug card covers test strips, meters, insulin, but we now have to pay out $60-70 per month for 2 boxes of needles – one for my son and one for my spouse. And I am still paying out for my own drugs as well.

    Of all our bills – we let the credit card and the Sears store card go to the debt collectors – because they got too big (too much interest) and we could not longer continue to pay them. And of course we get the phone calls from the debt collectors demanding payment. Which adds to the stress.

    We still pay the rogers cable, and the bell phone bill because they are necessary. We have also dumped that ridiculously high insurance for the car and now only pay out $5 a month for fire and theft so that the car now sits parked in the garage. We also have to pay out $40 a month for the parking. The car registration has expired and so has the emissions. We cant drive it anywhere. We have now also had a letter from the transportation dept to pay $75 to renew Hubby’s drivers license!!!

    My son doesnt go to any birthday parties – we certainly cant afford to pay out for any birthday parties for him. So far he hasnt missed out on schools trips but we apply for any and all Xmas programs we are eligible for. The only reason my son even has a Nintendo DS console is the huge charity bags of food and money we got 2 years ago. And then we received another lovely large charity bag last xmas so that my son could get some books and one new nintendo game.

    You know those scholastic catalogs the kids bring home from school? We are not always able to buy books. If it comes home at the right time, we will get one – always restricted to $10-15. IF there is no money then he doesnt get anything from that months catalog.

    I have not worked for the last 4 years. I spent 2 years looking for jobs, but after having interview after interview and no acceptances, I just gave up. With all the stress of being on ODSP plus having had an operation back in 2007 (And needing to go on EI after that – plus the stress of even trying to keep our money while on EI – it was taken off dollar for dollar) my hair went gray and I am still only in my 40s. When I go on job interviews, I think they take one look at my grey hair and assume that I dont know how to operate a computer despite my resume saying I have a diploma in business administration and that I am extremely well versed in computer operation.

    As for clothes for my son – he is now taller than me and he is not even a teenager yet. He is growing just so tall so fast. The school paid for clothes for him last year – 2 lots of school uniform of trousers and several T-shirts – because we just could not afford it.

    My parents are on a pension and can no longer support us. My parents in-law have both passed and of my husbands siblings – 2 of them are also on ODSP and struggling as well. The one sibling that is working – refuses to do ANYTHING to help his 3 siblings that are all on ODSP. He has 3 sons himself that he has to put through university so in a way I do understand. But at least he has a job!!!

    OK thats enough moaning from me for now.

    Oh and you know how the ODSP changed all their workers around so that now workers are assigned certain postal codes? We have not met or spoken to our new worker in the last 2 years since this change occurred. We know her name, we leave voice mail messages and we gets replies by letter, but we have no idea what she looks like or what her voice sounds like because she never returns our calls.

  • On Thursday, March 7, ODSP Spouse said:

    Post number 2 for March 7, 2013

    I haven’t even mentioned food. As we all know, the cost of food is going up so high, that measly 1% increase we get every November does nothing to cover the food.

    Inflation is running at 3% and that 1% we got is not even 1% of the monthly ODSP amount. I worked out that the $9 increase we got was 1% of the BASIC needs only and did not include the shelter or the diet or the diabetic supplies amount we also receive.

    We spend $200 on food, and we see less and less in the baskets and bags. We cant afford the fresh fruits and veges. We buy mostly pasta because its cheap and because my son needs his carbs.

    My husband is getting worse because we are not eating very well.

    If he dies, My son and I will be made homeless since we are not ODSP clients, and I am not yet disabled enough (I can still walk around – although it is becoming more difficult) and can still look after myself and my son. This too is stressing me out!!!

    If I die, my husband quite simply cannot look after our son (I do most of his care now anyway) and our son will probably end up on the foster care system, and because he is diabetic, no one will look after him properly.

    I really should make out a living care will that will demand that my brother in law (the one who is working) must take my son and look after him at least until he is 18. But you know what I will say next – we cant even afford a lawyer or a paralegal either.

    My son was complaining to me today that its not fair that I am not working. “We would have extra money if you worked. You havent even looked for a job”.

    I cant even tell him that no we wont have extra money because whatever extra money I earn gets taken away by ODSP and what is left wont last very long and has to go to pay bills and food. He does not even get an allowance – but he does get extra money for school and scholastic if and when we can manage it.

    Fortunately his birthday is coming up so we should get some extra money from his godparents and my parents for that.

  • On Sunday, March 10, daga said:

    Have fun. All they care about is themselves. If you move u must provide them with info to where you are moving to, if u have no documents, statements or anything legal have fun also. People who can work and have barriers, don’t tell them to get jobs on their own. They give u cheap money and cheap dental care and when u wanna work anywhere even for minimum wage they have garbage programs. My worker told me to get a student loan and i told her to go f herself. That’s right you need to fight and be nasty. PS babies cost money. Don’t have any because if you commit fraud or live with your partner or have income and don’t report it they will try to grab u. Some of u have the chance and no challenges to be on this so why u on it. If you have a baby they are right on the money – you’re responsible. They don’t give a f. U all need to frist because if you just have a designed back to work program you’ll be fine. Oh they can drive their fancy cars I heard when people have a gov’t pension, teacher, teacher assistant, anything like that. They are stuck like as once they retire so that might feel good for their worker. Two don’t let someone destroy your life, keep on fighting, because even the ones who want odsp employment support have a hard time. As for rent, moving, always for your safety, have documents stating what you can and can’t afford. They still deny u. Click on legal aid.

  • On Monday, March 11, Peter Schaffter said:

    The purpose of Welfare, which is what Ontario Works was until by the stroke of a pen it became the present nightmare it is, is to provide recipients with the money needed for food and housing, with a reasonable stipend for associated costs like heating and hydro. There are many reasons why people find themselves in need of welfare, which means something that aids or promotes well-being.

    Sometimes it is job loss.

    Sometimes it is a changing world where hard-won knowledge and expertise are devalued.

    Sometimes it is age (eg superbly qualified over-fifties who can’t find work; my sister is one such).

    Sometimes it is illness, physical, mental, or even spiritual.

    Sometimes, it is the gross failure of public education that leaves many under-twenties virtually illiterate.

    Sometimes it is so that one can take care of others, not necessarily family, sacrificing material comfort for another’s wellbeing.

    Sometimes, it is a choice that allows one to realize a potential that, economics and society being what they are, will never generate an income but which can be of immeasurable value to the community and to society at large.

    In short, not every welfare recipient is the lazy and unmotivated advantage-taker of OW’s imaginings. Most are victims of circumstance or a failure of the social system. For many, welfare is the only way to retain a modicum of dignity while trying to live productive and useful lives.

    It is not the business of OW to humiliate those on welfare by pretending the context which has led them to ask for financial assistance does not exist, nor to coerce them into deeply unsuitable, sometimes ethically questionable work. For example, if one is opposed to offshore child labour, requiring her/him to take work at WalMart is an obscenity, rather like requiring a German of conscience to work at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

    Yet this is exactly what OW does. In a recent meeting with a case worker, I was told my education, qualifications, and skills were irrelevant, and that “sometimes, you have to sacrifice your principles to get a job.” What, I ask, is the point of principles and ethics if you don’t stick by them?

    Certainly, it is the business of OW to assist those with a reasonable chance of finding meaningful employment in their hunt for a job, but not to harrass and humiliate those for whom the boilerplate solutions they offer are inappropriate or futile. As I stated at the start, there are many reasons people find themselves on welfare.

    I have the misfortune of unusally high intelligence (intimidates employers no matter how hard I try to minimize or hide it), a specialized and demanding university degree (music, composition, U of T), and decades of experience in the vanishing craft of typesetting (to which I apprenticed after nearly twenty years of musical training precisely in order to ensure employment). I write, with one published novel under my belt and another currently orphaned because the publishing industry is in the toilet.

    I’m fifty-six, and have effectively been out of the job “market” since 1994, working as an unpaid, live-in domestic with duties ranging from the usual cooking and cleaning to child care and tutoring. This arrangement allowed me to be productive in my various fields of expertise. When things went south, as they sometimes do for reasons beyond one’s control, I applied to OW for financial assistance. Coming from Québec, I was utterly unprepared for the totalitarianism of “Workfare”, which has made my life more of a misery than poverty itself and stands as an impediment to my ability to contribute meaningfully to the world in which I live.

    I have come to dread being surveilled, like something out of Nineteen Eighty-Four. I dread having my bank account subject to forensic scrutiny when it hasn’t reached the thousand-dollar mark in longer than I can remember. I dread being made to feel like a criminal for accepting a friend’s fifty dollars for groceries. I dread having my personal life pawed over to satisfy a case worker that I’m not shacking up with my two(!) roommates. I dread being questioned about my efforts to find work in a broken economy that no longer values my skills. I dread being coerced into “volunteering” with threats of “non-compliance”. (Does no one at OW recognize the double-think involved with the notion of coercing volunteers?) I dread being told the volunteer work I do in fact do doesn’t count (open-source programming in a highly specialized but non-paying field). I dread surreal interviews where oversights and incompetence on the part of my case worker somehow become my fault. I dread having to report my movements like a parolee when I travel to see my 89-yr-old ailing mother.

    And I’m tired of being forced to lie. Yes, that’s right: forced to lie. Everyone on welfare does it, and OW knows. Simple math is enough to prove it. No one can feed themselves, maintain a reasonable standard of hygiene, pay for hydro and access to telecommunications–one is held in “non-compliance” if one doesn’t have voicemail or the equivalent–or use public transit on little over six hundred dollars a month when rent alone eats up four hundred of those dollars. The deficit has to be made up from somewhere, whether under-the-table work or contributions from friends and family. But if one reports the additional assistance, one is penalized by having it deducted, dollar-for-dollar, from one’s monthly benefit, effectively ensuring one cannot possibly cover the base-level expenses of living. Consequently, one must lie, because honesty means starvation or homelessness. Case workers cannot possibly not know this, making the entire system insane, since it is institutional insanity to demand that people lie in order to maintain someone else’s fiction. It’s an Emperor’s New Clothes scenario, and it punishes those who tell the truth.

  • On Wednesday, March 20, JK said:

    I have never before needed social assistance. I share a place with a friend/partner for $1575 a month in the country. I run a business from home because I have a disability that keeps me from being able to handle the 9-5 or most work environments. However, the contract I have started 2 months later than it was supposed to, and my housemate has not been able to work for 8 months.
    I went to social services to see if I could get emergency welfare. I was appalled that they offer only $606.00 each month! How can you live on that??? I thought that was how much I was allowed to make before Social Assistance started to cut back on the cheque. I had already sold my car and pawned many precious belongings (what I have left of my parents). However, I am usually able to make a few hundred dollars each month doing some part-time work from home. It is unreliable work, but….. Being self-(un)employed I don’t qualify for EI, despite having paid into it since I was 11 years old (I can now register, but it takes a year to take effect and costs $3000/year. If I had an extra $3000 I would not need social assistance). When I returned from the social assistance office I had some of that part-time work available and ended up making about $600 so I was not eligible for any assistance. I am very well-educated, I have three post-secondary degrees, but even my education and smarts can not help me live on $600 a month. They said I need to find “more affordable housing”. Like what? I live in the country and even a room in a house is $450/month. Then there is the phone bill, car insurance (you can’t live in the country without a car), etc. I realise that they don’t want people to “live” on welfare. But if you need it, and are in a bad place temporarily, the system does not provide you with any means to ever get out of the hole you are in. If every penny is taken off your cheque, where is the incentive to work even part-time? I have paid taxes since I was 11, and have never asked my government for assistance. I even do volunteer work for our government by way of committees. But when I need help for two months what happen? I am forced to the street!!!!!! I feel the pain of you all, and wish you the strength to fight back against the system that has failed us all. With love….

  • On Friday, April 26, Katelyn Woodruff said:

    I have been living on odsp since about 2008, as soon as I turned 18, I was forced out of my foster home and immediately forced into stintson lodge house, were the conditions of living were deplorable at best, shit on the walls etc. I had to move out but firstly had to prove that I could live on my own, in the meantime I was refused my medicines and being emotionally abused by Staff. If I got frustrated I would be forced out of the home and not be given my medications . . . Odsp was told that this is what’s best for me. I got denied housing 150 times by landlords cause I was on odsp for mental health issues homeless several times and the stressful stuff … I am now my fiancee trustee and I have to care for us both and 1700 only allows for some bad places, not to sound greedy but with both of us with mentally ill and not feeling safe….it causes problems

  • On Tuesday, May 7, Donna Simoncini said:

    My horror story began when I realized O.W. had poisoned the minds of my adult children. I was on the phone with the director of the Sudbury office. I was crying hysterically and begging her to tell me what had been said to my adult children to cause them to disown me completely. Her response was “you have to move on”. I felt as though I had been hit in the head with a 2×4! I went numb and stayed that way for a long time. I became homeless shortly after and lost everything including my dignity and any self worth. I`d wake up at night not knowing where I was or where the kids were. Six years have passed and I still have nightmares and O.W. still maintain they have done nothing wrong. My personal safety was threatened in their office by staff. Three to be exact. I was lied to, tricked, followed, humiliated and degraded all by a system that`s suppose to help not harm. I removed myself of assistance after no one would acknowledge my complaint against the worker. Things were worked out for a short period of time and I thought all was well until I requested my file from the city clerk. My oldest had applied for an appt. of trusteship on my funds. I am not mental health and have not addictions. This was done behind my back between him and the worker LESLIE STEELE. My son was listed as an emergency contact ONLY meaning if I dropped dead. My youngest told me that the worker had called the oldest to tell him I was looking thin and I was! Celiac`s usually keep a low body weight and the worker had cut my special diet just to because she had the power to do so. Ontario Works in Sudbury had altered my life forever BUT according to them they have done no wrong, that`s why I do not hesitate to name names. If they are so innocent why am I now in worse physical health today? Why have my adult children turned against me only after they violated my right to privacy etc? I want an investigation by someone with a head on their shoulders. This is NOT over! My goal was to work on becoming healthy enough to work again! They have caused HORRIBLE damage to my family, my health and my life! The system does not help the way it should! Most of us want to work and be a productive part of society! O.W. did everything in their power to make sure that did not happen BUT they assume no responsibility. LIARS! If it takes me until 100yrs old I WILL see justice! They will not get away with the damage done and I will never stop telling my story until they are held accountable!

  • On Sunday, May 12, Anna Darlene Leeuwner said:

    My husband in on Pension, I am on ODSP. ODSP says if my husband takes on a job and makes 300.00 he is fine. They say if my husband makes over 300.00 dollars they take half of it away from him. Please reply.

  • On Tuesday, May 14, Lisa said:

    I am appalled at all the stories I’ve read, but I am at least comforted by the fact that I’m not alone, that there are others who are dealing with the same issues as I am. I am a single mother with two children. I have been on OW for a few years due to an abusive partner. When I went on OW, I was very depressed and actually could not talk properly to the intake worker because I couldn’t stop crying. Before this I had worked for 25 years of my life and I felt so down because I could not support myself and my children. The workers do not and have not made me feel any better about this situation. I avoid conversations with other moms and dads at my kids school because I don’t want to tell anyone I’m on social assistance because of the stigma attached to it. I have had to deal with many issues with my worker (some of which have already been discussed on here). I want to go back to work part-time, but have decided not to because there is no financial point in it. I cannot work at a part-time job, be clawed back by OW and be expected to work all manner of hours and pay for daycare. The stress of trying to figure this out had me on a merry-go-round of depression and anxiety. If they would at least let us make what we receive from them before clawing back 50%, then I would definitely be out banging the pavement tomorrow to get a part time job. Getting a full-time job, would be absolutely out of the question….why you may ask??? Because I would have to wait 3 weeks or more for my first paycheque and during this time, I would have to pay for food at home and lunches for work, for transportation to and from work and daycare (they want the money up front). This is an impossible task. Why can the government not see that they are pouring money into a bottomless pot!!! More and more people are going on OW and less and less can get off of it!!! I didn’t pay taxes for 25 years to see my money spent so recklessly!! At this point, I’m considering going into politics just so I can try to make some changes, but of course I can’t afford it!! I like everyone else on here is so sick of just getting by.

  • On Friday, May 24, Trevor Goble said:

    I have been reading a few of the posts and wow. I am and have been on OW for about 10 years and continuously getting denied ODSP despite a and I quote from a licensed physician stating (severe, prolong with no chance of recover) but I continue to apply and fight.

    I read above that ODSP clients are being deducted for the Ontario Trillium Benefit. This is illegal and this payment is exempt as income from both OW and ODSP.

    Here is why. The OTB is an accumulative payment of the old (rent rebate) and (heating cost) for which you would receive normally through the old (tax refund check) in April when you do your taxes. Your income tax check is always exempt and workers will not dispute this fact.

    I receive the OTB and do not get deducted anything and if a worker says to the contrary then point this out under the your directives and also mention the criminal code section 126 (Disobeying a Statute).

    This section of the criminal code states:

    126. (1) Every one who, without lawful excuse, contravenes an Act of Parliament by wilfully doing anything that it forbids or by wilfully omitting to do anything that it requires to be done is, unless a punishment is expressly provided by law, guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

    This criminal act scare many workers but they thrive on the fact that (1) one knows it and (2) that no one knows their on legislation. OW and ODSP is very much like CAS and they all have their thoughts on how to interpret their legislation and more often than not many are wrong.

    I have had to fight for benefits such as non medical transportation where it was revealed they were told by government not to allow it. Until I through out their own directives and finally I receive the benefit.

  • On Saturday, May 25, Leticia said:

    The budget of 2013-2014 has thousands of us running in circles scared out of our wits.

    I’m terrified because I have mental health issues and I had to fight hard to be recognized for my debilitating mental health issues. I mean, hard. And now I’m faced with the possibility of no income and being forced to work when I can barely walk around my own block by myself without suffering a debilitating panic attack. Sure I’m able bodied, but able minded? No.
    This puts thousands of people in a place where they can’t get out. We’re cornered, hunkered down and scared, all because no one cares about what happens to us. It’s all about their own inability to budget. Grand. Nice to know we matter.

    A system and leaders that never cease their failure of the most vulnerable.

  • On Monday, May 27, Has it come to this said:

    I may have missed an entry, but I don’t see anyone commenting on the ‘who knows how many’ cheaters on the system. Could this be why decent, deserving recipients are constantly fighting for small amounts of money? I’m an ODSP recipient. Sometimes I work and sometimes I can’t..but what I have discovered is that people cheat. I have four so-called girlfriends that cheat the OW system. Not because they can’t find work, not because they actually need assistance, but mostly because they can! They lie about their stashed away money, they lie about husbands/boyfriends that live with them, they lie about support…they just lie.
    And it’s the rest of the program recipients that ultimately pay for these cheaters. It’s like any other theft! A company factors these burdens to determine what they can afford to charge for their products. I’m certain the government does the same.
    Now, please don’t respond and tell me they cheat because they can’t live on what is given to them. The truth about these four, is that they should be working. There is only one of them that actually has a real medical condition. The other three, well I have to assume that they are lazy. That they have found away around the difficult task of getting up each morning, feeding the kids and getting them off to daycare.
    These programs were originally designed for war widows…not lazy ungrateful people!

  • On Monday, June 10, Nathan said:

    Here is my story, took me 2 hours to write and I hope you get to read it. I had to go on Ontario works in spring of 2011 because I lost my business in the recession, totally ran out of money and became too depressed to get a job. From the start they made things difficult and stressful. I have had no end of problems since then. They weren’t even going to give me anything since I had an RRSP that revenue Canada had frozen. I practically had to beg them and ended up having to apply for ODSP to get an asset exemption just to qualify for Ontario works. The first 6 months they underpaid me by about $70 per month and I was totally unaware I should have been getting more. I was only getting $530 per month with $450 out of that going to my rent and bills (I share with my dad), even though I explained my expenses clearly to my case worker at the start. Practically starved the first 6 months and as a result I became more depressed and unhealthy. After about 6 months I managed to get and hold down a temp job for 4 months before getting laid off and having to go back on assistance.. Every time I would meet with caseworkers they would give me a hard time and treat me with barely an iota of dignity. They kept requesting more and more increasingly difficult to obtain paperwork which had me riding my bike around the city in the hot sun going back and forth to service Ontario, the department of motor vehicles, service Canada, banks, etc, etc. I had to request bank statements which took weeks for the head branch to get to me and in the meantime I was denied assistance, fell behind on rent and was without money (and hardly any food) for the better part of 2 months, when I finally got the bank statements it was like my caseworker didn’t even care and she immediately started asking for something else. I was furious and felt like a circus monkey having to jump through hoops for nothing. My most recent caseworker (the one I was just mentioning) never met with me once in 9 months and didn’t return half my calls. When I applied for my community start up benefit she denied ever receiving the paperwork and as a result I missed the 30 day window and was denied on a second attempt. I was constantly having to go over her head to get resolutions because it was like she had it out for me and was intent on having me without a dime in my pocket. She must have requested a dozen pieces of paper work in a few months time. Maybe if I didn’t have to constantly run around for paperwork and worry about going hungry or becoming homeless I would have the energy and frame of mind to look for work. They don’t make anything even remotely easy and all for a cheque that can barely be considered enough to subsist on. Most recently my caseworker requested a document for a contract job I did for 1 day almost a year prior to the request being made. Because of the length of time elapsed I lost contact with the employer (small sales company) and couldn’t get the paperwork, facing being kicked off assistance I had to go the the MPs office to get a letter to buy me an extra month. That’s what I get for trying to work- kicked off assistance. So out of desperation I tried doing some sales work to make ends meet the last few months but it seems my mental state has deteriorated so much I cant do that type of work anymore. Now I’m almost totally out of money, hungry, losing weight and verging on being homeless. I think I am almost totally mentally disabled at this point. I’m overwhelmed by depression, stress and anxiety and have practically no where to turn. Ontario works is currently putting me through the ringer to get my assistance reinstated. Prior to 2011 I had supported myself for my entire working life and was proud and self reliant. The problem with OW is they do everything they can to make your life difficult and stressful and all for a cheque that isn’t enough to keep people in a physically or mentally healthy state. My prayers go to anyone relying on Ontario works as a sole income source. If they would treat people better and invest a bit more in people less people would fall into the cycle of mental crisis and disability. Who really wants to be on Ontario works? Not me!!!

  • On Thursday, June 13, Jude said:

    I was on EI upgrading my skills, when my EI ran out. I was still trying to find a job. I pushed my self to find a job, I went to Ontario works as a last resort. and they offered my 300 dollars. I have rent, a credit card I was having off and a phone which they are gona cut. None of this covers what I need. Instead of being able to at least make minim payments… I’ll be living in the streets in less then a week. THANKS ONTARIO.

    It’s unjust. I don’t want to be here. As human being… I do not deserve this.

  • On Tuesday, June 18, Emily said:

    I was abused as a kid then put in Children’s Aid and when I turned 18 they got me onto ODSP. I suffered a few brain injuries from my childhood and have depression and complex PTSD. I can’t get treatment for the PTSD because it is not covered by OHIP or ODSP and I can’t afford to pay for it because ODSP gives very little. After suffering a stroke at age 27 I was left homeless because of lack of wheelchair accessible housing and with 1200 bucks a month from ODSP I couldn’t afford non subsidized housing. I now have subsidized housing and it’s full of cockroaches, drugs etc., it’s disgusting and unsafe! I am very grateful for the money I get from ODSP but I do wish I could actually afford to live somewhere clean and safe. They installed smart metres in my building which is subsidized housing and my hydro is now 500-600 bucks every two months and that’s with no heat or air conditioning my worker was very nice and gives me the max allowed for rent even though I technically only qualify for $128. i can and do survive on the amount given but it would be nice to able to turn the heat on or to live somewhere clean and safe. The stigma that comes with being on ODSP is hard, people seem to think it’s easy and everyone is a scammer and being on ODSP is a quick way to get rich. I dont see anything wonderful about having to pick bugs out of your food, freeze in winter because you can’t afford to turn the heat on, living in fear of budget cuts that would land you homeless, eating one meal a day because that’s all you can afford, not being able to have children because you can’t afford to care for them and being treated like a parasite for not being able to work because your parents beat your skull in. i apologize for the poor grammar I have cognitive problems and troubles with writing and expressing stuff.

  • On Thursday, June 27, Jane said:

    I am an attractive woman who has worked hard since age 15. I grew up middle class never wanting anything, daughter of a lawyer. I was college educated twice with honors placing 3rd. The first time I went to college I studied medical secretarial in the 80s. I then wanted something better as at that time we were treated rotten at workplaces. I went back to school in 1993 in Toronto and studied health records management and placed 3rd. I am also a commissionaire. I held amazing jobs all my life including UBC, hospitals, immigration, Elections Canada, the police and law firms. In between I did retail or cleaning. I am from NB where people are honest and work very hard. I had to leave nb 6 times since age 25 due to no work. I was in Toronto for 5 years then Vancouver for 6. I worked almost the whole time in admin work. My job was automated at UBC in 2000. I specialize in medical transcription and have 10 yrs exp and I am top in my field as I do all specialties of medicine at 85 wpm even foreign accents. I moved to Ottawa in 2007- found work in my field for 1 year at 22 an hour and even got raises and promotions they loved my work. Mom got cancer so I had to leave my job to be with her as I have 3 in my family now with cancer, dad died from it , my sister has it too. So ever since then I could not pay my rent as EI was running out. I then ended up on welfare for the first time hoping it would just be a few months. Its now been 5 years!!! I only found 2 other temp jobs in Ottawa after sending over 2000 resumes in the local area. I am English speaking only. I tried every program imaginable from second career to Employment Ontario to people at OW fixing your resume (funny in Alberta I did not even have a resume and I found 3 jobs there!!)………what i noted is they downplay your resume to stupid level and they wanted me to work at value village (yep can u imagine after being the top transcriptionist in Canada in radiology for a doctor of the grizzlies!! How insulting. Anyhow I ended up homeless at one point due to different circumstances and a bad relationship- I then moved and only stayed there 5 months and had to leave. I could not find a room and they wanted first and last. My worker was a foreign man who never met me and he would not give me any moving money or last months rent. SO I had to move to Rockland which was a huge error. The place I could not see it as the landlords were saying they did not have the key etc…..I had paid for it and still did not know its Ottawa rooms who owns it and they are slumlords bigtime but i had no choice. I’m alone here. So I moved and that was a nightmare the guy who lived there was on drugs, the house was being watched by god knows hells angels things seemed weird and i even think my food was being tampered with cause i felt strange for hours and had memory loss. So one day I came down to Ottawa and an organization helped me out and i moved and it was like a miracle from god that day……..I am still on welfare although i should not be……… I’m like the most honest woman – i feel massive immigration is the reason I’m out of work coupled with automation and outsourcing of jobs. I am planning to return to school in the fall and never again to be on welfare. Its true the government seems to make money off poor people as where would social workers, counsellors, doctors, lawyer etc make their money………….what I hate is when they tell u its always been this way when it has not. I grew up in the 70s and everyone had a job then even if u went to grade 3. In fact my great aunt went to grade 3 and she got hired at a hospital and trained on the job to be like an RNA and she had that job for life! She never did finish high school imagine how easy those years were. And only one person had to work too, not two…………the rising cost of food, housing, taxes, rents etc is due to massive immigration that is causing welfare rates to soar………………..

  • On Monday, July 1, Leighann Ford said:

    I don’t remember how long i have been on ODSP
    but i have been frustrated this past week when they didnt pay me.. i will be calling my worker today to find out what has happened..
    My rent is late now and it is the 2nd of the month my cheque is always direct deposit.
    There is no reason for my money to have not been deposited and this is infuriating.

  • On Wednesday, July 24, Adriaan Nooyens said:

    I have been on and off Ontario Works for close to a year now. At first I went to my local office in the town I live in, was approved no problem due to my circumstances. Shortly after that the case worker showed up at my place of residence and informed me that, due to the fact I lived 50 meters into the neighbouring county, I would have to travel half an hour by vehicle (which I did not have) to continue my participation in the program. After three visits to the new OW office I finally got back on the program. Now they have cut me off on a monthly basis, claiming this problem or the other, forcing me to find a ride out there every month to deal with whatever the problem is. The best term I can use to describe my (now) two case workers is Nazis. Luckily I may be able to find work in the next few weeks and will no longer require OW, however I have an outstanding overpayment with them for “double dipping” with EI Sick Benefits, with the months they have cut me off, they should have applied all those fund towards the overpayment. They offer no schooling options for re-training or upgrading, they have not assisted me in finding work, all they care about is that their forms are dropped off every month. This is not how a social assistance program should be run at all. It is a broken system.

  • On Thursday, July 25, Kim said:

    I hate our system!! I am on partial WSIB benefits that just exceeds social assistance and there for I do not qualify for any help. They told me full assistance or nothing. This is horrible! I only needed help with dental,some medicines and my eyes. WSIB only covers medication and only for my injury. I have serious neck injuries and had to undergo cervical disc fusion last Sept.2012. No help is out there,at least that I can find.i cannot get to the food banks let alone carry the food home. I am on my own here in Windsor. I live on Mr. Noodles! The system is built for those that abuse it and women with children. Not for the single white female. I see the a users get so much and the ones in need get nothing at all. I am forced to work in severe pain because I am under duress to survive. All WSIB, CPP disability and ODSP are such a long drawn out process for us to suffer while waiting. I gave this country my all before I was injured at work. After you are hurt, you are garbage and get treated as so. I hate you all and have so much anger towards our system and government..

  • On Monday, August 19, Displeased in Ontario said:


  • On Wednesday, September 4, not wanting to leave name said:

    On August 28th 2013 my common law husband had an appointment set up with Brant County Ontario Works because I was told from ODSP that we should apply for Ontario Works first as the wait for ODSP could be 3-6 months.
    We are a family of 4 struggling to get by and it took a lot for us to swallow our pride and ask for help…
    After bringing them bank information (even printing off more at her request), SIN #s, Health card numbers, ownership on my car, and even proof of a settlement (ie what we were living off of) we signed all the paper work and were told then and there we were approved for Ontario Works and we should expect a cheque in the mail.
    On Friday August 29th they called me and had asked about me showing my dogs.
    Which I answered yes and tried to explain, she did not understand what I was saying and even said “i know nothing about dog shows”
    I tried to explain
    Yes, I do show my dogs…I did not think that this is something that needed to be talked about at the meeting because it is a hobby. One would not talk about liking to fish at the meeting so Im not sure how this is not being forthwith with information.
    Also, would not think to bring it up since I have not shown my dogs since June 2012 because I have not had the income for it.
    It is NOT something at the level I show my dogs at that I make any money at.
    After the phone conversation it was left as we were still waiting for our cheque.

    On Tuesday September 3rd 2013 my husband called Becky because we were waiting for the package to arrive so he could go and pick up his prescription. It was at this point in time she told him she was told we had a business of showing dogs and we are unable to receive any help from Ontario Works. – even though the County over is saying they dont understand why this woman has decided this either…

    So I am sitting here dumbfounded as to why they are unwilling to help, after jumping through their hoops because I have a hobby that doesnt bring in an income at all…why because she didnt understand and chose not to ask any other questions..

  • On Thursday, September 5, Susan said:

    I got evicted in July and had to go into an emergency shelter. Not only is that place a dump with near starvation levels of food but it is does not meet even half of the Canada food guide minimum daily requirement for nutrients. Not to mention the food is often so burned it is inedible. OW, according to others there, pays the cost of the storage of their possessions but according to my worker that never happens. The contradictions form one worker to the next is unbelievable. It is one set of rules for each person. After paying for my storage fees I am left with $50 a month, how can I get a job or eat or get to a volunteer job on that? My first worker gave me an address to get a voice mail from a service agency that was years out of date. All three workers I have had talk down to you as if you are an idiot and are too stupid to tell if you are being treated with respect. They offer no hope they do not seem to care at all, you are just a loser they are forced to deal with. The shelter is full of mentally ill that get aggressive and the junkies steal. The OW workers don’t care and the overwhelming majority of shelter staff don’t care. it is a prison. I hate my life I want out and I have no where to go. They system in the shelters seems set up to drive you insane and starve you. I have no idea how I am going to get out of this mess. I have to fight every day not to loose my mind I am hungry and praying that something good will come of this. I cannot take much more. The system needs to treat us with respect and treat us as if we have value as a human not like we are disposable. I am too freaked out to offer suggestions as to how to improve it I am too hungry and sleep deprived. I cannot understand why or how we treat people as if they are garbage and expect them to make a better life for themselves when they are starving.

  • On Saturday, September 14, tracy said:

    I suffer from mental health issues and have been renting a room for two years now why because the rents are so high I simply cannot afford my own apt on ODSP income. I have no husband I am single and the system is not set up that I get enough money to afford an apt. They allocate $550 for rent every month and the average one bedroom is anywhere from $700 to $1200 a month and the units that are $700 are far and few between. The list for subsidy is five years if you qualify which I don’t cause my ex who got 50 thousand dollars left me holding the bag for debts everywhere. I am not asking for a lot I just want to be able to afford my own place and not have to cry myself to sleep and lay awake nights worrying how long it will be before I have no place to go and have to live on the street again. Mostly I just don’t understand why sick people are not cared about and forced to live on the street and not eat cause they cant afford to. I think everyone on ODSP should be put in housing they can afford or the government needs to say landlords cannot charge unreasonable amounts for apts. The rents are way out of control and every year more and more people are becoming homeless.

  • On Tuesday, September 17, Jerry said:

    My Opinion

    The Government of Ontario
    Is in bed with these third party municipalities and companies.
    The government of Ontario is wasting a whole lot of tax payers money supporting a industry that is supposed to assist the poor OW and ODSP client.
    If you have a legitimate complaint and you follow proper channel they go against you to cover their butts even fabricate the facts about a client.
    I am on ODSP working part time.
    The government of Ontario is simply not accountable.
    I give up hope that this government can do anything right and ethical.
    A good example of that is how they deliver any program
    This government is the worst one in Ontario history.
    Poor people are paying a big price.
    I cannot stand the government of Ontario
    They have made a big mess of Ontario.

  • On Friday, September 27, Dani said:

    I read all of the horror stories about dealing with ODSP and OW. I graduated from college in 2008 and shortly after that things happened in my life that caused me not to be able to work. I was on OW for about 2 years before jumping through all the loop holes to get ODSP. The living standard on ODSP was better then what it was on OW but it was tight. My student loans went into collections and my income tax got 100% garnished to pay the student loan. I can’t tell you how bad it feels to have $15K in student loans with no hope of a job, the student loan people wanted $460 per month from my $1025 disability check because they said I wasn’t disabled enough to have the debt forgiven Lets do the math: $1025 in minus $550 for rent minus $460 student loan … I’d have a whole $15 per month for food (never mind transportation or medical). I have to say that in general I have had good experiences dealing with various workers over the years. Most were kind and understanding … really good people who helped me get through it. I am back in school, I still have hope of getting off of the system someday soon. I worked part time in the summer to pay for books and school costs (I got a small trust when my grandfather passed away that could only be used for education). My worker was great, she got me employment start up and she made sure that my wages weren’t garnished because I was a registered student. It’s going to take me three years to get a two year diploma. I don’t mind though the field I am studying is in high demand (environmental) so the odds are looking good that I can get off the system. I haven’t lost hope, I don’t feel like I’ve been shamed. My worker is part of my “support team” and she’s always been there helping me along the way. Yeah I don’t get much as a single person, yeah my cheque has been held a few times, yeah I miss out on many things because of my limited income but, I get by and I still have hope. There are good workers out there and you can get by and get off the system as long as you don’t lose hope. Hang in there everyone.

  • On Monday, September 30, Emily said:

    My best friend had been caring for me the past 10 years and well she moved out. I don’t have an electric wheelchair so I have been trapped inside for months! I called my ODSP worker in June and she told me it’s not her problem that she just makes sure I get my cheques. I did get an application sent in for a power chair but it is almost October and I am still trapped!! Thankfully my friend does my shopping for me otherwise I would have starved to death! I asked my ODSP worker if a chair could be rented so I could leave my apt. reminding her that if there were an emergency I could not get out but she didn’t care and said NO. So I am here, alone poor and hungry and desperate for freedom and no one cares, what a wonderful country, not! I can’t get any homecare either, apparently the building has to be cockroach free something I have no control over. The Canadian government ruined my childhood and robbed me of a future!!

  • On Thursday, October 3, Mrs. Carol Gagnon said:

    I am very concerned about the cost of medication, for those who are on a low fixed pension, i.e. Canada Pension, and being diabetic, the cost of medication is extremely high. Insulin is approx. $500.00 per month; pills for diabetics can be as much as $1,000.00 per month. We are both diabetics. I am a retired employee of the Federal Government. I did not complete my 25 years of service, only 20. Therefore, my pension is not the full amount. My husband worked for private companies for about 20 years and then decided to have his own business in renovations for 15 years. He is now receiving Canada Pension since August 2012. Can the Government review this problem and somehow have Health Canada be made aware of this serious issue? Add on an extra insurance amount on our health cards that could cover 80% of prescription expenses? dental expenses? eye exam/glasses? Being diabetic, we have to keep a close watch on these 3 medical issues. Thank you very much, for having the opportunity to share the on-going experience of our daily concerns.

  • On Friday, October 4, Robert Crawford said:

    Prison is clean. I intentionally robbed a bank in 2006 because I figured prison was better than living in homeless shelters or the disgusting apartments and rooming houses. While I was in prison my ODSP application was approved. I thought that this meant that the worst was over. Wrong! I have been out of prison for 4 years now and I am strongly considering returning again. It isn`t paradise but at least it is clean. There is a lot of discrimination against people on ODSP and I can understand the landlords point of view. I am clean and sober for 2 years now with no outside help and this is no easy task considering I have been living in places that are infested with rats, cockroaches, bedbugs and mold and mildew that would take your breath away. The living conditions are so much better in the penitentiary. I don`t know how people can live this way? If the climate was warmer I would try living outside.

  • On Monday, October 21, A young Wellander said:

    Hello, I was on Ontario Works for a few years. At 16 and on my own, I applied for Student Ontario Works, they of course refused me. I barely ate that year and got very sick. A year later I heard Peter Kormos could help me and thank God for that man, I would have starved if he had not save me and he did. He got me on OW within a week and I finally had some financial help. A year later I had to move from my current place of residence so I got my own apartment with a friend because OW insisted I needed a roommate so I would qualify for rent. I guess rent has to be under $350 for one person, good luck finding that even in our small town. But I did and my roommate that they set me up with stopped paying her share and ditched me in a $600 apartment. Due to the fact I got start up money already they wouldn’t help me move. My ENTIRE cheque had to go to rent so I had no money for food AGAIN. When I told my worker this she couldn’t care less, and gave me no solutions to my problems or advice. I left multiple messages and got no reply. On top of this mess I was only 17 now and Hydro had been in my roommate’s name. Hydro refused to turn on my Hydro due to the fact I was not 18 yet and would not allow me to make an account. From June to October (the month I finally turned 18) I was left with NO HYDRO by OW, a $600 apartment I couldn’t afford, and no money for food still. Did anyone care? No. I called my worker begging for hydro. I was living by candle light. No tv, no fridge, no stove, no nothing. I went to food banks to survive, but they only allow you once a month so I always ran out of food and had to beg people to help me. My pride was crushed, my self esteem lost, and any hope I had that it would be alright was gone. As soon as my hydro was turned on they sent me to the worker that’s supposed to get you a job. By this time I was just 100 pounds, overly skinny, and sick from the lifestyle I was living without choice. NO ONE would hire me. I had applied everywhere trying to get of OW for the last couple years. My anxiety worsened and I became diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. I worked for a few months before my seasonal job they found me ended and I was forced to return to the system I desperately wanted to get away from. Only until my ceiling fell through onto my bed (yes they ignored my complaints about leaking both the landlord and my worker) did they allow me to move. I was absolutely trapped on the system. I am now 20, in school and finally OFF THE SYSTEM WOOO! I ended up with $2,000 debt being on OW using my credit card to eat cause they do not give you enough to survive. Now I have terrible credit, still that money to pay off, and an anxiety disorder. Did they help me? My first worker not at all – worst part is shes the worker for youth. My second worker she helped a bit but couldn’t fix the damage the first worker did, but how could I expect her to. I really couldn’t. I just want to warn those people who think this is gonna help you, it became evident to me that the government doesn’t care at all about the poor at all, when I was on this. They watched me starve and did nothing, they let a 16 year old wander homeless until a year later. We are treated terribly then expected to change our lives drastically while we starve and lose our confidence with dirty clothes and you get so stressed – forget about sleep. Why is our system our families are paying for in taxes hurting us? Why are they leaving people to starve? I don’t know how these workers sleep at night. It breaks my heart seeing the little ones in the office so skinny and hungry. Why is it fair to them? May we help one another because clearly no one else will help us. I’m sorry to all the others with sad stories. I hope things get better for you and I hope they give you and your families the money you need. May we stand together and fight for our right to survive.

  • On Wednesday, November 27, Jon said:

    Hi I am on OW and I have been notified by mail instead of calling that my December cheque has been deducted from because of money I made in October. How does this make sense? So for rent and Xmas shopping for my kid I have $289. My rent is 500. So for Xmas I am gonna get kicked out. Good job OW. I have worked for you paid my taxes and now when I am in need I get this. I have a family of 3 and $289 to live of for a month…. Undoably

  • On Thursday, November 28, Ashamed Canadian said:

    My apologies, second submission. I corrected my grammar and spelling errors. I cannot very well fight back without being understood. Could you kindly replace my previous comment with this corrected version, please and thank you. I am on ODSP and sick, have been for a while. ODSP refuses to cover any exorbitant hospital parking fees or gas to get me to see specialists. I would like to be able to go to specialists in my area but as it stands there are none that deal with my issues. I have to travel over 2 hours to one specialist and about an hour to another specialist. Both of whom are in different cities from each other -and myself. Even OHIP refused to cover blood tests I needed done at my doctors office too because they said, “they weren’t covered”. I have issues from a previous surgery that causes malabsorption, a surgery, which they had to fund in the US because there were NO surgeons here to do it. Their excuse for not doing the follow up they had explicitly agreed to with the American physician was that they did not have to follow up because the surgery was done in America (that they had funded…) Note: I was born in Canada; I have ALWAYS been a Canadian and Ontario citizen. ODSP refuses to cover my unique blood work, follow up, medications, other issues too. I applied and got into university, then had OSDP steal money from me while I was receiving OSAP and bursaries. I guess I was then making “too much money” not working and at $832 a month, to survive was just far too much… (?!?!) I stopped university because it made me realize exactly whom I would be working for if I was ever able to get a job in Canada, it would be for Canada. I cannot support that or work for a nation that does this stuff to my fellow Canadians. To me, that is unethical and amoral. I can’t afford to live alone because I have too many bills and if I was able to get a proper apartment away from drug infested, crime ridden areas it would take my entire ODSP check that would only move up to maybe $1K. That would only leave me with about $50-80 a month. I do not do illegal drugs or commit any crimes but I am stigmatized as this because I am poor and on ODSP and so then I must live in areas like this (GHETTOS – in the Nazi understanding) with “my” kind of people. Basically because this is how my fellow Canadians understand us as, because this is how our government has lied and stigmatized us as all being. It is their own created logical fallacy (and Catch-22) made to harm both taxpayers -and- recipients of ODSP etc. and then to validate our segregation from the more genetically superior. ;( In any other westernized nation, like most nations in Europe (UK, Germany etc.) it would be illegal to do this with sick and disabled individuals. It would be criminal to steal from taxpayers who help us. However, our government just keeps deliberately obfuscating, lying and harming ALL Canadians. It is being done for their own selfishness. It is embarrassing. So now I understand that my own nation (from the damage that the Conservative party and Stephen Harper, Republican-Right-Wing criminal agenda has done, purposely) is that, they are killing us off. They are culling the poor, sick and disabled. I understand this now because even when I call our government of Canada, even the ombudsman etc. they deliberately misunderstand or obfuscate anything that we are trying to get help with or we are ignored completely. Therefore, to me this then becomes an issue of a deliberate eugenics regime to harm, hurt and passively murder us. I am very ashamed to be Canadian now. Moreover, this is not the nation I have grown up in or that I extolled praise upon when I was young and had previously worked and studied for. I am also amazed that they are allowed to continue this regime and amazed that many fellow Canadians are unaware of how abusive our Canadian government has become, and what exactly our tax payers are funding. Stephen Harper and his Conservative criminal agenda have ruined our Canada. They have made this eugenics culling okay to do to our fellow Canadians, and perhaps this is why the Bloc Quebecois party under Pauline Marois (in Quebec) now feels entitled to carry and further this work upon our fellow Canadians with their cultural, faithful, and spiritual eugenics regime/cleansing in their province too now. I am not surprised with our own government leading with this example that makes this okay to harm our fellow Canadians. I feel that if other taxpayers are paying for us and helping us, why is okay for our government to steal and lie from our fellow precious Canadians (and lie about the poor, sick and disabled) for their own selfishness and for this abuse? In addition, why should they have to keep paying for this when none of this money or support ever reaches any of us who are sick? If they only knew, they would probably be angry enough to stand with us and fight back. Thank you for letting me speak my mind freely, I appreciate it. Please take my words and fight for our fellow Canadians and us :)

  • On Friday, November 29, Miss S said:

    I have been on assistance not because am lazy but because after 4 years of university I can’t find a decent job that can pay my rent. I finally found a job but its not consistent (its like a call center) you work when there are projects available so u can either work or not at all for a month. Unfortunately for me I have a new worker who is all sort of ugly. The income I report to her she refuses to believe it even though I show proof of the pay stub and explain to her the situation of the employment. She wants a letter from my employer listing days worked. I am so embarrassed now my boss knows I am on assistance. Why do these workers dehumanize you and make you feel like crap. Like the lowest thing. Am emotionally abused.

  • On Tuesday, December 3, Dianne said:

    I am an O.D.S.P recipient and have to live out in the country where there are no buses, my son is required to attend this Ontario Works program, there seems to be no room for reasoning, my car’s sticker is outdated since my birthday and can’t afford to renew it for we barely have enough for the very basics already. My son had to miss his appointment which I did notify them the first time, I then received a phone call from my O.D.S.P worker stating that if my son misses the next appointment he will be showing up as “non compliant” and my $280 a month to feed him will be cut off. I did make sure he attended this meeting however the stress and feel of driving him there with no sticker and insurance was terrifying for us. I am 54 years old and have no criminal record and was always a law abiding citizen however I need to get my car in order for my son to attend. I am doing this now saving the money but taking it out of the food money and now I am driving my car illegally and stealing food for my family to eat. I have lost myself and who I really am; I am destitute.

  • On Tuesday, December 3, may said:

    Just wanted to say that this country has no opportunities for people who never had a chance to get an education or for those who don’t have any job experience, because when I try to apply the only question I am always asked is what was your first work experience, and because I don’t have it I end up with no job. Someone please tell me did any of you work anywhere with a job experience just like that it came from the sky? Didn’t everyone who works start somewhere from the very beginning? This is what makes people live on the government. Why can’t you hire people and train them or do you want Canada to become among the third countries one day for the lack of jobs and the abundance of lazy people..

  • On Wednesday, December 4, BRAD said:

    As I read these comments, I’m filled with despair for my fellow victims. We are victims, there’s no doubt. In our hour of need we are manipulated, shat upon, and taken advantage of in an indefensible fashion. Our various levels of government intrude into our lives with seemingly arbitrary policies and procedures. They use us as statistics to justify the ever expanding bureaucracy. We aren’t advised of programs that exist to ease our burdens. Apparently it’s on a need to know basis, and for whatever reason we don’t need to know. Our financial institutions somehow become aware of our plight and offer us credit. We accept because we’re hungry and we hope our fortunes will improve. This puts us in a far worse situation if our health deteriorates instead. Amazingly, we all hope that tomorrow will be better than today.
    We watch as the wealthiest become ever more affluent. Of course there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get richer. There’s nothing wrong with governments wanting to get their debt under control. There’s nothing wrong with expecting ODSP/OW applicants to access other resources before asking their fellow citizens for support. We also realize that fraud is a reality. We may be living under the poverty line but we’re not stupid. We are however in need of a champion. Someone influential who can call foul on the powers that be. Someone who can call to task the incompetent, wasteful, mean spirited, victimizing status-quo. I don’t wish to paint all with the same brush. There are people in ODSP/OW who really do care about what they do. They’re caught in a tough spot where they have to tell clients things they don’t want to hear. Like doctors, they have to be professionally detached, they have to be for their own psychological well being. The last thing they want is to have to apply for their own services.
    Unfortunately nothing is going to get better anytime soon. Quite the opposite. We have very little power except the vote. Advocacy groups are largely ignored. The financial and philosophical priorities of our governments are more important. Our governments throw money around like drunken sailors, answering to nobody. There are studies, white papers, commissions and the like to give the impression that something is being done. In reality it’s just a reason to spend money where they think they will have more influence to increase their numbers and budgets. They don’t really care. Why should they? Their pensions are safe. Their financial future is secure. Their kids have everything they need. If they have health issues they get better care than the rest of us. They won’t be bankrupted by it, they’re covered.
    Many of us have worked and contributed during our careers and have become caught without coverage. We paid for these benefits. We are Canadians and as such we should feel no shame in exercising our rights. The majority of people don’t know anything about disability or welfare. They think it’s a cop out, something for nothing. We are not beggars. We do not enjoy being financially marginalized and trapped by the system. The politics of envy and trickle down economics have proven unworkable. The government is just beginning to see the reality of allowing this to happen. As with many other programs and services, they have once again shown they cannot get even the simplest of things done well.
    I, for one, am convinced that a reckoning is in our future. These conditions, as they exist now, cannot stand. As the baby boom generation moves into retirement, the next generation(s) will have to sort out this mess. Unfortunately these poor kids have inadequate preparation for this task. They’ve been let down. Their education is lacking. The post secondary education they’ve been told they need is just another manipulation to keep them forever in debt and to create political allegiances they are unable to understand. They feed the university cash machine. If they’re wealthy of course they’ll be educated elsewhere. I have no kids sadly, but happily my kids won’t have to grow up in this horrible, horrible Orwellian nightmare.
    My own sad story doesn’t matter, nobody gives a rat’s ssa. If my words mean anything to you, protect yourself. Try to think ahead. Stay as honest as you can in the faces of liars. The system is set up to force you to be less than honest especially when you’re on OW waiting for ODSP. Don’t give up your life insurance, you’ll need it. Try to refuse that credit even though you’re starving. You’ll starve more later. Get a registered disability savings account if you can. Learn the skills your grandparents learned during the depression about how to stretch a dollar. Forage for food. Get firewood for heat. Yummy roadkill. Squirrel stew. Try not to eat the dog. I know you’re disabled but they don’t take that into consideration when they expect you to survive on their generous handouts. I’m a sarcastic bugger I know, but it’s not far off the mark. You will be hungry, you will be unable to pay your bills, you will be depressed and nobody will cut you any slack. That’s just how it is. Try to find the love. Go for the maximum comedy in any given situation. I’m right there with you my friend. Best of luck to you all.

  • On Saturday, December 7, katherine said:

    I was diagnosed as bi-polar at 18. I also suffer from anxiety that hits me at times without warning. I went to college, even through the anxiety until my very final exams where the anxiety attacks started bringing on bouts of vertigo as well. I would become immobilized. I relied on my husband to take care of the financial burden but we were ok. We had children and I did well volunteering in my community. My husband was very restrictive of me though. Eventually when my children were school aged I procured a part time job. I was “allowed” to work 12 hrs/week. Being in the work force helped me immensely. My husband ended up leaving us. I had to go through shelters and such and made it to social housing. I increased my work and we were stable. My ex and I became amicable and we started shared custody of our children. We both believe having both parents as caregivers are an integral part of child development. We worked our schedules around the children. I started dating someone new. After a year and a half this man got drunk and showed up at my home. Thankfully my younger child was at her father’s. As he proceeded to beat me severely, he broke my entire face and beat else relentlessly for over an hour and a half until my older son came home and rescued me. I pushed myself at that point trying to prove that nothing would keep me down. I returned to work black and blue and unable to see out of one eye, unable to speak properly and unstable on my feet. My employer was great. They gave me minimal work knowing my reason for continuing was more to prove to myself. I ended up pushing myself harder and harder. My bouts of anxiety became horrendous. I was no longer sleeping and went through a huge manic episode. This lasted 6 months. Eventually I was physically injured at work as well. But I continued on my manic spree and still pushed. I had hurt one arm and compensated with the other so hurt the wrist in the other. And continued every day with tears streaming down my face but laughing at myself for continuing. Then one day I could not even lift a coffee cup and I crashed. I had to quit my job. Then the depression hit. Thankfully I had EI at the time. I stayed in a zombie like state for 8 months. My son left and my EI ran out. I was forced to apply for OW. I was met by the rudest most derogatory man I have ever met upon my first interview with OW. As I only had my daughter half the time I was told I am entitled to no help with her. He kept asking me why I was in a three bedroom house and that other families would do better than I would in there and kept going on about it. My son had moved out the prior week. Should I have packed up and left immediately as well or waited for a transfer for social housing I asked him. He just ignored my question and told me my hydro bill was too large. In all I was able to receive $595 from them. My rent was $425. My hydro was $125. My monthly cheques were for $45. Somehow I was supposed to feed myself and my daughter on this. One month they had even decided they overpaid me and I got $30. I was not receiving child tax as my ex and I had de I sent them a letter telling them we were in a shared custody and to split the benefit to reflect each of our respective earnings. I ravaged food banks. I hand washed clothes, I washed myself and my daughters hair with bars of soap. This only lasted 3 months and I was transferred to an apartment. At this point I was also applying for ODSP. So I moved. I started getting cheques for $180 which was still very little to support my daughter and myself but a million times better. Tax time came and I had made $100 more than the limit to do your taxes free online. I didn’t have the $50 to spend on my taxes to get everything going to receive child tax. I got a disconnection notice from hydro. Apparently since I had moved ow decided they didn’t have to pay my hydro any longer even though I had provided them with the first bill I received. Then my next cheque was $120. My hydro bill was $70/month. Instead of taking it out of my shelter allowance they decided that the only shelter allowance I got was for the $200 for rent and they took it out of my food allowance. No matter how many times I tried speaking to them they didn’t get it. My worker understood but the verification officer rejected this. This went on for a few months. I had to haggle with hydro a few times as OW also didn’t retro pay them for the months they simply weren’t paying between my move. It somehow got resolved with my worker fighting for me. He was great. Although I never received the money back that they had taken from my food money and given to hydro. My claim for ODSP was denied. As expected on your first try. I can’t deal with this any longer. I scraped and got enough to do my taxes and now have a bit extra from my portion of the child tax. If I work part time I will be better off. So I’ve acquired part time work once again. I am praying for mental stability. Oh and as for supports. I live in the Ottawa area. I requested help for language training. French is essential here and would help make me more employable. I was told “we don’t help with second language training unless you are just immigrating”. So while on OW you are doomed to minimum wage jobs as the supposed resources they have to help you are useless in our area. Even then about half of the minimum wage jobs I applied to said “bilingualism preferred”. There’s no way you can afford classes on what they give you either and they wouldn’t help me with after school care for my daughter as she isn’t a participant because I have shared custody for her benefit.

  • On Thursday, December 12, R.S. said:

    I’ve been having problems with OW. I was trying to go back to school and the worker told me I had to be in a literacy program in order to get transportation for school. What’s the difference? Yet they tell you that you should go back to school and finish, won’t help you get there if you’re not taking literacy. Also you can’t receive benefits if you’re getting paid more than $200 because if so you have to pay rent from your pocket but then you end up having the amount you received from welfare. Again what’s the difference? If I didn’t receive transportation on my benefits and I had somewhere to be I couldn’t be entitled to tokens because its not important: meaning if I was looking for a place to move to I wasn’t entitled to receive bus fare, not even the food bank which was pretty far from me. They told me I should have budgeted my money with the cheque I got from them no matter how many appointments they shouldn’t be giving out tokens for things like that. These rules need to change before something very bad happens to some of us clients on ow/odsp/ocb/etc.

  • On Friday, December 20, A. Chang said:

    I am forced to get OW due to no fault of my own.. it is private… What I can say is thank you to Canada, for having this services, that the Lord the help is there for me.. If not for them. I WOULD NOT KNOW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO ME…I have a worker who have done an outstanding job listening to me. God Bless them. I REALLY MEAN THAT….Canada is an amazing country, The government, police, medial I am very blessed to live here.

  • On Sunday, December 29, chris justa said:

    I’m a 32 year old single father of two girls 8 and 3, on assistance for 4 months now every month is harder than the last. One person says come on the 27th if your moneys are not in your bank……no surprise it was not there so I dropped kids off at my mothers and bussed to office. I don’t have a phone I called my worker from pay phone he did not answer my calls. They would not get my worker. Told me cheque day was not 27th and to leave. I told them my worker informed me if the money is not there to contact and or come to office. Again i was told that’s not true, issue day is the 30th now leave. I asked to speak with a supervisor, and it all became very difficult from there. They made me wait over 30 mins the office was empty there was no lines. I was only person there. Long story short the supervisor was condescending and verbally abusive. I stated I’m a person and I need help. She then told me to leave and she would contact me next week by phone. As I already stated I don’t have a phone and I told her this. She was obviously not listening. I said were you not paying attention to me, I have no phone. I asked what I was supposed to do with $990 a month when my rent is $925. I don’t collect child tax credit … ex owes them $14,000 and has not done her taxes … they know this … she has the nerve to say, I recommend that you pay your rent first then go to labor ready a temp agency and work. I’m a skilled trades man. I want to go to school. I don’t want to be on welfare. Long story short the supervisor escalated the situation and yelled for security guard. I was in a corner calmly speaking. I was talking to another worker behind the glass asking for help. The guard approached me from behind and cornered me in the booth. I told him that I was not comfortable with him standing 4 inches from my back as I spoke, I again asked him to just step back you are making me uncomfortable. He looked at the supervisor like she was his sweetheart and was showing off for her. She said take him down. That’s when the guard tried to take me down with the words, now you fucking did it you’re going to jail, and lunged at me. I defended myself and put him on the ground. I only used the necessary force needed to get him off of me … and I looked around in shock … I was having a panic attack … long story short it was uncalled for and all their fault. I was told to go there and when I got there I was shunned and told to leave. And then attacked. What can I do who can help me ………

  • On Monday, January 6, Mike said:

    The amount of money the individual is getting for food and shelter is extremely low and unrealistic. With the current prices of basic items such as food and hygiene products as well as rent, there is just no way a person can survive with monthly welfare payment.

  • On Friday, January 10, claire smith said:

    I’m 35 and have 3 kids, moved from London to start a life with my now ex partner. I have one child by him and has been very violent even with kids around, kids even been hurt. I have a social worker and kids on at child protection plan. I have found out he and his family have a bad past. And I feel it would be safer for me and my kids to move away and start again but I want to go back to my family in London but as I’m on benefit as I have a young child with him, I can’t afford it they say. Can it be done with polices help can I live back in London for support and get away from him and his family. If someone can help and advise me think it wrong I can’t move back to be with my family and be safe.

  • On Wednesday, January 15, James Wood said:

    Why do applicants need to destroy their credit ratings before it is possible to rec’v any assistance? To me this seems counter productive, and it also screams “STEAL FROM THE BANKS FIRST!! THEN WHEN YOU CAN’T STEAL ANYMORE WE MIGHT HELP YOU OUT!” On that note, how is this different from simply going into the bank with a firearm and demanding $$?

  • On Wednesday, January 22, s.marie campbell said:

    It took me 3 years of no income to finally receive ODSP. Since I live common law and even though I have several severe disabilities I only receive about $100 a month for my disability. It was so bad I had to go to a doctor to have surgery to stop my period at age 32 as I could not afford to buy personal supplies. I have a rare bone disease and require minerals and vitamins that help prevent me from breaking bones but on ODSP my need for vitamins/minerals are not covered. The cost of living is so ridiculous now there’s many times me and my husband who is also disabled can’t afford food, gas, heat, and its just getting to the point you don’t know if one day you ll be on the street with another set of problems, like we on OW/ODSP don’t have enough to deal with.

  • On Saturday, January 25, rather not say said:

    There is much I could say, but I will leave it at the things that makes the least sense to me, and I’m sure many others are affected by this as well. My ex has been on OW for years, I have been on it off and on since the recession. I would prefer to be working, but things don’t always go as planned. Because my ex was on OW when we split, we were forced by assistance to go to court for child support. I am court ordered to pay said support, and I do pay it when I can afford to. However when I can’t make my payments, OW still deducts his check because my support is court ordered therefore he’s supposed to be receiving that money from me. Even when I’m on OW myself and barely getting by. Each month my arrears go up, I can’t drive because FRO suspends my non-existent drivers license (it would be in a constant state of suspension if I had one) which limits my job options, plus I get screwed around by OW. I’m not unemployed by choice. They offered an online college course months ago and I keep asking about it hoping maybe I can finally qualify for a career, keep up or get ahead with my support, get my license… You know, be a parent my kids can be proud of. I’m due to have a daughter next month with another ex who is on ODSP and my worker is already pushing me to take him to court for support. He’s on disability, he can’t afford to pay and I don’t want his money. I know if I’m still stuck on OW by the time we’re done court, I’ll be having money deducted that I’m not receiving. As it is, they deduct money from my paltry amount because they feel they gave me “too much” in November since I lost my apartment in part thanks to OW screwing me around as well as my ex on ODSP (long story short, he stole money from me not caring it would affect the baby). I also face daily judgment from people for my struggles and pregnancy. Also, how is it fair to kick someone off assistance when they shack up with an employed person because the partner “makes too much money” yet the couple is barely scraping by, not living in luxury. How is $1000 a month considered enough to support two people? In my area that doesn’t even cover rent for a basement apartment! This leaves people to either live in squalor, or to lie and risk getting busted for “frauding the government” which is a scary thought. They fraud innocent people on the daily and force them into bad situations. Yes, there are those who truly don’t try to help themselves, but they should look at each case individually. A pregnant woman due next month can’t work, has been asking about online college, has gotten her grade 12 and looked into a PSW course (I got turned down for it) the last two times she’s been on assistance and got off OW when she found work and also volunteered while going to school is NOT someone who wants to be on OW. I didn’t lose my apartment for lack of trying to keep it. How can you pay more than what you have? I’m scared to live common-law with a good man because he’ll be burdened with financially covering rent, food, bills, my daughter, myself, himself, his bunny, my cat, and my bunny…by himself because his temp job “pays too much”…or I’d be forced to lie and risk being considered frauding the system. I would give up my pets, but the shelters are overflowing with “unwanted” pets since very few landlords allow them. They live at the good mans house with his mom.

  • On Monday, January 27, Mother of OSDP said:

    Hello. My daughter is a mother of 2 teenage children. She was a hard working woman, Health care aide, educated, a good mother. She left an abusive relationship with her 2 children who where very young at the time (2 and 3 1/2). The father beat her to an inch of her life and she was never able to work again. Recently this person passed due to an overdose. The kids received the children’s death benefit but it was taken away by ODSP. They are poorer now then before. I help when I can, food etc., but I am getting old. I need to know they will be taken care of when I am gone. Wynne wants to raise the min wage to $13.25 but people on ODSP only make approx 7.50 an hour poverty…

  • On Tuesday, February 4, Maggie said:

    I’ve only been on OW since August, six months pregnant and unable to find another job looking like I did. My man was just on OW because legal issues and court dates made him lose his job. We knew he was going to be going away when the baby was about a month old. Well he went away when the baby was a week old actually, a little earlier than anticipated. I called our caseworker and left a message telling him my boyfriend was incarcerated immediately. Our October money was already a day late at that point. I never received any money for October until three weeks later, after countless phone calls and trips to the OW office (with a newborn baby). They said they had “heard” that my spouse was incarcerated, and that was why my cheque wasn’t issued. They expressed surprise that I had a baby (my partner brought documentation supporting his birth to OW the day after the baby was born). I received only the basic personal amount for a single woman with no dependents for October, November, December and January as well as a Temporary Child Benefit of $222 monthly (a loan from the City of London). I was corresponding with my caseworker about how I didn’t think I was getting the right amount all Fall. After I got my real baby bonus from the government (which I had to use to get out of overdraft and pay bills I was behind on due to getting only about $500 (including the loan) a month for the past four months. OW withheld my entire cheque for February, saying that was to repay the TCB. I finally got them to admit that there was a problem with my file to do with how they decided to put that my boyfriend is “non-contributing”. I don’t care whet it says in their computer; they keep saying that it’s legislated that I get whatever the computer says. But they did say I’ve been getting $114 less monthly than I should have. And that I’m shit out of luck. They cancelled my meeting. They’ve given up on even trying to fix it. Oh and I’ve been deducted $20 a month for recovery of my boyfriend’s debt to them.

  • On Sunday, February 9, A. Gleason said:

    I am on OW , I have been for a while now, I couldn’t afford rent on my own so I had to rent a room in a house. The owner is a 50 year old male. He has become a real ass. He wants to have a relationship with me, I do not. So he mentally abuses me. Everything is ok as long as I am sitting and talking with him. I have dogs too. I can’t go anywhere because he says if I do I have to take my dogs. He is always reminding me I just rent a room there, but I cook and clean. We both use the same kitchen. If he thinks I was talking to a guy online or outside he freaks, calls me a whore, tell me I’m going to hell, says he hates me. This goes on every day, then after all this is said, he acts like nothing happened. I am a Christian and I don’t like this kind of life. I am not the things he says I am. The reason I am on OW is because my Dr took me off of work. I am seeing lots of other Drs and getting lots of test done. My Dr says me living here may be causing my condition to be worse. But OW only will pay $ 360 FOR RENT, AND THERE’S NO WAY I CAN FIND A PLACE FOR THAT PRICE…

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