Open Letter to Ontario Works

13/01/2012

Open Letter to Ontario Works,

The past two weeks have been unreasonably difficult for me, and this I owe to you, the Ontario Works system. In your records you will find: my student ID, my OHIP card, my SIN card, my complete bank records for the past 3 months, and a letter from my school stating both that I am myself, and that I have not received funding from the school. I am a person with a disability. The amount of trouble you have caused me, both psychological and physical, due your having denied me medicine for over a week is unacceptable. From the moment I walked into the office, I was treated like a criminal, guilty until proven otherwise. If providing two pieces of photo ID, as well as the other information requested aside from a birth certificate doesn’t logically prove my identity you have essentially claimed that I have commited fraud against all of the aforementioned institutions.

If this weren’t enough of a trial, then consider this: Last time I was in the office, when I first politely asked for my basic human needs (medicine, rent, and food) I was told I could not have anything, aside from a referral to a clinic that was open for 1 hour once a week, so that I might apply to them to apply to the ministry responsible for issuing birth certificates. This is unreasonable. I might have died waiting, and the effects of having been off my medication for as long as I was were extremely dangerous and unnecessary. When I then got upset, and demanded these rights, I was then given a cheque addressed to the minister of finance, an application, and a drug benefit card to deal with my most immediate needs, and I was told that your office could easily handle my application for a birth certificate. What I want to know, is what happens to all the most downtrodden, perhaps those who have poor English or limited rhetorical abilities? I can postulate: Those people are simply denied their rights. You are running this office like a business, instead of worrying about the welfare of the people you serve, you instead have concerned yourself only with the bottom line, and assumed all of your clients as criminals, willing to fraud a government institution, with absolutely no evidence or logical sense of propriety. What I want to know, is how does getting angry suddenly get me more of my basic rights than simply stating my situation? This is unacceptable in a country that prides itself on taking steps to ensure the worst off in our society are given a chance to succeed.

Your treatment of people under your care is absolutely shameful, and I hope this letter helps you to accept logic and reason into your doctrine, rather than simply following hardline procedure and cutting costs by delaying our rehabilitation to society. We are people, not machines, and every moment you cause us to waste our time dealing with acquiring basic support is a moment we cannot spend actually improving our situation. I speak for a great many people who cannot speak for themselves.

Concerned Canadian,

Kristopher W Harrison

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