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If disabled can work, why

take away their money?

“I don’t want to be at home. I want to work~ ODSP recipient

By MPP Toby Barrett
Prior to last spring’s election, Premier Wynne pegged social justice as her top priority. Immediately after winning, she promised "better support" for those on social assistance. But those in need continue to wait.
When it comes to shortfalls, the present government likes to point the finger at Mike Harris who modernized welfare 20 years ago. But over the past 12 years, the Liberal regime has neglected to keep pace with the cost of living for those receiving social services. In fact, many recipients were further ahead under Harris when it comes to constant dollars.
A few weeks ago, MPP Ernie Hardeman and I attended a group discussion at Community Living Tillsonburg to discuss the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). The Wynne government is eliminating the $100-a-month Work-Related Benefit people are allowed to keep if they choose to work. The $100 will be replaced with a new benefit designed to offset identified employment expenses; however this benefit will not be automatic and will be annual, not monthly.
This change means a family receiving assistance in the way of $13,000 per year would lose between $1,200 and $2,400. That is significant and those at the meeting spoke out:
“What would be the point of working…why not just stay home, sit around and collect a government cheque,” one person questioned.
“I don’t want to be at home. I want to work,” said another in frustration, and someone else chimed in, “If I lost $100 I don’t know what I would do. It’s cruel and it’s discrimination.”
My question -- why is the government making it difficult for people to work?
Prior to 2013, earnings were clawed back at a rate of 50 per cent from the first dollar earned. It was changed to allow working recipients to keep the first $200 of net earnings before the 50 per cent clawback was enforced. Now, with the elimination of the Work-Related Benefit, the ODSP Action Coalition questions the motive: “When the $200 earnings exemption was put into law last year, the government called it an incentive to work. There was never any indication that people on ODSP were going to have to use that money to pay for ongoing costs of working, which were at least in part covered by the Work Related Benefit.”
The Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) concluded in an issue note recently that, “The Ontario government has made a commitment to reform social assistance programs, but appears to be moving in a direction in which people with disabilities are being negatively impacted.”
Working recipients have already told me they may quit their part-time work because without the benefit they will be financially unable to continue.
A few years ago, I introduced a Private Members Bill proposing the first $750 of net earnings be allowed before any deductions – the idea received all-party support but disappeared when the Premier called the election. Most felt things would be made right following the election given her stated commitment to those on social assistance.
The Premier says social assistance is a priority for her government and yet her actions say otherwise. This government should be encouraging recipients any way it can to maintain the dignity that comes with working and contributing to their community.

Newsroom

Adding livestock to crop insurance is good news: Barrett
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Toby Barrett supports government legislation to allow crop insurance to be expanded to cover livestock.
[Read More]

 

Despite impressive gains, agricultural literacy remains a struggle
QUEEN’S PARK – “We have to train people not only to be able to walk into a combine and know how to turn a wrench, but they also need to know how to calibrate that computer.”
[Read More]

 

Sudbury scandal: Premier asked to step aside if charges laid
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has asked Premier Wynne to step aside if charges are laid in connection with the Sudbury by-election scandal.
[Read More]

 

Moody’s sounds another warning about Ontario finances
QUEEN’S PARK – Another voice has been added to the chorus calling on the Wynne government to change its financial direction.
[Read More]

 

Barrett calls for re-striking the gas plant committee
QUEEN’S PARK – Re-strike the gas plant committee! That was the call from MPP Toby Barrett, fellow Opposition caucus members and members of the Third Party.
[Read More]

 

Barrett fears consequences of policy on rural school closings
SIMCOE – In the wake of a new policy that will fast track the process of closing schools, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is asking the government to slow down and reevaluate the process.
[Read More]

 

Dental benefits for low-income Ontarians needed sooner rather than later
Simcoe – Access to proper dental and oral health care improves lives and reduces costs on our health care system.
[Read More]

 

Petition: Say no to new gas taxes
SIMCOE – In the wake of news regarding a new carbon tax, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has launched a petition calling on the government to ditch its idea of a new carbon tax or any other kind of gas tax.
[Read More]

 

Comment period on bee health coming to a close
SIMCOE – Local MPP and Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Toby Barrett is reminding interested parties that the comment period regarding neonicotinoid insecticide is coming to a close January 25th.
[Read More]

 

Cayuga bridge is about safety

Queen’s Park – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett advocates the Ontario Minister of Community Safety and Corrections to step in on the native-shutdown of the Cayuga bridge reconstruction..

[Read More}

 

Barrett praises federal invasive species regulations

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett welcomed the new federal aquatic invasive species regulations.

[Read More}

 

Auditor General takes government to task on spending, electricity

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario’s Auditor General confirmed Tuesday what Opposition MPPs have been saying about the province’s electricity pricing.

[Read More}

 

PC Critics call for a rigorous scientific and consultative approach to neonics

LONDON – This morning, PC Critic for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Toby Barrett and PC Critic for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Lisa Thompson held a news conference outside the Pollinator Health meeting in London.

[Read More}


Will government provide mortality insurance to assist beekeepers?

QUEEN'S PARK – MPP Toby Barrett, Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, questioned the Premier today regarding bee mortality insurance, and asked why Ontario has yet to implement a Manitoba style insurance program to help Ontario beekeepers.

[Read More}

 

Two area companies honoured for ag innovation

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett was beaming with pride when he heard two local companies were amongst those who received the Premier’s Award for Agri-Innovation Excellence.

[Read More}

 

New production insurance changes needed and must address farmers’ concerns

QUEEN'S PARK– An expansion of production insurance to cover more agricultural commodities is long overdue.

[Read More}

 

Barrett’s infectious disease bill receives all-party support
QUEEN’S PARK – Legislation designed to better enable Ontario to deal with emerging infectious diseases has passed second reading with all-party support. The bill has been referred to the Legislative Assembly Committee.

[Read More}

 

Liberals’ unrealistic and unaffordable path continues
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is suggesting Ontario residents strap themselves in order to prepare for the next round of rocketing taxes.

[Read More}

 

Burning Kiln again chosen by Legislature

QUEEN’S PARK – Dignitaries, politicians and perhaps royalty will be enjoying a glass of Burning Kiln 2013 Strip Room after the Norfolk red wine was chosen as the Ontario Legislature’s official red wine for 2015.

[Read More}


Barrett bill to address infectious diseases

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has introduced a bill that will address infectious diseases such as Lyme, West Nile and Ebola.

[Read More}


When will we see local food in hospitals and schools?

QUEEN'S PARK – Ontario’s Agriculture Minister refuses to answer when the entire Local Food Act will be proclaimed.

[Read More}

 

Barrett urges people to testify on insurance bill

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett agrees with committee hearings to allow more input on Bill 15, Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014 in the wake of second reading debate on the legislation Monday.

[Read More}


Unemployment trend continues
SIMCOE - For 93 consecutive months Ontario’s unemployment has stood higher than the national average.

[Read More}

 

Who’s looking out for us when it comes to infectious disease?

Simcoe – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is questioning how well Ontario is prepared to deal with emerging infectious disease.

[Read More}

 

Farmers, food banks and the needy will now benefit from Local Food Act

QUEEN'S PARK – Good news today for farmers, food banks and the needy as one of the most important aspects of the Local Food Act is proclaimed.

[Read More}


Ontario’s finances continue in wrong direction

SIMCOE – Ontario’s deficit continues to go up and up and up, according to the Ontario Government’s Public Accounts Office.

[Read More}

 

Let’s work through U.S. Steel creditor protection one step at a time: Barrett
SIMCOE – “Our Opposition Caucus is concerned about the significant news that U.S. Steel Canada has applied for creditor protection,” said Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett. “I have been in touch with the union, the company and the Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Employment, and Infrastructure. It is important all concerned work together for common cause.”

[Read More}

 

Why isn’t the champion of local food serving up good news?

SIMCOE – Why are people so confused with the status of the Local Food Act?

[Read More}

 

Uncertainty swirls with regard to Local Food Act
OUTDOOR FARM SHOW, WOODSTOCK -- Where does the Local Food Act stand?

[Read More]

 

Barrett calls for action on poverty
SIMCOE – In the wake of the government releasing its second five-year anti-poverty strategy, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett questioned what will truly be done to assist the less fortunate in society.

[Read More]

 

Ontario loses almost 30,000 full time jobs in July

SIMCOE – Statistics Canada’s July jobs report shows Ontario lost 29,300 full time jobs last month.

[Read More]

 

Hydro customers heavily subsidizing energy pensions

SIMCOE – Every day taxpayers are finding it increasingly difficult to save and invest, largely because they are paying for unaffordable energy costs and bloated energy agency pensions.

[Read More]

 

New tax driving Ontario airline tickets sky high

QUEEN’S PARK –Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett believes the government’s new aviation tax could have a direct impact on the riding.

[Read More]

 

New tax driving Ontario airline tickets sky high

QUEEN’S PARK –Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett believes the government’s new aviation tax could have a direct impact on the riding.

[Read More]

 

Carr lauded in Ontario Legislature

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett paid tribute to Annaleise Carr’s Radical Crossing 2.0 in the Ontario Legislature earlier today.

[Read More]

 

Barrett echoes concerns about hunting and fishing license money

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP wants to see more accountability from the Ministry of Natural Resources Special Purpose Account (SPA), especially in light of proposals to increase fees.

[Read More]

 

Barrett renews call for gutting Asian carp imported into Ontario
QUEEN’S PARK – During Question Period, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett renewed his call for the province to require Asian carp entering Ontario first be gutted.

[Read More]

 

Budget leading Ontario down an expensive garden path

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett believes the Ontario budget is not only leading the province down the wrong path, it’s taking it down the garden path.

[Read More]