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Bobcaygeon doctor strikes with other community members against PC cuts

in Health/Poverty Reduction by

When Ontarians from all walks of life took part in a ‘general strike’ to oppose cuts made by the PC government under Premier Doug Ford recently, Dr. Steve Oldridge of the Bobcaygeon Medical Centre was among them.

The physician is a champion for rural health care and the Ontario Basic Income Pilot program quashed by Ford’s government.

“With the rising gap between minimum wage and the living wage, you have a situation where people can’t afford to eat,” Oldridge says. “Poverty is the greatest determinant of health.”

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What we leave behind: On growing up in Lindsay

in Opinion by
What we leave behind: On growing up in Lindsay
Queen Victoria P.S. today. Photo: Erin Smith.

They call it ‘relative poverty.’ Growing up in Lindsay in the east end in the 1970s and early 80s, we didn’t have much money. Mom ensured we didn’t miss any meals and she always did her very best, but I know there were some field trips my younger brother and I missed out on, and our clothing wasn’t always the latest and greatest.

Atari became a thing in my generation, but it was something I would experience only at a friend’s house. Most of the time for fun we did other things, like watch mile-long freight trains inch across Queen Street, hoping they flattened our pennies into new possibilities.

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Silence from MPP Laurie Scott deafening for those losing their basic income

in Opinion by

On March 25, nearly 2,000 people in Lindsay lost their basic income cheques due to a broken promise of the PC government. On April 25, some will be back on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), or Ontario Works. Still others will receive no money top-up to stay out of abject poverty and will rely on precarious work, hoping to avoid homelessness.

Single people on ODSP get a maximum of $1,151 – $662 is for basic needs and $489 for shelter. Their total annual income with other benefits is only about $15,000 per year, which is more than $7,000 below the poverty line. Because of an ineffective changeover from basic income back to ODSP – the opposite of the smooth transition that was promised – some people were left in the lurch when it came to their important medications. Thankfully pharmacists stepped in to help.

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Ford government fails people on disability in move from BI to ODSP; pharmacists step in

in Community/Poverty Reduction by
Pharmacists like Cathy Puffer at Remedy'sRx have stepped in to help. Photo: Sienna Frost.

A local social worker is sounding the alarm over the transition for people who were collecting basic income and then returned to ODSP, which left some people on disability with a gap in medication coverage.

Karla Forgaard-Pullen, a social worker based in Lindsay, says that some of the basic income recipients who were previously on ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) are on a backlogged list waiting for their return to the program to be green lit. The basic income program issued its last payment in March.

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Class action lawsuit filed, seeking justice for basic income recipients

in Poverty Reduction/Provincial by
Tracey Mechefske and Dana Bowman, plaintiffs, Mike Perry, lawyer and social worker, Roderick Benns, Lindsay Advocate publisher.

As expected, four people from Lindsay who had been receiving payments through the Ontario Basic Income Pilot have launched a proposed class action against the PC government for its premature cancellation.

The three-year OBIP began in 2017, with international eyes on it as among the most comprehensive pilots in the world, but the current government cancelled it in 2018, before gathering its own follow-up information from participants.

The applicants are Dana Bowman, Grace Marie Doyle Hillion, Susan Lindsay, and Tracey Mechefske, all from Lindsay. A statement of claim was filed today by the Toronto law firm of Cavalluzzo LLP. The firm is “dedicated to social advocacy and the protection of working people.”

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Basic income sit-in participants — even media — barred from entry to MPP’s office

in Poverty Reduction/Provincial by
n Monday Perry had led a small group to protest in front of Scott’s office

On day two of a peaceful protest in front of local MPP Laurie Scott’s office, lawyer and social worker Mike Perry was informed they were not welcome to enter the constituency office. Neither, apparently, is media, as Scott’s staff members would not even let Pamela VanMeer of Kawartha411 in to ask a question about the protest.

Not even the postal carrier could get in because of the locked door and simply moved on with the day’s mail.

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Sit-in at MPP’s office to renew tomorrow morning after no word on apology

in Community/Poverty Reduction by
A police officer hands protesters their coffees after ending the sit-in.

They waited all day for an apology from the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Lisa MacLeod, about the cancellation of basic income, but that wait will spill over to tomorrow after police put an end to the sit-in.

Lawyer and social worker Mike Perry led a small group to protest in front of local MPP Laurie Scott’s office beginning at 9:30 am. After peacefully demonstrating outside for awhile, Perry and a small group went inside to ask for the apology, indicating they wouldn’t be leaving until they heard back from the minister.

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Protest in front of Scott’s office to coincide with final basic income payment

in Poverty Reduction/Provincial by
Scott's office when it was vandalized last October.

A protest is being planned outside of local MPP Laurie Scott’s office Monday morning to coincide with the the final payment of the Ontario Basic Income Program.

An event notice being shared around on social media suggests people show up to “protest the early final payment of the basic income and demand an apology from Minister (Lisa) McLeod for how basic income participants have been treated.”

The event notice for the 9:30 am protest says to bring family, friends, and signs and notes that this is a “peaceful, democratic demonstration.”

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Third food bank opens in Lindsay to try and meet community need

in Around Town/Poverty Reduction by
Food Source's Capacity Boost Coordinator Leah Anderson.

Earlier this week community members and volunteers gathered at Calvary Pentecostal Church to open Lindsay’s third food bank — the Lindsay Community Food Market.

The Lindsay Community Food Market opens today at the church at 125 Victoria Ave. N and will regularly be open Mondays from 9 am to Noon, Thursdays from 4-6 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am to Noon. Once registered, clients are assigned market dollars and can drop in during operating hours to shop.

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New report shows Ontario basic income pilot was on track for success

in Poverty Reduction by
34% found the basic income supported employment by affording transportation to work, child care or ability to start or expand a business.

The Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) today released a survey report, Signposts to Success, documenting the experiences of recipients in the Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OBIP). It provides compelling indicators of lives remarkably changed for the better. Responses from more than 400 recipients show that the pilot was working — enabling women and men to get and keep jobs, start businesses, pursue education and training, overcome barriers and improve health and well-being for themselves and their families.

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