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basic income

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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Food bank use swells after cancellation of basic income; donations needed

in Community/Poverty Reduction by
Food bank use swells after cancellation of basic income; donations urgently needed

Nearly 300 additional people reached out to Kawartha Lakes Food Source for help in the past month, just as the PC government’s premature cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot had taken effect.

According to General Manager Heather Kirby, of Kawartha Lakes Food Source, there were 1,164 people seeking help this past month across Kawartha Lakes, including Lindsay – a rise of 267 new people. Of note is that 404 are children.

“I’ve seen a 100-plus jump in the past,” says Kirby, “but never this many people all of a sudden.”

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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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$200 million class action filed over basic income

in Poverty Reduction/Provincial by

The Advocate has learned that the four participants in the province’s basic income pilot project are seeking $200 million in general damages. To that end, they have filed a multi-million class-action lawsuit against the Ford government over its early cancellation of the project.

The lawsuit, filed with the court in Lindsay, alleges the government breached its contract with the pilot project’s 4,000 participants in the communities of Lindsay, Thunder Bay and Hamilton. The plaintiffs also claim the government was negligent and breached its undertaking and common law duties in deciding to cancel the project only one year into its three-year term.

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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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‘Demonstrate that you truly have the concerns of your constituents at heart’

in Poverty Reduction/Provincial by
There has been no attempt at communication even by phone, email, or through her staff. Photo: Roderick Benns

On Day Three of a protest to seek an apology for the premature cancellation of basic income, the question on many people’s minds is just where is local MPP Laurie Scott anyway?

The question comes not only from the protesters, led by local lawyer and social worker Mike Perry, but also from many of her constituents through letters to the editor and social media. While most people recognize she has duties and obligations at Queen’s Park in Toronto, there has been no attempt at communication even by phone, email, or through her staff.

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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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Protesters hold ‘sit-in’ at MPP’s office, wait for apology from Ford minister

in Poverty Reduction/Provincial by
basic income pilot protesters

Lawyer and social worker Mike Perry led a small but determined group to hold a sit-in at the office of local MPP Laurie Scott Monday morning.

Protesters are demanding an apology from the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Lisa MacLeod, for the government’s treatment of participants in the basic income pilot program.

After peacefully protesting outside for a while, Perry and a small cadre went inside to tell a staff member of Scott’s that they were there to ask for an apology – and that they were going to wait in her office until they got a response. The surprised staffer quickly retreated, ostensibly to make a phone call.

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