DisAbled Women's Network: DAWN ONTARIO

Kimberly Rogers Inquest Alerts

Verdict of Coroner's Jury
into the Death of
Kimberly Ann Rogers


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Name: Kimberly Ann Rogers

Place of Death: Apt. 2, 286 Hazel St. Sudbury

Date & time of death: August 9, 2001 at 8:35 pm

Cause of death: Drug Overdose of Amitriptyline

By what means: Suicide


Recommendations:

1. To Government of Ontario and to the Minister of Community, Family & Children's Services:
The zero tolerance lifetime ineligibility for social assistance as a result of the commission of welfare fraud, pursuant to Ontario Works Act, 1997, O. Reg. 134/98 Section 36 should be eliminated. The temporary ineligibility in the instance of offences that have occured before April 1, 2000 should also be eliminated.

Rationale: Evidence indicates that this would have a devastating and detrimental effect on our society. To prevent anyone of having to go without food andlor shelter, to be deemed homeless and therefore and most importantly, to prevent the death of impoverished individuals.

2. To Government of Ontario and to the Minister of Community, Family & Children's Services
A provision should be added to the Ontario Works Act. permitting Local Ontario Works A
dministrator to exercise discretion in the use of any suspension of Ontario Works benefits, in instances that could be life-threatening to client and/or dependents

Rationale: Evidence indicates that suspension of benefits is detrimental to the client and the community.


3. To Government of Ontario and to the Minister of Corrections, Probation & Parole:
When someone is serving a custodial sentence of house arrest, the government should ensure that adequate housing, food and/or medications is provided to the person.

Rationale: An individual placed under house arrest, who is faced with a suspension of Ontario Works benefits, and has no other financial resources, would find it difficult to survive, and should not be dependent on Charitable Organizations.

4. To Government of Ontario and to the Minister of Community, Family & Children's Services
The Ministry of Community, Family, & Children's Services and the Ontario Works Program should assess the adequacy of all social assistance rates.. Allowances for housing and basic needs should be based on actual costs within a particular community or region. In developing the allowance, data about the nutritional food basket prepared annually by local health units and the average rent data prepared by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation should be considered.

Rationale: To ensure that social assistance rates are adequate and adjusted annually if necessary.


5. 2. To Government of Ontario and to the Minister of Health and to College of Physicians & Surgeons:
Physicians should be educated at the potential risks of tri-cyclic anti-depressants in the treatment of depression and should be encouraged to use SSRIs as a first line drug therapy. Whenever possible physicians should encourage patients to access supportive counselling services in the community.

Rationale: To encourage the use of extreme caution in the prescribing of medications. By encouraging the prescribing of a less dangerous or lethal drug


6. To Government of Ontario and to the Minister of Community, Family & Children's Services
Ontario Works should continue the efforts to detect ineligibility or fraud at the earliest possible time in order that corrective measures may be taken short of prosecution or ciminalization.

Rationale: To eliminate andlor reduce fraud convictions

7. To Government of Ontario and to the Minister of Community, Family & Children's Services
A committee should be established by the local delivery agents for Ontario Works under the auspices of the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association composed of various stakeholders including representatives of the Ministry of Community, Family, & Children's Services, Ontario Social Safety NetWork and the Steering Committee on Social Assistance. This committee's mandate would be to develop a model to be used throughout the province for the assessment of whether cases involving allegations of welfare fraud should be referred for prosecution. Should a model could be based on an enhanced version of the Sudbury model which would include an evaluation of the life circumstances of the recipient and the consequences of a conviction on the recipient and/or dependents.

Rationale: There should be a full appreciation of the person's life circumstances and the impact of the consequences of a fraud conviction. During this inquest, it was noted, that the various Organizations, including Charitable Organizations, assisted the deceased prior to her death, therefore they should have an active voice in this Committee.

8. To Government of Ontario and to the Minister of Community, Family & Children's Services
Ontario Works benefits for drug therapy for the treatment of medical conditions that threaten life or cause seriou symptoms should not be discontinued during any Ontario Works suspension.

Rationale: Evidence showed that discontinuation of drug therapy would be life threatening.

9. To Government of Ontario and to the Minister of Health and to College of Physicians & Surgeons:
Consideration should be given to the creation of a computer access Internet program such as British Columbia's PharmaNet system.... For example by using a health card that would permit pharmacies to access a patient's drug dispensing records from other pharmacies as well as to alert other pharmacies of a patient's past attempts to alter forged prescriptions. Pharmacists should be required to notify the prescribing physician of any attempts by the patient to alter the prescription.

Rationale: Evidence showed that several different pharmacies were used to fill prescriptions. This will give pharmacists a history of a patient's prescriptions.

10. To Government of Ontario and to the Minister of Education, Colleges & Universities
The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) should amend the application form buy highlighting the possibility of criminal prosecution, future ineligibility and loss of loan forgiveness as a result of providing false declarations.

Rationale: Evidences showed that there was false declarations submitted repeatedly.


11. To Government of Ontario and to the Minister of Health, College of Physicians & Surgeons:
Physicians should be encouraged to write out prescriptions in both digits and longhand to prevent modification of the quanitity by patients, e.g. "40, forty tablets".

Rationale: Evidence was introduced indicating possible quantity changes on the Physician's prescription by the patient. This will prevent a patient from changing the numerically written number.


12. To Government of Ontario and to the Minister of Health:
Health Canada and the publishers of the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS) should ensure that the information for both brand name drugs and generic drugs reflect the same information. For example, the current entries for Elavil (brand name) and Amitriptyline (generic name), while the name pharmaceutical/medicines are noticably different with respect to dosage for out-patients.

Rationale: To provide doctors with accurate information in regards to dosage and side effects.


13. To Government of Ontario and to the Minister of Corrections, Probation & Parole:
When a person is subject to a conditional sentence, as part of the prisoner's orientation, Probation & Parole should provide them with a written list of community-based agencies which advocate on behalf of prisoners, together with appropriate consent forms to permit information-sharing.

Rationale: To ensure the sharing of important information in regards to support services available in the community.


14. To Government of Ontario and to the Minister of Attorney-General
Ongoing professional training and development of materials should be provided to all of those individuals involved in the investigation, charging, prosecution, sentencing and supervision in relation to all offences.

Rationale: The evidence showed that the Crown and Courts were unaware that upon conviction the accused would be subject to a suspension of Ontario Works benefits.

 

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