Remembering Kimberly Rogers
The press conference was called to mark the one year anniversary of the (Kimberly Rogers) Coroner's Jury Recommendations and to call on the Liberal government to implement ALL the recommendations (to date only one of 14 recommendations has been implemented).
Below is an excerpt from Hansard (Dec 17, 2003) with exchange between Shelley Martel and the new Community and Social Services Minister, Sandra Pupatello.
NOW would be a good time for people to contact your MPP (quote the Minister!) and ask them HOW LONG social assistance and ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) recipients will have to wait to have rates increased to reflect the true cost of living!
Low income families in Ontario can't afford to wait until the Liberals clean up the Tories' mess or for more consultations. What is needed is immediate ACTION, not more TALK!
MPP contact information is available at this pinpoint URL: http://olaap.ontla.on.ca/mpp/contact.jsp
Ms Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): I have a question for the Premier. Your Treasurer implied today that you want people to temper their requests for more, but there are thousands and thousands of Ontarians who have every right to ask for, and indeed expect, more. In 1995, families on social assistance had their income cut by 22%, and they've been frozen ever since. After the Kimberly Rogers inquest you promised to review social assistance rates and you led families to believe there would be an increase in their income. Premier, families who live on social assistance now in Ontario are living in poverty. When will you increase their rates?
Hon Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): I'm referring this matter to the Minister of Community and Social Services.
Hon Sandra Pupatello (Minister of Community and Social Services, minister responsible for women's issues): Yesterday in answer to a question in this House, we mentioned that our government is obligated to respond to the Kimberly inquest recommendations. Those answers are expected by February of the new year. What we intend to have in motion in the government at that point is a series of reforms to Ontario Works so that the system would actually work for people. What we committed to in the campaign was to increase both the disability and welfare rates to match COLA so that the inflation rate can be taken into account with their assistance. Our decision is when we can do that and how quickly we can do that. Unfortunately, with this government, we understand that this particular group of people was used as the typical punching bag of the last government for the last eight or nine years. We can't fix all those programs and problems overnight, but we are looking diligently at our package of reforms to go forward to my colleagues quickly.
Ms Martel: Ten minutes ago your Minister of Energy had a lot to say about people on social assistance. The question I have for you is, when are you going to do something concrete, something positive, for people who are on social assistance? They can't wait. In the same way, we've got thousands and thousands of Ontarians who have disabilities and have also had their income frozen for the last 10 years. On April 7, your Premier wrote a letter to David Lepofsky and said, "On forming government, following the election, we will provide a cost-of-living increase for participants in the Ontario disability support program." People who live with disabilities, who've had their pensions frozen for 10 years, can't wait. When will you increase the rates for disabled Ontarians?
Hon Ms Pupatello: I will repeat the McGuinty commitment during the last campaign, which is what our party campaigned on and what our party will deliver on, and that is an increase to the ODSP and welfare rates to match COLA. That's what we will implement. What we know is that this last government left us with a mess. What we know is that we need to clean up the mess. What are we working on today? We are working on cleaning up the mess. We intend to treat people who are on welfare or disability with dignity. That means a series of reforms that are necessary to actually help people who really need help -- and those who want to abuse the system, to keep them out. We are moving forward quickly on a series that I believe all people in this House will support.
17, 2003 PM
Here's the pinpoint URL where you can find email addresses for Ontario media on the DAWN Ontario website: http://dawn.thot.net/ontario_media.html
December 16, 2003 AM
is one year since the Kimberly Rogers inquest jury recommended the repeal
of the ban on the receipt of social assistance upon conviction of welfare
"fraud" and an increase in the rates reflective of actual
are the Toronto and toll-free numbers: