DAWN Ontario: DisAbled Women's Network Ontario

Walking on Eggshells: Abused Women's Experiences of Ontario's Welfare System

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Key Findings


1. Benefit levels are wholly inadequate to meet real costs of rent, food, accommodation, transportation and other living expenses.

2. Women are staying in or returning to abusive relationships because of inadequate welfare rates.

3. Women are not supported in their desire and efforts to become employed.

4. Women are required to pursue child support in situations that put their safety at risk.

5. Abusive partners use the threat of welfare fraud charges to control and intimidate women.

6. Critical information about benefits, rules and entitlements are not disclosed to women.

7. The vague, complex definitions of 'spouse' and 'same-sex partner' make women wary of forming new relationships.

8. Women find their experiences on welfare to be similar to their experiences of abuse.

Key Recommendations:

1. Raise rates to meet true costs.

2. Stop the national child benefit supplement clawback.

3. Provide meaningful training and supports for employment, including assistance for education.

4. Redesign support obligation policies.

5. Revamp fraud policies and practices.

6. Provide accurate, complete information.

7. Change worker attitudes towards recipients.


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Page last updated April 6, 2004