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Ford government’s changes to social assistance ‘disgraceful’: OPSEU’s Thomas

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says Doug Ford is balancing Ontario’s books on the backs of the province’s most vulnerable residents, while giving lavish tax breaks to the wealthiest Ontarians.

Thomas says he is disgusted by the government’s so-called overhaul of the province’s social assistance programs.

“The Tories wasted three months in a sham review of the programs and ended up giving the back of their hand to those who most need support,” Thomas said.  “It’s disgraceful.”

Despite the government’s ridiculous claim that it’s “empowering” social assistance recipients, the ugly truth is that Ford is going to make it harder for people with disabilities – such as injured workers, those suffering from mental health issues and seniors who don’t receive Old Age Security –to get the financial help they desperately need. 

Thomas says the government’s changes to Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) will only hurt people who are straining to make ends meet.

“It’s elimination by definition,” said Thomas. “Rather than giving struggling families a helping hand, he’s slamming the door in their face. This premier is starting to make Mike Harris look like Mary Poppins.”

Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod even suggested that people who don’t qualify for disability assistance will move to OW, downloading even more costs on to municipalities.

“Municipalities are already on the hook for higher policing and public health costs due to this government’s irresponsible decision to privatize cannabis sales,” said OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “How much more does Ford think local ratepayers can afford?”

Thomas noted the announcement comes on the heels of the government’s draconian legislation that freezes the minimum wage and claws back significant worker protections.

“It’s a one-two punch in the gut for the working poor,” said Thomas. “If the government really wants to save money, it should lay off Doug Ford or Dean French, we don’t need two premiers in Ontario.”

For more information: President Warren (Smokey) Thomas: 1-613-329-1931