I got myself good & mad over the past couple of days, let me explain . .
The federal and provincial governments have announced financial aid plans for the nation, great right? 100%
Here’s my blight.
The package offered is giving people $2000 income per month, plus an additional $500 rental subsidy – faaaantastic!!
Global crisis = Basic living amount assessed at $2500
Those on employment insurance, income assistance and disability receive less than 50% of this amount and are not eligible to apply for any of these new funding programs.
Crisis your whole life = $1100
Can anyone see the contradiction here?
Are those in crisis at any other point not entitled to the same standard of living as everyone else?
Average rent in this city alone is $900+.
So that gives those on assistance a maximum amount of $200 for hydro, internet, cell phone, insurance, medication, food and other expenses. (To give those in the UK some perspective, cell phone bills alone are easy $75+ in Canada)
Seems fair! NOT.
I’m absolutely fuming at this.
Then there’s part two…
Normally on disability, those who can fulfil a part-time role can earn up to $1000 extra per month, bringing their monthly income to around $2000. A completely doable and reasonable amount to survive, if you are lucky enough to be in the health to work part-time that is.
Anyway, during your working life, you pay into an employment insurance scheme. This allows you to continue to receive a portion of your regular wages for 6 months should you be laid off or on temporary sick leave.
Absolutely fantastic program and goes a long way for those in colder climates where it is just not feasible to work in the winter.
Now, I have been paying into this scheme my whole working life in Canada and in my hour of need applied to receive such benefits.
Heres the thing. . I have been approved for $900 per month. Which you would think, perfect! That makes up the missing income and I can survive on $2000 per month, very close to the basic required income the government have assessed for this time.
Hahaha too fucking easy!! This amount gets deducted dollar for dollar from my disability income, once again leaving me with $1100 per month.
I am very very fortunate that I can make this work and I have other support systems BUT many have nothing whatsoever to fall back on. NOTHING.
Many people, even before this crisis, often choose between paying a bill or putting food on the table. Many people rely heavily on food banks. Many people have gotten themselves into unmanageable debt due to this unreasonable living amount. Many people HAVE to live on the street because the amount they are provided with does not even afford them shelter.
Don’t get me wrong, something is better than nothing and we are all very very lucky to live in a country that can offer financial aid to those in need BUT it’s not enough to cut it, and this crisis is shedding much light on that.
I will continue to make noise ALL over the internet, I will continue to bombard our MP’s with emails highlighting this gap in the system.
The poverty divide is real and it continues.
As things break down in this crisis, NOW is the time to put them back together the way they SHOULD be.
I’m going to say this again for those internet trolls at the back of the room. .
THOSE ON INCOME ASSISTANCE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR ‘FREE MONEY’, THEY ARE NOT LOOKING FOR A ‘FREE RIDE’, THEY ARE INCAPACITATED AND LOOKING FOR HELP, THEY ARE LOOKING FOR OPTIONS TO ALLOW THEM TO SURVIVE ANOTHER DAY, THEY ARE LOOKING FOR EQUALITY IN STANDARDS OF LIVING.
I’m taking a break from social media today as some of the judgemental and downright disgusting comments to my fellow peoples in crisis really irked me yesterday.
‘Stop complaining, you’re getting free money and do fuck all for it’
‘What do you need more money for, you out of booze?’
‘You’re just being greedy, you already know how to milk the system’
Like SERIOUSLY, educate yourself, find some compassion and learn to empathize with people.
God forbid the day you find yourself seriously ill and unable to cope with life’s demands. God forbid you are hospitalized and without income assistance, you would lose the roof over your head. God forbid.
I’ve been there, pre and post hospitalization I was sleeping in my car. Within a year or so of treatment I made enough of a recovery to work but ordered by the doctor to ONLY work 16 hours per week. On minimum wage that is $750 per month before tax and employment insurance deductions. I had no other options and the doctor persuaded me to apply for this assistance. He, alongside my case worker took on the paperwork and made sure I didn’t end up on the streets. Do you think I wanted to feel the way you are portraying me? Like I’m mooching off the government? Do you think I wanted to feel like a third-class citizen? I had NO choice. When my car was surrendered I had no place to go. My only option was a single bed in a house with 7 other people. I could barely afford that. I am very fortunate in my recovery that I have been easing off of assistance and supporting myself for quite some time now, but it has been a very long, and hard journey to here. I cannot wait for the day that I say I once again rely on myself financially AND it will happen, it will just take some time.
So, thanks for reading my rant haha I very much needed to get that off my chest!
Much love xo