Bill Kelly: Ford’s welfare reform is political smoke and mirrors
Let’s not get fooled by the well-crafted presentation of the Ford government’s social assistance reform announcement on Thursday.
What the government is doing is ripping up a series of legislated improvements to social assistance that were put in place by the previous government and replacing them with a policy that offers less assistance and will make it more difficult to qualify for.
Instead of the proposed $400 a month allowance to augment a recipient’s income, the Ford plan trims the allowance to $300 and increases the clawback amount for those who might exceed the limit.
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Combine that with the cancellation of the basic income pilot project, the cancellation of an increase in the minimum wage and offering only a paltry 1.5 per cent increase in social assistance payments, which is well below the rate of inflation, and it’s obvious that the Ford government’s policies offer little to no assistance for those who are trying to escape poverty.
What’s more, the government now intends to redefine who qualifies as disabled, raising serious concerns about who the government deems to be eligible for disability benefits.
It’s noteworthy that, in the same week that Ford gave a significant tax break to the highest income bracket, he makes it more difficult for disabled and low-income earners to make ends meet.
So much for being for the little guy.
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