Governments worldwide have decided to lay the blame for their failures at the feet of their most fragile of citizens and allow them to become the focus of anger by their fellow citizens. Most citizens of Canada that end up on welfare do so, because of greedy bosses mismanagement of company funds, governments closing down industries, not enough work being available for those out of work and illness. What I am getting at is that people on welfare are a direct result of government failures and not the result of laziness. 99% of all people on welfare are decent honest people who are in need of assistance and would like to be employed, but neither they, or the government can find them work. They go through training programs, but at the end of the programs they are still not able to find jobs and are labeled lazy burdens on society.
Many of these people have worked most of their lives and are not deserving of this label. Our children are graduating from university unable to find work. I agree that the 1% of the fraudsters infecting the system need to be found and punished, but to include the 99% with legitimate reason to be on public assistance in a witch hunt is unfair and heavy-handed. What of the sick, why are they harassed every solitary month? If we can afford jets, can we not afford to take care of people who by no choice of their own find themselves on welfare, or unemployment insurance? Everyone has a different reason that they find themselves where they are in life and I feel that it is presumptuous of welfare agents and us, “the workers” to assume that we can apply an unjust label to all people on welfare. It is said that, ” If you assume you make an ass out of you and me”. ASS-U-ME! I think that we all should try to remember this when we try to lay blame, or accuse without facts to back up what we say.
Why are Canadian Welfare And Unemployment Agencies allowed to cut a recipients cheque, drug assistance and medical assistance based solely on the unsubstantiated call in information of anonymous accusers. I write this because this is a long-standing practice and when I was down on my luck and needed welfare assistance this happened to me and I know personally at least 10 people and at the very least over a hundred people who have been left without their benefits for over 90 days only to go before the system and be exonerated when the unreliable source of the accusation does not show up at the hearing.
In my case I was accused of living with someone in one place and saying that I was living somewhere else on my own. The charge was based on the fact that my welfare agent talked to an ex spouses neighbors and they told them of seeing a black man enter and not leave sometimes for days. The worker assumed that the man was black, I was black, so the person living with my ex, had to be me. No matter what he was told by me, or my ex he continued until a lawyer for the welfare stepped in and told him after 7 months that he had no proof and no basis for his action. This did not erase the damage to me or the other person and I do have the documentation on hand to back up my claim that what had happened to me, happens all of the time and is done on purpose to make these workers seem like they are doing their job when it comes to cracking down on fraudulent claims.
I was on medication for a thyroid condition at the time that included heart medication, Synthroid and other medication require to be taken everyday when I received a letter in the mail from an agent at the welfare office informing me that he had received information that I was working and not declaring the information to welfare and cohabitating with a person at another location other than the address on my file and therefore based on this information all benefits would be cut off immediately. I of course went down to the office where the worker would not give me an appointment and I was told that I could contest the decision to withhold my check and would receive an answer in 90 days, or I could wait and be heard in 90 days, but they were sorry the decision to cut my benefits and all that it meant would have to stand. What kind of justice is that and why is it allowed to go on?
- In 90 days, or 3 months your landlord has a right to take you before the rental board if you have not paid your rent and have you evicted and they do not care about your problems with welfare.
- In 90 days, or 3 months if you have not paid your utility bills, your cable, your phone bills, you will be cut off and they do not care about your problems with welfare
- In 90 days, or 3 months you could be dead from not taking the medicine prescribed for you by your doctor. These medicines cost hundreds of dollars and not be bought by the recipient so they face a death sentence based on the unsubstantiated accusations of a call in witness.
- Imagine being in the middle of a serious dental procedure when you get cut off. the pain the possible loss of teeth all because the system relied on the unsubstantiated accusations and information of a call in accuser.
A senior gentleman that I know was recently cut off because someone called in and said he was working under the table while collecting his cheque. They accused him of doing moving no less. He tried to explain to them that he was unable to do moving because he had a quadruple heart bypass and had suffered multiple heart attacks, but it all fell on deaf ears. Unable to afford his medication, rent food, bus fare to his medical appointments, he contemplated borrowing the money from a loan shark to get him through the 90 days at an interest rate that he could not afford, because he did not want to die, be tossed out onto the street, or freeze in an unheated apartment. Lucky for him the loan shark he was looking for was no longer in business, but this shows the desperation that people face when faced with a system that wants to catch the people that it is supposed to be helping so bad that it will stoop to these type of tactics to achieve visible results on paper to show that it is doing its job, even if in reality all it is doing is putting the very people it is supposed to be helping in danger, at great risk a needless hardship for nothing.
This gentleman ended up getting the money he needed to survive, not getting put out of his apartment and enough to pay his utilities, but he went without his medications and often without eating. All this he endured because our governments allows anybody with an axe to grind, or a desire to make a neighbor or family member’s life miserable, or mete out revenge as is in most of the cases that they probably would not do if they were not able to remain anonymous. The end of his story is that he went to his mini trial; and the so-called witness did not show up, but he was not reinstated right there on the spot, instead his hearing was postponed to allow for the witnessed to be brought forward. Three more weeks without any assistance while a government worker pretends that there is actually a witness to call, make a bad decision and even worst one. Well after suffering for another 3 weeks he again returned to his hearing, but as you may have guessed there was no witness and he was told that he had won his case and would be reinstated. There was no apology, there would be no trouble for the worker, or the person who refused to show up after causing so much hardship in another persons life and to me this is so wrong.
I know that the argument can be made that if anonymity is not allowed and then respected that people will not make the call when they see fraudsters, but I believe that in its eagerness to catch a few fraudsters the governments of Canada has opened themselves up to be used as a weapon of revenge by unscrupulous people and cowards. If one is so eager to report fraud to help make Canada a better place then why will these people stand up and say I reported it. I think that one must always be allowed to face ones accuser and in all instances of law one be considered innocent until proven guilty. That means wait until after the hearing proves a recipient guilty before you cut off their only way to live, eat, provide shelter for themselves, pay their rent and utilities, get their medicine and get the medical attention that they need. I ask Canadians how long will we allow this type of heavy-handed heartless actions? Should not there be a penalty imposed on welfare agents who are found to be repeatedly going before tribunals without sufficient proof and reliable witnesses to what they are claiming? Should not one be able to face their accusers like in all other cases that come before a tribunal or any other legal proceeding? Should not the accuser be forced to face the person he has reported and give evidence if such evidence is required? It is so in every other situation and some with far more or a risk of incurring dangerous revenge then reporting welfare fraud, so why not in these instances involving public assistance? I say in has nothing to do with the fear of revenge, but it has to do with the government thinking that it is more important to have suspects reported than to know if the information is truthful, or will stand up and so innocent and guilty are all caught in the witch hunt and if a couple of innocent people get burned at the stake along with the guilty so be it; the ends justifying the need and I say this must stop. This type of over the top, heavy-handed justice is quickly becoming the rule of law where government is concerned and is not right. How many will suffer this winter due to this type of action?
- Welfare fraud! (exile.wordpress.com)
- New Brunswick First Nations Sue Federal Government over Welfare-Benefits Slash (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
- Opinion: Nothing in the NDP record shows they’ll be more generous with welfare rates than the Liberals (vancouversun.com)