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(en) Canada, Strike! #1 (Ontario Edition) - OCAP fights for diet supplements by Jeff Shantz

Date Mon, 27 Jun 2005 08:56:11 +0300

To: <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Subject: Canada, Strike! #1 (Ontario Edition) - OCAP fights for diet supplements by Jeff Shantz

Recently the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)
was alerted to the little known provision that allows
for people receiving Ontario Works (OW) and
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) assist-
ance to apply for up to $250 as a nutritional dietary
supplement if a medical professional deems it neces-
sary. This supplement is available to cover some of
the costs for items such as vitamin and mineral sup-
plements, iron rich foods, a high fibre diet and extra
calories. Dietary deficiencies are a common prob-
lem facing poor people as limited budgets cannot
cover the costs of a nutritional diet while providing
for other necessities like clothing and shelter.
Everyone on OW or ODSP should be entitled
to the full $250 monthly supplement without hav-
ing to be examined by a medical professional. The
health problems facing people are so pressing that
the full diet supplement should be re leased
immediately. Many people in poor communities
across Ontario do not have regular access to a
health care worker, having to rely on impersonal
"drive-thru" service at drop-in clinics.
be quiet till
we get the
In the meantime, OCAP and medical workers
have set up a series of clinics across Toronto to proc-
ess forms and assist OW and ODSP recipients in ap-
plying for the supplement. Already more than 700
people have been able to access the supplement as a
direct result of the clinics, and the campaign is grow-
ing rapidly. This will see the government pay out
over a million dollars to poor people in the province.
As nurse Kathy Hardill notes: "Giving the full
special diet benefit to all social assistance recipients
won't solve poverty in Ontario." Indeed, poverty won't
be solved under capitalism at all. We won't be able to
truly end poverty until we replace the system that pro-
duces it. For this to happen the campaign must both
expand at the base, with more people joining the
fight, as well as radicalize through collective mass
The Special Diet campaign can only be one
part of a larger campaign demanding that the
government raise social assistance rates by 40%,
an increase that would restore the cuts while
increasing the rates to a level consistent with
inflation over the last decade. As well the bru-
tally low social assistance rates and the poverty-
assuring minimum wage are linked in the
broader attack on workers and must be fought
Incredibly the Liberal government could have
honoured its pledge to index social assistance to
the cost of living for around $110 million. That
amount is substantially less than the $400 million
the Liberal government gave Casino Windsor in
February for a planned expansion.
Social movements must bring together employed
and unemployed, unionized and non-unionized
workers together to make it impossible for
governments to carry out such policies. Poor
people cannot rely on any government to provide
a decent living since governments exist to aid
and protect the rich. Our campaigns must build a
collective power that can defeat the capitalists
and their governments.
Strike! Volume 1, Issue#1 July 2005 (Ontario Edition) - Anarchist News and Commentary

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