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Coalition working for income equality for people with disabilities

KAWARTHA LAKES- Members of the Kawartha Lakes Disability Income Equality Coalition met Wednesday at the Lindsay Public Library.

The group discussed the impact of the new basic income pilot project on local residents currently receiving Ontario Disability Support Program benefits. Mike Perry leads the group and says “Currently, social services provides about $1,000 per month – for rent, food, clothing, etc. – to people who cannot work due to disability. This means that if you are or become unable to work due to a disability, you are relegated to poverty. That’s not right. We can look after each other better than that in a country like Canada.”

They’ve been meeting regularly for a year and a half. During the meetings they discuss action on how to increase disability benefits but influencing public policy decision-makers.

And they’ve been to Queen’s Park to advocate for change. “The Coalition recently had a very successful day meeting with senior government officials and MPPs at Queen’s Park to make their local needs and stories known. The Coalition also wants to work to end some of the myths that people on disability are lazy and “faking” it for a handout.” Perry tells Kawarhta 411.  “All the members of the Coalition would work if they were able.”

And he says people who can work part time are penalized. “Some who can work somewhat find it’s not feasible for the current program only allows 10 hours per month of work. Who hires someone for 10 hours per month? So clearly the earned income cap is being looked at by the Coalition as well.”

Perry says the Coalition will also be working to ensure the new basic income pilot program in Lindsay is attune to the unique needs of people living with disabilities.

The Coalition is planning more  local and provincial action to raise awareness of income inequality and improve policies for people unable to work due to disability and their families. “Improving incomes for local residents is important and we all need to be able to reach our full potential. All of the members of the group want to contribute”

Not only for their own sake but for the sake of their loved ones. “It is also important that the voices of the families of people with disabilities are heard as often families are impacted under the current system to help with costs and care and will eventually pass away. People with disabilities are also local customers and put their money into our communities” Perry says.


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Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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