When You Ask For Govt Aid In Canada — Workers, PWD, Govt and Labour Day Tomorrow
Recently, there have been some articles and attention paid to the plight of seniors and people with disabilities (PWD) in the news due to the pandemic. People in a really wealthy, supposedly socialist-adjacent nation have really been left out of the support and recovery plans. And trying to find a way to express that has been occupying my mind. Because we can’t claim to be an ‘angel’ and tell others what to do if we’re failing so badly ourselves.
I’ve been communicating with feds and provvies on this issue and know other advocates who have as well.
But as usual, for every step forward, there are two steps back. Steps back that PWD just cannot afford. As they are already so far under the poverty line, they are applying for assisted suicide. They’ve given up hope.
So what is it that isn’t connecting with the people who deal with these subjects?
First off, PWD, depending on what their disability is, fall into two camps. They are split between the feds and the provvies. So typical to govt parties, PWD are only relevant to the parties and govt if they are covered within their mandate. Though the feds did pass on some money to the provvies….. Only some of which got shelled out.
So step #1 might be to gather everyone under the fed umbrella.
2nd, when CERB was handed out, it completely bypassed the PWD who cannot work. Which partly might be cuzz politicians are notorious for caring about two people/groups- corporations and taxpayers. Money for their coffers and campaigns.
And it looks like a UBI would be similarily weighted toward workers. Leaving out seniors and PWD.
Not all PWD can work, so they don’t pay taxes.
So how can you appeal for aid for people who don’t live on the radar of politicians?
For some parties, perception is critical too. They want to at least appear as if they care, and they want to be seen doing things that matter to Cdns. So how do PWD tap into that?
Some PWD can access NDP attention, if they were hurt or made ill on the job. NDP is supposed to be worker/union focused. That is it’s historic background. And there might be a little ‘but for the grace of God’ left over. Or at least there used to be. The NDP sound really CON-lite these days.
This ‘worker’ bias may or may not tap into vets who are injured or made ill due to stress or some chemical agent used in the theatre. But those who have actually held the govt seat (LIBs and CONs) may recognize they have a duty of care to the soldiers who they send out to protect the country, In a way they won’t for just random citizens who are ill or injured by… life, job, family predisposition. At least you’d hope. Not that it’s really proven out when so many homeless are vets.
Some PWD might get GREEN attention. If their illness was due to an environmental issue. (ie smog – asthma or cancer). Again, that is it’s historic background.
There will be common ailments (ie cancer, heart disease, strokes, car accidents, house fires, Alzheimers) that pretty much everyone knows about and no blame is attached to. They somehow exceed ‘lifestyle’ claims. And can be easily enough documented that no one doubts that you have them. Though concussions can be dubious to some.
And there is always the possibility that someone in the govt has something themselves or a family member does and they identify with those left behind by the system.
But that is always balanced out against the fact that they only have so much money to spread around if they want to balance the budget and give priority to businesses.
So what can be done to change this priority? You can’t. So how do you shift it?
By convincing businesses to sponsor disability issues or hire PWD to enter a govt subsidy program. (govt and business split the cost of the PWDs training and salary/benefits)
Because these days, businesses like to be perceived as a caring neighbour. It’s most likely if the CEO or someone in their family has the disability.
Housing is a critical issue. But no govt will build endless rows of tract houses and apts that are kitted out just for PWD. It costs too much.
So the way to circumvent that may be to have PWD stay where they are and subsidize that unit. Because community care is ALWAYS cheaper than congregant care. And it’s better for most people to manage in the community. Until they just can’t. It’s less liability too.
No building costs, insurance, maintenance, or extra policing req’d (if gangs move in to ‘help the poor’). But that is offset by the fact that when they are in housing, PWD offer each other emotional and social support that no amount of dollars can make up for and often improve in that environment.
Perception of those who are healthy and have money is that PWD are doing something that has hurt themselves, or held themselves back. And they must be managed like children.
So it’s even hard to get decently funded food banks. Which are really complicated issues. PWD have often worked and put money into tax and work pensions. And have a much easier time accepting those funds as theirs by right. Rather than a charitable donation. It’s a pride thing.
So things like health care and food programs have to be tied to these. No govt or party will freely give funds to PWD that might be used for something else (ie drugs, alcohol, cigs, entertainment) rather than promoting health and independence. You have to deal with the people and their biases as they actually are, instead of wishing them away, right?
What if like the OHIP card mixed with food stamps, they had a card that they and a service provider (doctor, nutritionist, dietician, P/nurse) could load with their diet plan and food likes/tolerances and then they could shop at any store they wish?
Pretty much all you’d be left with is safety and mobility equipment then. Scooters, wheelchairs, walkers, canes, replacement limbs, braces, guide or asst dogs, glasses, hearing aids, landline phones and panic button/fall alert services. But these would be more case specific, Not something to hand out to everyone.
And on a larger level, transportation and accessible buildings and thru-fares like sidewalks.
These days, we know that people are being left behind. So if ever there was a time to re-evaluate how and why PWD have the needs and what we as a rich nation can do for them, maybe it’s now?
But knowing the problem exists is not the same as getting people to let go of their biases and graspy response when someone they don’t care about reaches for their wallet.
And that is after all what PWD are doing now. It is justified, but just asking for their pension to be doubled won’t get them anything. Esp not when the govts are already shelling out more than they’re taking in in taxes. And that isn’t likely to change soon.
Yet now is when people are seeing the seniors and PWD, so something has to be asked, right?
Because leaving PWD and seniors unprovided for puts them at further risk due to the pandemic, which places us all at risk.