In my last post, I made the comment “...Ontario Works operates under the paranoid assumption that everyone on welfare is shiftless and untrustworthy.”
Worried that I might be paranoid myself, I delved into the background of Ontario Works. Guess what I discovered? The programme, an initiative of former Ontario Premier Mike Harris, was implemented not to improve social assistance, but to combat welfare fraud. The premier, whom philosopher/historian John Ralston Saul actually calls “evil” in his must-read book, A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada, hoodwinked the electorate into believing that the homeless and the destitute were systematically robbing the government and needed to be taught a lesson.
The web holds so much information on the subject that I won't repeat it here. Those interested should check out John-Paul Hatala, Ph.D, Analysis of Welfare Reform Policy in Ontario, and Morgan Duchesney, The Treatment of Welfare Fraud by the Ontario Government: 1995-2003.
But it's cold comfort knowing I'm not paranoid; I still have to bow and scrape to get my cheque.