Three recent Ford political maneuvers have put the poor at risk for an even deeper cut. While not in the Mike Harris range of cuts, Ford does seem to be channeling Harris’ spirit of kicking people when they are already down.
While people were relatively happy with the three per cent increase in social assistance promised by the Liberal government — happy in the way that desperate people get happy when table scraps are thrown their way — with Wynne’s defeat in the Ontario elections, that three per cent was never enshrined in gold, so Ford has cut the increase by half. Reducing social assistance to a mere 1.5 per cent meant ripping approximately $150 million out of the hands of the most vulnerable in Ontario.
Ford’s government is also winding down the basic income pilot project, which was supposed to last for three years.
Other changes include: the cancellation of a change to the definition of “spouse” from three months of co-habitation to three years; the cancellation of full basic benefits to people who receive housing and food from the same provider, including many people living with disabilities; and the cancellation of increased support to people living in Northern Ontario, where daily living costs are higher.
Clearly, in order to give Ontario residents their promised “buck-a-beer”, the government thinks it needs to trim spending in areas of social assistance where the most vulnerable people hang by a thread of decency.