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Kendall Worth on welfare transformation: proposed grouping by ability a pretty scary thing

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Last week I wrote about the presentation about the proposed welfare transformation that Community Services put on line here.  

I raised concerns about the lack of input from people who are actually on social assistance.

But there is more.


Something else that is mentioned in various places in the presentation is segmenting the caseload. People on welfare will be pigeonholed according to their skills and ability to work.

There will be three groups of clients.

  • Clients with no work expectation.
  • Clients who are to return to work eventually, after barriers to employment are resolved.
  • Clients who are believed to be able to work right now.

The scary thing is that this could mean that  say a client who cannot work because of health or disability could potentially get placed in the wrong group.   

It could also mean that clients in one group get less support, while clients in another group could get harassed by their caseworkers to go out looking for work.

Yes, Community Services did an analysis to come up with the three groups, however they could have been more careful.

When it comes to segmentation, brainstorming a great variety of ideas is an important part of that work. However, when it comes to planning the new model the vibe I get is  that they already got their minds made up on what they are going to do.

Every person is unique, and every person experiences unique barriers to employment. This is why sophisticated vocational assessments are needed as part of the new system.

But to me it sounds like the type of assessment tool Community Services is planning to use as part of the new system is not a real vocational assessment. I personally know enough about what an actual vocational assessment is that I could write a whole separate article on this.

Anyway, the whole process of what they are talking about in this transformation process is scary.

Of course only time will tell what is really going to happen with this transformation.

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