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Kendall Worth: Farewell to Nova Scotia?

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Let’s start this article off by taking a look at why I am at a point in my life where I feel I have to at least look into leaving Nova Scotia and moving to Ontario.

In Halifax and other parts of Nova Scotia there are many dark apartments with empty refrigerators. Persons with disabilities should not have to live this way. 

I do think that if other income assistance clients who share my experiences were not so scared to come forward then there would be maybe a bit more light at the end of the tunnel.

It is all because of our current minister of Community Services and the Income Assistance transformation here in Nova Scotia, which is moving as slow as cold molasses when it comes to much needed changes. Meanwhile we have a system that is abusive.

Community Services does not allow persons with disabilities to eat healthy, even people whose conditions are chronic have to prove their medical needs and special diet requirements year after year.

My doctor told me that I needed a special diet to control the effects of one of my disabilities. My caseworker didn’t agree and questioned the doctor’s recommendation. I took my case all the way to the Nova Scotia Supreme court, and lost.

Several articles I wrote for both the Halifax Media Coop and the Nova Scotia Advocate about how I lost my special diet and  the annual review speak volumes on why I say this and feel abused.

I feel as if my human rights are violated, and I am not respected as a human being because of the disability I have.  I have lost all hope!

My meeting with Community Services

On Wednesday February 8th of this year I met with two directors at Community Services. I showed up at this meeting with a package prepared for them to look at. This package included a letter addressed to one of these directors with notes on what I wanted to share with him.

You know what, it would have been nice to walk out of that meeting with? Back pay from February 26th, 2013, until present; a written apology for the way the system has abused me; and an apology to my doctors for getting harassed by caseworkers. All that, and my special diet reinstated.

I also brought my affidavit which got thrown out of Supreme Court back in 2013, and a copy of medical research on Omega 3 oils and fatty acids.

I left that meeting with the feeling that there was no light is at the end the tunnel in terms of getting my issue resolved.

What I also gathered from this meeting is that a policy change stopping caseworkers from further questionings doctors on why I even need a certain special diet in the first place is not going to happen. That is the vibe I got anyway.  

It is also not looking good for others who are in the same boat as me.

You know what, it would have been nice to walk out of that meeting with? Back pay from February 26th, 2013, until present; a written apology for the way the system has abused me; and an apology to my doctors for getting harassed by caseworkers. All that, and my special diet reinstated.

So shall I go?

I have friends who live in Ontario who are trying to talk me into leaving Nova Scotia and moving there for the purpose of getting me into a better system.

Moving to Ontario would hopefully allow me to receive income assistance under a system where what my doctor says about my medical situation is accepted at face value, and where a caseworker will respect me as a human being.

Nova Scotia is a poverty trap for persons with disabilities no matter whether the disability is mental or physical. In Ontario the system has different allowances for persons with disabilities, separate from the regular Ontario Works Program.

I do think that if other income assistance clients who share my experiences were not so scared to come forward then there would be maybe a bit more light at the end of the tunnel.

Or shall I stay?

Do I want to leave Nova Scotia and move to Ontario? The answer from the bottom of my heart is no, I do not want to make this move!

Here in Nova Scotia I have my immediate family nearby for support when needed.  I am close to everyone I have ever known my entire life.

I get to see my niece who is now six years old, and my nephew who is now eight years old  between four and six times per year. Even though I do have relatives in Ontario, and I do have a good relationship with them, I strongly feel that the family support I would get in Ontario just would not be the same.

Also I would have to think about the big question. If I were to live in Ontario, how often would I be able to afford to fly back to Nova Scotia to have visits with immediate family? Answer – if I am lucky once a year.

Also by leaving Nova Scotia I would be giving up so many things I have going for me. This includes all the advocacy I do to make things better for people living in poverty.

I could no longer be the chair of BRAG and I would have to give up all the other volunteer work I do.  

 

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2 Comments

  1. “In Ontario the system has different allowances for persons with disabilities, separate from the regular Ontario Works Program.”

    We have this here, too. It’s just that nobody knows about it. Have you tried the Disability Support Program?

    Reply
    1. Hello,

      My professional advocate who helps me deal with deal with Community Services, and whom attends my anneal reviews with me has had several conversations about what we have here in Nova Scotia for that Disability Support Program you are talking about. Their are three things I want to advise you of in answering your above question.

      #1 – Form what I get advice about the Disability Support program here in Nova Scotia, Community Services would force me to live my life with having less Independence then the amount of Independence I live life whit now if I did apply and qualified.

      #2 – I get advised that in this Disability Support Program we do have here in Nova Scotia, their is no extra money for living on through this program. Furthermore – I get advised that any extra money I would be entitled to through the disability program we have here in Nova Scotia would be to cover living support, home care and home support services wish I perosnially do not require/need in my day to day life.

      #3 – I get advised that the disability support program her in Nova Scotia requires that you have a (weather it is a home care/home support worker/or someone with a different work related tittle), come to your home and cheek on you weekly. While I understand some if not many may need this type of support, for me personally this requirement would be a human rights violation.

      The professional advocate I have who helps me is a social worker in the North end Community Health clinic. She is the one who has advised me of the above requirements.

      Reply

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