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Kendall Worth: An open letter to Carla Qualtrough, the federal minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Carla Qualtrough

Editor’s note: Since the pandemic arrived in Canada and Nova Scotia very little support has been offered to people who live with disabilities. The federal government promised $600 to assist with extra Covid-related expenses, and in the last Throne Speech there was another vague promise of a new national disability benefit modeled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors. That’s it.

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax)

Dear Minister Qualtrough,

Hello, my Name is Kendall Worth, and I am writing this open letter to you today because not that long ago I heard you speak about issues around CERB, the need for a disability income, and how too many people with disabilities live in poverty.

I want to commend you on your caring attitude towards Canadians with disabilities. I liked that you spoke about how you recognize that persons with disabilities were left out of the package of COVID-19 aid, except for the one time $600 payments which persons who qualify are still waiting to receive. 

You recognized how persons with disabilities in general need to have enough money to live on. In a nutshell the same $2000 that was provided through CERB is ideal for a person with disability as a living allowance.

As I told your colleague Minister Jean Yves DuClos in January, here in Nova Scotia our system of Employment Support and Income Assistance (ESIA) is abusive toward clients, especially those who need help the most and full of bureaucratic nonsense and systemic problems with trying to qualify for what support is available.

ESIA in Nova Scotia promotes that living life with social isolation is OK, causes ESIA clients to develop depression and anxiety, provides not enough money to live on, and requires caseworkers to know too much personal information about you.

I have also written letters to the Prime Minister,  Open letter – Dear Prime Minister, poor people in Nova Scotia need your help and Dear Prime Minister, punishing poor people doesn’t solve anything.

Next to nothing has changed with our system since I wrote these letters. Hopefully with the help of you yourself, Minister Qualtrough, something better in disability income is coming our way. 

We shouldn’t have to depend on an income assistance system with lots of obstacles for people who live with visible and invisible disabilities.

I hope something better is coming our way!

Sincerely, Kendall Worth

Kendall Worth is an award-winning anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.

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