Kendall Worth on the Community Services transformation project: “We understand things don’t happen overnight. However the length of time this transformation has been taking to date is concerning and frustrating to people in the community. Right now we are five years into the transformation and very few problems for people who depend on this system have gotten resolved. Why is the length of this transformation process taking so long for people to see positive results?”
Late last year I received a response to a Freedom of Information request that has all significant information greyed out. It’s a presentation about cost savings as a result of the Community Services Transformation Project. If a government initiative potentially will save money, possibly at the detriment of service levels, shouldn’t we be allowed to know how so, and how much?
” I am the mother of a nine-year old boy living with autism in a province that has been defined as one of Canada’s autism wastelands, given its lack of services and funding,” writes Nancy Spina in an open letter to Minister Kelly Regan. “Outdated and inflexible criteria have an impact on children with disabilities and on the women who care for them who lose the opportunity of providing for their families, and having fulfilling careers.”
A recently published report shows that incomes for people on welfare in Nova Scotia are terribly insufficient, and on a downward trajectory. They are also by and large the lowest in Canada.
Poverty activist and welfare recipient Tim Blades speaks at the recent screening of My Week on Welfare in Lower Sackville. His message is not the one that Community Services would like you to hear, but it’s rooted in lived experience.
Recently Community Services organized a series of info sessions to provide an update to stakeholders on the ESIA transformation. I couldn’t go of course, since I am merely a grouchy old journalist and not a stakeholder. But I talked to a few anti-poverty advocates, and this is what I found out.
Kendall Worth shows once again how what most people would consider simple problems are often almost insurmountable obstacles for people on income assistance. Poverty, stigma and isolation make many things much more complicated.
Our correspondent Kendall Worth attended one of the welfare transformation meetings organized by Community Services, and he came back disappointed.
In September several MLAs from all three parties attended a screening of My Week on Welfare at the auditorium of the Nova Scotia Art Gallery in downtown Halifax. This is what Aron Spidle, who is featured in the documentary, told the MLAs. “When a friend asks me to do something with them, the first thing that occurs to me is to ‘how can I get out of this gracefully?’ because most of the time I cannot afford it.”
Kate, a fearless mother who we have written about before, fights Community Services and gets the glasses (with warranty) her autistic son requires. It was hard and scary, and it looks like questions the NS Advocate was asking made a bit of a difference. This story has a happy ending, but you can’t help but wonder how many people would just have given up much earlier.