Transcript: Show #97 "Workfare" | Jun 15, 1997

(music plays)
The opening sequence rolls.
In animation, the title "Fourth Reading" spins against a red background.
Then, snippets from the current episode play.

Steve says THIS WEEK,
WELFARE OVERHAUL.

In a clip, Janet Ecker says AS A GOVERNMENT, WE OWE IT
TO THE PEOPLE ON SOCIAL
ASSISTANCE TO PROVIDE THEM
WITH THE OPPORTUNITIES
THEY NEED TO BECOME
SELF-SUFFICIENT.

In another clip, Peter Kormos says THIS MINISTER HAS NOTHING
BUT DISDAIN FOR
THE POOR IN OUR PROVINCE,
FOR THE UNEMPLOYED.

Now, fast clips show workers walking, someone putting her finger on a fingerprint scanner, and a disabled woman crossing a street.

Steve says MANDATORY WORKFARE,
CRACKDOWN ON FRAUD,
AND A NEW INCOME SUPPORT
PROGRAM FOR THE DISABLED.

(music plays)

Steve and four guests sit around a table in the shape of a number 4.

Steve is in his mid-thirties, clean-shaven, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a black blazer over a black and white check shirt.

He says GOOD AFTERNOON,
EVERYBODY.
I'M STEVE PAIKIN.
CRACKING DOWN ON
WELFARE CHEATS.
THE TORIES PUSHED THAT
HOT-BUTTON ISSUE
IN THE LAST ONTARIO
ELECTION SO SKILFULLY
IT HELPED THEM WIN A
MAJORITY GOVERNMENT.
FIRST THE CONSERVATIVES
CUT WELFARE RATES,
THEN THEY BROUGHT
IN WORK FOR WELFARE.
THIS WEEK, FINGERPRINTING
WELFARE RECIPIENTS
AND WITHDRAWING
BENEFITS FOR CHEATERS.
ON THE OTHER SIDE
OF THE EQUATION,
THE DISABLED WILL
NOT BE INCLUDED
IN THE WELFARE
ROLLS ANYMORE.
THEY'RE GETTING THEIR
OWN INCOME SUPPORT PLAN.
COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL
SERVICES MINISTER
JANET ECKER MADE THE
ANNOUNCEMENT
IN THE LEGISLATURE.

Now, a clip shows Janet Ecker speaking at the legislature.
A caption reads "Janet Ecker, Community and Social Services Minister."

Ecker is in her late forties, with short blond hair. She wears big glasses, a navy blue jacket over a navy blue blouse and a blue and red floral scarf.

She says THE ONTARIO WORKS ACT WOULD
OVERALL A WELFARE SYSTEM
THAT IS 30 YEARS
OUT OF DATE.
IT WOULD RESTORE THE
WELFARE SYSTEM
TO ITS ORIGINAL PURPOSE,
A TRANSITIONAL
PROGRAM OF LAST RESORT.

In another clip, Sandra Pupatello speaks at the legislature.
A caption reads "Sandra Pupatello, Liberal Community and Social Services Critic."

Pupatello is in her mid-thirties, with long blond hair. She wears a light pink shirt with notched collar.

She says MINISTER, YOU ARE LAYING
OFF HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE
IN YOUR OWN MINISTRY.
THESE ARE THE SAME
INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE BEEN
OUT THERE
DETECTING FRAUD.
YOU HAVE SPENT MILLIONS OF
DOLLARS DETECTING FRAUD
ONLY TO FIND THAT YOU'VE
SAVED MUCH, MUCH
LESS THAN YOU'VE SPENT
ON TRYING TO DETECT IT.

Now, a clip shows Peter Kormos speaking at the legislature.
A caption reads "Peter Kormos, NDP Poverty Critic."

Kormos is in his mid-forties, clean-shaven with short gray hair. He wears a beige blazer over a white shirt.

He says THIS MINISTER HAS NOTHING
BUT DISDAIN FOR
THE POOR IN OUR PROVINCE,
FOR THE UNEMPLOYED.
THERE IS NOTHING IN HER
PROGRAM THAT WILL CREATE
JOB TRAINING, THAT WILL
PROVIDE FOR RE-EDUCATION
AND UPGRADING OF
EDUCATIONAL SKILLS
SO PEOPLE CAN PARTICIPATE,
OR EVEN ATTEMPT
TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
CONTEMPORARY WORK FORCE.

The clips end.

Back in studio, Steve says SO JUST BEFORE WE DISCUSS
THIS ISSUE IN THE STUDIO,
LET'S TAKE A LOOK INSIDE
OUR FACT FILE TO SEE
JUST WHAT'S INCLUDED IN
THE WELFARE OVERHAUL.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Welfare Overhaul."

Steve reads the information on the slate and says FROM NOW ON, SINGLE PARENTS
WITH SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN
MUST TAKE PART IN JOB TRAINING,
A JOB SEARCH OR WORKFARE
IN ORDER TO GET WELFARE
THAT WILL BE GIVEN
HELP WITH CHILD EXPENSES.
THOSE ON WELFARE MUST ACCEPT JOB OFFERS,
SOME WILL HAVE TO AGREE TO REIMBURSE
WELFARE PAYMENTS
BY HAVING A LIEN PLACE ON THEIR HOMES
IF THEY WERE ON WELFARE FOR A LONG TIME.
ALL CHILDREN OF WELFARE RECIPIENTS
WILL RECEIVE DENTAL AND VISION CARE COVERAGE,
WELFARE CHEATS WILL HAVE THEIR BENEFITS SUSPENDED
FOR THREE MONTHS IF CAUGHT ONCE,
SIX MONTHS AFTER THAT,
AND MUNICIPALITIES ARE BEEN GIVEN
THE GO AHEAD TO FINGERPRINT
THOSE ON WELFARE.

Steve looks at the camera and says OKAY, LET'S GET INTO THIS
TODAY WITH JANET ECKER.
SHE IS THE MINISTER OF
COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL
SERVICES CHARGED WITH
OVERHAULING ONTARIO'S
WELFARE SYSTEM.

Janet is in her late forties, with short blond hair. She wears big glasses, a navy blue jacket over a navy blue blouse and a blue and red floral scarf.

Steve says MINISTER, GOOD
TO HAVE YOU HERE.
THANKS FOR BEING HERE.

Janet says PLEASED TO BE
HERE, STEVE.

Steve says YOU KNOW
OUR GANG HERE.

Janet says CERTAINLY.

Steve says CONSERVATIVE PARTY
ADVISOR HUGH SEGAL,

Hugh is in his fifties, clean-shaven with short light brown hair. He wears rounded glasses, a black suit, striped shirt and patterned tie.

Steve says AND FORMER NDP CABINET
MINISTER RUTH GRIER,

Ruth is in her late fifties, with short gray hair. She's wearing an apricot jacket over a white shirt.

Steve continues AND FROM THE OTTAWA LAW
FIRM FRASER AND BEATTY,
HERE'S RICK MAHONEY,
THE FORMER ONTARIO
LIBERAL PARTY PRESIDENT.

Rick is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short curly gray hair. He wears a dark blue blazer, light blue shirt and patterned mustard tie.

Steve says AND WELCOME BACK TO ALL
OF YOU THREE AS WELL.
LET'S GET INTO THIS.
IN YOUR SPEECH IN THE
LEGISLATURE ON THURSDAY,
A LITTLE SNIPPET OF
WHICH WE JUST SAW,
YOU SAY PEOPLE ARE
PARTICIPATING IN
THE ONTARIO WORKS PROGRAM
WHICH YOU HAVE INTRODUCED,
AND THEY ARE TELLING
YOU THE FOLLOWING.
THEY ARE TELLING YOU THAT
THEY'RE DEVELOPING SKILLS
THROUGH THIS PROGRAM,
THEY'RE MAKING CONTACTS
WITH EMPLOYERS, THEY ARE
GIVING SOMETHING BACK
TO THEIR COMMUNITIES,
AND THEY ARE FEELING
GOOD ABOUT ALL THIS.
NOW, IN MY EXPERIENCE,
WHEN THERE ARE THOSE KINDS
OF PEOPLE, MINISTERS CAN'T
WAIT TO INTRODUCE THEM
TO THE MEDIA TO SHOW US
THAT THEY REALLY EXIST.
SO CAN YOU TELL ME SOMEBODY
WHO FEELS THIS WAY?
IS THERE ANYBODY YOU KNOW
WHO REALLY FEELS THIS WAY?

A caption reads "Janet Ecker, Community and Social Services Minister."

She says I KNOW THEY FEEL THIS
WAY, STEVE BECAUSE
I'VE BEEN OUT
TO MEET THEM.
I GUESS THE FIRST THING
THAT IT'S IMPORTANT
TO NOTE IS THERE ARE
CONFIDENTIALITY
PROTECTIONS FOR PEOPLE
ON SOCIAL ASSISTANCE.
AND MANY OF THEM HAVE
TALKED TO THE MEDIA.
FOR EXAMPLE THERE
WAS ONE YOUNG MAN
IN SOUTHWESTERN
ONTARIO WHO HAS TOLD
THE LONDON FREE PRESS
THAT HE HAD SEEN WELFARE,
AS HIS WORDS,
AS FREE MONEY.
AND IT WASN'T UNTIL HIS
WIFE HAD A CHILD
THAT HE SUDDENLY
REALIZED HE HAD TO TAKE
RESPONSIBILITY
FOR HIS LIFE.
THOSE WERE HIS WORDS.
I'VE BEEN AT PUBLIC
FUNCTIONS WHERE PEOPLE ON
WELFARE HAVE COME FORWARD
AND TALKED ABOUT
THE OPPORTUNITIES.
I'VE MET PEOPLE WHO HAVE
GOTTEN JOBS BECAUSE
OF THE COMMUNITY
PLACEMENTS.
THERE WAS A GROUP OF PEOPLE
ON WELFARE IN NORTHERN
ONTARIO THAT WORKED
ON A PROJECT.
THEIR TIME ON THE PROJECT
WAS SUPPOSED TO BE UP
ACCORDING TO THE RULES,
THEY REFUSED TO LEAVE
BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO
COMPLETE THAT PROJECT
BECAUSE THEY
WERE PROUD OF IT.

Steve says AND YOU THINK
THAT'S REPRESENTATIVE
OF THE GREATER PICTURE?

Janet says I THINK THAT'S AN EXAMPLE
OF THE KIND OF SUPPORTS
THAT PEOPLE ON WELFARE
NEED TO GET THEM OFF
THE SYSTEM AND THE SHORTEST
ROUTE TO A PAID JOB.
THAT'S WHAT WE'RE
TRYING TO DO.
MOST PEOPLE ON WELFARE,
THAT'S WHERE THEY WANT TO BE,
AND THEY EITHER DON'T
HAVE THE SKILLS OR
THE OPPORTUNITIES
TO DO THAT.
AND WE OWE IT TO THEM
TO GIVE THEM THOSE
OPPORTUNITIES, EQUALLY, AS
WE OWE IT TO THE TAXPAYERS
TO MAKE SURE EVERY
DOLLAR THEY GIVE US,
THOSE HARD EARNED DOLLARS
THEY THAT GIVE US,
THAT EVERY DOLLAR IS GOING
TO HELP SOMEBODY GET OFF
THE SYSTEM, GET BACK
INTO THE WORK FORCE
WHERE THEY WANT TO BE.

Steve says YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN IN
POWER TWO YEARS NOW.
20,000 PEOPLE ARE
PARTICIPATING IN ONTARIO WORKS.
AN OBJECTIVE OBSERVER COULD
ASK THE QUESTION, THIS DOESN'T
SEEM LIKE A LOT OF
PEOPLE CONSIDERING
THERE'S A MILLION PEOPLE ON
WELFARE IN THIS PROVINCE,
DEPENDING ON WELFARE
IN THIS PROVINCE.
WOULD THAT BE
A FAIR COMMENT?

Janet says WELL, I ALWAYS SMILE A BIT
WHEN OUR CRITICS STAND UP
AND SAY WE'RE
MOVING TOO FAST,
AND THEN THE NEXT DAY
WE'RE MOVING TOO SLOWLY.
WE'RE MOVING VERY SLOWLY
AND SURELY AND STEADILY
ON THIS BECAUSE NO
JURISDICTION HAS EVER
TAKEN A WELFARE SYSTEM
AS LARGE AS OURS,
AND COMPLEX AS OURS, AND
MADE THIS FUNDAMENTAL
CULTURAL SHIFT.
AND THE SHIFT IS TO TURN IT
FROM A SYSTEM THAT WORRIES
ABOUT HANDING A CHEQUE
OUT TO SOMEBODY
TO A SYSTEM THAT WORRIES
ABOUT HOW TO GIVE SOMEBODY,
GET THEM A PAID JOB.
HOW TO GET THEM
INTO THE WORK FORCE.
THAT'S A BIG SHIFT.
AND I THINK IT'S ALSO
IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT MANY
PEOPLE THAT ARE CURRENTLY
ON WELFARE ARE PEOPLE
WITH DISABILITIES,
AND WE'LL BE TAKING
THEM OFF THE
WELFARE SYSTEM.
SO THE PEOPLE
THAT ARE THERE,
THEY WANT THE
OPPORTUNITIES,
THEY NEED THE
OPPORTUNITIES,
AND WE'RE GOING TO MAKE
SURE THEY GET THEM.

Steve says RUTH, WHAT'S
YOUR CONCERN
ABOUT WHAT'S
HAPPENING HERE?

The caption changes to "Ruth Grier, former NDP Cabinet Minister."

Ruth says WELL, OBVIOUSLY WHAT
THE MINISTER IS SAYING,
I DON'T THINK ANY OF US
WOULD DISAGREE WITH,
IF WE HAD CONFIDENCE
THAT WAS REALLY HOW IT
WAS GOING TO CONTINUE
TO ROLL OUT.
IF THE 20,000 OR
LOT ARE IN TRAINING,
SOME ARE ACTUALLY WORKING,
BUT IT IS A SMALL
DROP IN THE BUCKET.
I GUESS MY CONCERN IS
THAT HAVING WRESTLED,
AS OUR GOVERNMENT DID, WITH
HOW TO REFORM WELFARE,
AND HOW TO MAKE IT A
SINGLE ADMINISTRATION,
AND I TOTALLY AGREE WITH
THE MINISTER THAT NEEDS
TO HAPPEN; WE DIDN'T FIND WE
COULD DO THAT AND SAVE MONEY.
IT WAS GOING TO
COST TO, IN FACT,
PUT IN THE
RESPONSIVE, FLEXIBLE,
CLIENT-ORIENTED KIND
OF WELFARE SYSTEM
THAT I THINK THE
PROVINCE NEEDS.
AND THIS IS THE SYSTEM THAT
WILL HELP PEOPLE GET A LEG UP.

Steve says BUT YOU DIDN'T TAKE
2 BILLION DOLLARS OUT OF RATES.
THEY'RE GOING TO SAVE
SOME MONEY DOING THAT.

Ruth says WE DIDN'T.
BUT IT'S THE CONFLICT
BETWEEN HAVING A SMALLER
RATIO OF CLIENTS TO
WORKERS AT A TIME WHEN
THERE IS MONEY COMING
OUT OF COMSOC'S BUDGETS
WHEN MUNICIPALITIES
ARE FEELING THE PUSH.
I GUESS AM NOT CONFIDENT
THAT THE MINISTER'S
FINE WORDS ARE IN
FACT GOING TO BE
WHAT WE SEE AT THE
END OF THE DAY.

Steve says RICHARD, LET ME ASK YOU,
THE FINGERPRINTING THING
HAS GOTTEN A LOT OF
ATTENTION ALREADY.
I GUESS METROPOLITAN
TORONTO ANNOUNCED
IT A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO
THEY'RE LOOKING INTO THIS.
SO THE FINGERPRINTING IS
PROBABLY AN EASY HIT
FOR AN OPPOSITION
PARTY TO TAKE.
BUT THE NEW THING, I THINK,
THIS'S COME OUT THIS WEEK
IN PARTICULAR IS THE
NOTION OF HAVING TO REPAY
THE GOVERNMENT IF YOU SPEND
TOO MUCH TIME ON WELFARE.
TOO MUCH TIME IN
THE NEW DEFINITION,
WHAT DO YOU
THINK OF THAT?

The caption changes to "Richard Mahoney, Ontario Liberal Advisor."

He says I MUST SAY, JUST ON
THE FINGERPRINTING,
THE CIVIL LIBERTARIAN, EVERY
ONCE IN A WHILE HAS SOME,
IN ME, ANYWAYS, HAS
SOME DIFFICULTY
WITH THE CONCEPT OF
REQUIRING THAT.
BUT OBVIOUSLY MANY
GOVERNMENTS
ARE STRUGGLING WITH
MODERNIZING THE WAY THEY
COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE,
AND THE WAY THEY TRACK
PEOPLE, AND THIS IS YET
ANOTHER STEP IN THAT REGARD.
ONE I'M STARTING TO GET
UNCOMFORTABLE WITH.
I THINK, LET'S
TAKE A STEP BACK.
THE PURPOSE OF HAVING
A WELFARE SYSTEM,
OR ANY INCOME SUPPORT
SYSTEM IS TO HELP
THOSE WHO OTHERWISE
AREN'T GETTING PICKED UP
IN THE ECONOMY.
YOU CAN'T WORK, OR
CAN'T FIND WORK,
OR AREN'T ABLE TO WORK.
ALTHOUGH I SUPPORT MANY OF
THE THINGS THE MINISTER SAYS IN TERMS OF HELPING
THOSE PEOPLE GET ACCESS
TO WORK, AND SO FORTH,
AND TRAINING,
THAT IS WHAT IS GOOD
ABOUT WELFARE REFORM,
I HAVE A LOT OF PROBLEM
WITH REQUIRING,
PENALIZING PEOPLE
WHO ARE ON WELFARE,
WHO FOR NO REASON OF
THEIR OWN CAN'T GET OFF,
AND ARE THEREFORE
REQUIRED TO PAY BACK.

Steve says DOES
THIS DO THAT?

Rick says I THINK THAT PARTICULAR
REQUIREMENT WOULD DO THAT.
BECAUSE I THINK OBVIOUSLY
SOMEBODY WHO GETS OFF
THE SYSTEM AND GETS INTO
WORK IN THE MINISTER'S
SCENARIO IS A WINNER
IN THE SYSTEM.
THE SYSTEM'S BEEN
GOOD FOR THEM.
BUT SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T IS
THEN REQUIRED TO PAY BACK
BENEFITS THEY'VE RECEIVED
IS BEING PUNISHED,
IN MOST CASES, NOT IN ALL
CASES, BUT IN MOST CASES,
FOR NO FAULT OF
THEIR OWN.

Steve says IS THAT TRUE?

Janet says WELL, NO.
AND I THINK ONE OF THE
THINGS WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE
IS THAT THE SOCIAL
ASSISTANCE SYSTEM IS FAIR
TO THOSE FOLKS OUT THERE
WORKING IN LOW-INCOME JOBS,
WHO ARE NOT RELYING ON THE
GOVERNMENT FOR ASSISTANCE.
AND THEY TAKE MORTGAGES,
THEY HAVE HOUSES,
THEY MAKE A LOT OF
SACRIFICES TO LOOK
AFTER THEIR CHILDREN.

Hugh says AND THEY PAY TAXES.

Janet says AND THEY PAY TAXES.
AND WE CANNOT HAVE A
SYSTEM THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT
BETTER OFF WORKING THAN
BEING ON WELFARE.
WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THEY
ARE BETTER OFF WORKING.

Rick says YOU COULD HAVE A
SYSTEM THAT STILL GIVES
INCENTIVES TO PEOPLE TO GET
OFF WELFARE THAT DOESN'T
ALSO PENALIZE THEM AT
THE END OF THE DAY
IF THEY CAN'T GET OFF.

Janet says WELL, I THINK YOU HAVE
TO MAKE SURE THERE
ARE NO DISINCENTIVES
TO LEAVE.
AND I THINK WE'RE TRYING
TO SEND A CLEAR MESSAGE TO
PEOPLE THAT THIS IS
TAXPAYERS' MONEY
THAT IS SUPPORTING THEM.

Steve says SO WHY NOT JUST
CUT THEM OFF ALTOGETHER.
SOME AMERICAN STATES
HAVE DONE THIS.
WE'LL GIVE YOU WELFARE
TO HELP YOU GET YOUR ACT
TOGETHER FOR X NUMBERS OF
MONTHS, SAY A YEAR,
AFTER THAT, IT'S
GONE, NOTHING.

Janet says WELL, THIS IS CANADA,
NOT THE UNITED STATES,
AND I THINK THAT'S ONE
OF THE BIG DIFFERENCES.
YOU'RE RIGHT, SOME PEOPLE
HAVE LONGER DIFFICULTY,
FOR WHATEVER REASON, THEY
MAY HAVE MORE DIFFICULTIES
MAKING THAT TRANSITION
BACK INTO THE WORK FORCE.
WE HAVE THE RESOURCES.
RUTH IS RIGHT, IT DOES COST
MONEY TO DO ONTARIO WORKS,
TO DO WORK FOR WELFARE.
I THINK THEY'RE WORTH THE
INVESTMENT BECAUSE YOU
DO HAVE SAVINGS IF YOU
GET THEM OFF THE SYSTEM.
WE'VE HAD ABOUT A 21 PERCENT
REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER
OF GENERAL WELFARE PEOPLE,
PEOPLE WHO ARE ON THE SYSTEM.
THAT IS A SAVINGS FOR
ONTARIO TAXPAYERS BECAUSE
THEY'RE NOT ON WELFARE.
IT'S ALSO A BIG IMPROVEMENT
IN THEIR LIVES BECAUSE
WE KNOW THAT THE MAJORITY
OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS
HAVE LEFT FOR EMPLOYMENT
RELATED REASONS.

Ruth says OH, DO WE KNOW THAT?

Janet says YES BECAUSE NO GOVERNMENT

WE WENT OUT AND DID
A SURVEY BECAUSE IT'S
A VERY GOOD QUESTION.

Ruth says BUT ONLY PEOPLE YOU COULD
CONTACT BY TELEPHONE
WERE SURVEYED.
AND IF YOU'VE DROPPED OFF
THE WELFARE ROLLS AND
YOU HAVEN'T FOUND A JOB,
YOU PROBABLY DON'T ANSWER
THE TELEPHONE BECAUSE
YOU HAVEN'T GOT ONE.

Janet says ACTUALLY, THEY DIDN'T HAVE
DIFFICULTY - THEY HAD PHONES.
IT'S A REPUTABLE
INDEPENDENT RESEARCH
SURVEY FIRM, THAT WENT
OUT, THAT'S WHAT THEY DO,
IS PUBLIC OPINION RESEARCH.
THEY'VE DONE IT IN TERMS
OF SOCIAL ASSISTANCE.
THEY DID WORK FOR THE
LIBERAL GOVERNMENT,
FOR THE NDP GOVERNMENT, SO
THEY HAD A TRACK RECORD
IN THIS KIND OF RESEARCH.
NO GOVERNMENT HAD EVER
ASKED THE QUESTION BEFORE.
WE DID.
IT WAS A FIRST STEP.
AND I AGREE, WE NEED A
LOT MORE INFORMATION
ABOUT PEOPLE ON EMPLOYMENT
INSURANCE AND WELFARE
AND TRAINING PROGRAMS,
BUT AT THE MOMENT,
BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE
THE FINGER SCANNING
TECHNOLOGY, WE'VE GOT
TO GET THE COMPUTER
TECHNOLOGY UP AND
RUNNING, WE NEED THAT
SO WE CAN HAVE A
BETTER SYSTEM.

Steve says I JUST WANT TO SPEND
A COUPLE MORE MINUTES
ON THIS BEFORE WE GO ON
AND TALK ABOUT THE CHANGES
TO THE DISABLED AND HOW THEIR
LIVES WILL BE DIFFERENT.
HUGH, LET ME ASK YOU
TO COMMENT ON WHAT
WE WERE JUST TALKING
ABOUT A MOMENT AGO,
THIS NOTION OF HAVING TO
REPAY THE PUBLIC PURSE
IF YOU SPEND, QUOTE UNQUOTE, TOO MUCH
TIME ON WELFARE NOW.
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE
WITH THAT?

A caption reads "Hugh Segal, Progressive Conservative Advisor."

Hugh says I THINK WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT THE ISSUE
OF PUTTING A LIEN
ON SOMEONE'S HOME.

Steve says RIGHT.

Hugh continues SO LET'S THINK THIS
OUT FOR A MOMENT.
IF YOU HAVE A WELFARE
RECIPIENT WHO OWNS A HOME,
THEY PROBABLY WOULD NOT
HAVE GOTTEN TO THE WELFARE
PART OF THE SYSTEM UNTIL
THEY TRIED TO MORTGAGE
THEIR HOME, GET SOME
LIQUIDITY FROM IT.
I THINK IT'S FAIR FOR THE
TAXPAYER TO KNOW THAT
BEFORE THAT HOME COULD
BE SOLD ON THE PART OF
SOMEONE WHO'S BEEN A LONG
TIME WELFARE RECIPIENT,
WHAT IS OWED BACK TO
THE TAXPAYER WOULD BE
APPROPRIATED FIRST
BEFORE ANY PROCEEDS
FOR THE HOME WENT
FOR OTHER USES.
I DON'T THINK THAT'S AN
UNREASONABLE PRINCIPLE
IN AND OF ITSELF.

Rick says IF IT'S USED TO
SUPPORT THAT FAMILY,
FOR EXAMPLE, FOR
THAT PURPOSE.

Janet says HOW IS IT FAIR TO THOSE
INDIVIDUALS WHO SELL
A HOUSE, I MEAN IF
THEY LOSE A JOB,
THEIR BUSINESS GOES DOWN,
THEY SELL THEIR HOUSE,
BUY A SMALLER HOUSE, MOVE
IN WITH RELATIVES OR WHATEVER,
SO THEY DON'T HAVE TO
GO ON WELFARE?
HOW IS THE SYSTEM
FAIR TO THEM?

Steve says IT'S JUST A PHILOSOPHICAL
CHANGE THAT WELFARE
ALWAYS WAS, I GUESS,
AN ENTITLEMENT,
AND NOW IT'S
NOT ANYMORE.

Hugh says YOU CAN TAKE A POSITION,
AND THERE'S A LOT
OF ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
IN THE COUNTRY.
THE STUDENT ASSISTANCE
PROGRAM IN THE PROVINCE
OF QUEBEC USED TO SAY WHAT
IS THE NET EQUITY VALUE
OF YOUR PARENTS' HOME BEFORE
YOU APPLY FOR FINANCIAL
ASSISTANCE TO GET
A STUDENT LOAN?
THAT IS NO DIFFERENT THAN
HAVING MONEY IN THE BANK.
THEREFORE, IF YOU
DO HAVE THAT ASSET,
WHY WOULD YOU BE APPLYING
FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
WHEN WE HAVE A WHOLE
BUNCH OF PEOPLE OUT THERE
APPLYING FOR
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
WHO DON'T HAVE
THAT ASSET?

Steve says LAST WORD ON THIS.

Ruth says STEVE, LET'S LOOK ON
THE WHOLE WELFARE REFORM
IN THE CONTEXT OF ALL
THE OTHER THINGS
THE GOVERNMENT IS DOING.
AND MINISTER, I THINK
THAT'S ONE OF MY BIG CONCERNS.
THAT WHILE YOU MAY REFORM
AND HELP PEOPLE GET JOBS
AND ALL THE REST OF IT,
AT THE SAME TIME
YOU'VE REDUCED BENEFITS.

Janet says 10 PERCENT
ABOVE THE AVERAGE
IN THE OTHER
NINE PROVINCES.

Ruth says RENT CONTROL IS GOING
AND 13 FAMILIES A WEEK OR
SOMETHING IN METRO TORONTO
WERE BEING EVICTED
LAST WINTER.
DRUGS ARE NOW COSTING
PEOPLE MORE MONEY.
ARE PEOPLE ANY BETTER
OFF, EVEN WITH
A REFORMED
WELFARE SYSTEM?

Janet says THEY'RE BETTER OFF BECAUSE
THEY'RE GETTING BACK
INTO THE WORK FORCE.
WE'VE HAD A THOUSAND
NET NEW JOBS A DAY
BEING CREATED
RECENTLY IN ONTARIO.

Ruth says BUT THEY'RE
NOT LOW-SKILL JOBS.

Janet says THEY'RE ALL
KINDS OF JOBS.
THEY'RE LOW SKILLED,
THEY'RE HIGH SKILLED,
AND THEY'RE
MEDIUM SKILLED.
AND PEOPLE ON WELFARE
ARE NOT JUST
LOW-SKILLED PEOPLE.

Steve says I'VE GOT TO JUMP IN
HERE GUYS 'COS I WANT
TO SAVE SOME TIME FOR THE
TOPIC WE WANT TO TALK
ABOUT WHICH IS, AS
MENTIONED EARLIER,
THE MAJOR PART OF THIS
WELFARE OVERHAUL ALSO
BEING TAKING THE DISABLED
OUT OF THE WELFARE SYSTEM.
FROM NOW ON, DISABLED
ONTARIANS WILL HAVE
THEIR OWN INCOME
SUPPORT PLAN.
THE GOVERNMENT IS SAYING
THIS WILL HELP
THE DISABLED GET WHAT
THEY WANT MOST: JOBS.
TAKE A LOOK.

A clip shows Janet Ecker speaking at the legislature.

She says PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
HAVE TOLD US THAT
THEY DON'T NEED
MORE STUDIES.
THEY NEED A GOVERNMENT TO
DELIVER A NEW PROGRAM
OF INCOME AND EMPLOYMENT
SUPPORTS TO PROVIDE THEM
WITH REAL OPPORTUNITIES
FOR INDEPENDENCE.
Now, a red slate appears on screen. It reads "Ontario disability support program."

Steve reads the slate THE GOVERNMENT'S
NEW PROGRAM TAKES 160, 000
ONTARIANS RECEIVING
DISABILITY BENEFITS
OFF WELFARE, AND PUTS
THEM ONTO A NEW
INCOME SUPPORT PROGRAM.
IT WOULD ALLOW THE
IMMEDIATE RESUMPTION
OF BENEFITS IF A JOB
ATTEMPT FAILS.
PEOPLE WITH A PERMANENT
DISABILITY WILL NO LONGER
HAVE TO BE RETESTED FOR
ELIGIBILITY EVERY FEW YEARS.
FAMILIES WILL BE ABLE TO HELP OUT
FINANCIALLY WITHOUT IT
AFFECTING BENEFITS.
AND IT WILL PROVIDE TECHNICAL AIDS,
SUCH AS ADAPTED COMPUTERS.

Now, a clip shows a woman moving around her house with the help of a crutch.

Steve continues ALL THIS IS SUPPOSED
TO HELP PEOPLE
SUCH AS MARILYN FARRELL.
SHE'S HAD CEREBRAL
PALSY SINCE INFANCY
AFTER AN ACCIDENT IN
THE DELIVERY ROOM.
FOR 48 YEARS, THE
MOST BASIC FUNCTIONS
ABLE-BODIED PEOPLE TAKE
FOR GRANTED HAVE BEEN
A PHYSICAL CHALLENGE.
BUT SHE'S NOT SURE WHETHER
THE NEW LEGISLATION
WILL HELP MUCH.

Marilyn has gray hair in a bob. She wears glasses and a blue shirtdress.

She says IT ONLY
SERVES PEOPLE WHO ARE
SUBSTANTIALLY OR SEVERELY
RESTRICTED IN ACTIVITIES
OF DAILY LIVING OR WORK.
IT DOESN'T ADDRESS SYSTEMIC
BARRIERS TO EMPLOYERS.

Now, a clip shows Marilyn moving around in her neighbourhood with the help of an electric wheelchair.

Steve says BESIDES THE PHYSICAL
BARRIERS THAT POSE
AN OBSTACLE TO GETTING A JOB,
SHE SAYS ONE OF THE BIGGEST
SYSTEMIC BARRIERS HAS
BEEN PEOPLE'S ATTITUDES.

Marilyn says WE ARE SEEN AS
NOT COMPETITIVE.
WE ARE SEEN AS NOT BEING
ABLE TO PRODUCE THE SAME
AS AN ABLE-BODIED PERSON,
WHICH IS OFTEN NOT TRUE.

Steve says THOSE ATTITUDES HAVE
KEPT THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
FOR ONTARIO'S 1 MILLION
DISABLED AT 50 PERCENT.
THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE THE
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS
OF DISABLED WHO HAVE GIVEN
UP LOOKING FOR WORK.
THE NDP'S EMPLOYMENT EQUITY
LAW ATTEMPTED TO ADDRESS
THAT PROBLEM, BUT IT
WAS PROMPTLY REPEALED
WHEN THE TORY
GOVERNMENT TOOK POWER.

Now, Harry Beatty speaks in a clip.
A caption reads "Harry Beatty, Advocacy Resource CTR. for the Handicapped."

Beatty is in his forties, with short light brown hair and goatee. He wears big glasses, a light gray blazer, white striped shirt and blue tie.

He says THE GOVERNMENT HAS YET TO
REALLY TAKE INITIATIVE
IN TERMS OF JOB CREATION
OR ENSURING EQUAL
JOB OPPORTUNITIES ARE
AVAILABLE FOR PEOPLE
WITH DISABILITIES.
THEY DIDN'T AGREE WITH
THE EMPLOYMENT EQUITY ACT
BROUGHT IN BY THE
PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT.
THEY CANCELLED THAT.
BUT IT'S NOT CLEAR WHAT THEY
ARE GOING TO IMPLEMENT,
IF ANYTHING,
TO REPLACE IT.

Now, a clip shows David Tsubochi speaking at the legislature.
A caption reads "David Tsubochi, former Community and Social Services Minister. September 1995."

Tsubochi is in his forties, with receding brown hair and a goatee. He wears glasses, a dark blue suit, white shirt and blue patterned tie.

He says PEOPLE HAVE GOT
TO LEARN, AGAIN,
TO START TO TAKE
RESPONSIBILITY
FOR THEMSELVES AND
THEIR FAMILIES.

Steve says WHEN THE GOVERNMENT
CUT WELFARE RATES
BY MORE THAN 20 PERCENT
IN ITS FIRST MONTH
IN QUEEN'S PARK, PARENTS
WITH DISABLED CHILDREN
HAD THEIR BENEFITS
REDUCED, TOO.

Now, a clip shows a Wheel-Trans vehicle.

Steve continues AND WHEN THE GOVERNMENT
REDUCED FUNDING FOR PUBLIC
TRANSIT, IT WAS A WHEEL
TRANS SERVICE FOR THE
DISABLED THAT WAS SCALED
BACK BY TORONTO'S
TRANSIT COMMISSION.
DISABILITY ADVOCATES
SAY IT'S THOSE CUTS
WHICH HAVE HAD THE
MOST SERIOUS IMPACT.

In a clip, Harry Beatty speaks again.

He says PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY
HAVE SEEN THIS
FROM OTHER GOVERNMENTS.
AND THEY REALLY WANT
TO SEE THE REALITY
OF SOME ASSISTANCE.
AND I THINK THE REALITY
IS THAT LESS IS AVAILABLE
FOR PEOPLE WITH
DISABILITIES
THAN WAS THERE
TWO YEARS AGO.

Now, a clip shows Marilyn writing on a computer.

Steve says MARILYN FARRELL HAS
MANAGED SO FAR BY DOING
CONTRACT WORK, WRITING
RESEARCH PAPERS,
AND GETTING HELP
FROM HER FAMILY.
BUT WHEN HER
CONTRACT FINISHES,
SHE SAYS SHE'LL BE
BACK TO SQUARE ONE,
LOOKING FOR WORK, A
PERENNIAL CHALLENGE
SHE AND HUNDREDS OF
THOUSANDS OF OTHER DISABLED
PEOPLE FACE EVERY DAY.

The clips end.

Back in studio, Steve says OKAY, LET ME JUST PURSUE
MARILYN FARRELL'S CASE.
I DON'T KNOW IF YOU'VE MET
HER; I HAVEN'T MET HER.

Janet says YES I HAVE,
ACTUALLY.

Steve says YOU HAVE MET HER?
THE CHANGES THAT YOU'VE
IMPLEMENTED THIS WEEK,
OR THAT YOU'VE INTRODUCED,
HOW WILL IT MAKE IT EASIER
FOR HER TO GET A JOB?

Janet says WELL, THERE'S
TWO THINGS.
FIRST OF ALL THERE
WILL BE INCOME SUPPORT
FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS
WITH DISABILITIES
WHO NEED INCOME SUPPORT.
SO I THINK THAT'S
THE FIRST STEP.
AND THOSE BENEFITS
WILL BE PROTECTED.
THE SECOND STEP IS THAT
FOR THOSE WHO CAN WORK,
WHO ARE ABLE AND
WANT TO WORK,
WE WILL HAVE BETTER
SUPPORTS THERE FOR THEM.
FOR EXAMPLE, THE CURRENT
VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION
SERVICE SYSTEM THAT IS
CURRENTLY IN PLACE
HAS A 54 PERCENT
FAILURE RATE.
I THINK THAT'S
UNFORGIVABLE.

Steve says TELL ME WHAT THAT MEANS.

Janet says PEOPLE WHO HAVE
TAKEN VOC REHAB,
AS THEY CALL IT, TO
GET JOBS, TO GET EMPLOYED,
AND THEY'RE LISTED AS,
QUOTE, FAILURES ON THE SYSTEM.

Steve says HALF OF THEM
STILL CAN'T GET JOBS
AFTER IT'S ALL
SAID AND DONE.

Janet says THAT'S RIGHT.
AND WHAT WE WANT TO MAKE
SURE IS THEY CAN GET
THE SUPPORTS THEY NEED
IN THE WAY THEY NEED IT.
ONE OF THE THINGS I TALKED
ABOUT A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO
WHEN I MADE THE
ANNOUNCEMENT WAS
A GENTLEMAN WHO WROTE
INTO THE GOVERNMENT
TO EXPLAIN HIS PARTICULAR
CIRCUMSTANCE.
HE GOT FUNDING FOR
A TRAINING PROGRAM.
AND HE DIDN'T HAVE ARMS, HE
NEEDED ARTIFICIAL LIMBS,
SO THE TRAINING PROGRAM
PAID FOR HIS ARTIFICIAL LIMBS.
HE GRADUATED FROM THE
TRAINING PROGRAM,
AND THEY SAID,
WELL, THAT'S IT,
THANK YOU VERY MUCH,
WE WANT THE ARTIFICIAL
LIMBS BACK.
I MEAN, THIS IS NOT THE WAY
TO MEET THE NEEDS-

Steve says WANT TO TELL
US WHO DID THAT?
YOU PROBABLY DON'T.

Ruth says I HOPE THEY'RE NO
LONGER WITH THE MINISTRY.

Janet says NO.
BUT THE RULES WERE SET UP
IN A WAY THAT MADE SENSE
FOR BUREAUCRATS, BUT THE
RULES DIDN'T MAKE SENSE
FOR PEOPLE WITH
DISABILITIES.
WE LISTENED.
WE'RE DOING WHAT THEY SAID
THEY WANTED A GOVERNMENT
TO DO TO HELP
THEM BETTER.

Ruth says WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER
SIDE OF THE EQUATION,
THE INCENTIVES FOR
EMPLOYERS TO HIRE PEOPLE
WHO HAVE DISABILITIES?
WE ALL KNOW THAT IF YOU'RE
INTERVIEWING A POOL
OF PEOPLE, AND ONE
HAS A DISABILITY,
AND TWO OTHERS DON'T, THE
JOB IS MOST LIKELY TO GO
TO THE TWO THAT DON'T.
HOW DO WE ADDRESS THAT WITHOUT
AN EMPLOYMENT EQUITY LEGISLATION?

Steve says YOUR SOLUTION WAS
EMPLOYMENT EQUITY.

Ruth says YES.

Steve says YOUR SOLUTION WAS
EMPLOYMENT EQUITY.
THAT'S NOT AROUND ANYMORE.

Janet says FIRST OF ALL THE GOVERNMENT
WILL LIVE UP TO ITS
COMMITMENT FOR AN ONTARIO
DISABILITY'S ACT
AND THAT IS COMING.
BUT I THINK SECONDLY,
WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT
THAN PASSING LAWS THAT HAVE
WONDERFUL PHILOSOPHICAL
UNDERPINNINGS BUT LITTLE
PRACTICAL REALITY WHEN
IT COMES TO WHAT ACTUALLY
HAPPENS OUT THERE,
EMPLOYERS MANY TIMES
AREN'T HIRING PEOPLE
WITH DISABILITIES BECAUSE
THEY THINK IT'S A PROBLEM.
THEY'RE UNCOMFORTABLE,
THEY'RE NOT FAMILIAR,
THERE MAY WELL BE SPECIAL
EQUIPMENT THAT PERSON
NEEDS AND AN
EMPLOYER THINKS OH,
I CAN'T GET INTO
THAT OR WHATEVER.
AND WHAT WE'VE FOUND IS
EMPLOYERS THAT CAN KIND OF
GET OVER THAT HUMP, THEY
WANT SKILLED PEOPLE.
AND WHAT WE WANT TO DO IS
ENSURE WE HAVE THE PROGRAMS
THAT SAY, EMPLOYER,
HERE'S A SKILLED PERSON,
AND THE EQUIPMENT THAT
HELPS THEM COMPETE
AND GET THAT JOB.

Steve says BUT IF THAT'S AN
UNFAIR MINDSET,
HOW DO YOU GET THE
EMPLOYER OVER
THAT UNFAIR MINDSET?

Hugh says I DON'T THINK YOU DO
IT BY LEGISLATIVE QUOTAS.

Rick says SO HOW
DO YOU DO IT?

Hugh says I DON'T THINK
YOU DO IT BY HAVING
A LEGISLATIVE
FRAMEWORK.
THERE HAS SO BE AN
ATTITUDINAL SHIFT,
AND THAT WILL TRANSPIRE
WHEN THERE ARE MORE
PEOPLE IN THE MARKETPLACE -

Steve says WHO NEEDS TO LEAD THAT
ATTITUDINAL SHIFT?

Hugh says I THINK THE GOVERNMENT
IS TRYING TO
WITH THIS NEW PIECE
OF LEGISLATION.
I THINK THERE'S BEEN
REFERENCES MADE TO USING
THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT TO
PROTECT PEOPLE WHO ARE
DISCRIMINATED AGAINST
UNFAIRLY WITH RESPECT
TO EMPLOYMENT
IN THAT REGARD.
THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO DO
THIS RATHER THAN USING
A KIND OF LEGISLATIVE
PROCESS THAT MAKES
THE WHOLE THING
QUITE COERCIVE.

Steve says YOU THINK THE MARKETPLACE
HAS THE DYNAMISM
TO RESPOND TO THE TERRIBLY
SPECIAL EMPLOYMENT
PROBLEMS THAT A
DISABLED PERSON -

Hugh says THERE'S NO EVIDENCE
THE PREVIOUS APPROACH
WAS MAKING ANY
SUCCESS AT ALL.

Ruth says FORGET THE
PREVIOUS APPROACH.
WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN NOW?
PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE
HELPED TO BE IN
A POSITION TO GET JOBS.
BUT IF I'M A SMALL
BUSINESSMAN WITH A STORE,
AND I'D LIKE TO HIRE
SOMEONE WHO NEEDS A RAMP
OR A SPECIAL WASHROOM TO
GET INTO THE WORKPLACE,
IS THERE GOING TO BE
HELP TO ENCOURAGE ME
TO MAKE THOSE ADJUSTMENTS
SO THAT I CAN HIRE SOMEONE?

Rick says THESE ARE THE SYSTEMIC
THINGS SHE SPOKE ABOUT.
THE SYSTEMIC BARRIERS.

Janet says AND WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO
DO THOSE KINDS OF THINGS
SO THAT PEOPLE CAN
GET INTO WORKPLACES.
AND I AGREE THOSE KINDS
OF THINGS ARE NECESSARY
AND WE NEED TO DO THAT.

Ruth says IS THAT PART
OF THIS LEGISLATION?

Janet says WELL, NO, NOT THIS
PARTICULAR LEGISLATION,
COMMUNITY AND
SOCIAL SERVICES.
THIS IS MY PARTICULAR
PIECE, IF YOU WILL,
OF THE PIE, THAT I
WANT TO MAKE SURE
THEY HAVE THE EMPLOYMENT
SUPPORTS THAT THEY NEED.
AND THE SYSTEM WASN'T
WORKING BECAUSE THEY
TOLD US IT WASN'T WORKING
TO MEET THEIR NEEDS,
SO WE WANT TO
MAKE SURE IT DOES.
I THINK IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT
THAT WE'RE MAKING
THE WHOLE PROGRAM FOR
THEM MUCH MORE GENEROUS
THAT ALLOWS FAMILIES
LIKE MARILYN'S FAMILY,
THOSE THAT CAN AND ARE
ABLE TO FINANCIALLY SUPPORT
A FAMILY MEMBER
WITH A DISABILITY,
THAT THEY CAN DO THAT.
RIGHT NOW, WHEN THEY GIVE
SUPPORT TO SOMEONE
WITH A DISABILITY, IT'S DEDUCTED
OFF THE PERSON'S INCOME.
SO THERE'S NO-

Steve says AND YOU
CHANGED THAT.

Janet says YES.
WE'RE MAKING IT MUCH MORE
GENEROUS FOR FAMILIES.
AND AGAIN, I MET MANY
PARENTS WHO HAVE BEEN CRYING
FOR THIS BECAUSE THEY
WANT TO HELP THEIR CHILD.

Rick says AND THAT MAKES SENSE.
AND THAT PART OF THE REFORM
I THINK MAKES SENSE.
I THINK IT ALSO MAKES SENSE
THAT EVERYONE WHO NOW
QUALIFIES FOR WELFARE
WHO IS ON DISABILITY
IS NOW QUALIFIED
FOR THIS PROGRAM.
NOW, ISN'T IT TRUE WHERE
THE DIFFICULTIES MAY ARISE
IN THE FUTURE, THAT FOR
FUTURE PEOPLE WHO COME INTO
THE SYSTEM WHO MAY
HAVE A DISABILITY,
IT'S GOING TO BE MORE
DIFFICULT TO QUALIFY
FOR THIS NEW PROGRAM
YOU SET UP THAN
IT WAS TO QUALIFY
FOR WELFARE BEFORE?

Steve says CAN I JUST TAKE
A SECOND HERE?
I ASSUME YOU'RE REFERRING
TO WHAT IS THE DEFINITION
OF A DISABLED PERSON.
THAT LEGALLY IS WHAT
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.
AND I GUESS SOME OF
THE INTEREST GROUPS
THAT HAVE COMMENTS ON THIS
SAY YOU ARE CHANGING
THE DEFINITION IN A WAY
THAT'S NOT QUITE MAKING
THEM VERY HAPPY.

Janet says WELL, WE'RE CHANGING THE
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA,
ONE BECAUSE THEY ASKED US
TO BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T
LIKE THE WAY IT WAS
WORKING, AND TWO,
WE'RE CHANGING IT ACCORDING
TO THE RECOMMENDATIONS
THAT HAVE BEEN MADE TO US.
FOR EXAMPLE, WE'RE
GETTING RID OF THE LABEL
PERMANENTLY UNEMPLOYABLE.

Steve says THEY ASKED
YOU FOR THAT, THOUGH.

Janet says ABSOLUTELY.

Steve says BUT OTHER CHANGES
YOU'RE MAKING THEY
HAVEN'T ASKED YOU FOR.

Janet says NO, NO, I BEG TO
DIFFER, STEVE.
I BEG TO DIFFER.
THE REASON THIS DIDN'T GET
OUT THE DOOR A YEAR AGO
WAS BECAUSE OUR FIRST
CRACK AT THE DEFINITION,
THEY DIDN'T LIKE IT.
SO WE WENT BACK TO THE
DRAWING BOARD BECAUSE
WE HADN'T MET THEIR
TEST, IF YOU WILL.
IT TALKS ABOUT,
FIRST OF ALL,
THAT MANY DISABILITIES
ARE RECURRING.
YOU KNOW, THEY'RE
CYCLICAL.
THAT IS SPECIFICALLY
RECOGNIZED IN THE DEFINITION.

Steve says YES, IT IS NOW.

Janet says THE OTHER POINT, PEOPLE
WITH DISABILITIES
WANT TO BE TREATED
INDIVIDUALLY.
SO WE'RE NOT SORT OF SAYING
IF YOU'RE ON A LIST WITH
THIS DISABILITY YOU GET ON,
AND B LIST YOU DON'T.
WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT
IS THE IMPACT OF THAT
DISABILITY ON THEIR
ABILITY TO FUNCTION
IN THEIR DAILY
LIFE, IN THE HOME,
IN THE COMMUNITY,
IN THE WORKPLACE.
AND IT'S THAT IMPACT, THAT
INCAPACITY THAT MAY OCCUR,
THAT WE'RE TRYING TO
DETERMINE, IF YOU WILL.
SO THOSE ARE, I
THINK, VERY, VERY
IMPORTANT CHANGES
IN THE CRITERIA.
AND PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO
SAY, OH, IT'S TOUGHER,
IT'S THIS OR IT'S THAT.
IT'S DIFFERENT BECAUSE
IT NEEDS TO BE
DIFFERENT TO MEASURE.

Steve says EVERY DISABLED PERSON I'VE
EVER TALKED TO IN THE PAST,
DONE AN INTERVIEW
WITH, OR PEOPLE I KNOW,
WHATEVER, ALWAYS HAVE SAID
THEIR MAIN CRITICISM
WITH GOVERNMENT IS NOT SO
MUCH THEY DON'T THINK
GOVERNMENT CARES, IT'S
THAT GOVERNMENTS ARE JUST
NOT TERRIBLY AMBITIOUS
WHEN THEY ARE DEALING
WITH THEIR NEEDS.
EVERYTHING IS SUCH,
EVERYBODY IS SO INCREMENTAL.
THEY'RE LOOKING FOR
SOMEBODY TO GET OUT THERE
WITH A HUGE,
AMBITIOUS, BROAD VISION

Janet says WELL, THIS LEGISLATION
IS A BIG BREAKTHROUGH.

Steve says YOU THINK IT IS?

Janet says A VERY BIG
BREAKTHROUGH, STEVE.
I MEAN, IT'S RECOGNIZING
THINGS THAT PEOPLE
WITH DISABILITIES HAVE
BEEN ASKING GOVERNMENTS
TO RECOGNIZE.
AND AS I SAID, IT'S
THE DEFINITION,
IT'S THE ELIGIBILITY
THAT THEY'RE
NOT PERMANENTLY
UNEMPLOYABLE.
IT'S GIVING THEM EMPLOYMENT
SUPPORTS THAT ARE ACTUALLY
EMPLOYMENT SUPPORTS
AND THAT WILL WORK.
IT'S GIVING THEM A PROGRAM
THAT ALLOWS FAMILIES
TO PARTICIPATE.
IT ALLOWS THEM TO KEEP
MORE OF THEIR ASSETS
BECAUSE THIS ISN'T LIKE
THE WELFARE SYSTEM
WHERE THAT'S A
TRANSITIONAL PROGRAM,
A PROGRAM OF LAST RESORT,
PEOPLE ARE ON IT AND OFF IT.
FOR MANY PEOPLE WITH
DISABILITIES THEY MAY WELL
NEED INCOME SUPPORT FOR
THE REST OF THEIR LIFE.
SO IT'S A VERY DIFFERENT
PHILOSOPHICAL UNDERPINNING.

Steve says WILL IT MAKE A
DISCRIMINATORY EMPLOYER
THINK TWICE
ABOUT HIRING HIM?

Janet says WELL, I THINK THE
EMPLOYMENT SUPPORTS
AND THE LINKAGES THAT
WE'RE TRYING TO DO WITH
EMPLOYERS, AND WE'RE USING
EMPLOYERS WHO'D HIRED PEOPLE
WITH DISABILITIES TO DEAL
WITH OTHER EMPLOYERS,
TO GET THAT MESSAGE OUT,
TO HAVE THE FINANCIAL
RESOURCES TO PAY FOR THE
SUPPORTS THAT PERSON NEEDS.

Steve says LAST
MINUTE TO RUTH.

Ruth says THIS IS A HUGE SHIFT.
CAN YOU GIVE US ANY
GUARANTEE IT WILL BE MANAGED
BETTER THAN THE SHIFT
IN FAMILY SUPPORT PLAN,
FOR EXAMPLE?
IS THE CAPACITY, IS THE
COMPETENCE THERE TO MAKE SURE
PEOPLE AREN'T REALLY
HURT IN THE TWO YEARS
IT'S GOING TO TAKE TO
DO ALL OF THIS?

Janet says WELL, THAT'S WHY WE'RE
TAKING THE TWO YEARS
TO DO IT, SO WE MAKE SURE
ANY SHIFTS IN TRANSITIONS
ARE DONE IN A WAY THAT
DOES NOT HARM OR INTERFERE
WITH THOSE PEOPLE WHO
DEPEND ON THE SYSTEM.
IT'S ANOTHER REASON WHY THE
PEOPLE WHO ARE CURRENTLY
ON THE SYSTEM WILL
STAY ON THE SYSTEM,
SO THERE IS NOT GOING TO BE
ANY SORT OF REASSESSMENT.
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
DON'T NEED MANDATORY
COUNSELLING, CONSTANT
REASSESSMENTS,
THEY NEED ACTUAL THINGS
TO HELP THEM GET
WHERE THEY WANT TO GO.
AND THE DOLLARS ARE
THERE FOR THE PROGRAM.

Steve says AND ON THAT NOTE, I
GOT TO SAY TIME'S UP.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH
FOR BEING HERE.

Janet says THANK YOU, STEVE.

Steve continues JANET ECKER, MINISTER OF
COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES.
AND GANG, THANK
YOU AS WELL.
SEE YOU AGAIN
NEXT TIME.

Steve faces the screen and says WELL, WE ALWAYS APPRECIATE
HEARING YOUR VIEWS
ON THE PROGRAM, SO WRITE
TO US, WON'T YOU? AT…

A slate reads "Fourth Reading. Box 200, Station Q, Toronto, Ontario. M4T 2T1."

Steve says OR IN CYBERSPACE; THERE'S
OUR INTERNET ADDRESS…

A new slate reads "Internet address, fourth_reading@tvo.org."

Steve continues GOOD.
I'M STEVE PAIKIN; THANKS
VERY MUCH FOR WATCHING.
WE'LL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK.

Music plays and the end credits roll, as Steve and the rest continue the conversation.

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 1995, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Show #97 "Workfare"