Tag Archives: news

Major Changes Ahead for Ontario Works

Okay some of my readers know I receive sociall assistance ( aka welfare or Ontario Works). Not that I dont want to work I do but solo parenting a special needs child with a lack of support makes the typical job not in the cards right now.

Well today I met with my worker who presented documentation to me that will change my benefits to a huge degree come August 1, 2008!

Here is what is happening:

No longer will Ontario Work recipients who are parents receive:

BASIC needs allowance for children — a loss of $211 dollars to this parent of one child per month

No Clothing Allowances— loss of $180 per year

total losses equal $2712.00 for this mom!

What do we get to replace this?

The Ontario Child tax Credit $50

and the end of the claw back the National Child Tax Supplement  $121.76 for this parent

so a gain back of only $171.76 per month

Total gainback per annum $2055.00

Total overall losses per annum $657 overall for this mom

So basically as of August 1st instead of having a $50 positive cash flow from the introduction of the Ontario Child Tax Credit there will be a $50 per month loss with the expectation that we stretch it     further to include back to school and winter clothing expenses. As one who already lives as cheaply as I can this is going to hurt. It means getting mean and leaner then lean and I thought I was already pushing the limits of creativity but this will push me to do better.

This means that us “poorer” parents in Ontario will in no means benefit by the creation of the the Ontario Child Tax Credit.

Devasting Fire hits Salvation Army

Some of my readers know this fact about me: I volunteer at the Salvation Army Food Bank twice a week. Yesterday the main depot that maintains our supply of food had a huge fire. Four million in food, clothing and toys are gone! These supplies would of been to help families in need in the GTA. There is an immediate need of FOOD…but where should you take it too. Your local depot is in need this week especially. You can find the one closest to you by checking out 211Toronto. Follow the links under foodbanks. If you are one of my far away readers and you are moved to help you can donate through the main Salvation Army site. Right now the need is for getting food to the local depots.

Strike Over- Thank Goodness

Okay this cheap mom is glad that the province stepped in and ended the TTC strike here in Toronto. With the strike hitting on a weekend it really wasn’t the commuters who were effected most but those that rely on the system as there only viable means of transportation: the working poor who could not afford the taxi fare, car rental or purchase of a bike. They  were the ones left with difficult choices. I want to say Thank God for decent weather while all this was playing out. That was the one silver lining.

This afternoon I am venturing out and this cheap mom will be hoofing it. I am walking over to a friends for dinner and conversation. Roo will ride her bike. My friend Amber and I are getting together to talk Isagenix. More and more as I think of the future I think about my health and the fact I need to lose weight. Is Isagenix  the way to go? I  am not sure but after trying out the shake and mineral supplement I am doing well with a 10 pound weight loss in a week. My only problem with this is its price.

Transit Strike

Well here in Toronto our Transit system the TTC went on strike at midnight with less then one hours notice to the city, it’s drivers, and most importantly us riders. As one who was out last night. Roo and I were out at a fundraiser till 10:30 this could of really caught us off guard if we had been out one hour later.To give this kind of notice after telling us we would have 48 hours notice of a strike  well lets put it this way : it is unethical!

As one who relies on transit to get around as I do not own a car( really living in East York) there isnt the necessity for one. Who does this strike effect most? The working poor, those on disability. and those on welfare..others can quickly come up with contingency plans and even buy a bike, take a taxi etc where as two days before end of the month cheques most will be left at home or hoofing it. For me I will be walking with Roo everywhere we go till this is over. I have no choice, taxis and such are out for this mom on a strict budget. There are many of us hurting over this strike dear workers who did turn down a decent deal. As is on a North American basis our drivers are rather well paid, have a decent package overall, and a union that  works for them not too shabby.

This mom this summer is going to buy a bike for me to  get rid of my reliance on the TTC, so guess they just lost a fare…on most of my trips except long ones or ones from Jan- mar.

 As for the short time line to this strike I think there are some higher ups who are going to have to start answering a bunch of questions because drivers, subway operators and us riders were all left in unsafe places at midnight.

Now for those who do have to get around :

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Carpool- Facebook, Craigslist, and Smart Commute are all good sources to use.

2. Bike- if you have the cash to buy one, you can get an adult one for less then $200 new or the Community bicyle network has some for about $75.

3. Go Train–now they are NOT putting on any extra service so be mindful of this and be prepared to wait.

4. As for the taxis in town they will be very busy so no appointments or prebooking allowed so call at least 30 minutes before you need it.

IPRC, and the TDSB and a LONG Wait

Some of you know this, I am the parent of a little girl in grade 4 in the Toronto District School Board. Today we had Roo’s annual review. I asked questions specifically about things that will help her as she has an learning disability as well as walking the Asperger’s/ADHD line ( which means she is dually tracked LD/behavior for IPRC purposes).

 I have been asking for an OT assessment since the beginning of the school year as my daughter writes at about a early grade 2 level( this has not improved at all over the last 18 months where she has done amazing well in getting better at reading, and in self control-thanks in large part to the great staff at her school). Writing is her handicap and really it is stopping her from having the education that most children receive.

 A computer in the classroom that was assigned to her would help so much but it seems that if I stay inside the system that the need will NOT get met for at least another school year, in the meantime my child languishes with a substandard education. It is now taking  the average special needs child over 18 months to get any type of assessments in this board. For her assignments, homework and the like take twice as long, she becomes frustrated with herself and it becomes a battle.

A computer would really give us a handle on where she is really at as assignments etc would be done faster, better and handed in in a manner that a teacher can properly evaluate where she is at. I want what every parent wants a good quality education that leaves her in the regular classroom with her self esteem intact as much as possible. In Toronto special needs children do not get the education for the most part that they need. Funding is more then lacking for this children. Getting testing and things like computers that would put them on a equal footing are hard to get inside the system that frustrates both parent and child as well as the local school. I found a computer   and the 2 programs that would have to be loaded on it for her to get the best benefit

http://www.factorydirect.ca/catalog/product_spec.php?pcode=AC3680

now I just need $450… and for this mom who isn’t working because I have a child who needs me at home it is not doable. So I am starting the ROO FUND.. every penny of change I get will go to the ROO FUND to get her a computer for the classroom before the end of THIS  year, not next or the year after that…If you can think of creative ways for me to raise funds let me know. If you want to donate or have a laptop that you can spare that is less then 2 years old, and is in working order let me know that too..I don’t want her to fall through the cracks and I can see we are sitting on the ledge between educational success and failure.

Toronto the Good??

A break from my usual frugal self. A few weeks ago here in Toronto there was a building collapse on the Danforth. Five apartments were destroyed. Several were left homeless and placed in Toronto’s awful shelter system. I can say it is bad because I have first hand experience with it. Last week there was a fire on Queen St..40 were left homeless. This time first stop was a hotel room at the Royal York. Facebook groups, charities, have quickly come to the aid of fire victims whereas support and aid for the homeless from the building collapse have been slow to come.

I know what little support they have gotten, and it has been limited but there has not really helped these families out. One remains in the shelter system, the others are now housed but in places that are practically empty, tools of the trade here too are gone, they have little and no insurance here either.So what should Torontoians do?

First we need better emergency service supports, with centralized help. In these cases churches like the Salvation Armyand others do help out, so does the Red Cross. But people like those from the collapse do fall through the cracks. We need a central office with trained teams that can really meet the needs after such an event. That way help can be tracked, referrals given when needed, and a help up given in times of crisis. Right now in my city it is a hodge podge with the left and right hands not really working together. This really needs to be streamlined.

But what do we do right now?

First immediate needs that I know for one of the families include  a crib, table and chairs, and tools of the trade( sewing machine) would be very appreciated as a 3 month old is part of this family.

Another single young person needs a clean inexpensive apartment as she is on disability.

If You can help with any of these needs email me at theluckycannuck@gmail.com . I know how to get it to them as I volunteer with one of the agencies in contact with the families.

What Works for Me: Volunteering

Yesterday I spent several hours doing something I love to do and that is volunteer. It started out in the morning with me at my local food bank.I was there because right now they have a special project. For those of you who are in Toronto, you may remember a building collapsed on the Danforth a few weeks ago leaving 24 homeless. Well most are still homeless and are in one of the city’s shelters. I was sorting and helping one of the families that stopped by pick out a few things that they so need. For all the families the Need is great, especially for housing in East York where all want to live again. If you have towels, bedding, clothing furniture or the like and want to donate it, email me and I will let you know where you can drop it off. It fills my spirit to have chance to give what I can and for me that is time.

Last night I was again out volunteering my time at my daughter’s school where I am vice chair of the council and we met to discuss matters that needed discussion for about 2 hours.

I spend about 75 hours a month doing work for and on the behalf of others and serving in my community because I believe if we give our time we can make this world a wee bit better place. For me volunteering helps not only others but me. It helps me as a mom who isnt out in the work world right now feel like I am contributing to the betterment of my community. It helps my spirit. It works for me..If you aren’t sure about volunteering-try it, you may find you get more out of it then you give..There are many groups that always need volunteers: food-banks, soup kitchens, senior centers, Meals to Wheels, etc..the list is long and they would be glad to have your time and service.   

Well I am off to my friend Shannon’s to find out what is working for others this week.