Report blasts social programs

Zuher Ismail just wants to get ahead.



The 23-year-old lives at home with his mother in social housing, working part time and trying to go to school to study human resource management.


The catch is, by living at home, trying to work and go to school, both Ismail and his mother have been penalized. Some of the money earmarked for his schooling goes to cover his mother’s subsidized rent, which has gone up by about $100.

Escaping social assistance in Ontario is a vicious game of snakes and ladders where too often those struggling to get ahead end up further behind, says a new report.

That’s because both federal and provincial policies aimed at helping the poor too often work at cross-purposes and punish anyone who gets a job or goes to school to try to improve their circumstances, says the report by John Stapleton, who worked for 28 years as a policy analyst in Ontario’s social services ministry. Social supports are often slashed as income increases, leaving those on welfare little incentive to move ahead.

litany of barriers

  • The report lists a litany of barriers to self-reliance. It starts with welfare, which deducts 50 cents for every dollar earned the moment a person on welfare gets a job.