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Readers respond to poll

Last week's online poll question about social assistance received lots of comments from readers.

Last week's online poll question about social assistance received lots of comments from readers.

If anyone from the Greater Sudbury area was to lose his or her income and had to go on social assistance in order to survive, this person would first of all find it extremely frustrating to go through the humiliating application process, and secondly would immediately think, "these rates are too low."

Try an experiment. Take the rate that Ontario Works would allow you for the size of your family and try to live on it for one month.

What do you think will happen with your quality of life, the type of food you buy, etc. Make a list of all the "essentials" that you can't pay this month. Now, increase your social assistance rate by 40 percent and record what this would mean for a second month if you had to depend on welfare.

Has your quality of life improved?

Jean-Marc Bélanger

The debate whether to raise social assistance rates has been a hot topic for many years. The task of finding a happy medium amidst those requiring adequate care while discouraging others from taking advantage of the system is a fallacy at best. Greatly improving the social assistance program would require a diversified approach that allows the system to categorize recipients and place them in one of three phases: individuals requiring assistance of a long-term nature; those of a temporary nature; and those who fall some where in the middle. Long-term recipients would most likely require less assessments and could benefit from increased rates.

Individuals requiring temporary assistance would be assessed more often in an effort to increase employment opportunities. Rates providing the bare minimums would be a deterrent to anyone thinking of abusing the system.

A balance of priority within the three categories may improve our social assistance program creating a win-win situation.

Rock A. Allen
Greater Sudbury