Tag Archive

Guest Blog from Tess: Without warning! How government can empty out a bank account and leave you with nothing

Published on May 19, 2014 By johnastapleton

I’m a single mother of two boys.  One is living with me. We get help from Ontario Works and live in subsidized housing.  My son who lives with me is in high school full-time. He was born when I was his age and in high school. I finished high school. I finished two university degrees. […]

No piece of cake! Linda Chamberlain applies for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

Published on May 16, 2014 By johnastapleton

I am supposed to know about retiring on a low income.  That includes obtaining the Guaranteed Income Supplement for people who turn age 65.I am supporting the Old Age Security application of a woman named Linda Chamberlain. She turns 65 on July 3, 2014. This will be in some ways a dress rehearsal for my […]

The rise and fall of welfare analysis in Canada

Published on February 21, 2014 By johnastapleton

As a lifelong student of social assistance caseloads in Canada, I looked forward to The Rise and Fall of Social Assistance Use in Canada, 1969-2012 by Ron Kneebone and Katherine White. My interest became even more avid when I read that the authors had cited some my data to come to their conclusions. The report […]

A story of two poor seniors: Linda and Doris are the highest taxed people in Ontario

Published on January 21, 2014 By johnastapleton

A woman I am helping by the name of Linda Chamberlain[1] will be turning 65 in July 2014. I am helping her fill out her Old Age Security (OAS), Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) applications. She has given me permission to talk about her situation. Her income will go from about […]

Raise the Minimum wage to $21.90 an hour? Just like 100 years ago…

Published on December 29, 2013 By johnastapleton

In the first decades of the twentieth century, social justice was in the air. The UK brought in Old Age Pensions in 1908. The first minimum wage laws were brought in by Massachusetts in 1912[1]. BC and Manitoba adopted them in 1918.  Ontario and three other Provinces followed suit in 1920. Ontario is about to […]

Bringing it all back home: Inflation, poverty lines and social assistance rates

Published on August 29, 2013 By johnastapleton

 “Well, he hands you a nickel …He hands you a dime….He asks you with a grin…If you’re havin’ a good time… Then he fines you every time you slam the door” Bob Dylan, Maggie’s Farm, Bringing it all back home, 1965 This is a short piece that won’t take too long to read. I was […]

Social assistance numbers in Ontario: Classic convergence or something else?

Published on July 30, 2013 By johnastapleton

Currently social assistance beneficiaries (men, women and children over population) hover between 6.5% and 6.6% of Ontario’s population. We have remained at this percentage since May 2011 which means that caseloads are at an equilibrium point, a point of relative calm. Since the late 1980’s, Ontario’s unemployment rate has tended to converge with the percentage of beneficiaries […]

More thoughts on Ontario social assistance caseloads

Published on April 16, 2013 By johnastapleton

Ontario unemployment and SA rates 1981 to 2008, 2009 monthly to February 2013 (Excel file) All appears placid when looking at social assistance beneficiary totals (i.e. men, women and children) in Ontario in early 2013. Since March to May 2012 when several categories in Ontario Works reached post recession highs, the Ontario Works totals have receded […]

Understanding ‘Deathwatch’

Published on February 16, 2013 By johnastapleton

A deathwatch is nothing new. We had the real deal in 1975 when the world’s media literally waited for Spanish strongman Francisco Franco to die. Because of his slow decline and media interest, people would try to guess the day and the hour. Deathwatch became a parlour sport. Comedian Chevy Chase inaugurated the long running […]

Stop wondering about under-subscription of benefits

Published on January 22, 2013 By johnastapleton

Getting the Learning Bond and Education Savings Grants is really hard for low-income parents I have become mildly annoyed by those who can’t figure out why the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) and the Canada Education Savings Grants (CESG) are undersubscribed among low-income parents. There really should be no mystery. All you have to do is […]

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