[Hpn] SPECIAL DIET VICTORY! City Reverses Special Diet Changes

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Sun, 24 Jul 2005 20:14:53 -0400

From: "OCAP" ocap@tao.ca

Sunday, July 24, 2005

SPECIAL DIET VICTORY! City Reverses Special Diet Changes

 City of Toronto Backs off on Policy Attacking Poor!
The Fight's Not Over - Come to City Hall on Wednesday, July 27
 Less than two weeks ago, top Toronto welfare bureaucrats informed us that
they were implementing immediately, two devastating changes to the City's
Special Diet Policy.  All those who had obtained the Supplement would be
required to get it approved all over again on a new municipal form. 
 Moreover, only doctors would now be able to fill this in.  Nurse
Practitioners, dieticians and midwifes would be banned from doing this.
 On Friday, July 22, OCAP received a letter from Social Services Division
General Manager, Heather MacVicar, announcing the City's decision to
retreat and call off the attack.  The medical professionals who have
provided 75% of the Special Diet diagnoses that OCAP has been involved in
facilitating, will have their right to access the medical needs of poor
people reinstated.  MacVicar also informs us that her plan to demand that
all those receiving the Supplement get the new form filled in by August 1
will be scrapped.  The form will be phased in over a period but 'The City
has no intention of cutting any client's benefits arbitrarily'.
 The victory on this ill-fated new policy could not be more complete.  The
City's attempt to stop hungry people and families obtaining the means to
protect their health and dignity has collapsed totally.  We had responded
to the attack with a letter to the Mayor warning him that he would be held
accountable for it.  We had prepared a press conference with an array of
legal and health care experts ready to speak out.  We held a meeting in
Etobicoke last week where a packed hall full of people directly affected
by the situation voted unanimously to prepare for a huge City Hall
mobilization on Wednesday, July 27. This would confront the political
decision makers with the demand that the attack on the Supplement be
called off.  A powerful community action and a huge political
embarrassment for Mayor David Miller and his gang of pseudo reformers was
brewing.  They were wise to retreat when they did.
 This victory is a huge step forward but we still have a long way to go. 
 MacVicar's pledge not to move against families receiving the Supplement
can't be trusted.  Over the next months, vindictive welfare officials will
try to deny people wherever and whenever they can and we will have to be
ready to act to defend those facing such attacks.  We must also use the
momentum we now have to increase dramatically the number of medical
professionals ready to assist.

More clinics must be set up for those needing the Supplement.  More
medical providers must have the case for diagnosing it put to them.  Our
campaign has so far increased the numbers getting this support by 40%.  We
need to do very much better than that so that tens of thousands more poor
people can eat properly.  Most important of all, we have to build a
community based movement that can force the Liberal government to give the
$250 allowance to each and every one of the 760,000 in Ontario who live on
social assistance.  This means everyone must get it automatically without
having to find medical providers ready to state the obvious - that their
income is too small for proper nutrition and good health.
 On Wednesday, July 27, come to Toronto City Hall, Committee Room, #4 at
1.00 PM.  We're going to take the fight against hunger and poverty to a
new level and our fight won't stop till no one ever has to choose between
eating and paying the rent.
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON  M5A 1R6
416-925-6939  ocap@tao.ca www.ocap.ca