Low Income Needs Coalition Thwarts Ontario Workfare Placements

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Wed, 17 Jun 1998 05:36:20 -0700 (PDT)


FWD  Press Release: Kingston Group Thwarts Workfare Placements
     MEDIA ADVISORY

*******************

WORKFARE PLACEMENTS CANCELLED IN KINGSTON DUE TO PUBLIC PRESSURE
________________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release
Date: June 16, 1998

Contact: Brad Waugh
Phone: (613) 385-1712 (home)
       (613) 541-6000 ext 6140 (work)
E-mail: waugh-b@rmc.ca

Kingston, Ontario

Kingston's first placements in the provincial government's Ontario Works
Program (commonly referred to as "workfare") have been cancelled due to
public pressure.

A local Kingston group, the Low Income Needs Coalition (LINC),
discovered on Thursday, June 11th that the City's first workfare
positions were to begin on Monday, June 15th in the federal government's
Human Resources Development office. LINC organized a picket line to
begin on the following Monday morning and for members of the public to
phone the local Liberal MP, Peter Milliken, and ask him to intervene to
stop the placements.

The 40 picketers who arrived on Monday morning met with HRDC manager
Dale Barber and were informed that the placements had been cancelled due
to fears that the picket line would interfere with the operations of the
HRDC office.

This is the second time that Kingston has been at the forefront of the
campaign to oppose workfare in Ontario. In April, 1996 Kingston City
Council made headlines by becoming the first municipality in the
province to pass a motion refusing to participate in pilot projects
involving workfare. (See the attached motion.)

LINC is sheduled to meet with Mr. Milliken on Friday, June 19th at 11am
when they will be requesting that he issue a directive to all federal
offices in the Kingston area to refrain from participating in the
Ontario Works program.
                     
                                                  -30-

CITY OF KINGSTON, April 30, 1996

WHEREAS in 1976 both Canada and Ontario signed the United Nations
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and

WHEREAS the covenant includes the following: "the right to work, which
includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by
work which he freely chooses to accept ...."; and

WHEREAS the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also declares in
Article 23(1): "Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of
employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and protection
against unemployment", and

WHEREAS through workfare programs people are forced to work for welfare
level benefits, in direct contravention of these rights; and

WHEREAS workfare is based on the myths that people on welfare are
unwilling to work and that there are jobs available; and

WHEREAS social service statistics from across Canada demonstrate that
when jobs are available people on welfare apply for those jobs and get
them; and

WHEREAS workfare keeps welfare recipients in poverty, forces them to
take jobs of existing workfare at cheaper wages and, therefore, results
in higher unemployment;

WHEREAS experience in Quebec, Alberta and New Brunswick has proved that
workfare is costly and not only fails to help people find work but
replaces real jobs; and

WHEREAS it is becoming increasingly apparent that the province intends
to download the administration of workfare to municipalities;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Kingston immediately
communicate the following to Premier Mike Harris and Minister of
community and Social Services, David Tsubouchi:

  1.That the City of Kingston requests that the province reconsider the
position with respect to workers; and

  2.That the Corporation of the city of Kingston is unwilling to serve
as a pilot site for workfare in Ontario;

                        - and further -

BE IT RESOLVED that a copy of this motion be circulated to Ontario
municipalities with populations of greater than 50,000.

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