"So many dreams at first seem impossible. And then they seem improbable. And then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable."
~ Christopher Reeve

Friday, August 19, 2011

AHEM

Appropos our recent conversation, having just returned from a (much too brief) five-night vacation, I found this little missive buried in my inbox.
There will be a press conference tomorrow against the changes to the Employment Support and Income Assistance regulations announced last week. We hope you will attend.

What: People with disabilities and advocates speak out against benefits cuts

Where: North End Community Health Centre, 2101-2103 Gottingen Street

When: Tuesday, August 16, 11:00am

:::Background:::

On Monday August 8, 2011, the Department of Community Services announced a change to the income assistance (Employment Support and Income Assistance) regulations.

The regulatory change was made without advance notice or public consultation.

The regulatory change will eliminate certain special needs assistance for people with disabilities living in poverty, for services and items that are "essential" to their health, or to "alleviate pain and suffering".

The new regulation also prohibits special needs assistance for shelter related costs and personal allowances, certain drugs, and medical treatments not covered by MSI like psychological counseling.

Special needs assistance will be limited to listed items of special needs and a provision that allows the Director to add to the list, through policy. People will no longer be able to qualify for other services or items essential to their health or to alleviate pain and suffering.

Our message is simple:

the effect of the Department of Community Services cutbacks is to target people with disabilities the cutback takes away access to essential health services the cutback takes away measures designed to alleviate pain and suffering it undermines human rights in that it takes away a provision that allowed for accommodation of differences, in favour of a cookie cutter approach In addition to the erosion of human rights, we are concerned about the lack of political and legal oversight and accountability that will result from the changes.

We are asking the Premier to review the matter and restore essential services to persons with disabilities.

We have asked to meet with the Minister of Community Services.

In the meantime, we are asking the Minister of Health for a response, given the gap that has been created in essential health services as a result of the DCS cutback.

--
Cole Webber
Community Legal Worker
---
Dalhousie Legal Aid Service
2209 Gottingen Street
Halifax, NS, B3K 3B5
p: 423-8105
f: 422-8067
The press conference may have already come and gone, but ... just remember:

IT IS NEVER TOO LATE FOR A PHONE CALL AND LETTER TO YOUR MLA
AND THE MINISTER.

In fact, if you find yourself strongly moved on this particular issue, you could always make an appointment to go in and speak with your MLA in person.

Hey, it's been known to work before...

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