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Standard Freeholder: Finding allies for ODSP fight - ACORN Canada

Standard Freeholder: Finding allies for ODSP fight

Posted August 10, 2011

OTTAWA — A lone wolf who has been fighting the Ontario government on his own over claims of discrimination now has an ally.

‘Crazy’ Dave Thomasson believes his rights — and those of thousands more — are being violated by the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

But his efforts to have ODSP regulations changed in court were foiled by the provincial government.

Now Thomasson has plunked down $10 to join ACORN Ottawa, which organized a lobbying effort this week to influence the province’s social assistance review commission.

“ACORN strongly supports and agrees with my position with the ODSP, and they are willing to bring it to the public in Ottawa (at the commission’s hearings),” Thomasson said.

ACORN converted the gist of Thomasson’s claims onto a flyer, which is being distributed to participants at the hearings.

In the flyer, ACORN has adopted Thomasson’s challenge to the provincial government: “Prove Me Wrong, McGuinty Can’t” which is accompanied by a $1,000 prize for anyone who proves the ODSP complies with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It’s been 1,640 days since Thomasson issued his challenge.

OTTAWA — A lone wolf who has been fighting the Ontario government on his own over claims of discrimination now has an ally.

‘Crazy’ Dave Thomasson believes his rights — and those of thousands more — are being violated by the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

But his efforts to have ODSP regulations changed in court were foiled by the provincial government.

Now Thomasson has plunked down $10 to join ACORN Ottawa, which organized a lobbying effort this week to influence the province’s social assistance review commission.

“ACORN strongly supports and agrees with my position with the ODSP, and they are willing to bring it to the public in Ottawa (at the commission’s hearings),” Thomasson said.

ACORN converted the gist of Thomasson’s claims onto a flyer, which is being distributed to participants at the hearings.

In the flyer, ACORN has adopted Thomasson’s challenge to the provincial government: “Prove Me Wrong, McGuinty Can’t” which is accompanied by a $1,000 prize for anyone who proves the ODSP complies with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It’s been 1,640 days since Thomasson issued his challenge.

In Thomasson’s case, he has in the past been denied an opportunity to claim business expenses for his organic farm — a right under the Canada Revenue Agency.

Thomasson has also railed against the prosecution process, which assumes an ODSP client is guilty first, not innocent, requiring a client to prove otherwise to keep ODSP benefits.

That kind of discrimination is rampant in ODSP regulations, says [Ottawa] ACORN board member Kathleen Fortin.

“It violates our charter which offers equality,” Fortin said.

“We (on ODSP) can have a home, but we can’t have a Registered Education Savings Plan.

“It’s very unfair.”

Thomasson said he managed to speak directly to one of the co-commissioners, Frances Lankin, a former NDP provincial cabinet minister. The other commissioner is Munir Sheikh, former federal chief statistician.

Thomasson also planned to speak during “an open mike” session Wednesday evening.

The commission is expected to table recommendations later this year, but after the provincial election.

Fortin suspects Premier Dalton McGuinty is trying to dodge the issue, by claiming the ODSP is under review.

ACORN [Canada], which represents the interests of low-income Ontarians, also calls for other ODSP improrements: an income increase of 50%, eliminating a clawback of other wages earned, expanding medical and dental benefits, and keeping a special diet allowance.

 

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