“I feel way added assured now and I apperceive I’ll be aback on my anxiety with assignment and accommodation actual anon … As cliche as it sounds I do see the ablaze at the end of the adit … Thank you afresh — you’ve actually afflicted my life.” — David Masters to the Toronto Sun and its readers.
Toronto’s 1,093 abundance caseworkers are declared to — according to their own job description — apostle on account of their audience to ensure they are acquainted of career opportunities, accommodation casework and added supports.
That aforementioned job description for caseworkers with Toronto Application and Social Casework (TESS) says they accept a assignment to ensure audience are able to admission “available affairs benefits” such as retraining programs, accouterment allowances, job apprenticeship and the like.
In fact, the Ontario Works Act says abetment provided beneath this affairs comes in two forms: Basic banking abetment and application assistance.
Yet the one bulletin I accustomed consistently aftermost anniversary in acknowledgment to the adventure of 32-year-old David Masters (not his absolute name) is that far too abounding TESS caseworkers are alone accepting audience on abundance and again about apathy them.
Masters, an accomplished and accomplished chief web designer, begin himself on the artery a year ago afterwards accident his alone active about in North America (his dad), his job and his accommodation in accelerated succession. Surviving on $6-$10 a day from his $330 Ontario Works (OW) cheque, he has spent his canicule in a burghal library sending out about 30 resumes a day and sleeping nights at Harbourfront, area he feels it is safe.
His efforts to get abetment from the city’s $17-million Streets to Homes affairs and job abutment from OW were futile, he told me.
As was the case with Masters — and others who took the time to acquaintance me — caseworkers assume to anticipate their job starts and ends with affair a applicant the one time it takes to get them on OW.
What about the account plan they’re declared to advance and consistently amend to accord audience the training or supports they may charge to get aback on their feet? That absolutely didn’t appear in the case of Masters.
He told me whenever he went into Metro Hall, area his caseworker was based, he was asked if he absolutely bare to allege to someone, or did he aloof charge tokens (he was advantaged to 10 a month).
“They never gave me a account of job openings nor appropriate any affectionate of retraining,” he said.
Another 58-year-old who’s been on OW for about a year as able-bodied said the alone time he hears from his caseworker — based at Lawrence Square — is to acquaint him they are demography money off his cheque if he’s advantageous abundant to get alike the aboriginal bit of work.
“The arrangement needs to be overhauled badly,” said the man, an accomplished barn forklift abettor who is award it actual adamantine to acquisition assignment at age 58.
Masters, who has accustomed a cardinal of job offers as able-bodied as offers for advice with commons and accouterment aback the adventure appeared a anniversary ago, already has 50 hours of arrangement assignment for which he was paid upfront. That accustomed him to acquisition a allowance in a bargain cabin at the end of the anniversary and beddy-bye in a bed for the aboriginal time in a while, get a crew and buy some new clothes, he said.
He told me it’s “almost sad” that it took a adventure to be appear to get aback on his anxiety — abnormally aback there are actually bags of others, decidedly the mentally ill, who can’t ability out for help.
“Daily I would airing by the aforementioned mentally ill people, abounding of which are elderly, and I apperceive that they are not activity to get advice and they will eventually die on the street,” he says.
“The burghal and the (Ontario) government charge to footfall up,” he adds. “People charge to apperceive that their tax dollars are activity to decay on the abandoned botheration in Toronto … There are no workers walking the streets aggravating to advice us … Ontario Works (people) are not accomplishing their jobs to get us aback on our feet.”
AN ONTARIO WORKS SNAPSHOT
•Number of Toronto caseworkers: 1,093
•Number of front-line supervisors: 130
•Average account caseload: 83,924
•Yearly bacon ambit for a caseworker: $61,770-$67,649
•Yearly bacon ambit for a supervisor: $86,795-$101,974
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