Some members from DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) in the UK have made us aware of a sad case of appalling treatment of a disabled man with a serious heart condition who is dependent on social security payments in Toronto in Canada.


They provided the following link to a post on the website of ‘ONTARIO COALITION AGAINST POVERTY‘:



The headline of a post says this:

‘Emergency Action: Phone/Email the Minister Today, Prevent a Man from Being Made Homeless Due to a Computer Glitch’



“A 53 year old man with numerous health issues, including an upcoming double bypass surgery, Andrew McLean, is about to be evicted because of an ODSP computer error. Since the rollout of the Social Assistance Management System (SAMS) computer system last autumn, Andrew has seen his life turned upside down. Like many Ontarians on social assistance and disability, due to “glitches” in the new system, Andrew received his cheque late. His landlord initiated eviction proceedings against him based on “late payment of rent,” and won an eviction order at the Landlord Tenant Board for Saturday, February 28.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services has acknowledged that they are to blame for this fiasco. Andrew’s worker has written several letters stating that they are working on fixing issues like these with SAMS. This hasn’t happened and shows no sign of happening soon. The Ministry has refused to do anything other than say “we’re working on it,” while a man who needs significant and pressing medical help is left worrying about where he will sleep Sunday night.

This has had a very negative impact on Mr. McLean, who says: “It’s running me down, I feel tired all the time, I get chest pains and headaches because I don’t know what to do. It’s been an incredible stress. I can’t live my regular routine due to stress like this. And nobody can give me a straight answer about how to fix this, a straight answer about where I am supposed to live!”

We refuse to accept half-hearted excuses and apologies from the very Ministry that put Andrew in this situation in the first place. OCAP demands:

• That the Ministry prevent this eviction or, failing that, take on the responsibility of finding Andrew affordable, accessible and secure housing, given that they are the ones responsible for him facing the prospect of homelessness.

• That the SAMS experiment be deemed a failure, and that all OW/ODSP recipients impacted by it resume receiving benefits in the same manner and amount as prior to its rollout

The Ministry of Community and Social Services is responsible for the fact that Andrew is facing homelessness, and no excuses or stalling can change that fact. If Andrew isn’t housed immediately, join OCAP on Wednesday, March 4 at 12:00PM at the Macdonald block of Ontario Government Buildings (900 Bay, just past Wellesley) where OCAP will confront the MCSS and demand housing for Andrew, along with a repeal of SAMS, ensuring benefits are available to all Ontarians who need them, regardless of whatever computer system the province decides to use. We won’t accept any more passing of the buck, just give us what we are owed!”



They have launched an appeal for action by supporters, to send emails or tweets to the two Ministers involved:


Dr. Helena Jaczek
Ministry phone: 416-325-5225
Constituency phone: 905-294-4931
Twitter: @HelenaJaczek

Ted McMeekin
Ministry phone: 416-585-7000
Constituency phone: 905-690-6552
Twitter: @TedMcMeekin


There is more background information on Andrew McLean and his situation that can be read on the original blog.

Further action is planned and has been announced in that blog post, which is recommended reading. It shows how the introduction of “new systems”, be this for “work capability assessments”, for other assessments, for outsourced “work programs”, or for simply paying benefits to persons in need, is leading to new, numerous challenges, problems and unacceptable, often inhumane failures, and even blatant harassment.


We strongly suggest those here in New Zealand, who share their concern for disabled facing the cold, hard face of unsympathetic and failing “new” welfare systems, whether here, in the UK, or in this case in Canada, send their messages in support of the man, to demand the Ministers take immediate action to provide him with secure housing and reliable, sufficient, living costs covering benefit support!


DPAC themselves are now focusing on the new Provider they will soon have start their work in the form of assessing sick and disabled in the UK for “work capability”.


The Provider is called MAXIMUS and comes originally from the US, the home also of UNUM, about which we wrote repeatedly in a number of posts on this site. MAXIMUS are making many promises, but will use and apply the same “Work Capability Assessment” (WCA) that ATOS Healthcare has been using for years, to assess sick and disabled for their “fitness” for work, as expected by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) there.

Those who will have followed posts on this humble blog will be well informed about what we are writing here.

There is some impressive action planned to express opposition and anger about the DWP bringing in yet another corporate style “assessment provider”, to continue the onslaught against human rights and dignity of the sick and physically and mentally impaired, who in most cases are unable to work, certainly in the common, competitive “jobs” that remain on the open employment market.


Read about what is about to happen all over the UK very shortly, by clicking this link, provided by DPAC:






This is the “home” page of the DPAC website by the way:



Let us show solidarity across our shores and borders, to defend the rights of the seriously ill and the disabled, no matter where they and their rights are being attacked, particularly with new “cost saving” measures, such as the ones that have also crept into the social security system here in New Zealand!!! Cutting and denying benefits, putting endless unreasonable “expectations”, “obligations” and other pressures on the weakest of the weak is a crime, a crime against humanity and civil rights.


(More to follow)


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