Reduce poverty

Dear editor:
Poverty is the most formidable barrier to inclusion and full participation in society.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 defines a barrier to “mean anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including . . . a policy or practice.”
Constantly worrying about not being able to provide their families with food, shelter, and clothing takes its toll on the mental health and well-being of individuals.
Government policy has forced people with disabilities living on limited incomes to make difficult financial choices in supporting themselves and their families.
These forced choices negatively impact their physical and emotional health, eroding self-confidence and personal effectiveness.
The Government of Ontario could eradicate poverty if it had the desire to do so. The premier has indicated the upcoming budget will address poverty head-on and we would like to applaud his commitment and desire to do so.
Let’s hope the budget will include innovations to lift people out of poverty, thus improving their quality of life and ability to provide for their loved ones.
Having an adequate income, and being able to provide the necessities of life for one’s self and family, is perhaps one of the first steps towards wellness and recovery. We sincerely hope this month’s provincial budget will help some of the most vulnerable Ontarians take those first steps.
Juanita Lawson,
Patient Advocate,
and Carolyn Croft,
Rights Advisor,
Psychiatric Patient
Advocate Office
Thunder Bay, Ont.