statement by Anonymous 1
August 2018

I'm on ODSP because of multiple health conditions, including lupus, a genetic connective tissue disease, and gastroparesis. I'm in constant pain, require a cane and multiple braces as mobility aids, require assistance with most tasks associated with daily living, am immunocompromised, am intolerant to heat and sun exposure, struggle to stand or walk even short distances, and cannot care for myself without the help of my family.

I have been unable to work despite my undergraduate degree and efforts to complete my master's degree but have been volunteering in my community to help homeless and marginalized women for the past 3 years. ODSP has helped to cover some of my living expenses, but it falls short EVERY month, and many of the medications and treatments I require are not covered by OHIP or the ODB.

I would love to work in my field, and the Basic Income Pilot gave me a glimmer of hope that things could change for a lot of people in my situation; where people could have access to the resources they need to get back on their feet, start over, or adapt because of illness. Instead, I'm heartbroken this pilot was canceled, and fearful of the impact further changes to ODSP will bring.

Ill health can happen to anyone, and I was born with at least one of my health conditions - I didn't ask for this and have done everything in my power to overcome it and give back to my community in any way I can. Yet, so many people - including government officials - insist or imply people who are sick are lazy free-loaders. The government is playing with the lives of the most vulnerable, and too many people seem to not care because it doesn't affect them directly.

I have and will continue to do everything I can to overcome the physical limitations of my conditions just to live among the healthy and able-bodied, but I can't overcome the socio-political (limitations) when a government puts this so far out of reach, condemning the sick to a life of dependence and poverty that actually makes people like me sicker.