A response to “Ontario Welfare Reforms Welcome News“.

Dear Editor,

I’m writing in response to the editorial posted on July 31, 2018 with regard to Ontario’s recent “welfare reforms”. As a front-line social worker, a former recipient of the Ontario Disability Support Program, and a current City Council candidate for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, I thought I might help you out by clearing up a few things in regards to what you mentioned.

You are correct, poverty has certainly gotten worse in the last 15 years. You are also right that Ontario’s social assistance system is far too bureaucratic, and that people living in poverty spend a lot of time being consulted, without seeing much change. Ontario desperately needs an increase in affordable housing. These are all problems we can fix in this province, with the political will to do so.

Many front-line workers are stuck in a system that first devalues people on social assistance, and then penalizes them for trying to earn a decent wage.

People without decent, affordable housing or food to eat have much greater barriers to finding work. Social assistance does not cover Toronto rent prices, let alone food to eat or transit fare to get to an interview.

Any sensible business person would know that when people are invested in and supported, they can participate more in the economy. Cutting social assistance rates, scrapping basic income, and lowering the minimum wage lacks common sense.

We deserve better, Ontario.


Melissa Graham

City Council Candidate for Ward 6 Etobicoke-Lakeshore, and front-line Social Worker

Hello, my name is Melissa Graham, I’m a candidate in Toronto municipal election this year, in Ward 6 Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

The following statement is not just to address the amazing people following and supporting my campaign, but to my friends and family across Ontario.

The Big Smoke is in trouble Ontario, and we need your support.

Premier Doug Ford is trying to cut our city council, by nearly half, and we need your help to stop that from happening.

If Ford succeeds in passing these changes, it would mean that every city council member would be responsible for a population the size of the City of Thunder Bay.

Now I’ve been in Thunder Bay. It is a beautiful, diverse city on the shores of Lake Superior, with a strong indigenous community, a college, a university, a law school. They have unique cuisine like pet-a-han, and Persians. I’d love to represent a city like Thunder Bay if I lived there, but it’s simply too big and diverse for one person to represent. In fact they have 13 councillors serving an area, that Ford wants one person to serve here in Toronto

My Ward will still exist if this goes though, but being a City Councillor is a about a lot more than what goes on at city hall. City Councillors are the people you go to when your driveway keeps getting snowed in, or your housing provider won’t fix the elevator in your building. It’s about taking those calls every day, knowing what you community needs, and finding innovate solutions to meet their needs.

Our Premier wants us to believe this will save the province money, but a City without effective democratic representation can’t function efficiently. It also goes against principals of the Supreme Court of Canada.

That’s why I’m asking you Ontario, to think about what your democracy is worth, and contact your MPP today, especially if you live in a conservative riding..

With your help your local MPP can reject this plan, and we can get Premier Ford’s attention back on the province of Ontario where it should be.

Thank you for your support, and remember to vote on or before October 22nd!





Melissa Graham

City Council Candidate for Ward 6 Etobicoke-Lakeshore

Strong Communities, Real Action