Ontario To Require Welfare Recipient To Drug Test

Ontario To Require Welfare Recipient To Drug Test
Posted by FoM on November 14, 2000 at 08:51:49 PT
By Tom Blackwell
Source: National Post
In what is being billed as a first in Canada, welfare recipients will face mandatory drug tests and treatment under rules to be unveiled today by the Ontario government.The policy is designed to help certain recipients fight their addictions and get back into the work force, the provincial government has said. The rules were a key part of the Tory platform for last year's election and will require treatment of welfare recipients who use drugs and random tests to determine who has a problem.
"It's common sense -- you can't get off welfare and hold a job if you're addicted to drugs," said the party's platform booklet, titled Blueprint.Those who refuse to be tested or take treatment would be removed from the social assistance rolls, according to the platform.A government aide said the program is believed to be the first of its kind in Canada.Today's announcement is the latest attempt by Mike Harris, the Premier, and his Ontario Tories to tighten up the welfare system. The provincial government cut welfare cheques by 21.6% in 1995, cracked down on social assistance fraud and required recipients, including young mothers, to work or take training for their payments.The Harris government has also toyed with a host of other controversial programs that target social assistance recipients, imposing parenting courses for expectant couples or deductions for fines that a welfare recipient has not paid.The programs have been widely criticized by poverty advocates as discriminatory and a blow to the self-esteem of those in need. Some have even deemed the plans "cruel and unusual" considering doctors who defraud the Ontario Health Insurance Plan are not banned for life from receiving OHIP fees.Advocates for the poor yesterday called the new rules "poor bashing" and said they will not produce concrete results. They also questioned whether the initiative is legal in light of a court ruling last summer that banned drug testing by employers.The main barriers to people getting a job and leaving social assistance are lack of child care, not having appropriate clothes or preparation for the job market and insufficient education, said Andrea Calver of the Ontario Coalition for Social Justice."Drug dependency would be dead last," said Ms. Calver."This is welfare bashing, this is poor bashing ... It will be a huge waste of money."Critics suggested the government offer voluntary treatment programs.They also suggested the government may have trouble implementing the policy following an Ontario Court of Appeal case last July that declared drug testing by companies to be a violation of the province's human rights code.The court said both alcohol and drug testing are discriminatory under the code. A Breathalyzer is permissible for people in high-risk jobs such as oil refinery workers, pilots and train engineers because it determines if someone is impaired by alcohol at the moment the test is administered, the judges said.However, drug tests done on urine samples cannot be justified because they simply identify drugs in the worker's system, whether or not there is still enough to cause any impairment, said the court.Complete Title: Ontario To Require Welfare Recipients To Take Drug TestNote: Policy is Tories' latest attempt to tighten social assistance rolls. Source: National Post (Canada) Author: Tom Blackwell Published: November 14, 2000 Copyright: 2000 Southam Inc. Address: 300 - 1450 Don Mills RoadDon Mills, Ontario M3B 3R5 Fax: (416) 442-2209 Contact: letters Website: Forum: CannabisNews Drug Testing Archives:
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Comment #3 posted by r.earing on November 14, 2000 at 17:52:19 PT:
Mike Harris is lost
Mike Harris,Premier of Ontario should take the first test.His rabid Reagan emulation is the first sign of a chemically damaged mind.This is the man who ordered surveillance on the leaders of anti-poverty demonstrations,and CHARGED THEM with demonstrating!
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Comment #2 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on November 14, 2000 at 11:09:53 PT:
Selective Application of the Law
How is it that government always believes that it can continue inequities that are illegal to private industry? My suspicion is that the courts in Ontario will strike this down as trash is crushed underfoot.
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Comment #1 posted by TroutMask on November 14, 2000 at 09:03:31 PT
Better switch from marijuana to cocaine!!
The drug that is least harmfull also is easiest to detect: marijuana. I guess welfare recipients will have to switch from marijuana to the more dangerous and less detectable drugs like cocaine, heroin, etc. as some of my friends in the armed forces have done.Great job!!! NOT.
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