Ontario Government Unveils Plan To Force Drug Test

Ontario Government Unveils Plan To Force Drug Test
Posted by FoM on November 16, 2000 at 09:29:58 PT
By James Stevenson
Source: Ottawa Citizen
The Ontario government has unveiled a controversial plan which would make it the first province in Canada to force welfare recipients to undergo drug testing before giving them their cheques. The move has raised the ire of activists who say such a move would violate human rights, and harm children and single mothers. Under the proposal, released Tuesday by Social Services Minister John Baird, individuals who tested positive and then refused treatment would be ineligible for assistance. 
Baird insisted the plan is designed to help drug addicts rather than punish them. "Our government is not prepared to simply turn its back and write anyone off," Baird said. "It's tough to get a job and hold a job if you're addicted to drugs." The proposal is subject to a six-week consultation process during which the province will meet with municipalities and legal experts to hammer out details. Critics were immediately skeptical of the plan, denouncing it as a ploy to pare down Ontario's welfare rolls. Andrea Calver of the Ontario Coalition for Social Justice said mandatory testing would have a serious impact on single mothers and children, who make up a large segment of the 450,000 Ontarians currently on welfare. "Half of the people on welfare are children, and they're going to be impacted by this legislation because the government wants to kick more people off welfare," said Calver. "It's wrong." When asked what form of testing and what types of "treatment" were being proposed, the minister's press secretary said Baird plans to travel the province to consult with experts and "the general public" before deciding. "Nothing has been ruled out," said Dan Miles, who added the minister travelled to New Jersey and New York this summer, where he said people are tested for drugs before getting welfare. The proposal has already been questioned by Ontario's Human Rights' Commissioner Keith Norton. In a confidential letter to the government last year, Norton warned that drug users cannot be denied welfare benefits because addiction problems are considered a handicap under the province's Human Rights Code. And people who work with the province's drug addicts say they're already stretched to their limit dealing with current case loads, and do not have the resources to treat more patients. "We have a significantly over-stressed system where we have waiting lists that are sometimes as long as six months," said Dennis Long of the Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction programs. "And we really have a struggle trying to keep up with the work we currently have." When asked whether the government had budgeted for additional treatment facilities, Miles said Baird was aware the proposal would require a significant cash commitment. "(The minister) is aware this is going to cost millions," he said. "It's not about saving money, it's about saving lives." Ontario Premier Mike Harris also defended the program Tuesday, insisting the goal was to provide help. "We ought not, just because somebody's hooked on drugs or alcohol . . . to give up on them," he said outside of a government caucus meeting. "We ought to be doing everything that we can to be providing rehabilitation and assistance." Ontario cites several American jurisdictions, including Oregon, Maryland, Nevada and North Carolina who have already integrated substance abuse treatment into their welfare reforms. And in July, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that "substance abusers are handicapped and entitled to the protection of the (Human Rights) Code." The ruling in the case of Entrop v. Imperial Oil indicated that drug and alcohol abusers cannot be discriminated against. Complete Title: Ontario Government Unveils Plan To Force Drug Testing on Welfare RecipientsSource: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)Author: James StevensonPublished: November 16, 2000Copyright: 2000 The Ottawa CitizenAddress: 1101 Baxter Rd.,Ottawa, Ontario, K2C 3M4Fax: 613-596-8522Contact: letters Website: Article: Ontario To Require Welfare Recipient To Drug Test Drug Testing Archives
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Comment #5 posted by eor on November 19, 2000 at 23:30:02 PT:
2REAL is way of base...
Personally, if the government of Ontario were really smart they would fire people like 2REAL and his like minded friends and save millions of dollars that are now being wasted on all these useless mean spirited bureaucrats.Furthermore, 2REAL ignores the social tragedy involved in this act by the government against it's citizens and basically rationalizes it down to the selfish position of how much work it is for him to sit on his buttocks all day and abuse welfare recipients.Shame on you Mr. 2REAL for being you.eor
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Comment #4 posted by Captain Frolander on November 16, 2000 at 17:31:06 PT:
The Presence of Tyrrany in Canada's Government
I acknowledge the valid points raised by 2REAL, and I cognatively believe that the social welfare system in Canada is never to be abused by any one citizen, thus, compromising the integrity of the system, their personal credentials, and the Canadian tax payers. Hwoever, I must say that it is entirely wrong to make drug testing mandatory if the governmnet is looking for traces of marijuana in the system. Marijuana is not a bad substance, in fact I regard it as a fundamental part of the human system. The point remains, however, that if candidates for welfare are indeed using hard drugs (deadly chamicals like Angel Dust) than they should not be given their checks because anyone who needs welfare is supposed to be able to not live by their own producction, and quite frankly drugs are a luxury.
Overgrow news
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on November 16, 2000 at 13:02:53 PT
Should welfare recipients be drug tested prior to getting their cheques?
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Comment #2 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on November 16, 2000 at 11:43:38 PT
  Ever notice how it's always the people above vowing to test the people down below? Nobody ever talks about forcing government employees to piss in a cup as a provision of continuing employment. They never whiz-quiz the police!
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Comment #1 posted by 2REAL on November 16, 2000 at 10:15:34 PT:
Excellent Idea
Firstly I work at a social service office in kingston. And I believe that people have been milking the system for way to long. As I have worked their for, oh I cant even remember how long I am now seeing second my second, and even third generation of of familys comming through and recieving social assistance checks(WELFARE.) Until now it has been a terrible process trying to cut off individuals, even when you new dam well that they spent it on drugs booze etc. I thinks it's wrong, are taxes are high enough as it is , why should I pay all this extra money in taxes when it's going *sometimes* to some guy who want's nothing more then to be able to sit at home doing bongs. Then they have the nerve to come in reaking of it, sit down at my desk and tell me that they have been searching all day for work. I sometimes feel like saying, oh really well mabye those cut off jean shorts, tie dyed t-shirt, and pipe that s sticking out of your pocket is the reason no one well hire ya
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