A Face of Poverty & Desperation in Cornwall Ontario – Letter to the Editor – January 26, 2013

A Face of Poverty & Desperation in Cornwall Ontario – Letter to the Editor – January 26, 2013

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I’m so tired of reading articles that bash people on social assistance!    I’m sure a lot of you have read the blogs and commentaries either online or in the local newspapers and some of you may even be the authors!  I’ve seen phrases like lazy, responsibility free, dope selling bums, drink their cheque, professional scammers, believe the world owes them a favor, they hang out at Timmy’s all day drinking coffee, abusing the system, sure to end up in jail and mentally unstable.    I can only hope to change your mind, to put a picture in your head of what it’s like and hopefully make you think twice next time you type those disparaging remarks that cut to the very soul.

Poverty to some might mean making their car last another year, downgrading their cell phone plan, not taking the trip they had planned or maybe cutting down on takeout meals.  I’m not talking about the kind of poverty we see in commercials of third world countries asking for donations.  I’m talking about the poverty in our very small city of Cornwall, Ontario that should not exist in our well developed country!  For me, poverty goes way beyond what you can imagine.  I really don’t mind not having a car, cell phone, takeout meals or being able to go on trips.


I don’t even mind not having cable TV, or not being able to go the hair salon to have my extremely fast growing hair trimmed, or not going to a show at the cinemas once in awhile.  My adult children even understood when I couldn’t buy them gifts this past Christmas and will understand when I can’t get them a gift for their up and coming birthdays either.  None of this matters when you can’t afford them, you just learn to do without, and people as a whole can do without those extras.  I’m living proof that you can, and no, you won’t die!  So that’s the list of things I can do without, easy enough, a lot of us in the lower tax bracket do and we survive.


So now, imagine your life as a single person, losing your job due to a permanent widespread lay off, collecting the Employment Insurance benefits you’re entitled to at 55% of your previous wages which weren’t great to begin with, all the while looking for work.  That’s pretty rough, but I made it through that too.  I was able to pay my rent and I did cut back on groceries, but was still able to make it through, hoping that a job would come up soon.  My lay off was in April of 2011, I was hoping by summer I’d be in the land of the employed again.


I have an education in Business Administration Accounting and a two year accounting diploma, some experience in office administration, accounting, and customer service, it shouldn’t be that hard!  The months came and went and nothing, I registered at some of the employment agencies to aid in my search, but still nothing, my EI benefits were running out by then.


By November, I went to Ontario Works, I needed help, and I figured it might only be for a little while.  November was ok, I had already paid my rent, and then December I would have the two cheques to pay my rent.  They would give me $599 per month, but at least I would have benefits.  In December, there was a raise to $606/month.  Let me break this down for you, there are two parts to the cheque, Basic Needs $230, and Shelter, $376.  I had to pay my $725 all inclusive rent out of a $376 Shelter allowance; you can’t even put a tent on a basic camping lot for a month for $376/per month.  So ok, I have some groceries stocked up, so I can use the $230 Basic Needs portion, only I’m missing $119 to cover it!  My wonderful daughter covered my rent, and I’m so very grateful but at the same time it’s tearing me apart having to borrow from my girl!  By the end of December, I’ve got 150 applications and resumes out there.


Keep in mind I’m confined to Cornwall, because I don’t have a car so my search is limited.  One suggestion was to bus to Ottawa every day, people can be a bit dense I guess, after researching, I found out it would cost about $400 per month to get to and from Ottawa, not feasible!  A suggestion from my OW worker, move, I said ok, who is going to pay for the move and the expenses of first and last months’ rent that is required?  That funding has been taken away by our government.  She said well put your name in for subsidized housing, well there’s a 3+ years waiting list for that.  I mentioned that I didn’t have any money for groceries, her suggestion:  there’s a place that if you give $10, you can get fruit and vegetables, I don’t have $10 to give I said.


So there was no help for my situation, I did ask to be assigned an employment worker, I’m still waiting on that.  We’re coming up to the end of January; I now have about 200 job applications out there.  February’s rent is coming up and I have a $605 cheque coming.  I have 49 cents in the bank but will go into overdraft when they take my bank fee out.  What to do?  Well I guess there’s a few things I could sell, but I would only get a fraction of their worth and if OW found out if I don’t claim it, the police would be at my door charging me with fraud.  Tonight’s menu, porridge, I’m running through what groceries I’ve had stocked up.  I’ve already begged, borrowed, but haven’t stolen yet, I guess that might be next because I’m running out of everything…I guess in the end, I could end up being just like those Welfare recipient bashers call us!


Desperate in Cornwall

Donna R. – Cornwall, Ontario
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87 Responses to "A Face of Poverty & Desperation in Cornwall Ontario – Letter to the Editor – January 26, 2013"

  1. mariah   January 26, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    Sorry for your circumstances Donna,You sound like a very educated woman who never thought it possible to end up in such sheer poverty.You have eliminated your wants already & your needs are not being met.I hope that you have applied for housing as it appears that public assistance only pays subsidized rents if $600 is all that you get.Gone are the days when single mothers were getting just over $1300/month & of course the system was being abused.
    The system is still being abused but by a different class of people,what I’m hearing is that many people have learned how to beat the present system by illegal ways.Those are the people that I want off the system.Some are using other addresses for additional checks with & without the owners permission.Some are earning money under the table & not declaring it.Yet others are drawing from two different provinces & with more than one family.Just check out the number of Quebec cars parked at low housing rental buildings in Brookdale areas, especially when money is due in the mail.
    How do you catch them? I think that the letter carriers would be a wealth of information but would need whistleblower protection & Cornwall…lets face it!!! has never been kind to them in the past.

  2. Frank G   January 26, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    Interesting article. I sympathize with Donna’s plight. However, it’s also true, that she doesn’t have to be living off the Government. It may not be ideal for her to take a job in retail or fast food, but that’s what many of us are doing; and it’s a far superior living, than being on Welfare.

    I’m a 24 year old male, college educated, and well-versed in several fields. I have had to settle working for 2 part-time, minimum wage jobs, for over 2 years, before I found full-time employment (in a field, that’s somewhat related to my training). I worked overnights at a gas station (11pm-7am), and I worked at McDonald’s on my weekends off. Minimum wage is $10.25/hour. Even at 37.5 hours a week, you’d be grossing, $1537.50/month. This is way more than Donna is grossing from her welfare subsidies.

    If you look at the Guttman studies, reiterated by Thomas Sowell, it’s been proven time and time again, that Welfare only increases poverty across the board, as the main subsidizers of the welfare system, are actually the lower income bracket of people (like myself, making $11.50/hour). You cannot legislate the poor out of poverty, and you cannot create wealth by dividing it. The system subsidizes people to fail in their own lives, and so long as you succeed (even to a moderate extent) the money is taken away from you through taxation. The welfare system is another ponzi scheme by Government; as long as they continue to buy votes, and get their cut of the tax dollars, then people will believe that Welfare is beneficial; when in fact, you can earn far more, making minimum wage, while you devise your transition to a better job.

  3. Eva   January 26, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    Hi Donna,
    I wrote some of the comments you mentioned I’m not afraid to admit, I read your article and trust me I am not a heartless,selfish,self centered individual as you might assume, as I said right at the beginning of my commentary my criticism applied to some, your situation is completely different and should be evaluated as such,it’s a very complex issue, easily said then done without the repercussion of discrimination being brought into play. I don’t have the answers,life is hard,I work everyday and I go without, just like you. In life you never know and welfare should represent a solid staple for people in such situations, my comments and frustration were geared towards mainly the younger people, who just don’t care about anything or anyone and abuse the system. I am sorry if you took my comments to heart , wish you and your family the best of luck.

  4. Jenn   January 26, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    Donna I know alot of people in the same situation and I do hope you end up getting a job…I’ve been in your shoes myself as a single mom…I think what’s hard for everyone including me is that there are people who are abusing the system here in cornwall…and there are alot of them…but it’s still not fair to say that it’s everyone. On the system…You see these people who could at least work part time even two part time jobs and don’t that’s frustrating…I did everything I could to feel good about being on the system, volunteering for work placements while they subsidized daycare, anything…I’m not saying you imparticular haven’t but beggers can’t be choosers and I find in this town there are to many choosers turning down working at McDonalds or timmys or scm or prince foods all because it doesn’t fit a standard they think they are owed….I know so many people who work at these places and have done very well for themselves…it’s just to bad everyone on the system couldn’t know what it’s truly like to live in poverty then maybe it might change their mind about working and leave the system for what it was designed for…..To temporarily help people who are truly trying to better themselves….I really do hope you have good luck finding a job..hopefully someone who is looking for your qualifications reads this and offers you something….I’ll pray for you…good luck

  5. Rosie   January 26, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    OMG Donna, I am so sorry for your troubles. Hard to understand that an office job somewhere is not there for you given your qualifications. I pray that you find something soon.

  6. Patrick   January 26, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    Hey Donna, I have a few questions for you. Can you email me – mksixonethree@hotmail.com

  7. Jennifer   January 26, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Hey Donna! You are in a really tough situation, I hear you and I understand! I know it is hard for some people to access but the Agape Centre has food bank assistance for people who are on assistance or are low income. The Salvation Army has food bank also, you can only go once a month. You can only access one or the other but it is important that if you need it you access it. They also have lunch everyday there and I think it costs $1 or $2. A hot full course meal. I am a huge poverty advocate and see the effects of poverty in this community every day. I think if the people who make decisions about how much assistance people get or even those who judge had to live on/within the system for three months the system would change for the better. It isn’t as simple as people think it is is it? Even the words here of support come with a “but” don’t they! In an ideal world, in ideal circumstances that is how it would work but that isn’t where we live is it? Sometimes even the services that are out there that are mean’t to help can be riddled with people who judge, don’t let that keep you from accessing what you deserve and what you are entitled too! People who work/help within the system lose hope too because they can’t help in the way they would like because the “systems” don’t afford them to! Cornwall is a great community and you are a full and equal part of that community! Change comes with awareness and when people speak up! Keep telling your story… if even one persons perspective changes… you will have done a great thing!

  8. Wayne & Erin   January 26, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Yes, I think the above advice of working at a lower paying job like Tim Horton’s or Mcdonalds is a great idea until something in your field pops up. I was raised on Mothers allowance back in the 70,s; but my mom also went to college at night, and made most of our clothes/costumes etc…, I never went without and never felt poor. In the meantime my wife and I will pick you up and take you grocery shopping at our expense, call us. P.S. there are still a lot of scumbags on Social Assistance. 937-7678 or 931-1800.

  9. CV   January 26, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    I agree with Mariah on the Quebec license thing. I live in Glenview, not afraid to admit it, we see SO MANY with Quebec plates. As well, the double dipping with different addresses, different provinces, and even, get this….multiple last names! My hubbie’s ex wife was charged wit that. When we had no choice but to go to OW, we found that she was claiming OW for the same kid, 4 times! Long story but we reported her.

    We ended up here on OW and in Housing when my husband got sick and we had to leave the house his family had ‘given’ us. It was in the country with outdated electrical wires, an oil furnace and paper thin walls….his mother (the ‘owner’) refused to repair or update anything which ended up costing us way too much to have heat and lights there, so we ended up here in Housing. 2 out of 3 of our kids have disabilities and have since birth (9 and 11 yrs old) and we’ve only JUST been approved for their federal disability portion of the Child Tax Benefit but they only went back to 2010. My almost 19 year old is heading to college in the Fall and we have no idea whether she’s been approved for OSAP, oh and she’s had NO luck finding herself a part time job. She has however volunteered for several agencies and she’s not one of those teens who hang out in some park, smoking dope and other crap teens do.

    I myself have education in office administration and was working in Ottawa but the commute was killing my bank account AND my car, not to mention that having to leave my house at 4 or 5 am and not getting home until 7 or 8 pm, I never saw my kids because I was so exhausted. I had to resort to working in retail and the food sector, working at Timmie’s is great but you have to report your tips to OW…which sucks! I now work for a ‘large’ retail chain but only get 12 hours per week because sales are constantly down…because guess what…nobody can afford to go shopping like the used to….try paying rent and feeding a family of 5 on that!

    I honestly can admit that I have seen customers come through the cash with 30 boxes of Kraft Dinner…guess what their kids are eating for dinner every day of the month? I see that and I’m not sure what to think…are they so broke because they’re in Donna’s position or are they just stingy and use their OW to play bingo, drink and smoke.

    I have friends who have post secondary education who can’t find work in their field but refuse to take jobs that are ‘lower’ then them! They come shopping where I work and look down on me, they look down on me for where I live (I guess I should correct that first sentence and admit that they are NOT my friends anymore).

    We’ve thought about picking up and moving, but can’t afford first and last months rent, can’t afford a moving vehicle and move for what…the same OW cheque? There’s also the fact that despite our failing health care system, my husband who is diabetic and has other serious medical issues; has managed to find himself not only a family doctor, but also a diabetic specialist. Our kids have yearly visits to CHEO, the Eye Institute AND Toronto Sick Kids every year, we get ‘some’ money for those costs but not the full cost of gas, food and hotel.

    I can very much sympathize with Donna’s situation. Something has to change here in Cornwall, and in other cities in this province AND this country!

  10. Donna R.   January 26, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Thank you everyone for the encouraging comments and advice. There was one small mistake in the letter, my lay off was in April 2012, not 2011, for the first few months of the New Year, I always get the years mixed up!

    I’d like to make something clear to everyone, I’m not just looking for office jobs, I’m looking for anything and my applications and resumes have been to a wide variety of businesses, including cleaning positions, and some retail.

    This comment in particular is for Frank G., I’m twice your age, without a car to get around and do have limitations. I have applied to the local warehouses, but one of their requirements is lifting 50-70 pounds on a continuous basis, can I do that? Probably not. I haven’t sat in a cushy office job all of my life, I worked in factories, I did waitressing, I have worked on farms in the fields, then I got a post-secondary education as a mature student. I know that I need to consider every possibility in my desperate situation, but I’m hoping now that I don’t have to do the laborious work that I did when I was your age.

  11. Nonbeliever   January 26, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Tough times Donna. I’m sorry to read of your circumstances. I know not all people on welfare want to be there. I wish you luck on your job search and I know you will make it. Stay safe and best of luck


  12. cityBS   January 26, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Hi Donna

    Good luck you you, you sound very smart and the direction you want you will get there, keep working hard. Let me just say that no one is pointing the finger at people who honestly need the assistance, people point the finger at the system and the abusers of the system.

    We all know people who abuse the system, who sell everything they have or get to buy booze and or drugs because reality is we know they are abled bodied but don’t give a rats ass about anybody or how they screw us.

    Politicians know this abuse goes on but neglect to deal with these people. CV wrote about all the Quebec license plates in Glenview, again this issue has been posted on here many times and I myself asked Guy Lauzon for his thoughts on these people collecting welfare from many provinces at the same time but of course because there was no photo opp for him he did not.

    Tax payers continue to be the ones abused because the more the dis-honest ones abuse the system it’s us hard working people who end up paying for it.

    I also know many people, young people who know the sytem so well and how welfare works that they fake an illness because collecting a pension in this country is so easy. Should it not be the other way around in this country? if you work honestly the government should be supporting you and not taking from you to continue this abusive cycle?

    Donna, this email was targeted to the ones who abuse the system and not yourself or others who need honest help. So many times for so many years politicians neglect to deal with the real issues here, it’s long over due they re-visit how their own system works and make change, get these lazy ass people off their ass, cut them off and make them find work so there is money to support Donna and others who need it.

    And people, start reporting the ones you know who are causing this problem, seriously, it’s ok to complain but demand your MP and MPP to get off their ass and correct this.

  13. Dave Windsor   January 26, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    You make no mention of support from the Agape for temporarily help with your food needs. I assume that you are need of some clothing as well? Others talk to their clergy for shelter.

    You are obviously able to access the internet, hopefully at no cost to you………..library or other facility for that.

    Well spoken, well put. I’m still crying for you. What to do?
    I see Patrick has come out with a few questions he wants to ask. We can only hope that turns out to be fruitful for you.

    Please stay in touch via this medium as all of us want to hear of any success’s.

    Donna, have you been to our MPP’s office or MP’s office who would not see you starve, for sure. They just may be able to come up with some alternatives.

    Whatever you do, simply refuse to give up Donna. Thank you for
    your poignant reminder of the bottom line truth about eeking out on welfare.

    God bless you.

  14. Tyrone Lamoureux   January 26, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    I think the sad part about all of this, is that most people have just as reasonable a reason to be in their situation, but aren’t able to articulate it as well to others, or have less patience to explain themselves. Ultimately, it’s those people who resort to more desperate measures.

    Kudos to Donna for painting a real face on what poverty is really like.

    There has been a growing sense of social discord in Cornwall, and I doubt preconceptions and type casting are helping very much.

  15. Donna R.   January 26, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    In reading comments both on here and on FB pages, it brings tears to my eyes at the many people who have encouraging words to say or advice to give. On the opposite side of the coin, some still insist that I must be lazy or being too picky about the jobs I’m applying to, and that I should be going for any jobs that will keep a roof over my head and food in my belly.

    I am applying to every possible job that comes up that I think I could do including cleaning, dispatching for a taxi business, shoe salesperson, shipping position in which I need a forklift certification, I’ve applied to all the warehouse places, some of the customer service rep jobs, some of the factories, Fabricland, Efficom, Fastenal, Laurier Optical, all the local banking institutions, I’m registered with the school boards and so many other places that I could never list them all here. I’m registered with Jobzone and am in the JMP program where they will advocate on your behalf, I’m registered with Manpower as well. In my search since April 2012, I’ve had four interviews in all this time, so to quote someone who commented on a FB page “they just don’t seem to realize that they don’t qualify or their personality quirks are issues for potential employers” I would need to get a lot more interviews for local employers to come to that conclusion! One constraint I do have is a medical issue that prevents me from being in a cold environment, so a place like Olymel would be out of the question!

    One more small point I’d like to make is to the many who suggested getting two or three part time jobs. For those who are doing this, I’m guessing you jump into your nice warm car and get to those jobs in minutes in that car. Being without a car is inconvenient, but detrimental to being able to get around to several part time jobs. We’re lucky to have Cornwall Transit, but does not work when you need to get somewhere quick like from job to job!

    I know that there is so much fraud out there in respect to our social programs, I see need for change and closer monitoring in so many areas that it makes me sick at the deviousness and greed of people and the government’s unwillingness to fix it.

    @Dave Windsor, I’ve had two past experiences with the Agape Center about 7 years ago when I was a student raising my kids, there was never any milk given, no fresh veggies, the one time I got moldy bread and you get things like chick peas and canned pumpkin pie filling, maybe things are different now. I’m going to phone the MPs office on Monday to see what if anything can be done. Regarding internet/telephone, I’ve had access only because I had kept my bills paid up and on time, I’m two months behind now so will be facing disconnection soon, at which time there will be no access to job search sites, or ability for a potential employer to contact me.

  16. Work Angel   January 26, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Hello Donna,

    Please send us your CV at workangel@live.com

    Have faith,

    Work Angel:)

  17. Polly   January 26, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    There was no mention of other food sources such a salvation army or st frances de salles.. If you are worried about getting outdated bread, maybe try their soup kitchen for a fresh home cooked meal. These resources are set up for people in your exact situation. Your ow worker can provide you with bus tickets to help you get around. The most important thing to remember is that you are the only jail keeper in your life. I am in the same poistion as you are Donna and my heart goes out to you as it is difficult but trust me you will eventually love chick peas. Now what wrong with working at a fast food place. I dont see any mention of those types of jobs. The best part of working at fast food place you get to eat generally at 50 % off so someone in your situation can benefit greatly from that. ( and there lots of types of restaurants like that). Also ow will continue to give you some money will you start working if they can only give you part time hours. The buses run every 30 mins and allow you get from one end of town to the other with in that time frame not much time is saved by driving your car (and with the cost of gas… the bus is the way to go). I do this with a small child and manage to make it to work (both my part time job) on time and to the sitters. People have to do this in big cities with 1 1/2 hour bus ride from job to job. The unemployment building has a job bank you can access for free and the library offers free internet and computers and newspapers. This is the reality of life. Dont be fooled about the abusers of the system Donna, not everyone on assistance is abusing it, but its there. The system is set up prefectly for people who have no intention of ever working and want to abuse it. Its is unfortunate that it is not designed to help people who are actively working for low wages.

  18. Donna R.   January 26, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    @Polly & others, if you would like to know about my reluctance to go to the service or retail sector in my job searches, it’s rather a personal issue but would be happy to explain to anyone who would like to know if you would send me an email address to message you privately.

  19. Pastor Tom Newton   January 26, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Donna – called my church # 932-6434, and leave a message, and we will get some food out to you – free of charge, no strings attached. We do it all the time. Pastor Tom Newton

  20. Helga   January 26, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Hudak’s Conservatives are talking “jobs”, but jobs for whom? Certainly not for anglos who are 96% of Ontario population. Look at Ontario hospitals, call centres, transportation companies, hotels, etc – most of their employees are from Quebec. Canada’s bilingualism polices (federal, Ontario’s and NB’s) have become so over the top that Anglos feel unwanted in their own country.

    Don’t speak French in Ontario – no job for you – seems to be the message from the Conservative Party of Ontario. They refuse to address this issue which could only mean they support the Liberals’ and NDP’s take on it. Okay, good luck to you then, Tim…I will stay home at election time, Mr. Denley…

  21. Donna R.   January 26, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    The OW system is designed to have people fail. In the case of a single person such as myself, the importance of getting a full time job is mandatory for survival.

    Here is a bit of math to think about…

    According to the Ontario Works Policy Directives there is a three month qualifying period during which any earned amount is taken dollar for dollar after which, only 50% of earned income is taken. Do keep in mind that if your net monthly income is greater than the maximum amount of assistance for a single person at which time that person would be removed from eligibility.

    So let’s say that I manage to secure a part time job, maybe 16 hours/week say at minimum wage, and that’s all I can get for a long while, how does this impact me?

    16hrs x $10.25 = $164.00 – 7.87 = $156.13 weekly, so multiply this by 4 and it gives you a $624.52 monthly wage. The 3-month qualifying period doesn’t apply here, I would be taken directly off welfare, no chance for the 50% earnings exemption here! At 16 hrs, there are no benefits either. Bus tickets to get around, no, I wouldn’t get those either. Am I better off?

  22. Ed   January 26, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    @ Helga. Huh?

  23. Frank G   January 26, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    @Donna, I should clarify, I wouldn’t expect you to go work at a warehouse or construction site. I only mentioned fast food and retail. If you can pour coffee and do basic math, I’m sure you’re capable of working at Timmie’s, or McDonalds. There’s many locations around the city as well.

    I know all too well how scarce jobs are. I am part of Generation jobless. I was born into a system; pre-loaded with debt, based on crooked policies that the previous generations voted in. Like most of my peers, I was conned into going to post-secondary, only to spend my money on an over-priced degree, for jobs that don’t exist anymore. I was told in school that if I get an accounting degree, I’m likely find an accounting job. I spent all my hard-earned savings growing up on this worthless accounting degree, in hopes of getting this dream office job. Why do I want an office job? I was born with a femur disorder, which has left me with painful arthritis in my back and knees. Already at my age, it’s quite discomforting for me to even walk around.

    Well it’s now been years of applying for accounting/office jobs, I’ve only got a couple call backs from firms in Ottawa, and I wasn’t bilingual enough to do payables apparently. In the meantime, I have to support myself; by whatever means necessary. If this means, sacrificing my health, and being in pain all week, while working a shovel, or standing for 8 hours at a counter, I’ll do it, and I’m still doing it. I’m not attempting a comparison here, and I respect your right to do/not do whatever you want. That being said, by the time you factor in: income tax, EI, CPP, sales taxes on everything we buy, Federal and provincial gas taxes, etc…I’m probably keeping half of what I earn; while busting my ass for a wage that’s barely above minimum. I’m not trying to be condescending, I totally grieve with your situation. I am simply pointing out, that life isn’t a walk in the park for me, just cause I’m a young male. I wish I could just do construction gigs for the rest of my life, but I’m simply not physically-capable. My Doctor will verify this. But for now, I have to do physical labor jobs, and it’s not easy. But it’s even harder being a low-income earner, and over half your income is stolen by Government, through various taxes and extortion programs. And I can’t even on turn on the news without some vote-hungry politician and his clan of followers, promising some kind of “free” program, or new social security form; i.e. tax hike for me, for programs that I would wish to simply out of.

    Paint me as you wish. Most do not understand, that just because I don’t believe in Government mobs running corrupt programs, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care about people. Heck, if I could keep 1/4 more of my income, I would have the financial capability to donate to a charity, and it’s something I would love to do. Maybe if I wasn’t taxed so much, I could quit my part-time job, and volunteer my time. Or maybe I should just not bother trying to succeed; as our current policy punishes those who do.

    Best of luck Donna,

  24. Donna R.   January 26, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Interestingly enough is the fact that the $7.87 that would be taken off those earnings are strictly EI & CPP, so no tax dollars going out there, but no OW eligibility either!

  25. Pastor Tom Newton   January 26, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Donna- call the church again, and speak louder, I can make out the last four numbers -:)

  26. Ed   January 26, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    @ Donna. Be very careful about giving out your phone number and any other personal info.

  27. Kathy   January 26, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    Donna, why don’t you just send an email to Pastor Tom Newton? Click on his name to get this info:


    2213 Pitt Street N., Cornwall, Ont. K6K 1A4
    Pastor Tom Newton
    phone: 613-932-6434
    email: t.newton@sympatico.ca

  28. Cynthia   January 26, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Hi, Donna, I hope things look up for you soon. I do have a small suggestion, though. I drive school bus, and let me tell you, it’s not a career making job, but it pays the bills and gets you out in the community, and is extremely rewarding in so many other ways. They are always looking for bus drivers, and may I assume you have a license, just can’t afford a vehicle. Bus companies allow their drivers to park at home, most times. If that isn’t feasible for you, than I can only hope, that someone hires you soon enough. Yes, many people abuse the system, but it’s wrong of others to stereotype. Not all who are on the system, abuse the system. May things brighten up for you and your family.

  29. Maureen Billings   January 26, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Just one question to Donna. Maybe I missed it but I don’t think you mentioned if you are bilingual or not. If you aren’t 400 job applications won’t get you a job. If you’re not bilingual I’d advise you to go see Guy Lauzon and tell him your story but I don’t think it would help because my frience had to go there last week to fill out some forms and everyone in the office was French, she had to keep telling them she wasn’t French.

  30. concerned citizen 2   January 26, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Helga said,

    “Don’t speak French in Ontario – no job for you ”

    Donna, is this an issue for you in your pursual of employment?

    Many professionals & non-professionals are being discriminated in our area because we are English only or not French enough.

    Language Fairness for All is a grass roots group of concerned citizens fighting against discriminatory hiring policies in our community.

    Check out our website http://www.languagefairnessforall.org

    We’re here for you if you need assistance!!!

  31. ray   January 26, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    i did not know so many people in Cornwall were not aware of reality and were locked in a state of mind of discrimination like social racism there are people like me that have been injured at work that ended up on ODSP instead of workers compensation if i was on WSIB i would be judged differently as this would put me in a different class and yes there is abuse in everything but look at yourself its ok for money from contraband cigarette that is spent were you work to be used to pay your wages or money from corporate welfare given to company’s like Toyota getting 35 million recently announce were employee make crazy wages i applaud what you did Donna to help educate people

  32. Donna R.   January 26, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    @Maureen Billings, I was educated in the French school system up until grade 10 in high school. At that time, back in the early ’80s, was the first Quebec referendum. My HS made me choose French or English because I could take any courses interchangeably in either language. It is one of my greatest regrets to have made the choice of English, my first language. I can speak French, although not as fluently as I’d like, I can read and write in French, and comprehension is excellent as I can comfortably listen to French TV or radio. To say that I’m fully bilingual would be a stretch, but I do feel that fluency would come again over time, with practice.

  33. Donna R.   January 26, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    @concerned citizen 2, I guess I would fall into the category of ‘Not French Enough’. One of my recent communications with a potential employer was in response to an ad for an administrative secretary position, this ad specifically says ‘completely bilingual (OR DO NOT APPLY)’. I am completely qualified for this job and did email the employer to let her know that I’m disappointed that the only thing stopping me from being able to apply is that fact! There has been no response whatsoever, this was Thursday.

  34. Commuting to and from Ottawa/Cornwall   January 26, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    Hello Donna,

    Just to let you know that I commute to Ottawa on a daily basis. I would be more then happy to allow you to have access to a ride there and back if it made things easier and allowed you to find employment outside of Cornwall. Should you have any questions or so please do not hesitate to contact me. Best of luck to you. I have been there and now very happy at where I have landed myself and my family.

  35. escape   January 27, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Hello Donna,
    I am so sorry to hear about your situation. My husband and I lived in Cornwall for 5 years, and struggled constantly with the either/or situation. He’d have full time, me part time, then full time for me part time for him, there was never a point where we both had full time work. We always had to have a 2 bedroom as he has a daughter we’d get twice a month. When Startek was closing out was when we said we’ve got to get the hell out of here. over 300 now unemployed people battling it out for very few job positions. You see, they close a huge call center and open a Michaels with 12 positions…doesn’t quite equal out.

    My mother always tried to instill being committed to the job, hash it out despite unfair treatment, cut ours, social injustices. After 30 years of working with the same company they were going to close their cornwall branch, gave her the option to work out of montreal, without travel compensation, or additional bonuses. Same job, but travel 2 hours to work and home no extra pay, when she refused they advised her they would be writing on her documentation that she had quit. Meaning no EI or retiring. They were so willing to screw her after 30 years of dedication.

    So tell me where’s the motivation to lifetime committment?

    Now she is unemployed, educated, and experienced, applying at Tim Hortons and waitressing jobs, fast food in her 50’s, no children at home and the only thing keeping them from losing the home the paid off 30 years ago is my father’s government job.

    My husband and i made the decision to get out. It’s been almost 2 years. We moved to Belleville where honestly the situation wasn’t any better. Empty promises of full time work, being let go just prior to the 3 month probations. And I am glad to say we both have fulltime employment in a smaller community. But it took trial and error, family financial assistance to move, and rent. And its thanks to them that we are now able to work, pay our menial bills, but at the expense of being away from my family and his child and paying for train tickets once a month.

    And so we pay family back slowly when we can so the guilt is less, eat shit at work some days, and providing my photographic serves on days off for extra cash.

    And so my point is that its not just Cornwall that’s the problem, but sometimes it takes some pretty radical changes to succeed in feeding yourself, having the basics of shelter and holding on to the things you have.

    I do hope that people like you and my mother can be the lucky ones, and its luck, to find work,I tell my mom to apply and follow up within 48 hours wit phone calls, don’t just be a piece of paper with a name on it, make them hear and see you. i’ve even gone so far as to contact my old employers to speak on my mother’s behalf.

  36. Nat   January 27, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    I don’t think Ottawa is better in terms of finding employment. As Helga said, “Don’t speak French in Ontario – no job for you ”. My kid had to leave home town after university, because everywhere he applied required French. In BC, he found job in two weeks.

    Bilingualism requirements in Ontario are certainly over the top and getting tougher. Ontario government is carbon copying insane federal bilingualism policy. In 2007, McGuinty created a position of French language commissioner (François Boileau) similar to federal language commissioner (Graham Fraser) to act as language police. It was recently announced they joint efforts to police Ontario.

  37. luckyred   January 27, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    I wonder what our country would be like if we just didn,t have social assisstance and baby bonuses.Think of all the money the goverment would save(tax payers moneys) if they would just do away with it.The people who work wouldn’t have to pay so much tax. The goverment would probably be forced to cut all taxes in half.Yes the savings for all you people who think everybody on assisstance are screwing the almighty tax payer.I personally think the goverments are the ones screwing the tax payers big time.But most people are to scared to go against the powers, so they will blame it on the lazy people who depend on social assisstance.There’s always going to be someone at the bottom of the barrel you should just be lucky its not you.University and college diplomas and you’re working at timmies. well like i said theres always going to be someone at the bottom of the barrel.

  38. Donna R.   January 27, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    @Commuting to and from Ottawa/Cornwall, I often see positions outside of Cornwall that I can’t apply to because of not having a car, I’ve even thought of the Kraft plant in Ingleside who often have ads up if only I had a ride. Knowing I could get into Ottawa certainly opens some options up for me, thank you for the offer!

    @ Escape, my last move cost me nearly $2000, most of it was first/last month, at the time I was working and I was able to afford it. The government has taken away the funding to help people move, so that’s not an option to move out of Cornwall. It’s not even an option to move to a cheaper place as suggested by my OW worker.
    Three years ago I lived in Brockville, and although they’ve had their share of problems, I think Cornwall could learn from them regarding job creation and attracting new businesses.

  39. jackie   January 27, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    hello donna have you any type of computer experience since northern lights is hiring right now for night or days

    they are looking since they even put their ads in kijiji.ca

    good luck

  40. Donna R.   January 27, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    @jackie, yes I have computer experience in many different areas, full MS Office knowledge with a specialized course in Excell.

    I’m not sure what Northern Lights is, is this ad up on Kijiji?

  41. stellabystarlight   January 27, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Donna wrote: It is one of my greatest regrets to have made the choice of English, my first language…..


  42. Donna R.   January 27, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    @stellabystarlight, the reason I say that was that I have lost most of the fluency in French. This was back in 1980, so I’ve gone over 30 years of not speaking a lot of French. When I was forced to choose, most of my time was spent with only English speaking students, my personal life was also only English speaking friends, and the same was true after I graduated school.
    When your first language is English, you lose the fluency over time. Living so close to the Quebec border, and having grown up in a very bilingual community (Alexandria), the expectation is there that you should be bilingual. The further West we go, bilingualism isn’t so much of an issue.
    So to say that I regret my choice, I have to say that I do.

  43. luckyred   January 27, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Job Opening at local coffe shop please apply within.
    job interviewer.why do you want this job.
    job seeker#2well iv,e got a diploma in buissness but i can,t get a job anywhere in my field.So i would like to work here so i can at lease pay my student loans.
    Guess who gets the job folks,thats one reason why we have people who need assistance.

  44. Helga   January 27, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    I see Donna’s regret of doing her studies in English, her mother tongue, as tragic. Bilingualism’s artificially high requirements create artificial demand for French-speakers, for jobs where it is not needed. Donna’s case is just another example of how insane bilingualism policy affects EMPLOYMENT opportunities of Anglos in English Canada.

    French first, merit second…How it became so backward?

  45. Donna R.   January 27, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    @luckyred, very well said! This is the sad truth and very much applies to my particular situation! I do believe that one of the problems with my resume is that I need to dumb it down to match the jobs I’m applying for because I’m much too overqualified!

  46. Donna R.   January 27, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    @Helga & Stella

    I see the issue of bilingualism as a bit of a farce, if we, as workers, are required to be able to communicate effectively in both languages to be qualified for a job, then I believe that the public at large should also be required to communicate effectively in both languages. To have that expectation sounds silly right? It is, for the simple fact that English is a universal language that should be spoken by the French as well. Having grown up in Alexandria and being there a good part of my adult life, I often found that the French speaking families absolutely refused to speak English, that we were required to bend to their will and make the effort to speak French, rather than have them make the effort to speak English.
    What do these Francophones do when they travel where nearly every country uses the universal English language (rather than cater to them in French as we do here in Ontario)?

  47. highlander   January 27, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    -Francophones in Ontario -4%
    -French spoken as a language is the 14 most spoken language in Ontario.
    -Bilingual (French) hires -65% in Ontario.
    -21% of the country is francophones yet 65% of Federal government hires are bilingual(French).

    It’s right there in the Stats Canada info.

    Donna R. No it really does not make sense well except it’s called SOCIAL ENGINEERING by the UNITED NATIONS standards.

  48. Rosie   January 27, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Hey there Stella. The following is a comment from Donna R.
    “I was educated in the French school system up until grade 10 in high school.”. Now Stella I would be able to make that comment too but neither Donna R or myself is fluent in French and yet when I asked you the question about the very misleading Provincial Government’s sponsored ad wherein the supposedly English kid understands completely the very French kid, your answer was
    “Absolutely Rosie!! You would be surprised how quickly these young kids learn…..” So I have to ask you Stella what happens between Kindergarten and Grade 10?

  49. stellabystarlight   January 27, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    Donna……something tells me the tide will turn for you sooner then you think. Keep at it girlfriend…..good things come to those who persist.

    Every day may not be good
    But there’s something good in every day **smile**

    Hang in there!!!

  50. stellabystarlight   January 27, 2013 at 7:54 PM


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