Think Harper’s Conservatives are Cruel to Vets?
Try Being Handicapped Under Wynne’s Liberals!
Dear Madam Premier,
It has taken almost six years to write this letter to the Premier of Ontario after being destroyed by Ontario’s Ministry of Community and Social Services.
Lost and helpless at what to do for six years, last week an employee of that Ministry was helpful, finally telling me that if I need help, I have to “make more noise.”
Let me explain.
From experiences, both personal and by another disabled person, it seems ludicrous that those employed by an Ontario Ministry hired to help the disabled, do their best NOT to help them.
It seems just as ludicrous to finally get confirmation from a Ministry employee that I was not helped because I did not “make enough noise”!
But since that is what I apparently I have to do, so be it.
I will now make so much noise, hopefully everyone from you, as Premier, to those employed by Ontario’s Ministry of Community and Social Services will end up with sore ears.
In 2009, I completely lost my eyesight due to retinal detachments and a virus. I thought blind people would automatically qualify for disability. I was so wrong! I was literally kicked to the curb at the lowest point in my life.
Thankfully, my right eye was saved after a couple of operations.
Sadly, my left eye was so damaged by several operations it was left legally blind.
But this partial sight has been the worst. Due to the twisting of my left eyeball from the surgeries, I was left with permanent, migraine-inducing double vision.
My left eyeball had been emptied it of its natural fluid, filled with silicone oil, and squeezed with a plastic band around its circumference. That set it off-centre by twelve degrees and my sight for six years has been akin to watching a television with a constant, irritating shadow.
Do you remember hockey games in the old days and someone constantly jumping up to adjust the rabbit ears, hoping to get rid of the shadows? Welcome to my world 24/7. There is always two of everything in front of me. The surgeon told me to keep using both eyes and my brain might some day align the two images.
Six years and hundreds of headaches later I still see two of everything and suffer from recurring migraines.
My wife has rushed me to Emergency because of the severity of my headache. I was almost delirious from the pain.
And during the five months of seven painful operations and every six months since, I have endured an untold number of invasive eye examinations where they use what feels like a tire iron to get between your eyeballs and eye sockets. When I know I am scheduled for an eye examination now, my body is filled with fear.
In 2009, after every operation, I was ordered by the surgeon to remain face down in bed and not to move for weeks at a time. He had injected air bubbles into my eye. By remaining motionless, allowing gravity to keep the air bubbles lodged against my retina, it was hoped my body would help to repair the detached retina.
This is minor compared to the depression. All day long my thoughts were, “Why go on?” Yes, I now understand why Canadian soldiers commit suicide from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Been there. Felt like doing that. Daily.
Forced to lie face down in bed for weeks at a time, scared as hell, your mind constantly plays and replays a horrible sympathy of thoughts, from never seeing your spouse’s and children’s faces again, to the realization that you have now become a useless and unwanted member of society.
During this ultra traumatic set of circumstances, and while completely blind, confined face down in bed, I called the Hamilton branch of the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services for compensation under Ontario’s Disability Programme.
From personal experience, I am sure the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services must be the training ground for the Harper Government’s Veterans’ Affairs Ministry, or vice versa!
Completely blind and depressed, the unsympathetic caseworker, void of empathy, on the other end of the line was so mean, I was soon crying.
She was making every effort possible to tell me I was somehow NOT disabled enough! And get this: despite explaining I was under surgeon’s orders not to move, for an unknown duration of time, she insisted I come into her office.
It reached a point I could no longer talk to her and said goodbye, promising to call again.
Weeks later, still forced to remain face down and motionless, and now ten or one hundred times more depressed, I once again phoned for financial assistance.
Are you sitting? The Ministry had thrown out my name! Despite giving all of my personal information on the first call, the second case worker could not find me in the system. She did everything but call me a liar.
Once again, in tears, I gave up.
Currently on television there is a perfect analogy. In a commercial, as soon as a florist calls to say he had been in an accident, you see the insurance clerk immediately enter his information on her computer screen to start a claim.
What did TWO Ministry case workers do while I begged them for help, play a crossword?
Are blind Ontario residents so useless to the province that two case workers couldn’t make the effort to enter my name onto a computer screen?
I then found out from a neighbour whose wife is stricken with MS, that it took them YEARS to get help from your Ministry!
That was the low blow. I gave up, too depressed to try again. Until now.
Do you Ms. Premier, understand why I gave up? If not, then how much abuse and how many slaps in the face should I have endured to obviously get nowhere?
Certainly no leader can be cognizant of every detail, in every department, under her or his oversight, but once a leader is made aware of any wrong, hopefully swift and remedial action will be taken on her or his watch.
That is why I am writing to you. Ontarians with disabilities are treated with incredible abuse by the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
From personal and shared experiences, our dignities are shattered.
Not even an iota of empathy exists by those in the Ontario Government handling the files of disabled persons. At least, we have not come across any who do.
In 2015, your government has been cognizant of sexual abuse in the workplace. I beg you now turn an eye to the high level of abuse in your Ministry of Community and Social Services.
As an analogy, for example, I am sure you and your colleagues would jump on any Ontario woman’s case if she was subjected to yelling, raging, put-downs, sarcasm, blame, threats, silent treatment, forced to do degrading acts, controlling, isolation from family & friends, belittlement, threats of killing, pushing, shoving, slapping, punching, choking, pinching, biting, spitting, striking or threatening with weapons, cutting, restraining, burning, pulling hair, withholding medical treatment, depriving of sleep or food and much more.
Yet, do you see the abuse when, completely blind I was treated so scornfully on the phone and when I complained I was told, “Sorry, you don’t even have a file here, so we have no record of who treated you like that.”
It gets worse. I have finally pulled myself out of a deep depression. Or so I thought. So after years of being too scared to phone the Ministry and get more abuse, last week I tried again.
On last week’s call I was told by the Ministry of Community and Social Services that because I turned 65 on April 21st I have now forfeited all those years of disability entitlement and all because I stopped “making noise”.
And I was also told that because I am 65, the computer refuses to accept me! Who programmes the Ontario Government’s computers?
Well, it has taken six years to climb out of my depression. I finally feel stronger and now there is fight in me again.
On the advice of your Ministry, it is noise the world will hear.
This is an Open Letter to you as I am certain there there must be thousands of disabled persons in Ontario who have been abused just like me.
By going public, I will endeavour to find them all and start a Ontario Disabled Persons Class Action Lawsuit, not only for the years of disability we have desperately needed, but also for the heinous mental pain and suffering, cruelty and negligence inflicted by your Ministry of Community and Social Services on defenseless and depressed people.
I know, I am one of them.
We will suffer in silence no more.
I look forward to your prompt and positive response.
Additionally, Mr. Toby Barrett, the Provincial Opposition Social Services Critic was advised by letter of this case, including the above Open Letter to Madam Premier, plus the legal action now deemed necessary to recoup both lost disability and associated damages, as follows:
May 21, 2015
Mr. Toby Barrett, MPP
Opposition Social Services Critic
Room 206, North Wing
Toronto, ON, M7A1A8
Via E-mail: email@example.com
Proposed Class Action: Disabled Persons vs Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services
When I lost my eyesight six years ago, I attempted, TWICE, to claim disability from our Ministry of Community and Social Services.
Their treatment of me was so heinous, causing such mental pain and suffering at the moment I was totally blind, their cruelty and negligence sent me into a depression far, far deeper than the one being experienced at the continual thoughts of perhaps never seeing again.
TWICE, I tried to get the Ministry’s assistance and both times, at the hands of unsympathetic case workers who were under an attack mode, without an iota of empathy, I ended up crying and giving up. Further, a neighbour with MS, paralyzed from the neck down and confined to an electric chair, confirmed it had taken her YEARS to get help from this Ministry.
I was too depressed to sustain any more kicks in the head from the Ministry and waited until I felt strong enough to take such a kicking once again. And a renewed kicking it has been!
Last week, a manager at the Ministry confirmed my file does not even exist and told me I “should have made more noise”.
So it is more noise I will make, and in addition to the disability she told me I have now mysteriously forfeited because I “did not make enough noise,” my legal action will be claiming a much greater sum to cover the pain, suffering, and the loss of enjoyment of life due to the deep, deep depression your Ministry wrought upon me for six years.
Additionally, after “making more noise” on social media, I have become aware of many more disabled Victims of this Ministry, enough to establish this as a class action lawsuit against the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
I detailed some of my own case in a published, Open Letter to the Premier. It is found at: http://premierwynne.blogspot.ca
Someone at Ontario’s Legislative Assembly read this web site, seen as Detail #2 below in the screen grab. They read all 3 existing posts.
The footprint they left behind took me to this web site: