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The City of Barrie's Systemic Discrimination Against The Vulnerable.

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The number of social assistance beneficiaries increased for all assistance benefits, except for ODSP (Ontario's main disability assistance program). 

 

This tells us that new ODSP applications aren't being processed in Barrie and Innisfil. After posting about this on Facebook, people started commenting about this explaining why they were told to go to Newmarket to get their applications processed. 

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While nearly 12,000 able-bodied people lost their jobs in Barrie during the summer of 2023, our Government told its disabled Barrie residents to “go get a job”, the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (CCSS) also stopped accepting ODSP applications in Barrie and Innisfil. Leah obtained this information through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, which are provided below.  

Documents Provided During This Process:

Notice of decision and transfer

Interim decision

Extension letter

Release package

Screenshots of emails between people who tried to prevent this information from coming out: 

ODSP cover-up emails

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The BMNPHC & SCHC's Secret Rent Calculations

Fresh Food Weekly had to shut down the biweekly meal box program that was feeding hundreds of starving people living on social assistance benefits in Barrie and Innisfil because the BMNPHC decided that disabled and elderly people didn't deserve to have fresh food and toilet paper delivered to them every other week.  

 

Leah Dyck personally raised +$176K in two years and Fresh Food Weekly was doing really well.

 

Barrie Housing staff hated her for being so good at feeding their hungriest tenants; which were, coincidentally, their poorest tenants who don't pay any rent at all, because of their disabilities.

 

The following audio recording is a half-hour phone call between Leah Dyck, and Mary-Anne Denny-Lusk, the CEO of the BMNPHC, admitting they "over-charged" Leah's rent by $2,700. They gave back the funds nine months after Leah reached out to four managers asking about the amount of the "over charge". They had no intention of returning the funds until Leah threatened to tell national media outlets. That’s when Mary-Anne Denny-Lusk, their CEO, immediately called her (hence the recording) and returned the funds. Leah still has no way of knowing if this was even the correct amount they "over charged" her. As far as Leah knows, they could have stolen more and could still owe her more money. 

April 26, 2022 Recorded Phone CallMary-Anne Denny-Lusk
00:00 / 30:48

The definition of ‘over charge’ is: charge (someone) too high a price for goods or a service.

 

The definition of ‘stealing’ is: the action or offence of taking another person's property without permission or legal right and without intending to return it; theft.

 

The BMNPHC and the SCHC intentionally stole thousands from their tenants because they haven't returned the funds to anyone except Leah. Additionally, the BMNPHC stole from Leah since they ignored her request four times over nine months (you’ll see this in the ‘BMNPHC Email Communications pdf attached), and it wasn’t until she threatened to go to the media when she finally got a response, which demonstrates that they had absolutely no intention of returning the "over-charged" rent. What makes this all so much worse, was that Leah was begging for help, as seen in the emails between Leah and BMNPHC staff, which are also provided further below. 

When covid happened, everyone receiving a social assistance benefit started getting the entire benefit. Leah isn't sure what the full rate is for a four-person benefit, but for her (two-person), it's $1300/month. She's not entitled to the full $1300/month though - she doesn’t know how you get the full amount. But because no ODSP staff were working during covid (although they were still getting paid no doubt), everyone on ODSP got their full amount, even though they weren't eligible. When ODSP staff were forced to do their job again, disabled people started getting their regular rates, but each month, a little bit was being deducted to pay back the "overcharge". This isn’t the problem. There’s nothing wrong with this, other than ODSP staff continued to be paid for not working, but that’s not illegal. In fact, it’s fairly common practice for government employees to make lots of money while not doing one ounce of work (This is a generalized statement. Both of Leah's parents had government jobs their whole lives). 

 

Barrie Housing charged rent based off the full amount, so for Leah, her rent was increased to reflect 30% of $1300/month, instead of the usual 30% of $850/month. 

Furthermore, in 2020, Leah was receiving both the CPP Disability benefit, as well as the ODSP benefit. Although people with disabilities can be on both benefit programs at the same time, they can only receive monthly cash payments from one benefit program. No one is entitled to cash payments from both programs. The reason someone would want to be on both programs is because the ODSP program provides medical and dental coverage and the CPP Disability program doesn’t. Leah assumes payments from monthly CPP Disability rates are also slightly more than ODSP rates. There may be additional tax benefits with the CPP Disability benefit as well. 

Breaking it down

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Here's a screenshot of the total deposits made to Leah's (personal) bank account in 2020, by: 

  • ODSP

  • CPP Disability

  • CERB

  • E.I (transition from CERB)

Leah's rent is calculated based on her income. All these deposits are 'income deposits'. However, Leah doesn't how the BMNPHC calculates her rent, since they haven't ever provided a financial breakdown for determining rent rates since she moved there in 2008. 

On top of the increased ODSP rates that the County of Simcoe's public housing authorities were basing their tenant's new, increased rent rates on, these housing authorities were also basing rent rates on the income they received from CPP Disability as well. Furthermore, Leah ended up having to pay back some of the above CERB deposits but never received any notice of the change in rent rates, likely because they didn't happen this time either, and they likely owe Leah (and all their other tenants) even more money. 

Leah has tried explaining this to many other tenants now, but they don’t understand what’s going on. Leah doesn’t even fully understand what they did either, as the BMNPHC never once provided any kind of financial breakdown. 

 

These BMNPHC staff hated Leah after this. Here are two threatening letters she received from Barrie Housing’s lawyer, back in October 2022, telling her to stop exposing their abuses, or they’d sue her for defamation. Of course, Leah didn't remove any posts because she doesn’t lie:

Threatening letter from the BMNPHC's lawyer #1

Leah's first response

Threatening letter from the BMNPHC's lawyer #2

Leah's second response

Then they never talked to Leah again.

 

Some of “the worst” postings are provided below. Once you read these, you'll realize why The County of Simcoe's public housing department wanted them taken down. We've plainly stated people's living circumstances: 

Recipient Testimonies

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Recipient
Testimonies

These are some of the struggles our program recipients experience from systemic discrimination of vulnerable peoples living in The City of Barrie. 

History of BMNPHC Discrimination

This whole thing actually goes back further. For some reason, Mary-Anne Denny-Lusk allowed Fresh Food Weekly to be run out of their empty community room for a few months in 2021 (July to September, 2021). Then, they suddenly stopped letting Fresh Food Weekly use their empty room (they gave her two months to find a new space though. Unfortunately, many people share the same views as the BMNPHC and the SCHC, which is that these people don't deserve anymore of a handout than they're already getting. Since Leah lives at the public housing building this community room was at, she could see that it continued to remain empty for at least another year after the BMNPHC told her to get out of their unused community room, that was being used to feed hundreds of their own starving tenants. This CBC radio interview was recorded on the morning of Oct. 6, 2021, in an effort to find a new operating space. Unfortunately, Fresh Food Weekly didn't end up finding a new space for nine more months after this: 

CBC Interview
00:00 / 06:56

Cover-Up Culture

In fact, cover-up culture has been a long-reigning phenomena within the social housing sector for generations, as seen in the same city as the Mighty Mike Bloomberg; The New York City Housing Authority. 

 

This issue doesn't only exist in New York and Barrie, Ontario, Canada, though. There have been signs of mass corruption at the institutional level for years. Look at what the Manitoba Public Housing provider did to a tenant who tried to grow vegetables on his subsidized-unit's property: 

In fact, New York City's role in destroying lives of the vulnerable, including their accomplice's role; NYCHA, ended up in a lawsuit costing the city and state $4 billion.

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BarrieToday.com was provided with all of this evidence after asking Leah specifically about the Barrie public housing experience, as seen in the ‘Description of Activities’ pdf attachment, but decided to ghost Leah instead of report it. Screenshots of BarrieToday.com trying to cover this up are also provided in the 'Description of Activities' pdf attachment. 

Description of activities

BMNPHC email communications

On June 21, 2024, BarrieToday.com revised this article so it wouldn't appear that Alex Nuttall ignored Leah's request for help. However, Leah screenshot the original article because she knew BarrieToday.com would try to cover up the truth again. Here's the original version of the article: 

BarrieToday.com's original article

Furthermore, here's a copy of the exact version of the Food Systems Planning Office proposal Leah presented to Alex Nuttall in February 2024:

Alex Nuttall Proposal, February 2024

On July 4, 2024, Nikki Cole and Alex Nuttall published an article talking about how wonderful Barrie public housing is. 

BarrieToday.com Article

Pursuing Justice

On July 7, 2024, Leah mailed her complaint about the BMNPHC and the SCHC to The Federal Housing Advocate in Ottawa, Ont. 

On July 10, 2024, Leah filed two complaints with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, about the CCSS's fraud, as well as the BMNPHC and SCHC's fraud and discrimination. Here's a copy of one receipt confirming they've received the submission (receipts are the exact same other than the file number that's been assigned to them): 

Leah has also contacted the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario and spoke to her assigned case worker there on July 12, 2024. They will discuss next steps on how to proceed and get back to Leah. 

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We got Toronto's trash

In June 2023, the city’s ombudsman Kwame Addo launched an investigation into the TCHC’s process for handling tenant human rights complaints after hearing concerning stories from TCHC tenants.

 

The investigation revealed that the TCHC shared "incorrect, misleading and inaccessible information" about its human rights complaint handling process on both its website and during communication with tenants. The city’s ombudsman noted that the TCHC’s website listed its human rights office as the primary place for tenants to take their complaints despite the fact that the office had not been active for several years. 

 

“Further, its Human Rights Policy and Human Rights Complaint Procedure were wildly out of date and did not take into account major changes to the Ontario human rights system that went into effect in 2008,” the report read.

TCHC staff do not have the proper expertise, resources, or training to effectively and proactively address human rights concerns. The cumulative impact of our findings demonstrated that tenants' human rights and dignity have not been priority for TCHC. This is unacceptable.”- article excerpt 

This isn't the first investigation conducted by the ombudsman. In 2018, Toronto’s Ombudsman Fiona Crean said of the TCHC: "callous and unfair treatment of” many of its elderly tenants. Fiona also said; “my investigation has found TCHC staff did not change their practices,” she said. “Instead there’s been a pattern of callous and unfair treatment of many seniors, including at least one case in which a tenant died shortly after eviction.” - Source. 

In 2020, Ombudsman Susan Opler says complaints from tenants to her office spiked from 184 in 2015 to to 449 in 2019. "Ombudsman Toronto has handled more TCHC cases than cases involving any other city organization," the report states. "Over the past three years, 24 per cent of all cases Ombudsman Toronto handled" were about TCH, the document says. - Source. 

The TCHC was forced to clean-up house and some of their rats made their way into Simcoe County: 

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As part of the City of Barrie’s effort to tackle the affordable housing crisis, an Affordable Housing Symposium was held on May 4, 2023 at Southshore Community Centre in Barrie, Ont. One of the featured speakers was Mina Faye-Bahgat. 

As recently as Feb. 1, 2022, Mina was the Director of Program Support, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration for the City of Toronto. 

He wasn't allowed to destroy lives in Toronto anymore so the County of Simcoe welcomed him here with wide open arms. They knew he'd be a perfect fit for The City of Barrie's political environment, which has zero tolerance for enabling the human rights of vulnerable, disabled, and elderly people living on government assistance.

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A plea for help.

The House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Public Accounts tasked the AAFC to develop a National Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan, and they specifically included the phrase: “taking into consideration the food security of Canadians”. This led to the Office of the Auditor General of Canada to publish a report called ‘Report 12—Protecting Canada’s Food System’.

 

The Canadian Government supported the report, and consequently published; ‘Government Response to Recommendation & Status Update’, which confirms their support. It also tasked the AAFC to develop a National Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan. They were also asked to provide a progress report by Dec. 31, 2022, and a final report by Mar. 31, 2023. The final report was supposed to summarize their consultation efforts, and outline a path forward in developing a completed National Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan by 2024. 

 

On May 27, 2021, the AAFC hosted a conference which had 51 government members in attendance, to discuss “Climate adaptation and food security”

 

Yet none of them noticed the year-after-year 100 percent increase in monthly visits to all food banks in Canada. Although, in the conference’s stage two dialogue report, they’ve been made well-aware of many issues that need fixing, including the following, which has been copied and pasted from the dialogue report:

 

"The discussion on gaps, challenges and barriers included:

  • Need to invest in emergency preparedness and resilience building with a pan Canadian food system risk tool and/or food system preparedness plan. Requires addressing gaps in information and metrics.

  • Invest more on educating students, next generation farmers, retailers, public, etc. on integrated food systems and food security at all levels to inform and prepare people (particularly our younger generation) to address adaptation and food security issues. 

  • Need greater investment for supporting circular food economy approaches, including education, traditional knowledge and communication.

 

On Tuesday, March 1, 2022, 15 members of our Government came together to discuss: “OAG Report 12 – Protecting Canada's Food System”. 

 

Yet they all continued to ignore the year-after-year 100 percent increase in monthly visits to all food banks in Canada. 

 

In response to the recommendations of Report 12 - Protecting Canada’s Food System of the Auditor General, the AAFC developed an action plan called: ‘Agriculture & Agri-food Canada (AAFC) Management & Action Plan (MRAP)’.

 

On May 17, 2022, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts released to the press in a statement that the federal government had not developed a national emergency preparedness and response plan to manage a health crisis that impacted the entire food system and Canadians’ food security. The committee’s audit found that there were deficiencies with data collection and performance measurement, which meant that responsible departments and agencies did not know whether these programs achieved all of their objectives. 

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Furthermore, the Standing Committee’s Chair, John Williamson, published a report in May 2022, titled, ‘Protecting Canada’s Food System’ and in his opening paragraph, under ‘Introduction’, he blatantly states that the “unemployment and loss of wages during the crisis also led to an increased risk of food insecurity, especially among vulnerable populations.” (Pg. 1) 

 

Furthermore, he went on to explain how sustainable development and gender and diversity outcomes were not always measured (pg. 8), and data and performance measurement problems prevented reliable reporting on outcomes (pg. 15)

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People living on social assistance are currently in a state of emergency. 

 

We have no emergency response for low-income vulnerable people.

 

We need to start getting food into low-income homes immediately.

 

Canada needs to start looking at food as a form of national security because our ability to feed ourselves constitutes our survival. 

 

People are food insecure because they can’t pay for food. Getting free food into the homes of people with low-incomes is the only way to create household food security if we’re not going to give them jobs that pay them enough to feed themselves. 

 

There needs to be a focus on creating access to food for a growing population group that cannot afford any food at all. We need to know exactly where the poor live; not by county. We need to know by postal code at minimum.

 

The CCSS has made it incredibly hard, perhaps even impossible to find out where starving people live. This can’t happen anymore. This data needs to become available immediately. More inclusive information-sharing channels are required, and so are enforceable penalties on those who do not share information essential to national security. Contrary to any privacy issue claims and claims about the labour-intense nature of gathering this data, obtaining this data is imperative for the population group’s own security and safety. A concern for this population group’s survival must be demonstrated by someone in authority. It must! Current policies allow ministries to oppress essential data needed to inform actions pertaining to national security.

Leah Dyck: Finding the path to food security

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