Printer Friendly

Ontario retreats from appealing spouse-in-the-house decision.

TORONTO -- After nine years single women on welfare can breathe a sigh of relief! The Ontario government decided not to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling on the Falkiner case, eliminating the so-called "spouse in the house" rule whereby single women immediately lost their social assistance benefits if there were any signs of cohabitation with another person, including shopping or celebrating birthdays together.

But Raj Arnand, the lawyer who represented the four, cautioned that single women may still lose their benefits within three months of living with someone else because when the Court of Appeal struck down the ruling, the province responded by introducing a new rule, which allowed welfare recipients to cohabit with someone for three months before having their benefits reassessed.

The rule, which was introduced by the Conservative government in 1995 as part of a crack down on welfare abuse, resulted in some 10,000 welfare recipients losing some or all of their benefits after moving in with another person.

The Tory rule changed an existing rule whereby couples were able to live together for up to three years before they were considered spouses. It also required the partner, who was not on social assistance, to contribute financially to the household and the recipient's welfare benefits were reduced by that amount.

As a result of a challenge by four women who lost benefits, the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2002 struck down the rule saying it stripped women of their dignity, subjected them to highly intrusive questioning by the state and forced them to choose between financial independence and their relationship. That ruling, which was appealed by the province, was to have been heard by the Supreme Court of Canada this fall with five attorneys-general from other provinces intervening in the case.

Ontario Attorney-General, Michael Bryant said that the Liberal provincial government would not follow through on the appeal because it was "punitive" and "an attempt to punish people unfairly."
COPYRIGHT 2004 Community Action Publishers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Child & Family
Publication:Community Action
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:Sep 20, 2004
Words:324
Previous Article:More NB families eligible for day care assistance.
Next Article:Manitoba sets heathy kids panel.
Topics:


Related Articles
Gov. Gen. Clarkson and Mr. Saul to speak to bishops, spouses: life as an Anglican couple.
Ottawa gives in on same-sex benefits.
"Spouses" in B.C. (Bill 31).
Same-sex "spouses".
Ontario's house-in-spouse ruling found unconstitutional.
Court destroys "spouse-in-house" rule. (News in Brief).
Spouse in house to Supreme Court. (Income Security).
Administrative appeal rights in innocent spouse cases.
Supreme court upholds spanking but sets limits for parents and teachers.
Across the nation.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters