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Apr 13, 2006

Sara Anderson's Hunger Strike
Single mom takes desperate measures to
demand immediate action on poverty!

April 13, 2006

Sara Anderson is a Sudbury woman on Ontario Works who has resorted to a hunger strike in a desperate attempt to get the attention of the provincial government.

No one should feel they have to put their life at risk to get the Liberal government to take the issue of poverty seriously in this province. And anti-poverty groups and community agencies shouldn't be put in the position of grappling with how to support someone who says she is willing to die if she can't live with dignity.

The Liberals say they have already taken action. People on Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) see only dismally small increases to social assistance rates, broken promises around the National Child Benefit Supplement (NCB clawback, and a special diet allowance that has been so completely gutted that few are eligible for anywhere near the maximum $250 allowed.

The Liberals acknowledge that they need to do more. They need to do much more - NOW - not years down the road.

DAWN Ontario, encourages people to contact Premier Dalton McGuinty and the new Minister of Community and Social Services Madeleine Meilleur, urging them to:

  1. Increase social assistance rates to reflect the real cost of living,

  2. Reinstate the special diet allowance and, in the process,

  3. Ensure the health and safety of Sarah Anderson.

Fax and phone numbers are below, as well as a more detailed press release.

TAKE NOTE: The Ontario Legislature's MPP contact page provides NO email address listing for either the Premier or the Minister of Community and Social Services.

Press Release

Single mom takes desperate measures to demand immediate action on poverty!

Press Conference
Thursday, April 13, 2006
12:00 pm
Queen's Park Media Room


  • Sara Anderson
  • Kathy Hardill, Health Providers Against Poverty
  • Eileen Morrow, Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses
  • Representative of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
  • Rachel Huot, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)

A single mother on Ontario Works (OW) is now well into the second week of a hunger strike aimed at drawing attention to the deficient social policies of the provincial Liberal government. Sara Anderson, 45 years old and a resident of Sudbury, is putting her life on the line in an effort to force Queen's Park to meet the needs of 760,000 people living on OW and Ontario Disability Support Payments (ODSP). Now at the end of a second week of no food or medication, Sara's health is severely compromised.

Anderson is demanding that the provincial government substantially increase social assistance rates by 40% and re-instate the Special Diet Supplement. Referring to the recent Ontario budget announcement she states that, "Welfare rates went up by two percent, but our rent went up by more than that." She also points out that "My life is not about living, it's about survival." She describes her life as "having become a prisoner of welfare." She is the mother of a 15-year old daughter, who supports her decision to go on hunger strike

The Liberal provincial government refuses to give any real raise to social assistance rates. As Anderson puts it "people on welfare no longer have any dignity and are forced to live like animals. That shouldn't happen in this country. That's why I'm going on this hunger strike." Anderson promises to "fight this struggle to the end."

At the press conference Thursday, April 13th at 12:00 noon, Sara will be explaining what has driven her to take this very serious step. She will deliver a message to poor people throughout the province and issue a call to Dalton McGuinty and his government on her demands. She will be joined by supporters from a range of organizations, including Health Providers Against Poverty, Ontario Association of Interval and Transitional Housing, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

For More Information call the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty at: 416-925-6939

For background information on Sara Anderson's Hunger Strike visit:

Take Action

Call and/or Fax the Minister and Premier in support of Sara Anderson's demand to Raise the Rates by 40% and reinstate the Special Diet Supplement:

Premier Dalton McGuinty:
Tel: 416-325-1941
Fax: 416-325-3745
Ontario Legislature website does NOT list an email address for the Premier

Minister of Community and Social Services: Madeleine Meilleur:
Tel: 416-325-5225
Fax: 416-325-5191
Ontario Legislature website does NOT list an email address for the Minister of Community & Social Services


Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Thursday April 13, 2006, 9:02 am
Tags: canada ontario poverty [add/edit tags]

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Cheryl Benson (375)
Thursday April 13, 2006, 10:03 am
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Barbara Anello
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