ODSP has called me many names and put me down but I say "Who says I want to fit in?"
The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) as it is officially called but I call it
"The Ontario Deprivation Starvation Pension"
I have been on the ODSP since 1984 making this my 23 year living on a meagre pension from my
Ontario government. We had to wait 11 years for an increase. Last year in 2006 we got 2%, wow what a raise eh, give me a break! and then next month in November 2007 we are going to be
getting another 2% increase monthly on our cheques, roughly $20. more a month. With the hydro rates having gone up, food costs rising, rents going up and the list goes on. We need to have
an income to be at the cost of living every year and it is not. I am living 50 below the poverty line.
ODSP has called me many things on my huge file. Here is what they have called me:
Jeanne Roemdeau, a VRS Intake Counsellor called me the following in her report about me
dated April 6, 1988 - File No. 101010
very loquacious woman
extremely assertive and be very demanding of her rights
Wendy Riley, my VRS worker called me in one report dated July 12, 1995, a report to her
supervisor Anne Amys, Memo #3 File No. 307-101010
strong in her viewpoint
Her approach is one of anti-psychiatry.
Wendy Riley wrote another report about me on June 22, 1988 Intake Memo #1, file no. 101010
She presents as a verbose and somewhat of an eccentric individual in that she wears a number of
anti-psychiatry buttons on her clothing and relates in a hyperactive way (rapid speech, extraneous
information and wondering off topic). However, she has obvious intellectual ability, seems
motivated to engage in the rehabilitatin process and has has a variety of past work experience.
I called my friend Jane Scharf and told her I was called "eccentric" by Wendy Riley and Jane told me that is a compliment, it means I am one of a kind, there is no one quite like me and she sure is right.
It is ironic that the Ontario government doles out pennies to us each month and they got a 25% fat
increase on their cheques. The Ottawa City Hall councillors got a big increase go on their cheques
as well as the federal member of parliament, it makes me sick. The most vulnerable people in our
society who are disabled get a raise of mere peanuts in relation to their big pay hikes. Shame on
these governments for being hogs when it comes to their paycheques.
The ODSP office in Ottawa has been nasty and cruel to me at times. I like to shake the tree so to speak and I got a good licking in them in some respects. If you bite the hand that feeds you sometimes they will bite you back and they have.
Here are some of the nasty things they have done to me. I applied for ODSP in the fall of 1984 after
my former husband John Clark and I have been on Welfare for about 6 months. I had asked my
welfare worker if there was pension for people like me who had a psychiatric background and I had bad nerves and found it hard to go back to work. My welfare worker who worked at the Welfare
office at 495 Richmond Road in Ottawa, told me there was no such pension. I believed her and did not investigate for myself and I should have. Don't believe what the worker says, check it out for yourself with someone higher if you gut feeling tells you differently. I learned a good lesson from that is all I can tell you.
A friend of mine Lise had a cousin who was visiting her at her apartment in the South end of Ottawa.
It was the summer of 1984 and John Clark and I had gone to visit Lise and her boyfriend.
Her cousin and I were talking about social services. I told Lise's cousin that my welfare worker
told me there was no disability pension and her cousin told me that was a lie. The cousin was
on ODSP and the office was at 10 Rideau Street in Ottawa located next to the Rideau Center.
I got the phone number from the cousin.
Boy was I angry at hearing that news. John had lost his job at the Ottawa Civic Hospital for no good reason a long story that I will tell in his bio in this book. See the section called "John Larry Clark".
We had to pay the rent and the phone and we ate well but had no extras at all. We could not
buy a coffee outside at all. We counted and pinched every penny. We did it.
I called Ms. Quinn of ODSP and told her the story. I told her that if John Clark and I were not
on ODSP in one month, we would call a lawyer. She believed me. She asked me for the welfare
worker's name and in a about a week we got our first ODSP and it was susbtantially higher than
a welfare cheque, not much more, but enough to buy a coffee and maybe see one movie if we
We lived at 57 Bayswater Ave in a one bedroom apartment. The apartment was too small for us.
About a year later, Sarah Burell an ODSP worker, other known as an Income Maintenance Officer came to see me and John Clark. She filled out an ODSP form. It was "Special Report to Medical Advisory Board" dated October 18, 1985. The form had my name on it: Sue Clark, 103-57 Bayswater Ave, Ottawa. Reference file no. 371312. Local office no. 211. Caseload no. 138
Here is some of what was on the form filled out by Sarah Burell.
Question 2 asked: "Present activity or daily manner of living - Note particularly what activities
of work the applicant/recipient is able or accustomed to do at home or elsewhere each day"
Answer: Sarah Burell wrote the following "Day hospital, 3 days a week, housework, read, does
some writing, member of Star Trek Club
Question 4 asekd: Income Maintenance Officer's observations on applicant/recipient:
Answser: a. appearance: Obese
b. obvious disabilities: Nerves
c. Mental alertness: "scatter-brained", repetitive
d. Posture: Normal e. Gait: Slow
f. Behaviour: friendly, highly repetitive g. Distress: anxious, nervous
rocks in chair while talking
Physician Address Treatment/Medication
Dr. Pecher Monfort psychiatrist
Dr. Bajwa 356 Woodroffe, Suite 106 psychiatrist
Dr. Vlahoivch St. Anne Clinic general practice
Dr. Rabie - has replaced Dr. Vlahovich
Record of applicant's/recipient's hospitalizations/attendance at clinics for the past five years:
Monfort - for nerves Aug 26/85 Sept 26/85
Ottawa General - overdose Sept 29/84 Oct 15/84
Queenseay Carleton 1981 for one month
Section III - Applicant's Education, Training and Employment:
Education: College, Algonquin, secretarial
Secretary May 75 to Oct 78
Clerical June 79 to Aug 80
Cecile Cyr is a nurse at the Montfort Hospital (Day Hospital) adminsters most of her medication/.
LI Carbonate (Carbolith) 300 mg - 6 caps a day
Thioridanize 25 mg 4 a day
Thioridanzine 10 mg
Sarah Burell signed her name and dated the form which was October 18/85
Calling me "scattered brained" crossed the line I think.
VRS - Vocational Rehabilitation Services:
ODSP has a section called VRS which stands for Vocational Rehabilitation Services. At one time, the Ontario government would send a person with disabilities to University or College to get their degree and pay for all of the education costs, books, transportation etc. The Mike Harris government took that all way with Bill - Social Assistance Reform.