“Targeted Self Advocacy” (or “Beating Bureaucracy”)

Written By: George

My first real self-advocacy success was early in the pandemic when I was looking for work and needed clothes. I called my worker to ask about the crisis grant for interview clothing. She was adamant I had to have had a recent crisis to qualify.

I argued until she said it was policy. I know that’s the office’s limit of authority, so I asked myself “Who’s in charge of policy?” The government; so I wrote a letter to the Minister of Social Development & Poverty Reduction (MSD&PR) and also to the Premier, explaining my problem and desired solution. I also listed what I felt were all my barriers to getting a job right now. I also sent a copy to my local MLA, as a courtesy.

I sent the emails. A few days later I got a call from a Quality Control Manager at the MSD&PR. She’d already deposited the full clothing grant to my account, and wanted to go over my list of barriers to fix as many as possible, as the Minister had ordered her to do so (Wow! I was giddy!); so I got a new power chair and CPAP machine, and the requested clothing allowance! All from one email to stand up for myself.

I’m still looking for work, but I’m much better prepared now and expecting success at this and anything else I feel is important to my self-worth and success. I’ve learned from this that when I stand up for myself as a human being with rights, good things happen. I’m now writing Ottawa to stop the changes to Bill C-7. This newfound ‘power’ of mine shall not go to waste. Since I could get past even the MSD&PR, I know that Covid-19 isn’t going to stop me either.

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