Dedicated to Kimberly Rogers
In April 2001, Kimberly Rogers was convicted of welfare fraud for receiving student loans while collecting social assistance. The money helped pay for four years of community college. She earned a diploma in social services in April 2000. The welfare office determined an overpayment of $13,468.31.
After her conviction, she was automatically suspended from receiving social assistance benefits for three months. The penalty was harsh:
At the time of her conviction, Kimberly Rogers was five months pregnant and was suffering from a number of medical conditions for which she required prescribed medication. When her benefits were cancelled, her Ontario Works prescription drug card was also cancelled.
On May 14, 2001 Kimberly Rogers launched an important case under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that challenged the constitutional validity of the Ontario Works regulations that cancelled her benefits after her conviction. The grounds for the Charter challenge were:
On May 31st, 2001, Justice Epstein granted a temporary injunction reinstating Ms Rogers’ benefits.
Not Enough Money
Even after her benefits were reinstated Kimberly Rogers did not have enough money to support herself and her unborn child. She received Ontario Works Benefits of $520.00 per month, minus $52.00 to repay the overpayment. Her rent was $450.00 per month, leaving $18.00 a month for food and everything else.
The mandates and limited funding of many charitable organizations in Sudbury could not address all of Ms Rogers’ needs. Unfortunately, even with their involvement and the reinstatement of her benefits, she was still in dire straights. Ms Rogers could not access nor could she afford fresh fruits, vegetables, or meat on a regular basis.
She was alone and pregnant, with