Manitoba mother accuses EIA case worker of discrimination
A Manitoba mother, whose child is battling cancer, says she has been bullied by her Employment and Income Assistance case worker.
The mother and her husband, who have 11 children, say they have faced discrimination at the hands of the case worker.
The couple spoke out on Monday but did not want to be identified because they fear their EIA funding would be cut off.
"She openly just said that I should keep my legs closed — just outright said that. I was in shock," the mother told CBC News, referring to an incident in May.
According to the couple, their 12-year-old son was diagnosed with Stage 4 synovial carcinoma last month, after a large lump was found on his collarbone.
"We're hoping and praying that he overcomes this," the mother said, her voice breaking.
The woman said she and her husband were unfairly denied meal tickets and taxi slips to make it to the hospital with their son.
"My wife didn't deserve to stand there and be insulted like that," her husband said.
First Nation leaders say a human-rights complaint will be filed later this week. They are calling for a public apology and action from the Manitoba government.
"Their water got cut off, their hydro got cut off, and bills are not being paid," said Grand Chief David Harper of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), which represents northern chiefs in the province.
The chief of Manto Sipi Cree Nation, where the couple is originally from, calls the situation an abuse of power, while Harper said it's racism.
Harper said he wants the province to put through anti-bullying legislation "and lateral violence has to be put away, especially at that department."
The provincial government responded with a statement a few hours after Monday's news conference.
"Like all complaints about service at EIA offices we are taking this very seriously and are following up. The complaint will be investigated by the department and appropriate actions taken to ensure participants are treated fairly and with respect," the statement read.
The mother said she hopes that her story will create some sort of change.
"It will make me feel better if they change the attitude and the treatment that the people on social assistance are subjected to," she said.