Along with their cheques, the region's 24,000 welfare recipients will get a severe warning mailed out to them at the end of the month.

The message is that if they defraud the government, they could be cut off from social assistance forever.

Carol Huriy says, "It's like an accusation."

Huriy has been on social assistance for 10 months. She doesn't appreciate the new plan.

"Then to have something like this thrown into your face constantly, over and over again, on the news, on the cheques, on everything. (The government keeps saying) 'We're going to prosecute fraud. We're going to prosecute fraud.' Well fine. Prosecute fraud, but leave me the hell alone," say Huriy.

She and her two children live on $463 a month.

As of April 1, the Harris government moves to zero tolerance for welfare fraud.

Dick Stewart runs the region's $245 million social assistance program.

He says, "Down the road I foresee some pretty desperate people. And desperate people do desperate things."

Stewart doesn't think the province needs to go this far.

He says, "In this region last year there were 59 convictions for social assistance fraud, as determined by the courts. So it's not a huge problem."

A spokesperson for the National Anti-Poverty Organization says the plan is simply mean-spirited.

"If the government of Ontario were really concerned about what happened to the citizens of this province, it wouldn't be attacking the poorest citizens. They'd be dealing with the crisis in health care. They'd be dealing with the crisis in public education."

Carol Huriy says most people aren't on welfare to commit fraud.

"Most people are on welfare because they have no choice. Anybody who's willing to live below the poverty level, not having enough money to feed your family .... You don't live on welfare. You survive on welfare," says Huriy.