‘Crazy’ Dave Won’t Give Up Fight

By Greg Peerenboom greg.peerenboom@sunmedia.ca

CORNWALL — A local organic farmer has renewed his fight to change what he claims are discriminatory ODSP legislation.

“Crazy” Dave Thomasson has filed an application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Thomasson, who is bi-polar, wants a judge to squash a ruling by Ontario Disability Support Program official Sylvie Charron.

Charron denied an appeal by Thomasson to be reinstated into ODSP last February.

Thomasson had been kicked off ODSP in October 2010, although he did receive interim assistance until this past March. ODSP

has now asked him to pay back some $15,000 of ODSP income.

Charron said she had no choice but to disqualify Thomasson because he insisted on using the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as

a defence.

But the ODSP’s appeal mechanism, the Social Benefits Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to hear an argument based on the


Thomasson said he went ahead with his charter defence because he purposely wants to expose the Ontario government.

He claims ODSP legislation is “harming disabled people” because its regulations don’t offer the same rights to ODSP

recipients. Thomasson violated ODSP regulation by refusing to verify his farm income.

It’s necessary to determine the level of ODSP support.

That’s not fair, he maintains, because ODSP doesn’t allow him to claim business expenses (eligible under Revenue Canada) for

operating his organic farm.

ODSP claws back 50% of earnings after the first $100.

One of Thomasson’s objectives for farming was to earn enough so he could “exit ODSP responsibly” and not have to rely on

social assistance for drug benefits.

Thomasson wants the Ontario court to send his file back to the tribunal so his discrimination issues could be heard on the

merits of human rights.

Thomasson is representing himself, but he has found an ally in the Ottawa chapter of Acorn, which agreed he was “wrongly


In a letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty, the Acorn board urges the premier to give Thomasson his fair shake in a court


“Every disabled person is entitled to the full protection of the charter.

“Any and everything under the ODSP Act that is less than full equality with able-bodied people is discrimination solely

because of medical disability.”

Former local MPP Jim Brownell has sided with Thomasson in the past. Ottawa Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi recently supported his

efforts, but not Thomasson’s claim of discrimination.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services, which oversess the ODSP, does not comment on issues related to specific


Article ID# 3567118

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