Human rights abuse at Welfare agency?


Ms Judi Huta, Executive Director
JobWave (Fraser Region)
3rd Floor – 915 Fort Street
Victoria, British Columbia
Canada V8V 3K3 604-535-7225

Dear Ms Huta,

I am writing this letter to express my frustration and disappointment with the JobWave program.

I’ve hit a hard time in my life and like everyone in their time of need, I require a bit of help in order to survive. Though I’m not overjoyed at my current state of poverty and vulnerability, I am certainly not ashamed of it and wish JobWave would stop trying to make me feel as though I should.

I am unemployed right now and as a Ministry client it is JobWave’s duty to assist me in rectifying this situation.

I know why I’m unemployed. I am aware of the personal challenges I face that prevent me from keeping a job for too long. I’ve been in the work force since I was 15 years old, and have carried these challenges with me for over a decade. Even with a university degree and a successful career in my past, I’m still challenged with the same old patterns. It’s taken a huge toll on my self esteem and I need help to break the cycle.

This, of course, is not your problem. And I’m not furnishing this story to elicit sympathy, but to underline my desperation for help in a very difficult time.

JobWave, in my experience, has not been a place where I am listened to.  I am not an individual, but a number. Just one of many welfare cases herded through your office every week. My needs and challenges as a client thus far have taken a back seat to your need to pile me down with all the rules and regulations of the program.

In one instance I called a case worker to ask if I could re-schedule an appointment. In an accusatory tone, she demanded I elaborate on exactly what I was doing, the rules of the program and why I hadn’t called earlier. She told me the consequences of a “missed” appointment and jumped to the conclusion that I had missed it already.

Not even listening to my request. I didn’t call to say “I’m going to miss an appointment” I called to simply ask if it was possible to reschedule.

As it happened, I was taking a four day “Work Place Success Skills” course offered by MCC Employment Services in Vancouver. It’s funded by Service Canada. I also meet regularly with an employment councillor at Family Services of Greater Vancouver and have also done extensive workshops through ALDA. All of these organistions are extremely helpful to me.

As I said, I’m in need of help right now, and these organisations are there for me when JobWave isn’t.

The staff  at JobWave speak to me, and others as I’ve witnessed, in an accusatory, punitive tone. They are supremely condescending, abrupt, and unprofessional. Indeed, they may help many people out there, but they seem to be approaching everyone with the same crude tactics.

I wish I could say I was unfamiliar with this kind of treatment, but I’m not. I grew up in British Columbia’s foster care system and dealt with a lot of degrading treatment from state sponsored employees. They say they are out to help me, but their words and actions scream otherwise.

After leaving care I obtrained a university degree and a post-graduate certificate so I’d never have to face such dehumanisation again. And I didn’t, until I encountered JobWave. Needless to say, my encounters with JobWave have brought up terrible feelings of helplessness, degradation, and despair.

It’s taken a profound toll on my mental health and stability.

But apparently this is the price I must pay in order to keep a roof over my head.

Frankly, I don’t believe you have this right. JobWave has gone too far. Therefore, I would respectfully suggest you step back for a minute and ask your employees to approach their work with some compassion and civility.

Yours truly,

Nathaniel Christopher

I am a 38-year-old resident of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. I like to share my thoughts and feelings on my own online space. From 1998 until 2017 I worked as a journalist and I hope to use this website as an archive for all of my stories.


  1. Thanks so much Dolly. It’s so easy to stand up for what’s right when I have courageous friends like you. You are, without a doubt, the most courageous, fearless person I know. YOU inspire me!!

  2. This is the best letter you have written. It speaks volumes and really captures my feelings towards this issue as well. I am happy to see you standing up for yourself. They are completely out of line with their behavior and need to be called out on it. Kudos to you sir!

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