More than a year ago, the family of two young siblings, including the oldest, left their home in northern Ontario to live in a remote area in the remote part of the province where most of the people live.
They were on a quest for the same things that they were taught to do when they were young: work, play and learn.
It’s a struggle for the family to make ends meet while their older sister is ill with a serious form of dementia.
They are on disability and cannot work and cannot afford food.
They are also dependent on their mother for financial support.
“We have been trying to get through it for a long time,” said Laura Leibovici, who has been with the family since they left their house in the town of Leeching.
“It’s just so hard, it’s just such a struggle.”
The family is on a wait list for social services.
They have been told they will be released from the wait list if they are found to be eligible for a disability benefit.
But Laura said she still worries about their ability to support their sister, who is a full-time carer for a dementia patient.
“She’s just a really special young lady, she has such a strong spirit, she loves people, she’s very outgoing,” she said.
“I just want to make sure she’s not left behind.”
The two siblings have been living in a trailer park in the province’s far north for the past year, waiting for the provincial government to extend their benefits.
They can apply for the federal Social Credit benefit if they can prove they can work, live independently and have sufficient income to support themselves and their sister.
If they are approved, the couple will have access to social housing, health care and basic social services, as well as to help with basic needs such as rent and food.
“They have a lot of support systems, they’re doing really well financially, they just need the support to be able to live their lives,” said Leibovi.
The family’s story has attracted international attention and a lot more attention, with some calling for more help for families like them.
The federal government is also reviewing the benefits for people living in remote communities.
The province’s minister of social services has said the move is in response to a “serious concern” about families living in poverty.
The Ontario government said in an email to CBC News that it has “reached out to the provincial and federal governments to provide additional support for the many families and individuals who are currently on the waitlist for social assistance in the Greater Toronto Area.”
“We know there is more work to be done, but we will continue to work closely with the provinces, the federal and territorial governments to improve access to support for those who need it most,” the email read.
The wait list The family is waiting for a federal decision on how long to wait for the next social assistance review.
They said they expect to receive their decision soon.
The government said the wait-list for disability benefits is up to two years.
The wait for other benefits is one year.
The families situation is unique and not unique to any one community.
The province said the waiting list is based on “a population estimate, based on census data and other information.”
The wait-listed families have been receiving assistance from the government for at least two years, according to Laura.
She said the situation is different in remote areas because people living there often are separated from other family members and can be living in their own homes for extended periods of time.
“The main thing is, we have to work to make it as easy as possible for them to get into those communities, they have to have that support system and we have got to do that for them,” said Lauren Leibovitz.
“When they’re here, they need to be supported by the people who are there, but they don’t need to have to wait.”
She said she understands why some people might want to move back to their hometown, but she also understands the need to make things easier for the people they live with.
“You want to live with them, you want to stay with them.
You want to be with them and see what they do and how they react,” she explained.”
But I think that’s the reality for most of us, that’s what we’re living with now, we don’t want to leave.”
If we can make it so we can stay here, then we can keep doing what we do.
“With files from CTV Ottawa’s Natalie Brown.