Tag Archives: mental health

On Ghomeshi

Years ago, in the house of a queer friend from Atlantic Canada, I joked about Jian Ghomeshi and how he rudely and aggressively hit on her once. She laughed, I laughed, we laughed. She was queer – I thought he was queer. It was comedic gold. I didn’t think anything about it, and I sort of thought it was one of those “flaws” that celebrities have. I didn’t think twice about it.

I lived in Toronto. Used to joke with female friends about going and seeing George Strombolopolous’ show, because he was kind of funny. And I was from Vancouver, so seeing something at the CBC would be cool. I think I even invited my partner there once. Occasionally, I’d hear comments about Jian and his creepiness, and my brain would connect this back to my friend, and her story. But I didn’t think twice about it.

I’ll admit I used to really enjoy Jian’s “well, hello there” that he started the show with. I’m a white man; I have lots of privilege – I didn’t think about how that was pretty much an embodiment of his creepiness. His “Happy Tuesday.” I didn’t think twice about it.

Now I read that he would beat women, and then the next day text them – “Happy Thursday.” The idea of his voice makes me sick to my stomach.

I only wish I had thought twice about these interconnected rumours, these stories I’d heard from Newfoundland and from Toronto and Vancouver. But I didn’t, because privilege blinds.

Thank you to the women who have stepped forward and shared their stories. And I think twice about the courage and strength that it takes to do that. And that Ghomeshi is but one case of hundreds of thousands and millions that happen and continue to happen.

We all need to think twice. Especially those of us blinded by privilege.

Occupying Homelessness?

Joe Hatch
Homelessness isn’t a policy thing regarding random people. It’s a thing for actual people. It’s not abstract, it’s in our face, yet we live in denial.

Clearly, I’m no brain surgeon. But if there are homeless people, a civilized culture would find a way to use a progressive tax system to house them. Simple.

Homelessness, however, is a magnet for reprobate poor bashers who are too greedy to part with their wealth [massive or otherwise] to solve a problem.

But guess what. Research shows it’s actually cheaper to simply house the homeless. Unless you secretly hate them, or are a supporter of the Conservative Party of Canada that rejects science, research and data from an ideological, ignorance-embracing stance.

It’s actually this easy:

Continue reading Occupying Homelessness?

Lupita Nyong’o On Validation, For International Women’s Day

A sublime meditation on validation. Bravo!

…in which a young woman shares her adolescent anxieties and blossoms into a role model for us all.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Enjoy the whole clip here:

Continue reading Lupita Nyong’o On Validation, For International Women’s Day

The NHL Gladiator Pimps

Risking player’s brain trauma for profit makes the NHL a gladiator pimp organization.

At some point, as estimates continue to roll in, the NHL accountants and lawyers will realize that reducing concussion risk in the NHL will make the league more profitable. The NHLPA needs to do a better job advocating for the health of its membership.

That will get me watching again, and my kids.

And that may be the only thing, aggravated by class action lawsuits, that get the game safer for players. Oh and the CBC getting rid of Don Cherry.

Here’s information from a recent study [emphasis is mine]:

Continue reading The NHL Gladiator Pimps

Ending Homelessness: Easy If You Simply Care

Homeless sleeping in American FlagIf we are a caring society. If we acknowledge that there are a myriad of reasons why a community’s homeless population is homeless. If we thought we should invest our tax dollars and take advantage of good research, good experience, good pilot projects and professionals to address homelessness and other problems. If we were interested in treating people as people instead of the poorn or poor bashing of dehumanizing people. If all this…we could fix homlessness and address many or all of the things that lead to homelessness and preventable human suffering. Here’s how.

Continue reading Ending Homelessness: Easy If You Simply Care

BC’s Child Support Clawback Hurts Kids

 British Columbia’s Child Support Clawback for Children of Parents on Government Assistance Hurts Kids

When I bring up the issue of the child support clawback in British Columbia affecting single parents on temporary or disability assistance through the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, most people are completely unaware of this mean-spirited policy. It requires that all single parents receiving assistance report the child support they  bring in on a monthly basis so the Ministry can then deduct it, 100%, dollar-for-dollar, off of their next monthly cheque.

This is problematic for so many reasons. The most obvious is that it does not allow for any child living in poverty with a single parent on assistance to be lifted out of poverty, no matter how well the non-custodial parent is doing financially. According to the Legal Services Society in BC, laws surrounding child support are “based on the idea that a child should benefit from both parents’ ability to support him or her in the same way he or she would if the parents lived together.” Furthermore, the law states that, “Child support […] is the legal right of the child.” Therefore, the provincial government is breaking the law by enriching itself on the backs of children who receive child support and also have a parent on assistance.

The facts about income assistance and child support

I’m about to get personal here and detail my specific situation as an example. Let’s break down what it’s like for a single parent living on temporary or disability assistance in BC:

I am on disability for severe episodic bouts of major depression that I was diagnosed with 17 years ago. Without a child, I would receive $906 per month to live on. With my daughter, I receive $1241 per month, so that means the ministry provides $335 extra to provide food, clothing, and shelter for her. According to the child support table, based on the wages of my daughter’s father, he should pay $634 per month to her. Take that amount away from $1241 and you get a figure of $541 that the Ministry will cut for my daughter and me to live on for the month. The money provided by my ex is intended solely for the care of our child. Keeping myself fed and clothed is next to impossible, as is evident by my 30 pound weight loss since being a single parent on disability for the past year and a half. It doesn’t make a lot of sense that the child support (I do not have a spousal support order) paid to my daughter cuts into the $906 a single person would receive, which keeps disabled people in abject poverty, unable to maintain a dignified standard of living in the first place.

This all guarantees that my daughter cannot live in a household that has an income of more than $1241 per month, ensuring that she consistently lives around 50% below the poverty line. After rent and bills, this leaves us with a little less than $200 per month for food, clothing, toys, educational materials, and outings.

Strangely, I am allowed to bring in employment income of up to $800 per month that will not be deducted from our monthly cheque from the Ministry, and I have attempted to take advantage of this with little success. The idea behind this policy is that many disabilities, physical and mental, are episodic and that folks can and should be able to bring in a little extra income when they are feeling well. I have casual employment as a clinical secretary in a hospital, and have gone months without being called into work. When I did get the occasional call, there was only one month where I worked enough to surpass the $800 limit. I am lucky to have even been able to do this. Most people on disability cannot work at all, ever, and for those who can when they are feeling well, it is virtually impossible to find a job that will allow you to work little enough to not go over the $800 threshold, (many see earning money that will be clawed back as “working for free,” and frankly would not be on disability if they could work more than that anyway) let alone here and there, off and on, when one is feeling well. It’s a policy that only benefits a few and doesn’t do much to resolve child poverty. The government has called this a “common sense move” in terms of making the lives of people on government income assistance easier.

Why isn’t the same “common sense” applied to the child care clawback?

The sole purpose of deducting child support dollar-for-dollar from assistance cheques is to save the government a couple of bucks. Well actually, $15 million per year, according to First Call BC, West Coast Leaf, and the Community Legal Assistance Society , which is actually only less than 1% of the total budget the Ministry allocates for social assistance. That’s not much to the Ministry, but if that money stayed in the hands of the children it was intended for, each family experiencing the clawback would be up $3750 per year; a significant difference for the poorest kids in the province. Why is the province enriching itself on the backs of the most poor and vulnerable children in BC?

“You’re ‘double dipping,’ lazy, and should get back to work!”

I’ve heard the argument made in comment sections about this topic that allowing children of single parents on temporary or disability assistance to keep their child support is “double dipping,” as if children would be unfairly advantaged if they were allowed to keep what is rightfully their money. Let’s look at this from the perspective of a single parent who does not receive any government assistance:

A hypothetical single mother brings in an employment income of $2000 per month. She uses a certain portion of that money every month to feed, clothe, entertain, and educate her child. Her former spouse is ordered to pay $500. That money also goes into the care of the child, making it possible for the mother to provide a home with separate bedrooms, Internet access, a healthy diet for the child, and whatever else she can do to improve the life chances and opportunities for said child. In this situation, both parents are pitching in to financially take care of their child, as the law and general basic morals require.

Why should a single mother or father on assistance not be able to also financially contribute to their child’s well-being the same way the paying parent does? It is in the child’s best interest that both parents contribute, and the child support clawback policy ensures this is undermined. Clicklaw Wikibooks states that:

The legislation on family law issues also assumes that the payment of support by one parent under the Guidelines is not going to be a complete payment of all of the child’s needs. Section 1(b) of the Guidelines says that the purpose of the Guidelines is to ensure that children benefit “from the financial means of both spouses after separation.” In other words, payment according to the Guidelines child support tables are not assumed to cover all of a child’s costs, and the parent receiving the support payments is assumed to contribute towards the child’s needs as well.

As the child of a disabled person, my daughter should be able to benefit from the $335 that the government allocates for me to care for her with as well as the amount her father contributes.

Besides, what incentive does it give the non-custodial parent to pay child support owed, when he or she knows that no matter how much income is earned, no matter how hard he or she works, that their money will not go into improving the life of the child? Saving the government a few dollars is hardly motivation to pay.

“But it’s not fair to people who aren’t getting any help from their former spouse!”

Those who make the argument about double dipping also tend to claim that the $335 is actually meant for children of single parents who do not receive child and/or spousal support, and that by keeping support paid by the non-custodial parent it is unfair to families that do not have maintenance coming in. This argument is so ridiculous I feel silly even addressing it. There are many deadbeat, non-custodial parents out there who are not paying child support to children whose custodial parents aren’t on assistance. Does that mean that the children from families where the non-custodial parent responsibly and consistently pays their child support should have to forfeit their maintenance to the government because others have trouble getting the former spouse to pay? Of course not.

Speaking of responsible and consistent payments of child support, what about those parents on assistance whose former spouses only periodically pay the amount they have been ordered to pay?  The amount paid by the payee is deducted off of the next month’s assistance cheque received by the single parent and child. If the paying parent does not pay the next month’s payment, the receiving parties are left with a cheque hundreds of dollars short, making payment of next month’s bills, rent, groceries, and other necessities difficult or impossible. Families living in poverty cannot afford to hold the money over to the next month. Any extra money received goes into unpaid bills that the primary caregiver was previously unable to pay, or special expenses that everyone who has children knows come along with raising a child (school supplies, new jacket or shoes, etc.); the necessary expenses that were unattainable in the previous months because of the low assistance rates. When a family lives 50% below the poverty line, in abject poverty, saving money into the next month isn’t an option.

It’s time this society and this government start thinking first and foremost about what’s fair for the child who is being deprived of his or her right to child support, as it seems the focus is often on what’s fair for everyone but the actual child.

Let’s tone down the poor, single-mother hating, ok?

It is important to remember that this issue is about the children, and not enriching the single parent. Throughout this piece, I’ve referred to the parents receiving child support payments as just that; parents. But it is important to acknowledge that a hugely disproportionate number of single parents are women.

Society seems to have a lot of animosity towards single mothers, especially those on welfare, but this isn’t about the mothers, how much people hate them, or how badly their life decisions are perceived to have been; it’s about keeping children out of poverty. Many say that poor women should never have had children in the first place, without acknowledging that poverty often happens after the children are already here, due to illness, a breakup, or safety reasons, for instance.

The fact that this country does not have a universal childcare system means that single-income families whose head does not have an opportunity for high paid employment (women still make only 75% of what men do, and we all know that wages don’t match cost of living in the first place) are stuck at home on assistance due to the high costs of childcare (it can cost more than rent does, per child). Mothers don’t want to be at home wondering where the next meal will come from. Being on temporary assistance or disability is not a comfortable life.

Mothers want what’s best for their children and don’t want to see them suffer, experiencing less opportunity than the next child due to poverty. If we can move away from the misogynistic, single-mom-on-welfare bashing and focus on the needs of the kids, this problem can begin to be addressed.

What can be done about this?

I’ve been protesting this policy with BC ACORN for months, only to receive copy-and-paste responses in the media from Minister Don McRae that were also sent in emails from predecessor, Minister Moira Stilwell, claiming that it’s not fair to taxpayers to raise assistance rates and/or let children keep their child support. Recently we received a more detailed response from Minister McRae, stating that there are no plans to raise assistance rates or end the child support clawback, as the clawback is something that happens across the country (a bad policy across the board does not equal a good policy!). He did state that that the Ministry will be developing a white paper on the problems people with disabilities face in BC, saying that it will be an opportunity for stakeholders to “share their thoughts.” I suspect this is intended to pacify those of us who take issue with policies that hurt kids of disabled parents, but somewhat impatiently await the white paper nonetheless.

I met with my MLA, Sue Hammell, who promised to take this issue to the NDP Social Issues Caucus as well as the NDP Women’s Caucus, in order to fight the BC Liberals on this Charter-violating policy (yes, this violates the child’s section 7, 8, and 15 Charter rights), only to have Premier Christy Clark declare that the legislature will not be sitting this term. I’ve had enough. I want the best for my daughter and she will not be punished by this government because I have a disability. I’ve decided to take another route.

I recently found this article talking about a Winnipeg mother who was suing the province of Manitoba for the right for all children of parents on assistance in that province to be able to keep their child support. She had been part of a class action lawsuit to return all child support paid to Manitoban children as well as to keep future support payments by the paying parent. Unfortunately, Miss Miyai dropped her involvement in the suit after receiving massive amounts hate online from people who believe that single mothers on assistance, as well as their children, don’t deserve to live in dignity. Fortunately, her lawyer, Norman Rosenbaum, is continuing with the class action suit, substituting Miyai’s name with another custodial parent.

I want this to happen in BC.

As lawyer Norman Rosenbaum points out, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in a case in 2009 that children are entitled to child support payments (this seems like it should have been obvious).  Also, since May 1, 1997, in British Columbia, child support has not been considered income for tax purposes for the custodial parent. The government cannot have it both ways. It cannot say that child support isn’t income and then turn around and state to parents on assistance that it is. By forcing parents of children receiving child support to turn over their payments, the government is breaking the law and the Charter rights of children of single parents on assistance, plain and simple.

I urge you to join me in the fight to end child poverty in BC. Contact the webmaster of this site (stephen@politicsrespun.org) if you are interested in mobilizing to end the child support clawback that hurts so many kids. Ending the clawback won’t completely wipe out child poverty in this province, but it is an excellent start in tackling the shocking levels of poverty that we are currently seeing children experience. In the meantime, I will be contacting lawyers, politicians, and everyday citizens to organize and work to change this policy through petitioning, protesting, and whatever other strategies we think of. I don’t plan on giving up on this, even if my daughter gets too old to receive child support before this policy is changed. Stay tuned.

We Support The Veterans Transition Program

Submitted by Robin and Stewart on Mon, 10/07/2013 – 12:59

1999 saw the rise of the Veteran Transition Network (VTN) through the sponsorship of BC/Yukon Legion Branches and the University of British Columbia.

Its mission is to help Canadian Veterans across the nation re-integrate into society, local communities, and with family. To date Veteran Transition Programs have helped close to 400 Veterans rebuild relationships with partners, spouses, and children, while supporting the creation of meaningful career paths. And it’s totally free due to generous partners and donors, such as you!

Doctors Marv Westwood, David Kuhl, and Timothy Black are the founding members of the VTN who are accompanied by a number of top-shelf clinicians and staff. The website is impressive and encourages Canadian Veterans to contact them via phone, email, Facebook, or Twitter.

The programs have been refined over 15 years of research to help Canadian Veterans with:

  • Adjusting to living back at home
  • Trying to make sense of their military experiences
  • Getting a job and finding careers
  • Exploring who they are now
  • The desire to tell their story
  • Rebuilding relationships with family and friends
  • Wanting to find themselves again
  • Moving on and getting back to “living”

Admittedly, I wish there was a program like this when I left the British Army.

I was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and completely clueless as to where to turn. I was lucky in having a decent trade that landed me a job in no time – although it didn’t take much negotiating. I was confused by the varying benefit packages, private pensions, healthcare, dental, and generally why everything was so bloody expensive. I was missing the PX. Who didn’t love those stores! Cigarettes were a few dollars a pack and being on NATO missions meant I had access to so many of them. I’d get Dom Perignon from the French PX (I still have a bottle), backpacks and fleeces from the Norwegian PX, Swarovski crystal (for the folks back home) from the German PX, and pretty much everything else from the American PX (Bowling Balls to Pickled Pigs Feet). I’d come home on leave feeling like Santa. I was filled with pride at what I was doing, how my family and friends viewed me, how everyone back home viewed me.

You’re one day flying high with a regiment of friends, friends willing to fight and die for you, with everything taken care of, and more perks than you can wish for, to the next standing in the street, resume in hand, staring up at the towering buildings around you, and feeling the warm embrace of the army slowly dissipate. You’re alone and have nobody to turn to. It’s hard for family and friends to understand. Your buddies understood, but they’re not around anymore to sympathize and offer support. Like I said, I wish there was a program like this when I left. It would have helped ease the transition and show that there are others in the same boat, like me, trying to make things work and lead a happy and fulfilling life.

The good news is that this program exists now and has helped close to 400 Veterans transition from the Canadian Forces to a life worth living. They didn’t do it alone and couldn’t have without the support of generous donors, such as you, which we are hugely grateful for!

Here’s how you can contact the Veterans Transition Network:

Office hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm Pacific Time.
Phone: 604.559.8155
For general inquiries (including program registration): info@vtncanada.org

– See more at: http://legionbcyukon.ca/blogs/robin-and-stewart/we-support-veterans-transition-program#sthash.2BuERRrt.dpuf

PTSD Update!

Updates from Kate and Robin and Stewart are below, as they approach the end of their campaigns!

Kate’s Long Way Home has passed 1,000 kilometres on her way to Ottawa.

Robin and Stewart’s Marathon for Veterans is closing in on its fundraising target.

There is still time to donate.

1. During WWI more than 300 British soldiers, many suffering from “Shell Shock”, were executed for cowardice.

2. The Canadian government does not measure the suicide rates of its veterans. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs does and a report released early this year states that from 1999 to 2010 18 Veterans committed suicide a day! 39% of these suicides were by Veterans 49 and younger.

These stats, and references to our research, along with more information on the topic are available in the blog.

Thank you.

PTSD Service Dogs: Not Widely Known, But Critical

Lots of stores, places, etc. have “no pets” signs up. That’s fine, but there are usually exceptions for service dogs. Preventing a visually-impaired person from entering a restaurant except without their service dog would be mean and generally intolerable.

A long time ago, however, it was quite common to deem these animals to be pets, and unwelcome. Society reflected, and decided that the rights of a person with a service pet are more important than the owner of establishment’s desire to keep animals out.

It’s not like service dogs are rabid, coked-up bulls in a china shop. By far.

So it’s understandable if a gym would not let someone in if they have a service dog. Maybe they just didn’t know that people suffering from PTSD can have service dogs:

“The employee who denied Berry said she didn’t know that some people with PTSD use service dogs and said allowing dogs at the club would have bothered other members.”

That’s totally understandable. This is why Kate MacEachern, Medric Cousineau and Robin and Stewart are walking and running to raise awareness and funds about PTSD treatment.

Because people don’t know.

They don’t know what PTSD is, how prevalent it is, what causes it, why it’s not just a problem of being weak-spirited, what treatments are available, who is being treated and who is not, who is responsible for treating or providing treatment, and the social stigma surrounding PTSD and its place in society.

Because the place of PTSD in society is far from clearly understood. So our responsibility is to become more aware and abandon any reflexive ignorance we happen to be carrying.

Because who wants to be ignorant.

Former soldier’s service dog refused entry to gym

Human rights complaint planned by man suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder

Kevin Berry was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2010, six years after his military service with the 3rd battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment in Kabul. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

A former soldier, who now lives in Vancouver, is filing a complaint with the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission against a Moncton fitness club.

Kevin Berry, 30, served in Afghanistan and says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He travels with his service dog Tommy to help him cope with his PTSDsymptoms.

“Tommy wakes me up during nightmares, Tommy walks in and clears my house when we get home,” said Berry.

Last week, Berry and Tommy were passing through Moncton as part of a walking tour between Nova Scotia and Ontario to raise awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder.

Berry says they went to Global Gym on Mapleton Road so he could work out, but were denied entry even though Tommy wears a service dog vest and comes with a government-issued ID card.

“They never once asked what Tommy was for,” said Berry. “It was, `No,’ right away.”

Berry says after being denied entrance by a club employee, he contacted the gym’s owner by telephone. He says the man laughed at him and said he’d never allow pets at his gym.

“My human rights were violated by the staff at Global Gym and the ownership,” said Berry. “It wasn’t just the injury, [there was] definitely an insult aspect to it after speaking with the owner on the phone.”

Berry intends to file a complaint of discrimination with the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission.

“I have every intention of pursuing a human rights complaint with the government of New Brunswick,” he said. “That’s unacceptable.

“You don’t discriminate against disabled people,” he said. “If they were going to sell me a day pass, it’s open to the public and you can’t restrict someone from joining because they have a disability that requires certain medical equipment.”

Berry served with the 3rd battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment in Kabul in 2003-04. He was diagnosed with PTSD in 2010, six years after leaving military service.

“It’s an invisible disorder, right?” he said. “You can see it on a [CT scan] or MRI, but there’s not too many people that [get CT-scanned] or MRI’d before they go to a war zone to get a baseline to compare it to.”

Berry has been working with Tommy since January. The dog has been living with him full time since May.

“He’ll stick his head in the shower, goes everywhere with me,” said Berry. “He is … an extension of my body. He’s everywhere with me.

“Tommy means life,” he said. “Tommy is hope, a better life, an acceptance in society, an ability to go out and interact in a way I wouldn’t have before,” said Berry.

“I feel safer with Tommy, much, much safer,” he said. “He’s there if I have a panic attack, he’ll nuzzle into me. He’s in tune with my emotions and knows when something is starting.”

The employee who denied Berry said she didn’t know that some people with PTSD use service dogs and said allowing dogs at the club would have bothered other members.

The owner of Global Gym did not return calls to CBC News.

Former soldier’s service dog refused entry to gym – New Brunswick – CBC News.

Medric Cousineau: Walking for PTSD Support

It has been a long journey but an Eastern Passage man has finished a 50 day walk to Ottawa.Along with Kate MacEachern and The Long Way Home and Robin & Stewart’s Marathon for Veterans we have another action in support of PTSD and Veterans, this time including service dogs!

Medric Cousineau walked 1000 km to Ottawa to raise $350,000 for 50 service dogs for 50 veterans.

The spirit of support for PTSD issues, particularly among Canadian Forces members and veterans, as well as other first responders, is growing. It’s a sign of a truly compassionate culture. The hope is that the federal government, on behalf of Canadians, will show the compassion, respect, integrity and responsibility required to do the right thing

Eastern Passage veteran completes fundraising walk to Ottawa


HALIFAX – It has been a long journey but an Eastern Passage man has finished a 50 day walk to Ottawa.

On August 1, Medric Cousineau left on a trip that would take him more than 1,000 kilometres and through four different provinces.

Cousineau served in the military for about 12 years but developed post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, after a harrowing rescue mission. He became stressed, angry and often lashed out at his family and friends.

However, his behaviour changed after getting a service dog named Thai.

Seeing the benefits of having a service dog, Cousineau began lobbying for them on behalf of veterans with PTSD. However, Veterans Affairs does not currently fund them.

That’s when Cousineau decided to take up the cause, lace up his shoes and walk all the way to the nation’s capital to raise $350,000 for 50 service dogs for 50 veterans.

Upon arriving in Ottawa, Cousineau walked past Parliament and to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and paid his respects.

The veteran says he has felt overwhelming support from the communities that he has walked through.

“The response has been gaining as we went along,” he said. “It took time to build. As we’ve come farther towards the finish, the legions have opened their doors, their arms and their hearts. We felt truly welcomed in those communities.”

Cousineau adds the most difficult part of his walk may have been a few days where the humidex read more than 40C.

“That heat was really a challenge. We battled some of the elements but the heat was probably the worst.”

The veteran says he had a meeting Wednesday with Minister of Veterans Affairs Julian Fantino.

“They’ve committed to doing a research assessment of service dogs to help with veterans. They’re specifically going to look at the Canadian experience because they understand we have to study our people and our initiatives, and that’s a huge move.”

Despite the encouraging news, Cousineau’s not done yet.

He plans to continue fundraising. He doesn’t yet have the final tally on how much he has raised, but says four veterans have already received their service dogs.