“Brighter Prospects” for Austerity: What the Social Assistance Reform Recommendations Really Mean for People with Disabilities

“Brighter Prospects” for Austerity: Understanding the Latest Recommended Reforms to OW and ODSP

A Toronto Disability Pride March Report

The mandate of the Commission that made these recommendations was to move people into work, decrease caseloads, and simplify the system for the people that run it. It is also based on the incorrect assumption that the less money a person receives, the harder they will look for work. Here are some of their recommendations.

  • The rates for social assistance must always be lower than minimum wage, even for people with disabilities who are working.
  • Use a lower measure of poverty to determine how much money a person receives, including lowering the maximum housing amount, and no recognition of additional costs of disability
  • Loss of needs based funding (like CSUMB), mandatory benefits, and appeal rights.
  • It would effectively cap the rate for a single person on ODSP.
  • Parents with disabilities would receive the same rate as parents without disabilities with no difference for the child’s age.

The Key Recommendation is to combine OW and ODSP into one program run by municipalities and First Nations

  • It is not clear how they will determine who is “employment ready”, or whether they will have to take the first job available.
  • People with and without disabilities on social assistance would be required to sign Pathway to Employment Plans – Similar to the Participation Agreement that people on OW now must sign, in order to receive assistance.
  • The Ontario Conservatives have put forward a private members bill to try and push this ahead.
  • No clear plans or outcomes were recommended in any of the “benefits” to people on ODSP that were given in the recommendation to combine these programs.

They also recommend increased access to employment supports, but these have historically not worked well

  • One of the recommendations is to have corporate “champions”, making it likely that some companies will be subsidized or prioritized for hiring employees with disabilities.
  • People with disabilities are currently going into job support programs with a business degree and winding up with a job at a big box retail store, if anything.
  • In these recommendations the key priority for getting people with mental health and addictions off ODSP is employment.  We believe health should be the key priority over employment.

Fight Back – For Everyone on Social Assistance!

  • Contact your MPP
  • Join us, find us on Facebook, on Twitter @DisabilityPM, or come to a meeting at …

For more information about these facts see this flyer or the ODSP Action Coalition website: http://sareview.ca

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