The government of Ontario has appointed a Commission to review social assistance programs across the province. The Commission is mandated to carry out a comprehensive review, and provide specific recommendations, as well as an action plan for reforming social support programs by June 2012. This review has resulted through a need to address the inadequacies of Ontario’s social assistance programs, in an effort to minimize the significant challenges that people receiving income support experience.
The Commission is being led by:
The Commission has released a consultation paper, “A Discussion Paper: Issues and Ideas”, which asks questions about several key issues and challenges with Ontario Works (OW), as well as the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Some of these key issues include:
The Commission will be doing formal consultations, and is accepting feedback on the discussion paper, and recommendations until September 1, 2011.
The Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs (OFCMHAP) supports and will be submitting “What Stops us from Working? New ways to make work pay, by fixing the treatment of earnings under the Ontario Disability Support Program”, produced in partnership by The DreamTeam, Houselink Community Homes, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health as one of its recommendations. The report acknowledges that work is a key component for individuals on the Road to Recovery.
“What stops us from working?” addresses the challenges of transitioning back to work for people with mental health and addiction issues that are receiving ODSP. Several limitations exist, such as the negative interaction between ODSP and other programs, an onerous system of reporting, and insufficient supports for people leaving ODSP. For many, employment becomes overwhelming as ODSP retains a 50 per cent clawback of employment earnings, and also puts individuals at risk of rent-geared-to-income that they are unable to afford. ODSP provides a $100 work-related benefit, but the roadblocks are devastating. As a result, many people remain unemployed to maintain their OSDP. The report advocates policy change to fix the treatment of earnings under the Ontario Disability Support Program. It acknowledges that instead of penalizing people, it should be rewarding them for working.
Please review the report attached. OFCMHAP encourages members to include this report in their submissions to the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario.
To view the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance’s website please click on the following link: http://www.socialassistancereview.ca/
Submissions can be sent to email@example.com.
Please do not hesitate to send any comments concerns or questions to David Kelly.
|What stops us from working.pdf||1.21 MB|