The ODSP Action Coalition is a province-wide network of people with lived experience on ODSP, disability organizations, community agencies, anti-poverty groups and community legal clinics. We push for improvements to the Ontario Disability Support Program so that people with disbilities can live with justice and dignity.

MPP Lobby Kit

This updated lobby Kit and the Key Messages are useful if planning to meet with or write letters to your local Member of Provincial Parliament about the current issues in social assistance reform, such as the rates, merging OW and ODSP, mandatory work plans for people with disabilities, etc.  The Lobby kit gives practical tips and form letters youc an use.  For more background information to prepare what you will say when you have a meeting, see the short papers listed on our Resources for Advocacy page under "Key Issues in ODSP Reform.".

2013 Rate Increase Less Than 1% for Families on ODSP

The ODSP Action Coalition has written a letter to Ted McMeekin, Minister of Community and Social Services, protesting the change in the way the social assistance rate increase is being given this year.  Instead of paying a 1% increase in the total allowance for families, they are giving an increase only for the person with a disability, with no increase at all for the non-disabled family members.  Thus, a single person on ODSP gets $11.00 per month more,  but all ODSP families, regardless of size of family, will also only get a raise of $11.00 per month.

Why Are so Many People on ODSP?

Our Coalition Policy Committee has written another short issues paper in our series dealing with social assistance reform issues from the perspective of people with disabilities.  This one discusses the recommendation of the Commission for the Review of Social Asssitance that the government should set targets to reduce ODSP caseloads.  We say this would be wrong, and that the Commission did not look carefully enough at the reasons so many people need ODSP.

Key Issues in ODSP Reform

The ODSP Action Coalition has produced a series of short papers dealing with key issues for ODSP recipients. These information sheets discuss many of the recommendations from Brighter Prospects, the report of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance.   We provide the perspective of members of the Coalition on those important issues.  

Coalition Writes to Premier and new Minister for MCSS

The ODSP Action Coalition has written to both Premier Kathleen Wynne, and to the new Minister for Community and Social Services, Ted McMeekin.  Premier Wynne has stated that she wants to be the "Social Justice" premier, and also that she wants to proceed with social assistance reform.  She has appointed Francis Lankin, one of the Commissioners who reviewed social assistance and issued the report "Brighter Prospects",  to the transition team, signalling that the government may proceed with implementing at least some of the recommendations.  Also part of the transition team is Don Drummond, who authored a report on how the government could save money. 

Few Prospects for People with Disabilities in Welfare Reform Report

"Disability will still be a life sentence to poverty if this report's recommendations are implemented," says Kyle Vose, co-chair, ODSP Action Coalition.

There are no concrete recommendations to improve the incomes of people with disabilities in "Brighter Prospects", the report presented by Francis Lankin and Munir Sheikh. However, at least the Commission recommends that wherever recipients would lose income as a result of these changes, they will be "grandparented" or allowed to keep their present level of benefits.  As well, the current defintion of disability is to be retained.

COALITION PRESENTS EMPLOYMENT PRINCIPLES TO MTCU MINISTER GLEN MURRAY

 

Our co-chairs, Kyle Vose and Naomi Ives-Peak, along with other members of our Employment Supports committee, have met twice with Glen Murray, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.  This Minister has responsibility for Employment Ontario.  The spring budget announced that all the different employment and training programs run by 11 different ministries will be coordinated under Employment Ontario, so the Coalition wants to have input into the changes to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are respected.

Coalition members tell "Dalton" that people on ODSP deserve to live with dignity

On May 17  the "Dalton and Me" Tour co-sponsored by the Put Food in the Budget campaign, and the ODSP Action Coalition, arrived at our regular Coalition meeting.  This life-size mannequin of the Premier is touring the province to allow people to tell Dalton McGuinty what they think about the recent budget which only gave a 1% increase to social assistance rates. 

People attending were asked to answer one of the following questions:

1) What's the one thing you want the Premier to know about your life on ODSP?

Approaches for Reform--Coalition's Response

The Coalition has responded to the latest discussion paper put out by the Commisison for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario. Our submission, entitled "Positive or Punitive: What Will Reform Mean for People with Disabilities?" questions many of the proposals suggested by the Commission. We worry that some of the changes could end up hurting people on ODSP if it is decided that some recipients can work and if ODSP is merged with OW.

Employment Issues Discussed in 2nd Coalition Submission to Social Assistance Review

After meeting with the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in early July, the ODSP Action Coalition decided we should do a follow-up submission on key issues and questions that emerged during our discussion with the Commiission.  These issues include: whether people with disabilities should be divided into two groups--those who can work, and those who cannot work; whether there should be a requirement for people with disabilities to work, or to agree to treatment or rehabilitation in order to get income support; and whether the Accessibility for People with Disabilities Act is effective in removing barriers and making workplaces fully accommodating.  We also stress in this submission that there are some good things in the ODSP Act, such as a definition of disability that recognizes that disability is not just a medical issue but includes factors like social barriers.  Although the Coalition has always had lots of complaints about the way current program is

Coalition Meets Commission Reviewing Social Assistance

On July 6 representatives of the ODSP Action Coalition met with Francis Lankin and Munir Sheikh, the commissioners who are currently reviewing Ontario Works and ODSP.  We gave them highlights from our submission, Dignity, Adequacy, Inclusion: Rethinking the Ontario Disability Support Program.  We were impressed that they had taken the time to read our substantial brief (which we had sent in advance).   Key recommendations which we highlighted included:  

"TELLING OUR STORIES: Disability Should Not Equal Poverty" Report Released

236 people from all over Ontario who receive ODSP shared their struggles to survive with the ODSP Action Coalition.  Their stories are summarized and quoted in a report released today, July 7 2010, at Toronto's Metro Hall. 

The report is organized around the themes of

"STUPID RULES" CREATE DIRE CONSEQUENCES

The Coalition had an opportunity to meet with members of the Social Assistance Review Advisory Council (SARAC) in late January, and to present them with a list of quick changes that could be made to some of the "stupid rules" in ODSP.  This Council was recently appointed by the government to give advice on two things:  some "quick fix" changes to counterproductive rules, and the mandate and scope of a more conprehensive social assistance review to be carried out later this year.

ENDORSE THE DISABILITY DECLARATION

The ODSP Action Coalition is requesting individuals and groups to endorse our Disability Declaration.  The Declaration sets out some of the rights that people with disabilities have according to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and then states what changes the Ontario government needs to make to ODSP to fulfill those rights.  Although Canada has not yet ratified the Convention, the Coalition beleives it is important for people with disabilities and organizations that work with them to use it in articulating how and why their needs must be met. 

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