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.
Our Policy and Research Committee had already been working on a list of rule changes that had been suggested at our last conference and by our committees. So we very quickly wrote up and discussed a series of recommendations that we asked the SARAC to consider. Given the short time frame, (SARAC had to give their input on this to MCSS by the end of January), we were not able to deal with all the many problems in ODSP, nor to priorize our recommendations. But we are hopeful that at least some of these issues will be taken up by SARAC in their discussions with government, and then that we see some actual improvements in the rules that ODSP recipients have to deal with.
We will also be pushing for meaningful consultation in the larger revew of OW and ODSP, with representation from all over the province, rural and urban, all consituencies impacted by social assistance. This particulalry means including people in receipt of OW and ODSP.
A Proposal for ODSP Rule Changes --see our list of recommendations here