Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee 2016

PAAC Report – October 2016

PAAC has been working hard on a revamping and creating new workshops to reach broader audiences. Our workshops subcommittee has:

  • Revamped our most popular Knowing Your Benefits presentation with up-to-date information on rates, benefits and rules
  • New workshop on post-secondary education and ODSP: PAAC has been asked to do a workshop for post-secondary students. A group of PAAC members is researching all the rules and issues around OSAP, grants and other financial aid for students, and how these different programs interact with ODSP. Once it’s completed, we hope to share this workshop with colleges and universities across the province to ensure that students with disabilities have the information they need.
  • New Myth Busters workshop: the group working on this has come up with a list of the most difficult and salient myths about people on social assistance that are hard to challenge.  The goal is to create a 1.5 hour module that will explore, unpack, and equip participants to better understand and challenge these myths, and to inspire people outside of our movement to become allies and join our fight for dignity and adequacy. Our hope is to train all members who are interested so that we have lots of people delivering this session across the province.

 PAAC members have also been delivering workshops and presentations to various audiences, mainly at different food bank programs and soup kitchens. Many of these requests come through our bi-yearly presentation to the Toronto Daily food bank. PAAC members also gave a talk about life on social assistance and living with disabilities at Family Outreach and Response, to a group of family members interested in mental health advocacy. We have also given presentations to a Ryerson University social work class, and have been asked to present at the University of Toronto in a social work class.

PAAC members have also attended meetings and contributed the Coalition’s perspective around social assistance reform. Kyle met with Hugh Segal and other poverty activists regarding the planned Basic Income pilot project. 

 PAAC has also supported the creation of the ODSP Peer Navigator Pilot project, which is being led by the Self Help Resource Centre. They have hired a Coordinator and Peer Navigators which are now actively running ODSP support groups in various Toronto neighbourhoods. If this program is successful, the hope is that it can be expanded across the province.

 PAAC meets on the second Wednesday of each month, from 10am to 12pm, by phone, or in person at the Income Security Advocacy Centre. New members are welcome anytime!

 For more information, you can reach the PAAC co-chairs:  Andrea Hatala at                 Alex Lamoureux at