Freezing Social Assistance Rates for People with Disabilities
Will Result in Increased Hardship
Community Living Ontario was alarmed to learn that the Provincial Budget brought down by the government yesterday will freeze the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Income Supports at their current level.
Current ODSP benefit amounts provide for an income that is approximately 40% below the poverty line.
While the government has made investments in ODSP benefits each year since 2004 to keep pace with cost of living increases, benefits prior to 2004 had been frozen for 11 years. As a result, ODSP benefits today remain more than 18% below what they were in 1993 when compared to inflation.
“This is not the time for government to abandon its practice of annual cost of living adjustments to ODSP,” says Deborah Rollier, President of Community Living Ontario. “When the economy is bad, that is exactly the time that investments must be made in social assistance. This can only cause hardship for those who rely on these benefits.”
The Government of Ontario has established a Social Assistance Review Committee to undertake a comprehensive review of the current system. Community Living Ontario has provided its views on the reform that is needed to ensure that ODSP provides an adequate level of support to those who need it. The government’s decision to freeze benefits now, just months before the outcome of that review is known makes little sense. Community Living Ontario calls on the government to reverse this decision and provide an appropriate increase to ODSP benefits. We must ensure that benefits are not further eroded by the effects of inflation while the Social Assistance Review Commission continues its efforts to determine the best ways to enhance and secure the program to meet people’s needs in the future.
Community Living Ontario – Tel. 416-447-4348; web: www.communitylivingontario.ca
Contact – Gordon Kyle, Director of Social Policy and Government Relations Gordon@communitylivingontario.ca
Click on Link for a PDF of the News Release; Media Release March 28 2012