Changes to the Special Diet Allowance

Archived Backgrounder

Changes to the Special Diet Allowance

Ministry of Community and Social Services

Ontario is revising the Special Diet Allowance to make it more accountable to taxpayers and compliant with the recent Order of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

By revising the allowance, the province will help social assistance recipients who have eligible medical conditions receive the special diets they need to help manage their conditions.

The Special Diet Allowance will be one of a broad range of special purpose benefits considered in the context of Ontario's comprehensive social assistance review, which begins January 2011.

Changes to the Program

Ontario is revising the Special Diet schedule - the list of conditions eligible to receive a Special Diet Allowance - to be compliant with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario decision and improve accountability measures in the program. The revised schedule is informed by the recommendations of the Special Diets Expert Review Committee. Changes include:

  • removing conditions that the Special Diets Expert Review Committee found to not require a special diet allowance
  • requiring that recipients consent to the release of relevant medical information to support their application, and
  • putting much stronger tracking methods in place, so that questionable trends can be identified earlier, and appropriate action can be taken.

With these changes, some Special Diet Allowance recipients will no longer be eligible for the program. There will still be a $250 per month maximum cap for people with multiple medical conditions who qualify for more than one allowance.

Timing

The revised Special Diet schedule will take effect April 1, 2011. New application forms will be available in February 2011 and mailed to current Special Diet Allowance recipients.

People eligible to receive the Special Diet Allowance under the revised schedule will need to apply for the new program. All payments under the current schedule will end by July 31, 2011.

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