Working Groups Deliver Roadmap for Income Security Reform
Report Will Help Guide Province’s Decisions for a Multi-year Plan in 2018
Ontario has received a new report from the Income Security Reform Working Groups, with recommendations for helping people living on low incomes get ahead.
The report, Income Security: A Roadmap for Change, includes specific advice to government to help guide decisions on a multi-year path for reforming the income security system.
The government is now reviewing the report and will use it as a guide as it considers changes to the income security system in 2018.
While Ontario's economy is strong, not everyone is experiencing the same opportunities. More people are facing job insecurity and essential needs are out of reach for many. Ontario has made improvements to the social assistance system, including:
- Changing how child support is treated to help increase incomes for families who receive both social assistance and child support.
- Exempting the full amount of the Canada Child Benefit to ensure that the benefit is paid directly to families
- Increasing asset limits and exemptions for cash gifts for people receiving Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support; so they can benefit more from these awards without reducing their income support.
While improvements are ongoing, the government agrees with the need to fundamentally reform the income security system, including the transformation of social assistance, to ensure all individuals are treated with respect and dignity and are inspired to reach their full potential, with particular attention to the needs and experience of Indigenous peoples.
The province is also taking actions that support people living on low incomes including the expansion of the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP), the introduction of OHIP+ -which will provide free prescription medications to children and youth up to 24 years old starting January 1, 2018 - and proposing the largest increase to the minimum wage in the province's history, raising it to $15 per hour by 2019.
Creating a fair, modern, accountable and effective income security system is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- The Working Groups included the Income Security Reform Working Group, the First Nations Income Security Reform Working Group and the Urban Indigenous Table on Income Security Reform.
- Social assistance provides support to 900,000 adults and children every year.
- The 2017 Budget included an investment of more than $480 million over four years in social assistance.
- Since 2003, Ontario has increased rates:
- By 22.5 per cent for Ontario Works families and individuals with disabilities relying on ODSP
- By 36.7 per cent for single people without children relying on Ontario Works
- A Roadmap for Change is posted online at ontario.ca/incomesecurity. People are invited to provide their feedback over the next 60 days to ensure changes to the income security system address their perspectives and reflect their needs. People also have the option to email their feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I want to thank the members of the Working Groups for their hard work and the thoughtful advice and recommendations they have provided us. Our government agrees with the need to reform the income security system to ensure people are treated with dignity and respect. We understand the importance of this work and the fundamental need for reform to social assistance programs. We need to get this right through careful planning to reform the system into one that is fair and supportive, and puts the person at the centre.”
Dr. Helena Jaczek