Transforming Social Assistance
Ontario Government Helping People Transition Back to Work
Premier Kathleen Wynne was at the City of Windsor's Employment and Training Services today to highlight the government's commitment to transforming social assistance, helping people keep more of their hard-earned money while entering the workforce.
In the 2013 Budget, the government laid out its plan to move forward on implementing key recommendations from the Lankin-Sheikh report by creating a $200 monthly earnings exemption for people who receive benefits from Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program.
The government would also increase social assistance rates, create more inclusive workplaces for people with disabilities and work to reduce poverty rates in Ontario.
The 2013 Budget is designed to create jobs and help people in their everyday lives. By taking steps to remove barriers to employment, the government wants to make it easier for more social assistance recipients to enter the workforce and ensure that everyone in Ontario is treated fairly.
- The Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario, led by Frances Lankin and Munir A. Sheikh released its report, Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance in Ontario, in October 2012. It contains 108 recommendations for transforming social assistance.
- The Budget announced a $200 earnings exemption that will come into effect in September 2013. This will significantly improve the incomes of 57,000 recipients who currently have employment earnings.
- Since 2003, social assistance rates have risen by about 15 per cent. This year, rates will increase by one per cent for adult Ontario Works recipients and people with disabilities receiving ODSP benefits.
- The government is committed to eliminating the deficit by 2017-18. After doing that, overall spending increases will be restricted to one per cent below GDP growth until the province’s net debt-to-GDP ratio returns to the pre-recession level of 27 per cent.
- Since April, employment has increased by 401,900 net jobs from the recessionary low in June 2009, with full-time employment up 389,900, and part-time employment up 12,000.
“This government is committed to building a fair society where everyone has the same chance to get a good job. When we let people keep more of the money they earn through hard work, we provide a firmer footing and make sure everyone is treated fairly right across our province.”
“Improvements to social assistance are part of the government’s vision for a prosperous and fair Ontario. We are a stronger province when everyone has the opportunity to work and contribute to their communities.”
“By easing the transition from social assistance into the workforce, we are helping more people find jobs and provide for their families. This will help people overcome poverty and make our communities stronger and more prosperous, in Windsor and across Ontario.”
“We all know how important it is for people on social assistance to have the opportunity to find meaningful employment. Giving people the chance to earn more without lowering their assistance is a major first step. I am also pleased that the government plans to engage business leaders to champion hiring persons with disabilities.”
“I am pleased with the first steps being proposed by the government to improve the social assistance program. The Commission also recommended the structure of the program be fundamentally transformed. I am encouraged this transformation will continue to be on the agenda of the new Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction.”
Munir A. Sheikh