Health Providers Against Poverty came together to create two submissions recommending the provincial government takes a stronger approach to poverty reduction:
Our recommendations stemmed from deep concern regarding the approach that the Ontario provincial government has taken towards our income security system. We believe the cuts and changes to social assistance programs will push people into deeper poverty and worsen their health.
We have recommended the following changes:
- Respect the rights of people living in poverty and living with disability to participate in decisions affecting them by creating a meaningful process of consultation and co- designing of social assistance programs.
- Reverse the over $500 Million in cuts announced in the 2019 budget to OW and ODSP programs.
- Maintain the current definition of disability for the Ontario Disability Support Program.
- Reverse the cuts to the planned rate increases for Ontario Works and ODSP, and increase the rates to reflect the real costs of living, including housing, basic needs, nutritious food, transportation, and utilities including telephone and internet. At a bare minimum, retroactively implement the previously planned 3% yearly rate increases for OW and ODSP, which were slated for 2018-2020. However, a stronger step forward on the path towards fixing Ontario’s broken social assistance system would be to increase the monthly rates for OW and ODSP to $893 and $1334 respectively, by the fall of 2020, as outlined in the Ontario Government’s own Income Security: A Roadmap for Change 2017 report .
- Implement other recommendations in the Income Security: A Roadmap for Change report including, but not limited to, adopting a minimum income standard, introducing a housing benefit for low income individuals, and expanding the core health benefits provided as part of OW and ODSP .
-  Tjepkema, M., Wilkins, R., Long, A. 2013. Cause-specific mortality by income adequacy in Canada: A 16-year follow-up study. Health Reports 24(7): 14-22.
-  Ontario Association of Foodbanks. 2008. The Cost of Poverty: An Analysis of the Economic Cost of Poverty in Ontario. http://www.oafb.ca/assets/pdfs/CostofPoverty.pdf
-  Income Security: A Roadmap for Change. 2007. https://files.ontario.ca/income_security_-_a_roadmap_for_change-english-accessible_0.pdf