TO THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO:
WHEREAS we, as a community, have not been consulted at all by our current provincial government regarding revisions to social assistance that will come after completion of the government’s ‘100 Day Review’. As a result of our exclusion in this decision-making process, scheduled to end Nov. 22nd, any changes that are made to our social assistance programs will not include input from the very people who are at their very core, know the most and are the most affected by these programs. Our government can and must do better.
WHEREAS members of our community were consulted on recommendations to forming a clear path forwards to social assistance and income security reform. These recommendations were put forward October 2017 in Income Security: A Roadmap for Change. They spelled out our truths, addressed some of the most difficult corners of the system, while still staying very conservative in terms of proposed rate increases (3X5% over the next 3 years for ODSP, 10%, 7% and 5 % for OW). Regardless, we were still going to be well below the poverty line for a while.
WHEREASbefore the June 2018 elections, the Liberal government passed several recommendations from or inspired by the Roadmap, including 19 improvements to ODSP and OW that were to start this fall. On July 31, 2018, Minister McLeod announced that the rate increases would be cut to a one-time, cross-the-board “compassionate” increase of 1.5% and the 19 improvements were “on pause”, pending the ‘100 Day Review’ on which our community has not been consulted.
THEREFORE we the undersigned petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows: reinstate all 19 improvements to ODSP and OW on which our community was consulted, including, but not limited to:
- 3 per cent increase to Basic Needs and Shelter rates
- 2 per cent increase to other allowances
- Changing the definition of “spouse” – from 3 months of co-habitation to 3yrs (as per family law)
- Replacing the board and lodge rate with full basic benefits
- Doubling of the ODSP/OW earning exemption & reducing OW waiting period
- Full exemption of TFSAs, RRSPs, gifts and voluntary payments
- Expansion of remote communities’ allowance
- Allowing dependants adults to get their own when living with family due to lack of housing.