CMHA Ontario and SSO submission to Ontario’s Social Assistance Review
The Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario (CMHA Ontario) and the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) made a joint submission to the review of Ontario’s Social Assistance System. The submission is in response to the “Discussion Paper: Ideas and Questions” that the Commission used to guide public consultation in July 2011.
The joint submission makes recommendations in five areas:
- Mandatory treatment
- Income levels
- Social inclusion (through employment and community involvement)
- Access to benefits, and
- System integration.
The submission provides an overview of disability, recommending against tying income support benefits to mandatory treatment. Treatment should be a person’s choice and not a pre-requisite for receiving social assistance.
Poverty reduction recommendations include setting Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Payment (ODSP) rates based on the real costs of living, and support similar recommendations made by others in this area. In addition, it calls for continuing the special diet allowance, and increasing asset limits (including making particular savings vehicles exempt as income.)
A number of recommendations for employment and related activities were identified as essential for social inclusion. Such recommendations include:
- Eliminating mandatory participation requirements for OW recipients with mental health disabilities
- Access to an “opportunities planning” approach for all social assistance recipients, and
- Development of an employment policy framework.
See, “Improving Ontario’s Social Assistance System,” available atwww.ontario.cmha.ca/submissions.