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CMHA Ontario Applauds and Supports Proposed New Bill That Protects the Financial Savings of Ontarians with Disabilities

November 19, 2009

CMHA, Ontario applauds the creation of the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) plan, recently announced in Budget 2007, and fully supports the passing of Bill 94 because the Bill recognizes the value of providing financial security to Ontario’s most vulnerable. Bill 94 was introduced to the Ontario Legislature on June 12, 2008 through a private member’s Bill and has passed the first reading. It will go to second reading on December 11, 2008.

The RDSP is a savings vehicle that allows families and friends of individuals with physical, intellectual, and mental health disabilities to invest money into a savings plan which they can draw upon for income later in life. The Bill will exempt RDSP contributions from social assistance asset rules, preventing full or partial clawbacks of income from Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program recipients. If Bill 94 is not passed and a savings account is established, recipients are at risk of having their benefits cut off or reduced. While British Columbia, Newfoundland, the Yukon, and Saskatchewan have exempted RDSP assets and income from their disability income calculations, Ontario has not yet done the same.

“As a caregiver of someone with a serious mental illness it has always been a worry to me what will happen to my nephew, when I am gone. At the present time, ODSP clawbacks any savings over $5,000 which prevents the person on ODSP from saving for the present and future years,” says Chair of Ontario Consumer and Family Advisory Council, Joanne Purdon.

“It seems unfair that a disabled person has to choose between having money for their daily needs now, including rent and food, or saving for their future. If the Bill passes, RDSP would allow a supplementary monthly income to be drawn upon allowing individuals some basic amenities that we often take for granted, such as a telephone, cable, groceries, clothing and supplementing their rent which is often 40% or more of their monthly ODSP income,” continues Purdon.

The plan consists of three elements, including: direct contributions of up to a lifetime maximum of $200,000; matching government support on qualifying contributions through Canada Disability Savings Grants (CDSGs); and Canada Disability Savings Bonds (CDSBs) for RDSPs established by low and modest-income families, which are not contingent on contributions.

About CMHA Ontario

Founded in 1952, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario, is a non-profit, charitable organization committed to improving the lives of people with mental illness and their families, and to the promotion of mental health for all Ontarians. CMHA, Ontario achieves its mission through public education, applied research and policy analysis, and advocating for healthy public policy and an effective and efficient health system. Ontario’s 32 local CMHA branches provide direct services and supports to communities across the province. More information about CMHA, Ontario may be found on our website at www.ontario.cmha.ca.

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For further information, please contact:

Kismet Baun, Senior Communications Advisor
CMHA, Ontario Division
Toronto (416) 977-5580, ext. 4141
kbaun@ontario.cmha.ca

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