What is the issue?
The Ontario Government has proposed changes to the social assistance system in Ontario. This includes changes to the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), which is a program that offers financial assistance, benefits, and employment assistance to people with disabilities in financial need.
One of the proposed changes would make the definition of disability used to determine eligibility for ODSP more like definitions used for federal government benefit programs. The government has announced that this change will not apply to the majority of people currently receiving ODSP. They will be grandparented and will not have to meet the new definition of disability, but this change is very concerning for future ODSP applicants.
People with disabilities who would now qualify for ODSP under the current definition would not qualify under the new one. They would instead have to rely on the Ontario Works program, which provides significantly less money and benefits and stricter work requirements. It is also unclear whether they would have access to critically important disability-related health benefits.
These proposed changes have elicited great concern among people living with disabilities and amongst the social agencies and health providers who provide support.
Take action to prevent this change. Let’s preserve the dignity of, and support system for, people with disabilities in Ontario.
Information for Service Providers
Resources to learn more
General Information Summary
- Defining Disability: What plans to change the ODSP definition would mean to people with disabilities in Ontario
- Définition de l’invalidité : Ce que les plans visant à modifier la définition du Programme ontarien de soutien aux personnes handicapées (POSPH) signifieraient pour les personnes handicapées en Ontario
- Infographic: How are federal and provincial definitions of disability different?
Ontario Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services Announcement
- Reforming Social Assistance Backgrounder
Current Provincial and Federal Programs
- Ontario Disability Support Program
- Canadian Disability Tax Credit
- Canadian Pension Plan Disability Benefits
- Toronto Star – Changing disability definition a dangerous mistake that will harm thousands
- Toronto Star – Disability Tax Credit Not Extended to Those with Mental Illness
- TVO – The PC Plan for Social Assistance
- Fighting for Fairness – Disability Tax Fairness Campaign
- Behind the Numbers – Smoke & Mirrors: Gutting Social Assistance without Cutting Social Assistance Rates