• May 2021
    • We are concerned that the plans to “modernize” social assistance through Bill 276 may leave some significant gaps. The plan for life stabilization is inadequate and does not address the need for increased social assistance rates, the plan for delivery partners is unclear, and the digitization of services may create access barriers that leave some folks behind.
  • January 25, 2021
    • Defend Disability sent an open letter to Premier Doug Ford to stop the erosion of the Ontario Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT). The SBT provides an avenue for some of Ontario’s most vulnerable to access justice. It handles a range of social assistance issues including eligibility for ODSP. Despite the need for timely resolution, current wait times for SBT hearings are 12-18 months. Still the government has not increased support. There are now only 19 members from the 34 members in 2018, with 10 less full time workers. Defend Disability demands that experienced adjudicators are reappointed to reduce wait times and that the government undertakes consultations with ODSP recipients and legal clinics that have already outlined ways to fix this broken system.
    • Open Letter: The Erosion of the Ontario Social Benefits Tribunal


  • June 2020
  • February 2020
    • Submission to the pre-budget consultation for the 2020 Ontario budget
    • The submission asks the minister of finance to abandon the proposed change and retain the current definition of disability under ODSP based on evidence supporting the following:
      • The justification for redefining disability is weak
      • Operationalized federal definitions of disability are flawed and under review
      • The costs associated with shifting to the new definition are high
      • Any fiscal benefits of shifting to the new definition are offset significantly by those high costs
      • Provincial objectives including reducing hallway healthcare are undermined by this policy change
      • The impact on the wellbeing of vulnerable people will be negative and, in many cases, severely so.
  • January 23, 2020
  • January 22, 2020
    • Hamilton City Council unanimously voted for the following motion to send a letter to the Ontario Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO), and to the Mayors of other comparable-sized cities in Ontario respecting the following: 
      • Reversing budget cuts made and planned for the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
      • Maintaining the current Ontario Disability Support Program definition of disability
      • Increasing social assistance rates
      • Respecting the rights of people living with disability to participate in decisions affecting them by creating a meaningful process of co- reviewing and co-designing programs of social assistance and adjudication processes


2018 – The Problem

“[A]ligning Ontario’s new definition of ‘disability’ more closely with federal government guidelines.”

– Backgrounder: Reforming Social Assistance
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