02/08/2006

The Minister of Community and Social Services, Sandra Pupatello, announced changes to the Ontario Disability Support Program that are aimed at improving employment opportunities for ODSP recipients and their families.
Today’s announcement outlined a number of changes to the ODSP that the Government claims will increase employment opportunities for clients by providing incentives that will remove what have been identified as barriers to employment. These include child care support, health benefits and an opportunity for clients to keep more of what they are earning.

It can be expected that municipalities will be responsible for cost sharing a number of the employment incentives announced today and that increased administrative costs will likely also result.

While AMO supports the Government’s efforts in improving the lives of people receiving social assistance, fundamentally, AMO is opposed to what is increasingly recognized as bad public policy-namely municipalities funding a service that is a provincial responsibility. Municipalities continue to be exposed to provincial costs for a program that they have no control over through the current provincial-municipal cost share of the ODSP.

AMO encourages the Government to fulfill its promise of improving the lives of Ontarians in receipt of social assistance in a meaningful and purposeful way, through appropriate and adequate funding of this important program at the province level.

AMO will monitor the impact of the policy changes through the AMO Social Assistance Task Force and will continue to advocate that the province correct the fiscal imbalance and the policy misalignment by uploading the cost of social services.