08/29/2007

The Province amended regulations to implement the planned upload of $935 million Ontario Drug Benefit and ODSP costs.
Issue:

Amendments have been made to regulations under the Ontario Works Act and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Act to implement the upload of Ontario Drug Benefit costs associated with both programs effective January 1, 2008, and the phased implementation of the upload of ODSP administration and benefits by 2011. 

Background:

The planned upload of $935 million in Ontario Drug Benefit and ODSP costs announced by the Premier at the 2007 AMO Conference is now law. The amendments to regulations for the Ontario Works Act and the ODSP Act are linked to this Alert. 

According to the regulations:

  • municipalities will no longer be required to cost share Drug Benefits for people on social assistance (Ontario Works and ODSP) effective January 1, 2008;
  • municipalities will no longer be required to cost share (currently 50%) the cost of administering the provincially delivered ODSP program effective January 1, 2009;
  • municipal cost sharing for ODSP benefits (financial assistance) will be reduced from 20% to 10% effective January 1, 2010; and
  • municipal cost sharing for ODSP benefits will be eliminated entirely on January 1, 2011.
AMO considers this announcement and the amendments to regulations to be important milestones in the ongoing Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review. The Review is to result in a consensus-based report on further adjustments to the fiscal framework in February 2008. The report will include recommendations related to funding and service delivery, including the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF), as part of an overall provincial-municipal fiscal framework.  

In the meantime, the Province has signalled that OMPF funding will not be reduced in 2008. In his address to AMO conference delegates, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Gerretsen said that OMPF funding levels for 2008 would not be reduced as a result of the uploading of ODB costs.