02/05/2013


Premier-Designate Kathleen Wynne has indicated her intention to move forward to implement the recommendations contained within the Report of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario.

AMO’s President, Russ Powers, has corresponded with the Honourable John Milloy, the Minister of Community and Social Services, in regard to the shared provincial-municipal interest in transforming social assistance in Ontario.  The President articulated AMO’s desire to work with the government in order to improve outcomes for low-income Ontarians and persons with disabilities in our communities.  There is much at stake, given the crucial role that income and employment support programs play to promote community health, reduce poverty and to enhance economic competitiveness.

Transforming social assistance promises many benefits.  At the same time, it is also fraught with potential risks for municipalities.  The recommendations to devolve provincial responsibility for the disability program to municipalities, along with a greater role in the delivery of employment supports, are significant.  The recommendations require careful examination and consideration.  We are open to new possibilities, but it needs to be under the right conditions with clear benefits for all, including municipal governments.

AMO believes social assistance transformation must adhere to the principles and commitments of the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review (PMFSDR) agreement of 2008.  It is vital to ensure that there are no new costs to municipalities or transference of financial exposure as a result.  Also, the dialogue on transforming social assistance in Ontario must include efforts to further integrate the delivery of income support and employment services with other human and social service delivery.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments. AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.

Ontarians can only benefit from well planned changes that are adequately resourced and allow for sufficient local flexibility to enable local innovation and efficiency in the delivery of social assistance and employment services.

AMO believes that a strong, collaborative provincial-municipal partnership is needed to achieve the desired outcomes.  Our common interest is to: design, plan and see the delivery of an efficient and effective service; simplify and consolidate arrangements where appropriate; and focus strongly on results.  At the same time, recognizing this is done in a common operating context of fiscal and capacity pressures, so getting it right is paramount.

AMO is working closely with the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA) and alongside the City of Toronto to assess the recommendations and potential impacts to the current municipal service system manager structure as well as municipalities.  Careful consideration of the recommendations of the Social Assistance Review Commission, the Drummond report, as well as other ideas from AMO, municipalities, District Social Service Administration Boards (DSSAB’s) and the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA) are essential as we move forward to consider the transformation of social assistance in Ontario.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments. AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.