03/15/2012

AMO Response to The Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario Discussion Paper 2: Approaches for Reform. March 15, 2012.
AMO is pleased to provide feedback on the considerations presented in The Social Assistance Review Commissions Discussion Paper 2: Approaches for Reform. This second discussion paper identifies that the social assistance system in Ontario requires a transformative overhaul in order to bring about broader attachment to the labour market for those on social assistance (both OW and ODSP).

We agree, Ontario must move forward in a way that contemplates the key issues identified in the second discussion paper, namely, greater coordination across the broader system of supports (for example, employment services, housing, child care, transportation and others), addressing the ever challenging question of what is an appropriate benefit level and finding fairness for low income earners.

Importantly, the proposal to transform the system recognizes the many service, staff and funding interactions that potentially could be used in a better way towards more focused outcomes for recipients of social assistance. Whatever path is chosen, the transformation of social assistance will be a complex and complicated undertaking. At this juncture, in the absence of understanding where the provincial government is determined to go, the best advice AMO may be able to provide is a framework for moving forward. Our expectation is that when the tough decisions and work begins, AMO and municipalities, as partners, will be at the table to build on the framework. Municipalities have the implementation talent and experience, and implementation has to inform policy if it is to be “transformational”.