Students are encourage to complete the Do the Math Campaign
What is Ontario Works?
Ontario (OW) is the income support program of last resort for people without paid employment. It is an emergency program intended to support people when
something goes seriously wrong in their lives, and to help ensure that they do not fall through the cracks. Because of the high cost of childcare in Ontario, some
single parent families are forced onto OW until their children are school age.
Monthly income for a single person in Ontario Works (which must cover rent, food and all other expenses): $572.00
What is Ontario Disability Support Program?
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) is an income support program for people who are unable to maintain full‐time employment die to a medical condition. For
people with disabilities in Ontario, ODSP is often the primary source of income for many years.
Monthly income for a single person in Ontario
Disability Benefits: $1020
Recent History of social Assistance in Ontario
In 1995, the provincial government under Mike Harris cut social assistance rates
by 22% and then froze them, until the Progressive Conservative Part was voted
out of office in 2003. Today, these cuts, combined with increases to the cost of
living, mean that welfare benefits have been eroded by approximately 40% since
Under the current Liberal government, social assistance benefits have been
increased incrementally each year. However, according to economist Jim
Stanford, even with the announcement of a 2% increase to social assistance in
spring of 2008. Ontario’s most disadvantaged citizens are still further behind
where they were when the McGuinty government was first erected in 2003.
In 2004, anti-poverty groups and health provider in Ontario, concerned by the
devastating health issue faced by people on social assistance without enough
income, began to organize to fight for people’s health. They mobilized to help
people on social assistance access a little known benefit called the Special Diet
Allowance. The Special Diet Allowance is a benefit that provides additional
assistance to people who require a special diet as the result of a medical
condition. To quality, people on ODSP or OW must already be sick and have the
feed for a diet prescribed by a qualified medical practitioner.
While some people continue to receive Special Diet Benefits to treat conditions
for very serious medical conditions, the government has taken steps to change
the program and limit its benefits. These changes are currently being challenged
before the Human Rights Tribunal. Meanwhile, a; recipients of social assistance
continue to be at risk of illness due to poverty.
People who experience chronic food insecurity and a lack of access to a healthy
diet from numerous negative efforts on their health, including higher risk of
chronic illness, depression, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
This is why public health units across Ontario are asking the government to
increase social assistance rates to begin to address chronic cycles of poverty in
this province and prevent sickness.
As a first step, the campaign to Put Food in the Budget is asking for $100.00
monthly increase as a kind of healthy food supplement for all adults on social
assistance. Public health officials view this amount as a down payment toward
establishing adequate income supports that are based on the real cost of living
and that enable people to purchase healthy food.
Where can I find out more information about this?
To learn more about this issue or to get more involved, visit www.thestop.org