The ODSP Action Coalition submitted its recommendations for changes to ODSP to Ontario’s Social Assistance Review on June 29, 2011. The Coalition’s submission, Dignity, Adequacy, Inclusion: Rethinking the Ontario Disability Support Program, argues for policy changes that recognize and assert the fundamental rights of persons with disabilities.
On July 6, 2011, a delegation from the Coalition met with Commissioners Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh to present our vision of and specific recommendations for an income and employment supports program which truly treats people with disabilities with respect, adequately provides for their needs, and fosters real social and economic inclusion. We thank the Commissioners and their staff for a forthright, thoughtful discussion.
At the suggestion of the Commissioners, the Coalition has decided to provide a second submission that focuses on two questions of interest:
- What are the best mechanisms that could be included in a comprehensive plan to support the workforce participation of Ontarians with disabilities?
- Should ODSP “differentiate between people with the capacity and desire to work, and those who are unable to take a job because of disability?â€ (Commission 2011: 27)
These issues roughly correspond to Issues 1 and 2 in the Commission’s first Discussion Paper.
The Commissioners also encouraged us to comment directly on the Caledon Institute’s proposal for a federal long-term disability income support program, as well as on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, both of which we have done here.
In considering our response to these issues, we determined that it would be helpful to outline the Coalition’s ideas for ODSP reform within a framework that we call an “Activation Agendaâ€. This model of employment-related supports is made up of four key elements that we believe are the foundation for an Ontario Disability Support Program that would actually meet the objectives it was set out to achieve.