Administrator

The ‘Ball’ or the ‘Bridge’: The Stark Choice for Social Assistance Reform in Ontario

The Ball Think about a small ball of string that you keep at home. Every time you have a loose piece of string, you wrap it around the ball and poke each end into the ball. You keep up the practice for years until you have an unkempt ball of string that is as big as a basketball. In your mind’s eye, think of taking that large ball of string and immersing in a large vat of crazy glue. Take…

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The ‘Ball’ or the ‘Bridge’: The Stark Choice for Social Assistance Reform in Ontario

The Ball Think about a small ball of string that you keep at home. Every time you have a loose piece of string, you wrap it around the ball and poke each end into the ball. You keep up the practice for years until you have an unkempt ball of string that is as big as a basketball. In your mind’s eye, think of taking that large ball of string and immersing in a large vat of crazy glue. Take…

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So much patience and hope, so little momentum

Last December, Deb Matthews, chief architect of Ontario’s poverty reduction strategy, announced that the government would launch a review of its rigid and restrictive social assistance rules. To outsiders, it sounded like bureaucratic housekeeping. But to people living on welfare, it was a breakthrough. ‘This ends more than a decade of poor bashing, of deliberate and callous targeting of those in living in poverty,’ said Pat Capponi of Voices from the Street, which encourages the poor and homeless to speak…

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ODSP Action Coalition – MPP Lobby Kit

The ODSP Action Coalition has created a lobby kit for advocates to use in meetings with their MPPs on the Social Assistance Review. The Coalition is a provincial group advocating for people with disabilities on ODSP and considers the Social Assistance Review the most important opportunity in decades to improve ODSP so that people with disabilities can live with dignity. Unfortunately, the Coalition is increasingly worried that any restructuring that comes out of the review will be more about reducing…

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What Next in Welfare Reform?

Recent years have seen a new consensus emerge around welfare reforms. As a result a number of promising programs and practices have been adopted in various jurisdictions which have shifted policy design and delivery beyond work-first. Instead of a simplistic focus upon the “shortest route to employment”, the new emphasis has recognized that large numbers have been left behind by such strategies and is focusing instead on identifying and meeting needs and supporting sustainable transitions into work. This report highlights a…

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Ontario Must Move on Social Assistance Reform: Budget 2009

For Immediate Release TORONTO – The McGuinty government’s budget has taken important steps to reduce poverty in Ontario. However, fundamental reform of social assistance remains a necessity, particularly as growing numbers of Ontarians lose their jobs. “The McGuinty government is moving in the right direction on poverty reduction in Ontario,” said Sarah Blackstock, Research & Policy Analyst at the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC). “This budget shows that government is beginning to take the needs of people on social assistance seriously…

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ISAC Response to the Commission’s Second Discussion Paper

UPDATE: Here is ISAC’s complete submission in response to the discussion paper La présentation est disponible en français ici —————————- Originally posted March 15: Since the release of the Commission’s second discussion paper, ISAC has been reviewing the paper in detail to both provide information on what the paper says, and to craft the best response possible by the Commission’s March 16 feedback deadline. To create a response that addresses the issues that affect groups that deal with the most disadvantage in our…

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Positive or Punitive: What will Reform Mean for People with Disabilities?

ODSP Action Coalition response to the Commission’s second discussion paper Positive or Punitive? We must state at the outset that this kind of understanding of the needs and reality of life for people with disabilities did not come through in “Approaches for Reform”. We know from the companion document, “What We Heard”, that the Commission was told a lot about the barriers and stresses of dealing with disability and poverty. But most of the suggested changes discussed in the Commission’s…

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The Options Paper: What Does It Say and What Does It Mean? (webinar and backgrounders)

The Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario released its Options Paper, entitled ‘Discussion Paper 2: Approaches for Reform’, on February 3, 2012.There is a very short period for public response and feedback – the deadline for responding is March 16. The options could have far-reaching implications for people on low incomes. In this webinar, Jennefer Laidley of the Income Security Advocacy Centre presents information that will help groups and individuals understand and respond to the Commission’s Options Paper.…

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“Tell Your Story”: The Online Stories of OW and ODSP Recipients

A Submission to the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario Introduction: In June 2009, ISAC launched www.sareview.ca, a website dedicated to tracking the Ontario government’s promised Social Assistance Review. The website was envisioned as a place where people on social assistance and their allies and advocates could get information and news stories about the review, as well as reports from various groups about how Ontario’s current social assistance programs should be changed. It was also seen as…

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