Women – and especially women from racialized groups – experience poverty differently from other people, and have particular concerns that should be addressed in the course of the Social Assistance Review.

In November 2011, a group of women wrote to Minister Meilleur and Minister Broten encouraging them to ensure that Ontario’s review of social assistance programs would be “guided by a gender and equity analysis”.

This group of women then reached out to others.

On February 25, the YWCA, the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies (Osgoode Hall Law School) and the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) jointly hosted a forum on what a “gendered equity” review of social assistance might look like.

On May 6, they sent a letter to the Social Assistance Review Commission to urge them to ensure that four key concerns – raised at the February forum – are used to guide the review process:

1. Taking a ‘gendered equity’ perspective;

2. Using a strong, evidence-based analysis;

3. Ensuring poverty reduction is the goal of any changes made to OW or ODSP; and

4. Paying attention to implementation and access at the ground level.


Read the letter and find out more about the February forum at the IFLS website


The letter is signed by:

Rene Adams

Kate Bezanson, Associate Professor, Sociology and Social Justice and Equity Studies, Brock University

Sarah Blackstock, Director of Advocacy & Communications, YWCA Toronto

Josie Di Zio, Senior Director, Planning & Program Development, COSTI Immigrant Services

Shelley A.M. Gavigan, Associate Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School

Mary Marrone, Director of Advocacy & Legal Services, Income Security Advocacy Centre

Eileen Morrow, Coordinator, Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH)

Sonia Lawrence, Associate Professor & Director, Institute for Feminist Legal Studies, Osgoode Hall, York University

Janet Mosher, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

Emily Paradis, Research Associate, Cities Centre, University of Toronto

Lisa Philipps, Associate Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

Rhonda Roffey, Executive Director, Women’s Habitat

Laurel Rothman, Director of Social Reform, Family Service Toronto; National Coordinator, Campaign 2000