And Why Does It Matter?

Several proposals have been made in the last few years about how to change the way income supports are delivered to people in Ontario.

Why are people proposing a different ‘delivery architecture’?

What problems would a different system help to resolve?

What are some of the options for different kinds of systems? What do they look like, and how would they work?

ISAC and the Ontario community legal clinic system’s Social Assistance Action Committee (SAAC) held a roundtable discussion on May 30, 2011, to try explore these questions – in order to help prepare advocates and caseworkers for the Social Assistance Review consultations.

One example of a different way to provide income support is the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB), which began in 2007. The OCB is delivered through the income tax system so people are eligible for it based only on their level of income - unlike OW and ODSP, which require people to meet other eligibility rules.

As more and more income supports are delivered like the OCB through the tax system, we should make sure we know the benefits and drawbacks of making this change, so we can propose solutions to problems before they occur. Â

Three important speakers made presentations at the roundtable. Please click on the links below to view their PowerPoint presentations.

Michael Mendelson is Senior Scholar at the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, and has held senior public service positions in both Ontario and Manitoba.

John Stapleton operates his own public policy consultancy, Open Policy Ontario, after a 28-year career in social assistance policy in the Ontario government.

Lisa Philipps is a Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, where she teaches and does research in the fields of taxation law and fiscal policy.

This was the second in a series of information events held by ISAC and SAAC to help community legal clinic caseworkers – and others – prepare for Ontario’s Social Assistance Review. Videos of presentations made at the first event, called ‘Transforming Ontario Works’, are available here.