• Fix for Ontario’s disability program is long overdue

    … doctors won’t have to fill out 21-page application forms again every time a recipient’s case comes up for a simple review. Nor will they have to re-do everything from psychological assessments to x-rays to back it up. That should provide savings in both medical tests and doctors’ time. It should also provide savings in legal aid, since so many applicants currently need help on the complicated review documents and appeals.

  • The ugly truth: Many Canadians didn’t have enough food this year

    Over 4 million Canadians, including 1.15 million children experience some level of food insecurity… adults in more severely food-insecure households are more likely to report chronic health conditions as well as receive diagnoses of multiple health conditions… total healthcare costs – including inpatient hospital care, emergency department visits, physician services, same-day surgeries and home care services – increase significantly with the level of household food insecurity.

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    Welfare in Canada, 2014

    In 2014, welfare incomes for single employable households ranged from 38.2 percent of the after-tax poverty line in Manitoba to a ‘high’ of 64.7 percent in Newfoundland and Labrador. Most of the other jurisdictions cluster around the lower rate. Welfare incomes for single persons with disabilities, while low, were slightly higher, ranging from 49.6 percent of the poverty line in Alberta to 69.9 percent in Ontario.

  • The Canada Social Report… So Far

    The Canada Social Report provides information that includes, but goes well beyond, Census-based data. The Welfare Incomes, Social Assistance Summaries, Social Policy Record and Minimum Wage sections are prime examples. This paper describes the current content of the Canada Social Report… It is a resource for the entire social sector – to give all of us a strong voice and a powerful evidence base for informed policy conversations and the formulation of intelligent policy solutions.

  • Ontario government botches rollout of welfare technology

    … a pricetag that has already swelled by 20 per cent; the fact that department has fumbled the implementation of programs by two different suppliers; reports from local caseworkers that the system still has serious deficiencies – suggest the changeover was poorly planned and executed… The 566,800 Ontarians who depend on social assistance are the province’s most vulnerable residents. More than half have disabilities. It is bad enough that the government doesn’t provide enough financial support to meet their basic needs; to subject them to needless bureaucratic misery is just heartless.

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    Ontario’s disastrous computer roll-out will trouble welfare rolls for months to come

    The consultants reported at the end of April that the government needed a major, but major, recovery plan, practically a do-over. They identified 57 high-priority fixes, just to get started with… They called it an “integrated transition plan”… The plan is still not done… The people who use SAMS are now at least familiar with its failings… But it’s still inefficient at basic tasks like changing the address on a welfare recipient’s file, which drives workers nuts.

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    Ontario Works? I’m not so sure

    … even with seasoned help, there were weeks and weeks of frustration: missing file numbers, without which nothing could be done; messages which were left and not returned; workers who… left on vacation… I am disgusted by this province which, on our behalf, punishes those it should help… I want: A single point of contact for ODSP and OW, so that someone in trouble can find out the shortest route to help; workers who will answer questions with useful and timely information

  • Holding on to disability benefits an unfair struggle

    The purpose of the Ontario Disability Support Program is to provide income to these individuals so they can survive. It’s not a lot of money, and the benefits are notoriously difficult to obtain, but it serves as a crucial lifeline for many people in this province. But even this is now being threatened for countless people by a overcomplicated bureaucratic process of medical reviews that is leaving many in the lurch.

  • Ontario 211 receives $1 million to improve services for at-risk Canadians

    Ontario 211 will develop a new approach to meet the complex needs of vulnerable clients including: – Increased outreach with agencies to help raise awareness of 211 with low-income families – Additional follow-up with vulnerable callers to ensure they are receiving the proper support, and to help capture and measure long-term outcomes – Additional training for 211 specialists to better identify at-risk callers and help direct them to community programs and services that will make them healthier – An enhanced phone system to help callers talk to the best trained specialist sooner

  • Social Assistance Summaries 2014

    … an advance viewing of 12 of Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial Social Assistance programs… A summary was prepared for each province and territory with input and feedback from government representatives in every jurisdiction. All reports include program descriptions and data on the number of social assistance cases and recipients dating… from 1997 to 2014.