Open Letter to Minister MacLeod: Five Principles for the 100-day Review

Posted on October 29, 2018 in Social Security Policy Context – policy-advocacy
Oct. 29, 2018.   Income Security Advocacy Centre

More than 1100 people and nearly 100 organizations from across Ontario have signed this letter to Minister Lisa MacLeod, which we sent today to her office and the offices of all Ontario’s MPPs.

If you missed signing this letter and want to take action, please send an email to Minister MacLeod voicing your support for these principles to:

Be sure to copy that email to your own MPP as well. If you don’t know who your MPP is, check the information here for how to find their email address.

The following letter has been signed by 1,143 individuals and 99 organizations from across the province of Ontario, and has been copied to all MPPs.

The Honourable Lisa MacLeod, MPP
Minister of Children, Community and Social Services
6th Floor, Hepburn Block
80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1E9

CC: All Ontario MPPs

29 October 2018

Dear Minister MacLeod,

On July 31, 2018, you announced that your government will announce a new direction for social assistance in Ontario, based in part on “compassion for people in need”, after a 100-day review that ends November 8. You have said that “we need to do more than just help people remain mired in poverty” and instead “help stabilize people in need and support them to succeed”.

We are writing as agencies, organizations, and individuals who are concerned about the future of social assistance in Ontario and who care about the implications of this review for the nearly one million Ontarians who rely on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program for income and other supports. Many of us receive benefits and supports from these programs and need them to be drastically improved.

We agree that Ontario’s social assistance system doesn’t work, and that ensuring stability and providing support are what’s needed in a new system. Despite some small positive recent changes, the system is fundamentally the same as it was twenty years ago. It is based on outdated thinking and outmoded ideas about what the programs are supposed to achieve. Its continuing inadequacy of benefits and focus on punitive and coercive rules is counterproductive and simply traps people in poverty instead of providing the supports they need to stabilize and move forward in their lives.

That’s why we urge you to ensure that the following “Five Principles for an Effective and Compassionate Social Assistance System” form the foundation for the new system. These principles arise out of previous reviews and from the concerns of numerous community members and advocates voiced consistently over the past twenty years.

  1. Income adequacy

An effective and compassionate system:

  1. Economic and social inclusion

An effective and compassionate system:

  1.   Access and Dignity

An effective and compassionate system:

  1.   Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples

An effective and compassionate system:

  1.   Human rights, equity and fairness

An effective and compassionate system:

Thank you for your consideration of these important principles in your 100-day review.


The undersigned individuals and organizations

The full list of 1,143 individuals and 99 organizations who have signed on to this letter can be found online.

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO), an independent but publicly funded and publicly accountable non-profit corporation.




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